Warp-faced placemats

The previous project was weft-faced — the warp disappeared under the weft. This project is the exact opposite. The warp threads are threaded so close together that the weft disappears (except where it peeks out at the selvages).

This means that I had a lot of warp threads to measure out and thread on the loom:

Warping in progress…

All up, there are 460 warp threads at 36 ends per inch for about 12-3/4″ wide on the loom. The original pattern was only about 7″ wide, but I wanted placemats, which are normally about 12″ wide and 18″ long. So, I added the wider black and white band to the design and made some of the black stripes wider as well.

The placemats are all plain weave, so the warp threads alternate between the top and bottom of the fabric. Horizontal stripes are formed by alternating warp thread colours – either lime/peacock or black/white. Vertical stripes are achieved by having at least two warps of the same colour next to each other. The lime and peacock stripes on either side of the black/white sections consist of two threads of lime and two of peacock. With two consecutive threads, either one or the other is on the top of the fabric at all times, forming a line that looks like it’s one thread wide.

Pattern Sampling

Further patterning can be achieved by using different thicknesses of weft thread. Alternating thick and thin weft makes the colour going over the thick thread more dominant than the colour going over the thin thread. To switch colours, you just throw two thin threads in a row. This is how the checkerboard pattern is achieved.

After the sample placemat where I tried out different patterns, I settled on a pattern with the checkerboard effect on one end and plain stripes on the other:


I got five of these plus the sampler for a total of six placemats.

This type of weaving is not my favourite, but I’m glad I gave it a go. While the placemats show the versatility of plain weave , I found the structure a bit limiting. The warp is all that shows, so you can’t change the colour or look by introducing a different weft colour. It also took forever to measure out the warp and used up quite a bit of yarn.

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