Hooters Hall

The Wool Project: Welsh wool quilt

This week I’ve been getting everything ready for weaving my Welsh wool quilt. I’ve decided to weave four 2 metre long strips with a twill weave in contrasting colours. The first strip will have a warp of ruby red wool yarn and a weft of hand spun black, Hebridean, single yarn.

Twill is a weave with a pattern of diagonal parallel ribs. This is done by passing the weft thread over one or more warp threads and then under two or more warp threads and so on, with a “step” or offset between rows to create the characteristic diagonal pattern. Because of this structure, twills generally drape well. It’s also quite easy to vary the pattern you are weaving without changing the way the warp is threaded. If it all goes to plan I’d like to try several different patterns on each strip of fabric to give a patchwork effect on the finished quilt top.

With a 2metre warp to measure I decided to use my homemade warping board. The board simply has wooden dowling rods placed at varying intervals around the edge. I measured out 2 meters using some green twine, so it was obviously different from the warp threads, and then wound on 96 warp threads. When winding on the warp you need to create a figure of eight at one end which makes transferring the warp to the loom easier. With a long warp it’s also important to place ties around the threads at regular intervals to prevent any tangling.

Here’s the warp on the board (Sansa kitten was supervising) To keep count of the threads as I wound them on I tied every 10 threads together with green twine.

 Once all the warp threads are measured out the tricky bit starts. The warp needs to be transferred from the board to the loom and threaded through the reed and heddles without getting all tangled. Tying the warps in a large knot at the end, tying ties around the warp and the cross as well as chaining the warp all help keep it from getting tangled. You also need plenty of time and no distractions.

Here’s the warp on the loom.

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The heddles / shafts are threaded in a 4,3,2,1 pattern. I’m also trying out floating selvedges for the first time. With a floating selvedge the warp threads at each edge of the weave are not threaded through any heddles but simply floating. The weft is passed over or under them depending on preference.

I’ve got a bobbin full of my weft yarn but need to wash and finish it before I start weaving. Hopefully I’ll be able to get started later this week.

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