Wednesday, April 1, 2009

How to Block a Runner

For a long time now, I’ve wanted to have a set of seasonal runners for my dining room table; my house is open plan, so you see the dining room as soon as you come in the door. So, here’s Spring woven in No Tabby Overshot!

I put on 6 yards of mercerized cotton to make 2 runners, the first for myself and the second with a yellow weft is a possible exchange runner. I am the Exchange Coordinator for the GCW (Guild of Canadian Weavers) and this year the exchange premise is – ‘send one runner and get one’. There is a minimum size but no other criteria, so anyone out there interested please go and check us out, plenty of time to join into the exchange!
This is the green runner unwashed, showing both sides, the reverse of this pattern is really lovely, what a nice surprise! A close up of the yellow runner unwashed, I used 2/8 mercerized cotton for the weft and it’s a bit thinner than the warp, so the overall effect is a bit open in this photo.
I wove a hem of sewing cotton to minimize the bulkiness of the turn under and also wove a border on both runners.
Seems like a good time to share my method of finishing; this is how I ensure that the runner is an even width for the entire length. I measured the runner and came up with the average width, then put masking tape on my ironing board with the runner width between.
As I give the runner the first press I gently move the runner to fit the template width. If it’s too small I press from the centre out, if it’s too large I spray with water and push it smaller then press to size.
To make sure that I don’t pull the runner long in the center and out of square I use any straight edge about every foot or so to ensure I don’t press any smiles or frowns into my piece.
I find a line or a pattern on the weaving to measure against.
The green runner was 97” long and 19-7/8” wide off loom and 96” long and 17-1/2” wide after washing. Not much warp shrinkage and I think that the Spring Loom is the reason; because the front beam moves forward with every shed change the warp is never pulled too tight, so minimal shrinkage!
The yellow runner was 75” long and 19-3/4” wide off loom and 73” long and 16-1/12” wide after washing. The weft deflected quite a bit more on this runner than on the green runner.
My final task with any weaving project is to do the samples for my friends.

Weaving Words
Chenille is the French word for caterpillar, it looks very much like it’s namesake.


Susan said...

I'm so happy that you have crocus growing there now. Ours were covered with snow this morning :(

Your spring runner is absolutely lovely. Fresh and crisp. The overshot with no tabby is a real eye opener and I'm having to rethink my opinion on overshot!

The tape on ironing board is a super idea! Thanks for sharing this neat tip. I'll be adding that to my repetoire.

I found the moving front beam on the Spring loom to be a tremendous help with the warps. I found the last project I wove went smoothly and no 'smile'. ( Except on my face that is...)


charlotte said...

The table runner is lovely, I like the pattern very much. Thank you for sharing your method of ironing, I have always had problems with straight borders when ironing knitted scarves, so I will your technique from now on.

Deanna said...

What a delight whenever I find a new post on your blog. :-)
Love the runners, and the great photos, and the harbinger of spring.

Peg in South Carolina said...

A lovely runner. Thank you for sharing the details on the hem turn and also the masking tape trick for pressing an even width.

Peg in South Carolina said...

I've left an award for you on my blog. You can pick it up here:

Dorothy said...

It must be over a week since I last stopped by, and there's so much to catch up on, you have been busy :) I love those kumihimo braids, very impressed that they can be made with such simple equipment. The new table runner is lovely and I'm very interested in your pressing technique - I could try that out on the scarves I've just woven. I was also interested in your comment on how the Spring loom works. If I had room for one more loom I think it would be one of the Louet floor looms.

bspinner said...

Your tape is a wonderful idea!!! Definitely going in my bag of tricks.

The runners are lovely!!! Your pictures and information are great. I especially like the picture of the runner with the vase of crocus.

Sunrise Lodge Fiber Studio said...

The runner is beautiful! Who ever your exchange partner is, they certainly will be impressed!!! Great pictures of it on the table;)

deborahbee said...

I have just looked at your post and immediately feel inspired. I think the textured design is lovely and I love the idea of changing them seasonally. I'm going to try to make one...I have a dark oak chest that could wear a runner. My table is too loaded up with books and stray papers!

Life Looms Large said...

The runners are gorgeous!!! (So are you keeping one and putting the other in the exchange??)

That ironing technique seems really smart. I'll have to try it next time I make something that needs to be square. (Maybe all of my projects need to be squared up - but I give my dishtowels leeway since they'll get washed and dried a lot.)