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  • Writer's pictureMarion Verloop

Weaving challenges

One day I was chatting with Giovanna Riemens-Carnibella, who is from Zeeland. (Zeeland is a Dutch province.) She told me that someday she would like to weave a band based on Zeeuws ‘Schortenbont’. Unfortunately she cannot weave, yet.

‘Schortenbont’ is a traditional fabric from Zeeland, it is usually black and white and sometimes red and white. When I heard about an exhibition and competition with the subject: “Black and white + ?”, I immediately thought, I can design a band inspired by ‘Schortenbont’ for that exhibition.

So I warped my loom and started weaving, but noticed I made a huge mistake. 😢 My initial plan was to only weave the middle part, the red blocks and the dotted borders. Somehow I warped the double amount of black pattern threads. I have no clue how that happened. 😄 I had two options, take off half of the yarns, or redesign. I decided to change my design. Taking off half of the yarns would have been such a waste of yarn.

After redesigning I had to change the warped yarns a bit. This was quite a challenge.

I ended up with 183 yarns on my loom. This was almost too much for my loom. To prevent the yarns from falling off the pegs, I put some rubber bands on the ends of the pegs.

In the end I was actually very happy that I made the mistake to warp the double amount of yarns, because now I had a really wide band.

Now that the warp was correct, I could finally start weaving. When I was weaving, I ran into another challenge. The repeats of the different designs were not the same. For the little red blocks that was not a problem, you don’t really need a pattern for it. For the Baltic designs it was a little harder. I ended up using two small rulers. One for the middle design and one for the other design.

The two outer designs are mirror images of each other. For the right design I read the pattern from right to left and for the left design I read the pattern from left to right.

I thought it would be easy from now on. Unfortunately I was wrong 😔

The red and black yarns started to get looser than the white yarns. I asked my weaving friends why this was happening. We talked about it and we came to the conclusion that it was because the red and black yarns are used for pick up/push down. When a yarn stays in the upper or lower layer, it takes less yarn than when the yarn goes up and down all the time, like the white yarns do. Because there was not enough tension on the black and red yarns anymore, the longer floats on my work became floppy. 〰️

I started putting popsicle sticks under the red and black yarns to get the right tension again, but soon this was not enough. I ended with a little box under the red and black yarns.

It was a real struggle keeping all the yarns under the same tension.

When the band was 70 cm long I thought it was long enough. I didn’t want this band to end up in a drawer, like some of my bands. It is just too beautiful for that.

So I decided to make it into a wall hanger.

For the top part, I sawed a stick to the right length and made small cuts in the stick for the cord and sanded it all.

Then I made a 4 stranded braid cord on the stick, so I could hang it.

Back to the band. I cut off all the yarns at the top of the band and glued the ends. When the glue was dry, I sewed the band on the stick.

The bottom of the band needed to be special, so I divided the yarns in 6 groups and wrapped them with black yarn. Then I divided those groups in 5 and then in 4 groups and also wrapped them with black yarn. On the outer groups I made tassels. I joined the two middle groups one more time and added a tassel to this group as well.

I will enter this band in the exhibition and competition of the National weaving day in November 2019 in the Netherlands.

If you still want to try to weave this band, after reading about all my struggles 🙃, then check the pattern section.

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