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  • Emma Baker

Weaving with waste and hand spun yarns to create unique textured coasters

I visited the Creation Mill stand at Yarndale in September and was excited by their range of waste yarn and fabrics. They are interested in everything around textiles from the creation of the fibre to the end of its life looking at how textiles and fibres can be reused and recycled. I purchased some yarn, being drawn by the gorgeous muted autumnal colours. I didn't initially have a plan in mind for the yarn and this short blog article details how I used this waste yarn to weave some rustic textured coasters using this yarn along with some hand spun yarn.

Starting the project to weave with waste and hand spun yarn to create rustic textured coasters

The yarn that I purchased was a double knit wool yarn in a range of green, brown, burgundy and blue shades. The yarn was not particularly soft so weaving a scarf or cowl was not an option. As most of my weaving is the weaving of such luxury accessories it was nice to have a project which was going to challenge me to weave something different. I decided that I would try and create some rustic coasters. The yarn is shown below.

Cones of yarn in green, burgundy, grey and brown shades sitting on a table
Waste yarn in autumnal colours

Card winding

Card winding is something that I do to look at the way the colours will weave together. I also wind the yarn and measure the number of wraps per inch which gives me an idea for the sett of the weave. I decided that I would weave this yarn at 8 epi which is the sett that I would normally use to weave a doubleknit yarn.

A rectangular piece of card with wool yarn wound round it surrounded by 5 cones of yarn laying on their edges.
Card winding to look at colours and sett

Warping the loom

I calculated that I would have enough yarn to weave at least a 5 metre length by 20 inch wide warp. 8 colours were used, each one being a single stripe in the warp. The heddles on all 8 shafts were threaded as a straight 8 design. I like to thread a straight 8 as I know that this gives lots of different pattern design options. This being said from the outset I was pretty sure that I wanted to weave a twill design which could have been woven on 4 shafts.

Let the weaving begin

I initially wove with the same warp and weft yarn adding in stripes using predominantly a twill design. As the final coasters would be around 13cm square I was aware that I needed to change the weft within each 13cm length of weaving if I wanted to create coasters with a degree of patterning.

Incorporating some hand spun alpaca and Jacobs fleece yarn

Weaving in some Aran weight hand spun yarn in natural brown, beige and grey colours added some additional texture as shown below.

The final coasters

The fabric was cut from the the loom and washed in really hot water with lots of detergent to achieve a degree of felting. I wanted the fabric to felt and become more rigid than would be the case for a scarf or cowl because I wanted the coasters to be stiff and to keep their shape. The fabric was dried, pressed and cut into 13cm square coasters. I have popped these coasters on my website and will be taking some along to various local events over the coming months.

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