In March I posted that I was getting ready to weave my third handspun, doubleweave blanket. I added a photo of the warp yarns, looking as if they were ready to hop onto the loom. But in reality, I did not complete the warp until the end of May, when we were getting ready to take our entire family of 11 to Sydney, Australia to join John’s extended family for his mother’s 100th birthday. Yes, really–and Ina Harrison stood before us all and gave a brilliant speech in which she responded to the two essential questions of the centenarian: What does it feel like to be 100? And – What advice do you have for the rest of us? It was a great party with entertainment provided by the families of each of Ina’s children. For the Harrisons from Oregon, the entertainment involved wearing fake beards made of Romney locks needle felted onto food service beard nets and the wearing of a ‘wig’ made from natural colored Romney locks attached to a knitted stocking cap.
So that is why I did not start weaving until late in June. The weaving, even on a big project like this, goes quickly. In 3 weeks the blanket came off the loom.
Here it is, still folded in half lengthwise as it was woven.
Late in the design process I decided to try using a fibonacci sequence for my two main colors–turquoise and light brown or tan. This required lots of internet research and graph paper as I tried to figure out how the sequence could be applied to a warp with nearly 700 threads, only half of which would be visible to me during the weaving process.
I hand-washed the blanket (in the bathtub), spun the water out in the washing machine, and dried it on a delicate setting for about 20 minutes. Then it was hung over a thick curtain rod overnight. I steamed it using an iron and damp cotton cloth, and after each section was steamed, I brushed the surface to create a soft, fulled effect without losing more size. It was challenging to estimate how much the blanket would shrink and therefore where to place the black stripes that were supposed to define the edge of the bed. The warp was measured at 136″ long, and the width in the reed was 46″ x 2 or 92″. The woven length (after loom waste and normal contraction) was 112″ long and 90″ wide. After fulling and steaming, it is 97″ long and 87″ wide. Below are two photos to show how it turned out.