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Sep 26 / Dani

I Made Cloth!

My weaving study group has spent the last year working on the study of colour – how it works, how it doesn’t, how to apply it to a project, terminology….you get the idea. To wrap up this particular study, we decided that we would all make a finished project. (Up until now we had been following sample projects and making little swatches to give to everyone in the group. Educational, but not all that interesting).

I have really wanted to try two things with weaving – working with wool, and making cloth that is meant to be cut up and sewn into another product. So for this exercise, I did both!

Look! I made a messenger bag! I had so much fun working on this project. First, after all the planning to figure out how much cloth I would need, was the actual weaving.

The yarn I used was Harrisville Designs Highland (in the teal and purple) and Shetland (in the grey and black). I used a technique called “Crammed Dents”, which makes a fabric with a definitive rib to it.  You can see a bit of that texture up close:

It definitely has a stripe to it.

Once the fabric was woven and off the loom, it was time for a dunk in the sink. Because this yarn is from the cone, not a skein like knitting yarn would be, there is a ton of spinning oil in it. Which lead to some of the most disgusting water I have had out of a project.

It was black. That white-ish thing you see floating around is a Shout Color Catcher. The blackness to the water was a combo of oil, dirt and dye, so I threw in the catcher just to make sure the colour didn’t stick to any of the lighter yarn.

I did a fair amount of agitating with the fabric, as I wanted it to full (less than felting) a bit. It makes the fabric denser and it makes all the fibres stick together, which is what you need if you are going to cut up your weaving.

Once the washing and drying was done, it was out into the sunshine in the backyard to fix any mistakes in the weaving and trim my ends.

Then I used fusible interfacing to stabilize the back of the cloth before cutting. The pattern (I made mine from wrapping paper – use what you have!) was pinned down over the interfaced cloth, and snip snip. Gotta say, cutting into this was certainly nerve wracking.

Once the pieces were cut out, both of the woven cloth and the fabric I was using on the inside, it was time for assembly. Sewing with the woven cloth was not particularily difficult, but I did have to alter the pattern in a few places so that I didn’t have too many woven layers on top of each other. It’s not that my machine couldn’t handle that many layers, it was that it was too fluffy to go under the presser foot!

The inside has an orange bottom weight from Joann’s, and the lining of the flap is Kona Cotton in Coal. One of the things we had to do for this project was use a colour harmony. This is “split complimentary” with the blue-purple, blue green, and orange-red colours.

Finishing touches included my label, some magnetic clasps, and a webbing strap along with a big industrial looking parachute clip. I thought it gave the bag a little interest.

And I have to say, I am so pleased with the results! I have used it a couple of times already, and it is quite sturdy.

I am so happy to have my weaving study group – they are a fabulous bunch of people (men and women) and it really makes me want to sit down at the loom. And there is nothing wrong with that!


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  1. JennW / Sep 26 2011

    This is definitely a WOW project. You did a great job from planning to completion and I love that bright orange interior.

  2. Sally / Sep 26 2011


    You. Are. Amazing.

    That is absolutely stunning!

  3. missbedora / Sep 26 2011

    VERY cool! You did make cloth, and what cloth you made. It’s gorgeous!!

    Question, and it seems like a dumb one, but I’m curious. How do you fix weaving mistakes? Isn’t it like knitting- if it’s in the centre, you’d have to pull it all apart to change it? Sorry, I”m a weaving dum-dum 🙂

    • Dani / Sep 27 2011

      You actually use a darning needle and a little piece of yarn to manually weave over any threads that you have accidentally skipped. Pretty simple actually!

  4. Becky / Sep 26 2011

    It is pretty and has a lovely weight to it without being heavy at all. I liked it a lot!

  5. Mom / Sep 27 2011

    Incredible!! Love it.

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