Captain Whidbey Inn blanket commission October – July 6 2019
Task: Weave 23 hand woven blankets, large enough to cover king & queen size beds with room to tuck. Blankets needed to be easily washed, ideally by machine and not dry cleaned. Colors to coordinate with room textiles (carpet, drapes, upholstery).
begin initial talks with Inn
requirements, quantity and time frame
weave initial samples, testing yarns
visit Inn and discus samples, compare to room textile samples, define size
weave prototype with test yarn
clock time to weave
order full quantities of yarn
order additional heddles
Dress loom and begin weaving
First delivery of blankets on April 19th
Move into weaving studio
Final delivery of blankets on July 6th
Technical weave structure:
3/2 mercerized cotton yarn
Threading: Straight draw
EPI: 16 / 8 dent reed x 2 per dent
42” wide x 12 yard long
Various, including chunky, worsted, and super bulky yarn
Approximately 125 skeins
Cotton, wool, and acrylic fiber content
tied off ends, fringe length for each end: 3”
machine washed and dried
Largest commission to date, and maxed out the loom - number of heddles, the width, and length of the weaving. I wound 6 warps, each with 672 individual threads (each thread 12 yards long). Each warp made 4 blankets.
The blankets were woven as double-wide double weaves, weaving 2 layers simultaneously connected on one side. The end blanket would be 84” wide and 92-95” long pre-wash.
The first 3 warps were tedious, weaving took approximately 8 hours per blanket when I originally estimated 5 hours, and dressing the loom took 2 days. It was during this period I realized my body was not a machine and I was hitting my physical limits. My back, my arms and shoulders hurt.
I allotted more time to weave, and got stronger. I moved into a dedicated weaving studio.
Once in the studio my speed increased, with more space and focus I was able to work faster and developed tricks with each warp that made the one that followed quicker. My fastest blanket was woven in 3.5 hours, my fastest dressing of the loom took 5 hours instead of 2 days.
Overall I wove an average of 1 blanket a week start to finish.