How to Weave a Holiday Table Runner
Christopher Granger weaves a holiday table runner.
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Christopher Granger always had a passion for the visual arts but struggled to find his medium. After watching a papermaking demonstration a few years back, he was inspired to create crafts made of fiber. Unfortunately, a plumber had to be brought in for five hours to unclog the kitchen sink after his first batch of paper creations. Not one to be discouraged easily, he soon moved on to dying and weaving fibers of all kinds, as he'll show us with his holiday table runner embellished with gel bleach stamp work and fabric paints.
3/2 Perle cotton, 1,000 yards (less than 1 pound) natural or bleached for dying*
ball or skein of metallic yarn (Erdal, Glowette in Bronze)
rigid heddle, 2-4-shaft floor/table or shuttle loom
Procion MX fiber reactive dye:
- Pro 108 (Sun Yellow)
- Pro 308 (Fuchsia)
- Pro 406 (intense blue)
soda ash (sodium carbonate or washing soda)
3, 1-gallon zip top bags
mixing container for dye
measuring spoons (not used for food)
small disposable foam brush
iron and ironing board
Retayne - optional
*Guest recommends Halcyon green 181, 136 and gold 112 yarn in 3/2 Pearl cotton if purchasing commercially dyed yarns.
Hand Dying Yarn
Note: Omit these steps if using commercially dyed yarn.
1. Using a swift set at a one-yard circumference, wind off 400 yards of natural or bleached 3/2-perle cotton (figure A). Alternately, set two chairs back to back so that it's one yard around the chairs and loop 400 winds around the chairs.
2. Tie the two ends together and tie several choke ties around the skein to keep it from tangling. Choke ties are simply strands of yarn tied around the skein to keep it together. When finished you should have a circle of yarn (skein) tied about every 12 to 14 inches.
3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for a second 400 yard skein of yarn from the 3/2 perle cotton and for a third skein of 100 yards of 3/2 cotton.
4. Prepare a soak for the yarns using one gallon of warm water and 3/4 cup sodium carbonate. Note: Safety measures should be followed per manufacturer's instructions.
5. Wet all yarns in tepid tap water and then place in the alkali soak (the sodium carbonate bath).
6. Gently squeeze the skeins to work the alkali solution through the yarns and soak for 30 to 60 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, mix dye solutions. Use approximately three tsp. of total dye for each of green skeins. For the first green solution:
- 1-1/2 teaspoons each of yellow and blue
- 1-1/4 teaspoons of blue
- 1/4 teaspoon. fuschia
- 1-1/2 teaspoons of yellow
8. To mix dyes, add them in a container (not a container used for food) and slowly add water, mixing until a thick paste forms, just a few drops at a time. Use room temperature water that feels just slightly warm. Once the paste is smooth, slowly add water to create about two cups of dye solution continuing to mix. Note: DO NOT add dye to water as it will clump up and be very difficult, if not impossible, to dissolve and mix thoroughly.
9. Place one skein of the 3/2 cotton into a gallon zip closure bag and add one cup of slightly warm water–about 95 degrees F. Now add the two cups of the first green dye solution.
10. Squeeze the bag to eliminate as much air as possible and then gently massage the bag to work the dye all through the yarns (figure B).
11. Repeat for the second green 3/2 skein of yarn.
12. Massage both bags for about 20 minutes to work the yarn through. Then massage every hour or so. Let set overnight in an area that is at least 75 degrees F so that the chemical reaction to dye the yarn will occur.
13. Remove yarn from the bags and rinse until the water runs clear. Rinse in hot water for the first rinse, then rinse in tepid water for remaining rinses. Tip: For color fastness and easier rinsing add Retayne per product instructions.
14. Note: DO NOT ring yarn, gently roll the skein in a towel to remove excess water and lay flat or hang to dry (figure C).
15. Repeat for the gold yarn, using the following mix: One teaspoon of yellow and a very small amount of fuchsia. Note: A very small amount of red is required. Only use a 1/8-teaspoon of fuchsia and fill it only 1/4 full. Allow the gold/yellow solution to soak for 4 to 6 hours before rinsing.
16. Gently untie the choke ties and find where the ends are tied together. Wind yarn into balls with a swift, the back of chairs or a friends hands. Tip: A ball-winder is a real help here because it creates center pull balls.