Why I Love My Weave-It, part two
This is an update of my previous post at https://housesandbooks.wordpress.com/2011/08/03/why-i-love-my-weave-it/ Click on any photo to enlarge.
After I acquired a vintage Weave-It last year, the time felt right to attempt to make my first afghan. The Eloomination website has many vintage illustrations of Weave-It projects including afghans (see http://www. eloomanation.com/projects.php), so I set to work making about 300 colored squares which I joined together into a checkered composition reminiscent of my first attempts in quilting years ago.
The colored squares were woven with medium-weight Mochi yarn, and the black squares with the wool-silk blend made by Manos of Uruguay. Although the yarns superficially looked like they had the same thickness, the black squares ended up much thinner and webbier than the colored squares, which made me nervous about the stability of the project. Each square was joined to the next using the “tail” of yarn left over from weaving. The piece was delightfully soft and yielding to the hand, a delight for those who enjoy the tactile pleasures of good yarn, but as the project grew in size and weight it began to pull the seams apart. The squares were made from knitter’s yarn and had a pronounced tendency to flex and stretch diagonally along the bias, which contributed to the overall instability. I ended by getting out the sewing machine to run lines of expanded zig-zag stitch along every seam in order to stabilize the piece.
Because I was still uncomfortable with the flexibility and unexpected heaviness of the piece, I feared that with constant use the outer rows would stretch out of place permanently. Therefore I gave up on the concept of “afghan” and went with “small blanket” instead. I backed it with flannel, tacked the layers together at the corners of every square like a “tied” quilt, and ran narrow seam binding around the edges. It seems to function well now with no stretching.
This project ended up costing much more in materials than I had expected, but a knitter or weaver with a large “stash” of leftover yarn to use up would find the Weave-It a wonderful way to use up bits and pieces. Each square requires about seven yards of yarn.
Looking back at many of the vintage afghan patterns on Eloomanation, many of them featured embroidered patterns which probably served to stabilize the inherent diagonal stretchiness of a Weave-it block. Despite this one flaw inherent in the nature of a Weave-it block, I would like to make another blanket using this technique, a larger one this time to test how far I can go using the Weave-It.
One would think that a heavier blanket needs to be stronger. I suspect that a queen-size blanket made with Weave-It blocks might require a broad non-Weave-It border made of store-bought cloth that would be attached around the outside edges to take the stresses of a sleeper pulling up or pushing down the blanket during the night. Alternatively, the backing might have to be made of something more substantial than flannel. I’d be interested in hearing from other Weave-It weavers who have made their own blankets.