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Opphämta on the Loom

Opphämta on the Loom

Earlier this summer, I set out to explore opphämta and chose to put together some aprons using the patterning as borders along the sides and bodice. This has been a season-long project, but one in which I’ve learned a lot.

Because I wanted to make unique aprons, I wound only enough warp to make two aprons of each color. I also wanted to include some contrasting threads spaced randomly across the warp and weft. Since the borders and ties are woven on the same warp, this presented a bit of a challenge. Those contrasting threads interrupted the opphämpta pattern.

Royal Apron with White Opphämta Pattern

Royal Apron with White Opphämta Pattern

My first solution was to weave the body of the apron first with the contrasting threads. Then for the tie bands and patterns, I replaced those threads in the warp with the main color and weighted them off the back of the loom. This worked okay but caused a few tension issues.

White Apron with Star and Rose Pattern

White Apron with Star and Rose Pattern

I actually preferred the second solution—changing the contrasting threads on the warping board as I was measuring the warp. This did take some calculating, but the warp tension was more consistent.

My color choices were mainly pretty traditional—blue on white, white on blue. Then for the third warp, I used some seafoam green mercerized cotton that blends well with lavender. Those color studies from earlier this month came in handy.

White Apron with Star and Leaf Pattern

White Apron with Star and Leaf Pattern

Each apron uses a different opphämta design. There are so many different sources and motifs that I can spend hours playing with stars, roses, diamonds, and crosses. The scale of the pattern had to fit on the apron, so I kept my units to two threads each. With a sett of 24 epi, a five-unit float is almost ½”, so any float over five units had to be tied down.

Seafoam and Lavender Apron

Seafoam and Lavender Apron

As enjoyable as the aprons have been, I’m ready to move on. The nice thing about these opphämta patterns is that they can be used for other weave structures. Next up—damask. But what if these same units could be woven in overshot or lace or ….hmmm…

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