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Loom waste from the wool blanket warp

Loom waste from the wool blanket warp

After I took my blanket off the loom, I was left with a familiar dilemma—what do I do about all that loom waste—thrums in weaving parlance.

Loom waste is the warp yarn left when you can’t get weave any further. Most of the time, it’s about 36” that is either cut off and thrown away or tied on to the next warp. On my Glimakras, it can be as much as 42” depending on the draft. For a wide warp, that’s a lot of yarn.

I left the warp knotted on the loom after I cut off the blanket. I just couldn’t bear to throw it away, knowing how precious good wool is. Yet what could I do with it?

Back in 2014, I used thrums for mug rugs in an overshot weave but I don’t need any wool mug rugs right now.

A couple years ago at a Midwest Weavers Conference, I took a class by Robyn Spaedy on making jewelry with thrums. She creatively wound precious yarns around pipe cleaners and twisted them into curious shapes to make whimsical pendants, earrings, and bracelets — an inspired used for sparkly, fun yarns, but these muted colors of wool wouldn’t make much of a statement.

So the thrums stayed on the loom.

At the same time, I’ve been pondering what I can weave for our annual guild challenge. The past few years, the challenge has revolved around the color of the year. This past October, we met at the University of Missouri Museum of Art and Archeology. We were challenged to use something in the exhibits to inspire a finished product. “Lallah Rookh” by Francis John Wyburd is filled with elements that can be translated to the loom, from the bed covering to the drapery, and even the women’s clothing!

As I walked past the loom with the wool this week, it occurred to me that this wool could make great cushion fabric for my loom bench. And the bed covering in “Lallah Rookh” looks like rosepath boundweave! At last, inspiration!

Boundweave sample from a recent workshop

Boundweave sample from a recent workshop

In boundweave, the weft covers the warp entirely. It makes good sturdy rugs with striking figures if more than a couple colors are used. My thrum wool colors may be subtle, but they do contrast with each other and will bloom nicely after fulling to cover the warp. Because the lengths are only about 36”, I will weave the cushion sideways, 18” wide by 30” long, folding it around the seat and hiding the cut ends on the underside. Extra thrums can be used as ties to keep the cushion in place. A path forward feels so good!

How do you use up your project leftovers?

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