Actually, this blanket was a commissioned piece entitled THE RESULTS OF HAVING FALLEN INTO A PIT OF CHENILLE
Each square is the sample end of a chenille scarf I wove during a five year period leading up to the millennium.
What I know about weaving with chenille I learned during my scarf making madness. I also wove many Color Horoscope Weaving Shawls. In fact that is how I fell into the pit of chenille. I had stayed away from chenille for years hearing so many terrible stories of the dreaded “worming”. Plus I really didn’t think chenille would wear very well.
I was teaching a Color Horoscope Weaving Workshop at a yarn store sometime in the last century and they happened to stock a great palette of chenille yarn. The owner suggested I try it out. She said I could wind the warp (12 colors) and then weigh the warp and pay me for the total weight (came out to be about $80). Normally the yarn comes on 1 1/2 lb cones; and since I need 12 colors—well, that’s mighty pricey which was probably another reason I had never tried it before. To make a long story short, the shawl came out beautifully except for a few little structural glitches which caused to yarn to worm. (worming is a nightmarish un-weaving caused by:
1. not weaving tightly enough
2. not snugging your edges
3. having floats
4. having more than one warp end through a heddle
The trick seems to be that when you take the piece off the loom, it feels stiff and has a lousy drape.
I wish I knew exactly how this yarn is manufactured. I do know that there is tons of sizing in the yarn, and it is only after the finished piece is laundered that it morphs into a cloth that people can’t resist petting as you pass them on the street.
I know I haven’t yet answered ANY of the questions you asked, but 2 things have happened. It has gotten late, for one. And two, my USB port does not seem to be working and I can’t get the images from my camera into the computer.
But looking back over those chenille years, I can really only remember one time when I had a warp end break while I was weaving. The 2 warp ends that broke in the piece I am weaving now broke close enough to the beginning of the piece that I was able to lay in a replacement thread and tie it onto the front bar.
So I guess the trick is to wind short warps. Mine are mostly 4 yds long. (just long enough for 1 scarf and a nice sized sample piece) Watch your yarn closely while winding the warp, keeping a sharp eye out for frayed or weak sections of yarn.
But here is the good news, that first shawl I re-wove (about 15 years ago), looks like I just wove it! Believe me when I tell you that I road tested that shawl thoroughly. I can’t believe it still looks as fresh and new as the day I wove it.
When I first started using chenille, I was very careful about laundering, and I never put it in the dryer. Then I ran into a woman who was banging out chenille scarves by the dozens. She tossed them in the wash with nary a care, AND she tossed them into the dryer as well (with 3 tennis balls), so now I do too. If you were washing the pieces often, it might not be a great idea.
Once I get to the fringes on this new piece, I will show you how I do mine. I always braid chenille fringe. It takes forever, but it really makes the shawl. And I have a special little non-knot, that is elegant beyond compare.
The ikat scarf on the wall will have to wait, but I won’t forget.