Weaving advice


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Weaving advice

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Jun 27, 2007, 9:14 am

Hi - Does anyone have experience weaving with 6-strand cotton embroidery floss? I'm thinking about a project, but can't decide whether to use floss for warp. It seems to me that 6-strand cotton, even though thin, should be strong enough for warping, but I'm also wondering if threading the 6 strands through the heddles and reed will be worth the trouble. Do you have any advice for me?

Jul 1, 2007, 9:20 am

Hi Maggie

I've recently invested in some linen embroidery floss which may be more durable to weave with. The brand I got was DMC (if you scroll to the end of this page you will see the linen packs). You can usually pick them up on Ebay for a little less than you can in a store.

Good luck with your project!


Jul 1, 2007, 10:51 am

Hi Louise - The linen floss is quite lovely, I think - I got a bunch on eBay (as you suggest!) in a variety of colors, and I'm just enjoying admiring them for now. If I ever figure out how to warp my inkle loom, I bet the linen floss would work really well for bands.

I think I'll try threading a few 6-strands of cotton floss through some heddles and dents and see if it looks like it'll be a major pain to use it for warp (before I try winding the warp). I like the idea of the cotton floss mostly because of the color and texture. I was able to buy a little over 100 floss skeins of older DMC floss in a pretty pale celery color (so I have about 1000 yards to work with). The sheen is quite lovely, and I'm eager to see how the light plays on it when interwoven. I'll probably use some sort of simple evenweave and let the thread speak for itself. I'm not even sure what I want to make - I just want to see how the fabric looks and drapes!


Jan 17, 2008, 11:55 pm

I actually prefer "Perle Cotton No. 5" skeins for my braiding projects (like kumihimo, finger-loop braids or laces, viking whip-cord, etc.) and imagine it might be another nice option rather than DMC embroidery floss.

Skeins of perle cotton are usually hanging right next to the DMC floss in my local craft stores.

Edited: Jan 18, 2008, 8:36 am

cayswann - I think the perle cotton would be excellent, too.

I guess I should report back to you on my project. Well, the fabric is quite lovely, nice weight, drape, shine. I'd started out with the pale green floss for both warp and weft, but later changed to a different treadling using light blue floss for warp. Here is some of the blue weft on green warp:

The main limiting factor for this project was the 8 meter lengths of the floss skeins. This meant that when I wound the warp, I had to use one skein for each "round trip" on the warping board, so the knots joining the skeins would be at the end of the warp. This was a bit of a nuisance, especially as I was constantly winding the skeins onto bobbins so I could then wind them onto the warping board. I think I used between 40 and 50 individual floss skeins for the warp, so it was time-consuming. Also, I had to make the warp longer than I'd wanted to because the floss lengths required it.

I wanted to find out how much of a challenge it would be to thread 6 strand floss through the heddles and dents - it was fine. Not much separation of the strands; they behaved very well.

I'd also wanted to learn how well the 6 strand floss would pack, or settle into place. This was a little more of a challenge. Cotton floss is not elastic at all, and it is a little slippery on the floss warp, so the beating ended up being a bit uneven. Also, the relatively short, 8 meter lengths of floss used for the weft were a nuisance as well. I'd wind several floss skeins onto a bobbin, and each time a skein ended, which seemed to be every few rows of weaving, I'd have to overlap the beginning of the next skein. The overlaps ended up being more noticeable on the fabric than I'd hoped.

All in all, though, it was an interesting experiment. I have no particular use for the fabric, but it's kind of pretty (you can't see the lovely sheen in the scan). I'm sure there are plenty of mistakes in it, but since I was just experimenting, I'm willing to forgive myself.

I'd like to repeat the project with perle cotton sometime, but only if I can use the longer spools rather than the 8 meter skeins!

Mar 6, 2008, 1:34 pm

Wow Maggie,
how beautiful your project is!
I've nere tried to use perle or cotton floss, mainly because they cost a lot more than other yarn...I live in Italy and here the price of a normal DMC skein is 1.25 Euros. For just 8 meters of floss, that would make a fabric far too expensive!


Mar 6, 2008, 5:29 pm

Thank you, Elena!