Friday, 26 September 2014


Working with yarns inevitably means working with knots. (Tangles are another matter and I won't get into them now.) As long as spun yarns end before the yarn's final desired length is reached, knots are required to extend their length.

There's an important distinction in where knots are acceptable and not. Knots in the warp reduce a lot of waste and are pretty essential. When the weaver knots two yarns together for a warp end, enough extra can be added so that the knot can be carefully undone and the ends spliced in. It depends on the yarns and weave structure, but tapered ends usually fit in very nicely and the splice disappears after washing.

Knots in the weft, however, are generally not allowed. When winding onto bobbins, if I feel a knot whizz through my hand, I'll stop, back up, find the knot and break the yarn. I'll find the break when weaving and can splice in the two ends, usually at the selvedge, which is again invisible after the fabric is washed.

The knots that really bug me are the ones I discover in a finished piece. Yesterday I found one in one of the bath towels that went out for selection. How did that ever slip by? I should have seen the knot during the weaving, or the pressing, or during the final inspection. However, I obviously missed it. In two minutes or less I can fix it. But seeing that flaw jump out at me showed me how, as thorough as we may think we are, that "human error" factor usually jumps in.

To anyone who finds a knot in a finished piece of mine, my apologies. The knot slipped through several stages in production, but I should have found it and fixed it.

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