Shredding Blue Jeans

Why shred your blue jeans??  So you can weave them into a placemat, of course!

Loom in garage (1)This is my loom in the garage.  Blue jean strips give off a lot of lint/dust when you weave them and it’s hard to vacuum out of carpet.  Therefore it’s easier to weave them in the garage.  Notice the mask hanging on the loom?  I wear that when I’m weaving the mats.

Weaving in the garage is not all bad.  Below is the view I have while I’m sitting at the loom in the garage.

Loom in garage (5)

Just past the lawn is the South Fork of the Kaweah River.  It makes a lovely sound.  Sometimes I’m treated to a passing neighbor.  There’s a bobcat who cruises through occasionally and one day she was followed by her kitten!  Just 2 days ago, a cute little fox trotted by with a dead gopher dangling from her mouth. Yay!

Rich cutting blue jeans (2)

This is my “lovely assistant” (hey, if  a magician can have a “lovely assistant”, why can’t I?)  My husband, Rich is using a rag cutter to make quarter-inch strips which I will use as weft in the placemats and sometimes in mug rugs as well. By the way, he’s the one who built my beautiful studio…a good guy to have around!

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Placemats Upon Request

On two different occasions I’ve been asked to weave placemats using beige, olive green and mauve as the main colors. Do you know how many shades of those three colors there are?!  Darn…as hard as I try, I can’t look inside someone’s head to see the colors they envision.  So, in both cases, I insisted on something tangible from the customer as a sample of what they meant by beige, olive green and mauve.

Fabric strips cut & ready to weave. Fabric in same colors as pillow.

Assembling the fabrics to match the sample pillow

Here’s what is involved in making the placemats: I start by gathering fabrics that contain the colors I am looking for. Then I cut the fabric into 1 ” strips on the bias.  Next, I look through my yarn stash to find yarns (5/2 Perle cotton) to coordinate with the fabrics I have chosen.

Placemats on loom with pillow as sample colors

Placemats on loom with pillow as sample colors

I like to use the Fibonacci numbers to set up the stripes in the warp (lengthwise threads on the loom).  Then, using what is commonly known as the “rag weaving technique”, I weave the fabric strips (the weft) into the warp.  The beginning and end of each mat is finished by hand with a hem stitch while still on the loom.  These “rag mats” are great for insulating your plate from the cold table, especially if you eat at a granite or quartz counter.

Finished mats with customer's pillow

Finished mats with customer’s pillow

Below are pictures of the more recent example of a consignment using beige, olive green and mauve (with the addition of navy blue) to make placemats.  See how different they turned out?

Finished mats

Finished mats

Placemat with fabric supplied by customer as color sample

Placemat with fabric supplied by customer as color sample

In both cases my customer was pleased with the results. If the customer is happy, I’m happy!