I would like to have a set of handwoven placemats that match my everyday dishes. I have been using store-bought placemats for the past 25 years, and for almost that entire time, I have been thinking about weaving placemats of my own design.
The problem is that I haven’t been able to move from the idea of weaving placemats to actually designing the placemats, calculating my yarn needs, and buying the yarn, much less warping the loom and weaving them. Often it is easier to design a weaving project when you have parameters to work with, and sometimes you need to use artificial parameters to move from vague idea to solid project. That very idea is the genius behind guild challenges. If there had been a guild challenge to weave purple placemats out of old dish towels in the past 25 years, I can guarantee that I would have woven some.
Developing project parameters isn’t easy, but sometimes it helps to use existing patterns to develop them. The problem is that if you make up your own parameters, you alone know what they are and you might, just might, change them. That carpet warp you bought to weave into sturdy placemats might have become a rug instead, and the 16/2 linen you purchased to make a fancier set of placemats might have become Ms and Os towels. Well, at least in my house, that’s what happened because there were no rules attached to the yarn purchases that required using them to weave placemats.
Ladybug Picnic Placemats by Anu Bhatia from the Summer 2020 issue of Easy Weaving with Little Looms.
Because getting to a guild meeting is hard these days with my travel and work schedule, I’ve decided to announce my placemat parameters and see if that keeps me on track. Here is my personal “guild challenge”:
Using a rigid-heddle loom, weave 4 striped and 4 matching plaid placemats with a thick cotton or cotton-blend yarn. The placemats must be thick enough to lie flat on a table, match my dishes, be machine washable, and not need ironing every time they are used.
With any luck, I’ll report back with pictures of the 8 great placemats I wove and not with pictures of the new tote bags I wove out of a thick cotton-blend yarn.