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Raffia Placemats

Project Type Home, Table Linens/Kitchen
Categories Rigid-Heddle
Techniques Plain Weave, Color-and-Weave
Heddle Width 13
Author Susan E. Horton
Format Project/Pattern

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My definition of the perfect placemat for everyday living is one that is washable and lies flat on the table without a lot of ironing. Rep weave and rag rug placemats both meet those criteria, but I believe I may have also found a recipe for weaving a great placemat with raffia.

Once I had the raffia tensioned on the loom, weaving with it was very similar to weaving with linen: the shed was narrow but manageable as long as I kept my tension taut and advanced frequently. Weaving went quickly at 6 picks per inch.

As I wove, I did my usual daydreaming, thinking of raffia runners, mug rugs, and more placemats. I even started to imagine raffia purses and wondered how raffia would work on an inkle loom for straps. There is still more to learn about weaving with raffia, and I encourage you to try it.

Plain weave with color-and-weave.

Rigid-heddle loom, 13" weaving width; 8-dent heddle; 2 stick shuttles.

Warp: Yashi (palm fiber; 99 yd/1.41 oz; Universal Yarns), Natural, 145 yd; Spider, 20 yd.
Weft: Yashi, Natural, 59 yd; Spider, 17 yd.

Four 8–10 oz weights with long loop choke ties attached; cardboard spacers (optional). Note: A full small water bottle weighs about 10 oz.

99 ends 60" long (allows 3" for take-up, 26" for loom waste; loom waste includes fringe and fringe allowance between placemats).

Warp: 8 epi (8/dent in an 8-dent heddle).
Weft: about 6 ppi.

Width in the reed: 123⁄8".
Woven length: (measured under tension on the loom) 34" (includes fringe allowance between placemats).
Finished size: (after wet-finishing) 2 placemats, 12¼" x 15" with 1½" fringe.

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