This years homestudy project is bags. Keeping with my twistedly literal sense of things, I decided to weave a shopping bag from shopping bags. I choose bags from Heinens for my weft, in honor of their ongoing dedication to recycling, and because the bags are such a lovely shade of blue, All weaving choices were based on the natural properties of the weft, and the project worked out almost exactly as I planned, but not at all like I’d expected.
I cut through tops of the handles, gave a snip to the sides, and with a quick pull, the bag split evenly to the bottom seam. I planned the warp width to contain all but the handles, which I figured I could tie together to seal the sides of the bag. I chose a cone of unbreakable blue that was possibly polyester, and filled the reed at 6 per inch to a full width of 30. I threaded a plain weave and tied it up on two tredles, I assumed it would be simple and straight foreward, but the devil is in the details.
I wove 3 inches of edge to accommodate a future drawstring, the I started with the bags. I took my longest stick shuttle, and secured the bag by wrapping the handles around one end. Each bag was placed and straightened, and the shed was changed as the beater was still firmly foreword. A half tabby between each bag made a pattern of little squares. There was constant tangling with the tabby and the hanging handles, and I had forgotten to include them in the total width. This became a glaring omission when I had woven enough to reach the cloth beam, and it became apparent things weren’t going to fit without folding them under. This produced shoulders on the sides of the cloth, and alarming swails that required copious stuffing to keep an even take-up tension.
Wet finishing required a bathtub. The handles are a long braid of bags, strengthened and secured with threads of the poly. My goal was a square bag. Weaving width was working out at 28”, so I laid bags at 3 per inch to 58” to allow for pull back. I shot half a tabby of the poly between each bag. With the lightest beat, the poly wove in at 40 p.p.i. for the lining, I assumed a 4 yard warp would be adequate, but take up during weaving was much greater than expected, and the full lining became a big drawstrung pocket instead. The side fringe became overpowering, so I french-braided it close up the sides.
Not being satisfied, and still having a good supply of plastic weft left; I moved on to another bag of the same theory. I tied fuzzy black boucle’ to the middle half the threads and wound it back up. The boucle’ wove in at 26 p.p.i., and made a soft, fuzzy. lining. The narrower width meant it took two shots to contain each bag, with the bottom seam placed carefully at the selvedge. I went for rectangular this time, and tied it up the sides. A strap of braided bags was the finishing touch.