Exploring Boundweave with Brown Sheep yarns
There’s a lot to love about Lamb’s Pride yarn – especially how versatile it is. Not only is Lamb’s Pride perfect for knitting and crocheting, it also makes an excellent weaving yarn. I decided to explore a new technique in weaving called Boundweave. The key feature of Boundweave is that the finished woven cloth is entirely weft-faced, meaning the weft (horizontal) yarn completely covers up the warp (vertical) yarn.
My first glimpse of Boundweave was at Sievers School of Fiber Arts, where I took a wonderful class several years ago. A rug hanging on the wall was woven by our instructor, Lynn Schuster. I thought, that is the kind of weaving I want to learn! Boundweave technique looks like the weaving equivalent to Fair Isle knitting — a kaleidoscope of color and geometric designs. The perfect way to play with color when you live right next to a yarn mill.
While I would have loved to take a class on Boundweave, it wasn’t meant to be this year. So my weaving buddy (my mom) and I decided to take a few days at home and focus on learning the technique ourselves. Luckily, we found some great resources from The Yarn Barn of Kansas – who also happens to be a wonderful retailer of Brown Sheep yarns. The Yarn Barn does a great job providing weaving patterns to accompany their yarn selections.
The Boundweave Tote looked like the perfect learning project for diving into this technique. The Yarn Barn designed this pattern using Lamb’s Pride as weft and 8/2 Linen yarn for warp. The pattern calls for four shades of brown in a gradient-like color combination. We decided to play with a couple of different color combos.
We also ordered a Boundweaving DVD from the Yarn Barn – this one is great for weaving nerds (such as ourselves) who really want to dig into the technique and learn how it works and how to design your own patterns. A weaver could learn the basics from working through the Boundweave Tote pattern – and really get in depth with this DVD.
We quickly discovered that warping the loom for Boundweave goes very fast! At only 8 ends per inch, the project warped up in no time. Wefting was a bit more time-consuming but very addictive and fun – again just like knitting colorwork, it’s fascinating to watch the pattern take shape row by row.
Amazingly, the weft yarn needs to be beat to a density of 48 picks per inch. We found the key was to leave a very wide “weaver’s angle” with the weft yarn for a TON of take-up with each shot. That way, the warp is completely covered up. Lamb’s Pride works great for this purpose because it is so lofty and textured, it can easily be packed and squished into place.
Boundweave feels very different from other styles of weaving, but it’s not particularly difficult. A beginner with some experience to intermediate level weaver who is comfortable reading weaving drafts would be able to pick up the Boundweave Tote pattern and complete the project. The trickiest part is the edges — luckily, sewing the woven piece into a tote will perfectly disguise any less-than-perfect edges!
The woven cloth is incredibly dense and sturdy. The pattern creates a lot of floats on the back side of the fabric – in its own way, the wrong side looks almost as interesting as the right side!
The tote was easy to seam up and finish — the pattern called for hand stitching but I machine stitched mine and it looks great. The strap is a simple 4-strand braid of Lamb’s Pride with a strand of linen running through the braid to keep it from stretching.
The linen warp complements the Lamb’s Pride yarn perfectly for this project because it is so strong and has zero stretch. The resulting tote is sturdy enough to hold a great deal of weight – it would be perfect for carrying textbooks around campus!
The design has a bit of southwestern feel to it — which just happens to be really popular right now for sweaters and accessories. This tote would make a seriously great handmade gift for anyone — it’s so functional and pretty.
Overall, the Boundweave technique is super fun and addictive – I can tell this is only the beginning. I highly recommend giving it it a try! My head is already spinning with color ideas for the next project.
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