A double row of leno followed by several rows of plain weave, then a single row of leno.

A double row of leno followed by several rows of plain weave, then a single row of leno.

I thought it would be interesting to try cropping a photo in a diamond shape. When photographing my bias leno squares, the openings didn’t show if the squares were laid flat, so I held this one up to the light. I confess I don’t really know what leno means (other than that it’s the former Tonight Show host’s last name), but I understand it’s a type of lace.

Oh, why not? Let’s look it up. So, leno is a type of weave wherein warp threads are twisted to give an open look.

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One of our Facebook Pin Loom Weaving Support Group members, Elizabeth Jane Parr (of The Spiders’ Workshop) who lives in Chile, recently shared photos of some of her work. One of the pictures showed bias-woven squares with leno in them. Fascinating! I’m not a big fan of bias weaving, but Elizabeth pointed out that when you want to use your squares en pointe,  they should be woven correspondingly. In other words, if you want to hang your squares as shown in the above photo, they should be woven in that orientation.  That way, they’re hanging as if woven horizontally (because technically they were). If you hang a horizontally woven square en pointe, it’s likely to stretch out of shape because it’s now hanging on the bias.

Elizabeth said, “When I make mitts I take advantage of the leno tightening the weave, it makes the mitts fit better.”

Sample mitts made by Elizabeth Jan Parr and her daughter.

Sample mitts made by Elizabeth Jan Parr and her daughter.

She said, “The first two at the left do not have leno, the others do. The shape is partly formed when I wash them, but I think the leno weave tightens up the mitts in the middle. (Or do the holes open up the ends?) but you can see the first two look like a rectangle, little shape to them. These are all with sheep’s wool, on the same loom, but different weights. (The smallest were done by my daughter, she may have pulled the yarn tighter than I do).”

Two pair of mitts with leno.

Two pair of mitts with leno.

One pair of mitts before washing and after.

One pair of mitts before washing and after.

Another great point Elizabeth has made about weaving on the bias vs. horizontal weaving is that, “It mainly effects the way a square will stretch and what you want the final fabric to do. A small neck warmer made with bias squares, will stretch over your head, then gather around your neck, however a non-bias square neck warmer will have to be at least as big as your head, then will be loose around your neck.”

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I wanted to try the bias weaving with leno technique, so I made a bias-suitable loom–Sue style.

5" x 5" homemade bias loom.

5″ x 5″ homemade bias loom.

It was supposed to be a 6″ x 6″ loom, but being me, I cut the foam 6″ x 6″. Since the nails needed to be actually embedded in the material and not floating on the outside edge, I adapted. (This is why it’s a good idea to draw and cut out your template first thing.)

My first square (and my second time weaving on the bias) turned out well; I inserted one row of leno weaving which resulted in the openings appearing both at the top and bottom of the square–pretty nifty! I wanted to try it again with more rows. This was even harder, but it turned out well (see photo at top of this post).

First leno bias square (top right); second (lower left).

First leno bias square (top right); second (lower left).

Twisting the threads tightens them up considerably which makes packing the weaving rows difficult.

After twisting the threads, it's tough to keep the fell line straight!

After twisting the threads, it’s tough to keep the fell lines straight!

If you’d like to try bias weaving, I suggest you check out Noreen Crone-Findlay’s excellent video.

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Next I decided to try leno with Weave-It warping. I suggest this excellent Hazel Rose video: Leno 1. (By the way, Hazel also has a diagonal weave video for Weave-It style looms I have yet to try.)

Using worsted weight yarn seems to have made the weaving more difficult and the results less than satisfactory. Next time (if there is one) I’ll try a lighter weight yarn.

Close-up of the leno row.

Close-up of the leno row.

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Since I made that larger-than-your-average-Weave-It loom, and since the pins were equally spaced (I even put pins in all four corners–which I found helpful only at the top and bottom; the corner pins were worse than extraneous on the left and right because they got in the way of my hooking device), I wanted to try weaving horizontally on it.

First attempt, I warped up the loom Weave-It style, but that didn’t work out–had the wrong number of pins. I ended up using the wrap-two, skip-two method. Because of pin spacing and yarn choice, I got a much more open weave than I wanted, but it seemed to help when I twisted the beejeebers out of the warp threads.

Leno square on the loom . . .

Leno square on the loom . . .

. . . and off.

. . . and off.

Something interesting I discovered is that there are actually two ways (at least) to twist the yarn. One is the way Hazel Rose demonstrates in her video–where you take the threads through a full twist. The other, much easier way, was to twist them a half twist as you weave along. The full twist required the use of a crochet hook (I branched out from Hazel’s method of using a shorter needle and pulling the yarn all the way through), but the half twist I could do with my needle and fingers. Sadly, I didn’t take photos (because I didn’t realize what was going on at the time–besides, my husband and I were watching a movie, so . . .), but if you look closely at the top and bottom rows you can see the full twist, while the intermediate rows have half twists.

I’m not wild about the results, but it was something to try. Someday I may be glad I experimented, and so I wrote up these notes.

***You know how you look something up and stick in a link to it, but you don’t really read the whole article? Then you go back later, read most of it, and figuratively smack your forehead (V8 style)? According to the Wikipedia article I linked to at the top of this post, leno only requires the half twist. So I’m not really sure about anything all of a sudden! Did Hazel Rose really have us do a full twist? Was I making it WAY harder than it needed to be? Is the full twist effect preferable to the half twist? Stay tuned!

 

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