yarn advice -- cottolin


I am new to the forum and relatively new to weaving. I recently got a wolf pup loom and wanted to start my first project doing placemats. Last year I attended a class at Vavstuga Weaving School in Massachusetts (highly recommend if you're interested!) and we wove a twill towel out of Borgs 22/2 Cottolin on a countermarche loom and I loved the weight and hand of the towel. I bought some Borgs 22/2 cottolin from Yarn Barn online and started a sample warp using a 12 dent reed with 2 yarns per dent but the cloth just doesnt have the same hand as the towel woven at Vavstuga. Does anyone have any ideas what the problem could be? The cloth just feels much lighter and thinner. Could it be the sett, the yarn, or maybe the loom not being countermarche? Any ideas would be helpful!

Thanks so much!


Posted on Mon, 02/10/2014 - 22:57

What loom do you have?  You might count the wefts per inch in the towel you wove at Vavstuga and then count the wefts per inch in the towel you wove at home.  That is where you are likely to find the difference.


Posted on Tue, 02/11/2014 - 11:56

How sturdy is your beater bar on the wolf pup? If it doesn't wobble, you could attach 1 lb ankle weights on each side of the beater bar. This puts more weight behind your beat thus more ppi :)

Posted on Tue, 02/11/2014 - 17:12

Take note that this difference, not exactly ruining your project on the Wolf Pup, is typical of the difference that one experiences when doing the same project - same yarn, same sett - on  both a jack(rising shed) and a countermarche(countershed) loom.

This subtle difference is caused by having different tension on the warp ends included upper and lower shed since only one set is being pulled upon. The dip in some looms disappears when the tension is raised so that is not at all effective in erasing this difference. This is in no way brand specific, nor is it dependent on how the shafts are raised. Rising shed is rising shed - table looms also fall into this category. The shed physics are the shed physics.

Stretching all warp ends by a similar (or exact same) amount leads to a firmer beat working with a closer sett. For this reason, I've always noticed that if working on a project recommended in Handwoven on a countermarche loom that the sett is a bit more open than I'd like - this is done by the magazine so that the fabric is more or less "squared" on a jack loom.

For many fabrics, this difference is slight and doesn't make a serious difference in one's projects - but for cotton and linen table fabrics, rugs, and any firm and close fabric, the countershed loom will make a somewhat denser fabric.

Posted on Thu, 02/13/2014 - 23:03

thank you for all the input! i tried another small sample with a stronger beat but the cloth still feels like a completely different cloth. i am including a side by side photo comparison. it's hard to see but maybe a more experienced eye can see something i cant. i didnt realize the countermarche vs jack loom could produce such different cloths using the same yarn and weave structure! if i want to get something closer to what i made on the countermarche, should i use a heavier weight cottolin? does cottolin come in a different size than 22/2? 

Posted on Thu, 02/13/2014 - 23:23

Have you wet finished either of them?  It's dicy trying to compare something on the loom to something that has been wet finished...Both look good.  You have a nice consistent beat (from what I can see) and the twill angle looks pretty close to 45 degrees.



Posted on Thu, 02/13/2014 - 23:35

hi laura! neither were wet finished yet. now i am thinking in the sample on the right (woven at vavstuga) the warp yarn maybe looks thicker than the weft? its so frustrating! they feel so completely different. i am going to try emailing vavstuga as well.

Posted on Thu, 02/13/2014 - 23:51

If after washing, there is still a difference, your answer is that a countermarche loom is what will recreate your fabric - not kluging around on a Baby Wolf.

Posted on Thu, 02/13/2014 - 23:58

wow, someone from vavstuga already wrote me back and one of the problems is that i am using the wrong yarn in the weft! i was using the same warp yarn but should be using 8/1 tow. also the 12 dent reed i am using is a little looser than the 50 dent metric reed at vavstuga. maybe i will also try a 2-3 sley order.

thanks again everyone for your help!

Posted on Fri, 02/14/2014 - 00:09

Oh my yes, the tow linen would give a completely different hand than using the cottolin!  :)  Glad you found out the difference.  :)  OTOH, after wet finishing, you might like the 100% cottolin, too?  



Posted on Sat, 02/15/2014 - 00:42

I was about to chime in that not all cottolin is the same. Some is 50-50, and some 60-40. Some seems to be more loosely spun — gives off a lot of loom lint, and other brands seem like they are a slightly smaller grist, with a slightly tighter twist even if labeled the same size.

Vavstuga produces good weavers and nicely woven goods, lucky you to have taken a class there!