Finger-Manipulated Weaving Sampler

As I said in yesterday’s post, the wefts I wound up at the end of 2021 started out as a big hairy audacious goal of weaving through a book. They sat for so long that I don’t care any more about finishing that goal. Now, I just want to get the warps used. So, while I’m making the same things that I planned, I’m not worrying about what the finished product will be. I am playing.

The warp is the last of the Lincoln wool that I dyed in 2009, spun up in 2011, and knit into a sweater (finally) in 2019-2020. I wound a warp of about six feet, only fifty or so ends. As weft, I set aside some Imperial Yarns Columbia that was left over from my Blendlings sweater of 2017. For pattern weft, I pulled out this spiral-plied art yarn that was a special memory from February 2018. This project is quite the mashup of Osborn Fiber history!

My goal was to work through the “Slow and Fancy” chapter from Inventive Weaving on a Little Loom by Syne Mitchell. All these are finger-manipulated structures that are, as the title suggests, slow. I wanted to try them all without committing to a whole project in each. So I just started weaving, and did them in whatever manner suited my fancy. Here they are, rearranged into some kind of coherent order.


I knit a whole project from doup leno, a curtain while hangs, still untrimmed, from our kitchen window. But I thought I would try some finger-manipulated Leno in a few different variations, just to say I did.

A single row of 2×2 leno

Three rows of 1×1 leno, separated by three picks.

Two sets of leno twisting in opposite directions, separated by one pick.

Brooks Bouquet

Brooks bouquet is fun and actually pretty fast. The hardest part is holding those little bundles tight, so they actually look like something when you’re done.

Two rows of classic BB, offset, separated by three picks.

One row of BB on a closed shed

Five rows of BB stacked on top of each other, offset, making an amazing open netting that draws in and is very flexible. Would be a really cool market bag.

I tried some in my spiral-plied contrast yarn, just to see what would happen.

Three rows of BB in contrast weft, stacked, separated by three picks of contrast weft.

Three rows of BB in contrast weft, offset, separated by three picks of main weft.

Three rows of BB in contrast weft, offset, wrapped four times, separated by five picks of main weft. These last two are my favorite. How fun to have that pop of colour as an end of something plain?

Many of these structures proved not-so-suitable to spiral plied yarn, which is likely to move about and get caught on things. It’s very textured stuff, of course. But it was quite nice to use in the brooks bouquet, because its tendency to get caught on things made it easier to keep tightly wrapped. Would recommend!

Spanish Lace

Spanish lace is very nice to do. However, in my finished fabric, it doesn’t look like much. You can vaguely distinguish the s-shapes below. The main effect is that the color changes in the yarn are highlighted across the row.

One row of spanish lace, zig-zagging across 8 picks

2 rows of spanish lace, zig-zagging across ten ends, separated by one pick of main weft.

Two sets of spanish lace, two rows within each going in opposite directions. These looked more chevron-like under tension, but after washing have spread out to look like blah.

Three rows of spanish lace over sixteen ends, separated by five picks of main and contrast weft.

I’m not sure if i should have not packed the weft at all, instead just placing it loosely, or if the spiral ply yarn just didn’t like it. But it was very easy as these fancy patterns go, so it might be worth trying again.

Danish Medallions

I really wanted to like Danish medallions, because they look so cool. But I did not like fiddling with the crochet hook, and the spiral ply yarn was not suitable for this. There may be other tricks I can try, and using a different yarn, because the losenges you can make with this technique are really cool!

One row of Danish medallions, seven ends by three picks.

Three rows of Danish medallions, stacked, ten ends by five picks.

Three rows of Danish medallions, offset, six ends by three picks.

Danish Star

I only did one set of these. They are made with the same technique as the Danish medallions, and the spiral ply hated it. I was not helped by a very lock-spun area of my contrast weft.

Funnily enough, the pattern looks much better on the back. More tension there, I expect?


This very, very slow technique is done on a closed shed, and doesn’t really feel like weaving at all. It feels more like knitting or nalbinding or something to that effect. I think I’d enjoy doing this on a tiny loom on my lap, with a tiny shuttle, just watching TV and making coasters. On my big loom it was not very comfortable.

Six rows of soumak, two rows at a time alternating between contrast and main weft, alternating rows leaning right and left.

Fifteen rows of soumak, alternating contrast and main weft, two rows at a time leaning right and then left.

Clasped Weft

Oh dear I liked this a lot. It was super-speedy compared to everything else you’ve seen here, since it’s basically regular weaving, but you do two picks at a time so it’s even faster. I liked how it highlights the striping in the contrast weft. I saw a sweater in handwoven clasped weft that looked so cool and I’d love to make something like that some day.


What I have now is a vaguely scarf-shaped object. Not that anyone could wear it as a scarf with that Lincoln wool as a weft. But it’s great as a sampler.

When I get around to tidying the ends and blocking it again, I think I’d like to chop it up and sew panels together into a wall hanging. I don’t know that I’d like to look at colours quite so lively all the time (especially against the sky-blue walls in every room in my house), but I’d like it as a reminder of the fun I had.

Now what to do with the rest of that spiral-plied yarn. I didn’t even use up half of it!

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