Wreath of Branches

Here’s a fun variation on a familiar design, bent into a loop to form “Wreath of Branches.”
• 27-Peg Chart: potholders.piglet.org/?wreath_of_branches

As with the other branch designs, the motif is echoed by another set of branches pointing in the opposite direction, and it’s all repeated on the back side with the colors reversed.

It’s mostly tabby weave, with ribs of over-two floats running down the spine of each branch, so it lies nice and flat and square.

(Perhaps it could represent a laurel wreath, awarded to someone who approaches cooking as an Olympic sport?)

A Basket of Flowers

Oh wow, check out what we stumbled across! Exploring the diamond twill space, Matthew was inspired to try lengthening the cross floats, to emphasize the little flowers shapes that the smallest version makes. We got another magic fabric! This is a very striking result with a flat(ter) side and a bumpy(ier) side, one of which is very squares, and the other very diamonds.

Flower Basket, we are calling it. As charted, it is 18 columns, 19 rows, for pattern symmetry. It works up *very* quickly, with only 2 pattern rows, one of which has very few over/unders (4-floats across its length).

I first worked it in lavender & leaf. I was expecting the front side to draw up into flowers, so I put the lavender into the white areas — oops! The *back* side draws up into flowery diamonds, so I ended up with leaf flowers on the bottom of my work, and the basket-woven effect on the top.

Before posting the charts to our site, I flipped the back and front from the draft version Piglet wove from, so the “flowers” should now form on the front face, in the “dark” color of our chart. — Matthew

The cayenne and white combination has much better contrast, so you can see the effect more clearly. The resulting fabric is great as a potholder. It does not bias or curl in any particular direction. It lies flat, and is quite thick and protective.

What a fantastic discovery! I cannot stop chortling over and petting it.

Matthew’s Postscript, March 2:

I love the fact that there are so many fun variations to explore in this space, and so many connections to make with the work that other talented weavers have done!

When I posted the chart for this design, I also included a split-loop variation, from which Eve created a fun weave that included horizontal stripes along the weft.

That reminded me of a design I’d seen a long time ago, and I poked around until I found this cool example from Christine from May 2022.

Then this afternoon a stray comment brought a neat weave from Linda from January 2023 back to the top of my Facebook feed, which uses a different variation of diamond twill and orients the color variations along the warp

Looking for similar patterns led me back to a lovely four-color weave by Julie from June 2022, which turns out to use the same split-loop structure as the one I’d posted, and includes pointers back to even earlier examples on Pinterest.

It’s wonderful that these basic structural elements — so simple that they’re independently re-discovered over and over again — can support such a wide range of expression as to create endless streams of unique woven pieces of art.

I’ve added another pair of charts incorporating the striped warp shown in Julie’s example — and may a thousand flowers bloom!

Gene’s Potholder Story

While Piglet has been weaving tabby potholders for decades, it was just over three years ago that she stumbled on the potential for more complex weaves, and drew me into the project of creating this collection of charts. Since then we’ve spent hundreds of hours weaving, and hundreds of hours making charts — a wonderful crafting collaboration.

Our decision to post these charts online for free was a natural outgrowth of our professional backgrounds in the open-source software world, and our immersion in various online enthusiast circles of open cultural production: our dream was that they would help other people on their own creative journeys.

Since then, word of our charts has spread by word of mouth within this little niche, and it’s been lovely knowing that a few thousand people come to potholders.piglet.org every month to download patterns. However, there’s no way for us to know who actually ends up using those charts, and it’s hard to have a clear sense of how much influence our work has had.

So it was very touching when a couple of our friends told us about an article they’d found in the Spring 2024 issue of Handwoven Magazine, in which Lucy Morris writes about her husband Gene, whose dementia makes speaking difficult, and whose one expressive outlet is that he weaves hundreds and hundreds of potholders and gives them away.

The article shows him happily surrounded by stacks of his work — and every one of them seems to have been woven from our charts! 

It’s heart-warming to know that this thing we created is making a difference in the life of someone we’ve never met. Our thanks go out to Lucy for sharing this story, and to Gene for bringing so many of our charts to life.