Weavers are a very ingenious and thrifty lot. We don’t like to waste anything, especially our own handwoven items. I think for this reason, twice-woven cloth has been a popular method of recycling in many countries. Fabric is cut or torn into narrow strips and used as weft to make rugs, clothing and other useful articles. Different ways of cutting, folding and reweaving the cloth have developed into techniques unique to each country.
In Japan, rag weaving is known as Sakiori and has been used to weave traditional kimono.
In France or in Quebec, thin strips of cloth are woven as weft and made into bedcovers.
In Finland, narrow cloth strips are called Poppana and are woven into clothing and table runners. Poppana is a Finnish technique of cloth strips that are cut on the bias, and rewoven as weft into cloth.
During a trip to Ontario, I had the opportunity to view some wonderful examples of
Finnish textiles. Here are some photos of them.
18″ x 40″
Sett: 12 epi
Weft: Poppana yarn
Poppana “yarn” is made from pre-woven strips cut on the bias. The fuzzy edges of the
cloth strips are used as part of the design element, creating a chenille type of effect
to the weft. Poppana is a traditional Finnish technique and can be used for making table
linens, clothing or other unique fabrics.
Poppana can be ordered premade or you can also make your own with either recycled or
new cloth (cottons, silks or wools) Cut fabric, such as sheet material, on the bias, into
1/4″ – 1/2″ narrow strips. It is used as weft and can be woven in tabby or twill
Poppana yarn is generally sold on small disks that can be inserted into a special poppana shuttle for easy weaving. If you don’t have such a shuttle, you can wind the poppana yarn onto a rug shuttle instead.
Knitting with sari silk yarn has recently become quite fashionable. As Sari shops are quite plentiful in London, I thought that I would try to make my own sari yarn and weave with it using it as a weft yarn.
Narrow strips of pre-woven cloth are recylced and used in many forms of weaving, such as rag rugs, Finnish poppana or Japanese Sakiori. In Poppana, the cloth is cut on the bias, so that the fuzzy bits of the cloth become part of the design of the cloth, creating a chenille effect. In Sakiori the cloth is cut into narrow strips and rewoven to make kimono fabric. I purchased a 6 meter length of sari cloth. Using a rotary cutter, I cut the cloth into 1 inch wide strips. I think in future I will make the strips slightly narrower, perhaps 3/4″, to create a finer weight of cloth. You can experiment with the width of the yarn to see what works best for your project.
I put a 6 yard warp onto my loom because I want to make a few different types of fabric using a variety of weft yarns. I am planning on using these fabrics to sew some purses or bags, each one slightly different. For warp, I used a 6 ply Finnish ‘Kalalanka’ yarn, cotton, 2100 ypp. You could subsitute this with another cotton yarn of a similar yardage.
Warp: 6 yards – 6 ply Kalalanka
Sett: 10 epi
Warp Width: 20 inches
# ends: 200
Weft: 12 ppi
In addition to the ‘sari yarn’ I also used a single ply hemp singles. I wove the fabric using 2 shuttles, throwing the sari yarn as twill, and alternating with a tabby shot of hemp singles.
Recycled Sari cloth on the loom.
The variations in the original sari cloth give interesting effects when rewoven.
Recycled Sari cloth on loom
For the remaining warp I have used both a thick and a thin hemp yarn, varying the treadling. I used a 6 ply hemp for the twill shots and a hemp singles for the tabby shots.