Smoky Mountain Convergence Tri-Shawl Project

Posted by Tropical Twister under Articles , Projects , Smoky Mountains Convergence Tri-Shawl , Tri-Loom Projects 
[2] Comments 

Every two years, the Handweavers Guild of America “converges” on a city for the HGA’s International Fiber Arts Conference. Two years ago (2006), they met in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This year, 2008, they met in Tampa, Florida. To honor convergence, last year the Guild commissioned the creation of special yarn. The space-dyed yarn was dyed in colors of the tropics, brilliant pink, turquoise, green and orange. I plied the space-dyed convergence rayon singles with bright colored cotton for a tri-loom project.

Shawl in ProgressI’m tall and wanted a generous shawl. Not satisfied with the available 7’ looms, I wanted an 8’ loom. Last summer, we were planning a vacation in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, so I had my summer project. I had my husband cut three pieces of wood molding to create the tri-loom and had him bolt the corners together so I could disassemble it to take it to the mountains where I could reassemble it. He devised a transportation device, utilizing a PVC pipe which he capped on each end, the “limbs” of the tri-loom rode to the mountains on the roof rack in style.

Once we got to the mountains, I began to hammer nails. Yes, I’m a fanatic … before the groceries were purchased, before the suitcases were stored, I was nailing. I carefully marked and nailed exactly the same number of nails across the top as were nailed into the other two sides of the triangle. When I started to weave, the threads became more and more angled; they weren’t straight up and down. I soon figured out that the ratio should be two to one; that is, two across the top for each along the adjoining sides. BUT, serendipity, it all worked out. When I first began to weave the shawl, I had found my weave very loose. I discovered that if I looped my yarn twice around the bottom nails for each time I looped the yarn around a top nail, I had a tight weave. (Twice the yarn and twice the work, but a very satisfactory result.)

Nails on the Loom

I wanted the stripes to blend into one another. I recalled reading when I was looking at sock knitting patterns, that stripes are most pleasing to the eye when one uses stripes proportioned in additional adjoining numbers: 1, 1 (1 + 0), 2 (1 + 1), 3 (1+2), 5 (2+3), 8 (3 + 5), 13 (5 + 8), 21 (8 + 13), etc.

By the nature of tri-loom weaving technique, each pass creates both warp and weft. It moves from the bottom left side to the top of the triangle and down again; it then crosses the loom and loops on the next available lower right nail before going up to the top right and then reverses the process, ending on a nail on the lower left. This process creates two warp and two weft threads for each pass. Therefore, my widest stripe was 8 pairs of two. The next stripe of the same color on either side of the mentioned stripe was 5 pairs of two. The next stripe of the same color on either side was 3 pairs of two; then 2 pairs of two; then 1 pair of two and finally 1 pair of two. I overlapped the colors, placing the narrowest strip of one color next to the thickest stripe of another. I love the final results.

Completed Shawl on LoomThis is my Smoky Mountain Convergence Tri-loom Shawl. You’ll notice the leaf color changes in the photos. I worked on the shawl in the summer and had to wait ‘til fall to return to the mountains to finish the project. (P.S. My husband took pity on me and my struggles at nail driving and purchased for me in Ashville a beautiful cherry Hill Creek Fiber Studio 6’ 10” tri-loom. You’ll be seeing more tri-loom projects. Come on back to

This summer, I wore my Shawl as I wandered through Convergence. Yes, Florida in the summer but thanks to the air conditioning, it was freezing (at least to this Florida gal). A Convergence shawl with a tropical twist was just the thing.

Completed Shawl - Back in Florida

The “hound” on the deck who kept me company is Lacy, my mostly border collie. I’ve been spinning “her” and I have a shawl half knitted. I’ll be posting techniques for “harvesting” dog hair and spinning cheingora in future posts.

Mountain BloomsOur View of the Smoky MountainsLacyMountain River

Click here to visit our Home Page.


2 Responses to “Smoky Mountain Convergence Tri-Shawl Project”

  1. Crystal says, August 6th, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    I’ve been enjoying your posts here–thanks for starting this blog! :) I’m a new tri-loom weaver, so forgive me if I’m a little slow… My loom has the same number of nails on the top as it does on each short side, with the corner nails being counted for each side of the triangle. From your post, it sounds like the top of your loom has more nails than the sides. Is that right, or did I miss something? 😮 And out of curiosity, what’s the nail spacing and how many nails does the loom have? Also wanted to thank you for the tip about weaving the bottom nails twice… I like a tight weave–I’ll be making preemie blankets and fingers can’t get caught in them. I think this will help a lot!

  2. Tropical Twister says, August 6th, 2008 at 1:49 pm


    Your loom is right, my post may not have been clear. I had the same number of nails across the top (the hypotenuse) as the SUM of the nails on the two sides. Does not work.

    If you choose to double up, you’ll have to double up top AND bottom. It should work fine. Do remember that once off the loom, when the yarn is no longer stretched, your weaving will be tighter.

    If you “full” the finished weaving, the weaving will be transformed into fabric. That is, if you soak the finished shawl in COLD water and agitate it gently, the fibers will fluff and entwine so that it becomes fabric. Don’t use hot water unless you intend to felt the project.

    Can’t say how many nails. The loom is in the mountains and I’m a breeze away from the beach. I’m headed to the mountains next month and I’ll count. Will get back to you.

Leave a Reply