Pretty in Pink - Designing and weaving a commissioned scarf
Updated: May 22
This month I was commissioned to design and create a special scarf using a vibrant handdyed yarn from Fox and Squirrel Creations. The yarn chosen was a 4ply merino/nylon blend with a variegated pink /purple yarn and a solid pink yarn. The client wanted to weave a generously sized scarf but was happy for me to design the scarf in whatever pattern I chose. I was keen to allow the beautifully bright handdyed yarn to 'sing' so I chose a colour block design and we agreed that I would include a small amount of white yarn to break up the solid and variegated yarns.
Planning the weave:
Before weaving I painted a design using watercolour paints. During weaving the warp and weft thread colours are combined so this process allows me to replicate the woven colour mixing to a certain extent. I then used my TabbyandTweed square frame loom to help further decide upon the design. I wanted to have approximately even amounts of the variegated and solid coloured yarns with just an accent of the white. I decided to weave with one of my favourite straight 8 patterns, called a straight 8 because the warp threads are threaded repeatedly on shafts 1-8 in that order. I would normally weave a 4 ply yarn at a sett of 12 epi. However, having decided to do a patterned design a higher sett was chosen. This is because each weft thread doesn't always lay alongside another weft thread when weaving a pattern so the weft threads align more closely (too closely) unless the sett is increased. In order to create a balanced weave I decided to weave at a sett of 15 epi.
The client asked to to weave the scarf which would be approximately 1.8m long and 40cm wide. I therefore decided to weave a width in the reed of 43cm (17inches) to allow for some shrinkage and take up. 17 inches x 15 epi required 255 ends and I measured 263 ends to allow for an additional 4 ends at each side for a sturdier selvedge and floating selvedge.
The heddles and reed were threaded and the warp tied. Each individual thread needed to be hand threaded through a hole in one of the heddles and the 10epi reed was then threaded with alternating single and double threads to give an overall threading of 15epi. The dobby bars were programmed for the chosen pattern and then weaving could begin.
Hemstitching, repairing and fringe twisting
The client had requested a twisted fringe after the weaving of the scarf so the start and end of the weave was hemstitched in bunches of 10 warp threads. Once the fabric was removed from the loom is was studied carefully. There were a few knots in the fabric and these were removed with the ends sewn in. The fringes were then twisted and the fabric washed.
The final scarf
Images of the final scarf are shown below - a symmetrical design. The yarn wove beautifully and created a lovely soft drapey scarf - apparently, perfect for the client to co-ordinate with an existing outfit.
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