Summer-Winter Scarves

I’ve spent the last few weeks working on a series of summer-winter scarves. No, these aren’t scarves you’d wear in the summer (at least not in the south around here. Maybe in the arctic circle…) Summer-winter is a historical weaving pattern category. These weaving patterns are done such that they emphasize different threads of yarn on different sides of the fabric. One side of the fabric shows more weft threads, and the other side shows more of the warp threads. This means that if you have different colors for warp and weft, one side of the fabric will be dominantly different colors than the other side. These styles of patterns got the name “summer-winter” because they would be used to weave bed spreads and blankets. When the season turned, you could also turn over your bedspread to get a different color, or pattern, almost making it feel like a brand new room.

When you use summer-winter patterns in “block formations” on a weaving, it means you can create intricate little squares of different patterns and textures all nestled up together. I really like the effect when used with lots of colors.

This scarf was done just with blues and purples, and of course, some reflective threads thrown in for good shiny measure. It was actually the “rescued” warp from the last project I mentioned, which was an absolute failure. But that failure encouraged me to try something random and new, and I’m totally happy with the result. Without that failure, I wouldn’t have flipped to a random page in my weaving book and said “sure, lets learn about summer-winter patterns…”

 

Of course, once I finished that one and saw the result, I wanted to see what it would look like with more colors. The green-blue-purple combination has been working out well for me lately, and I had another request for a “peacock colored” scarf, so…

Something about the combination of these colors, and their visual relation to each other really gives this scarf a “pixelated” look that I really like. Its always fascinating to me how some weaving patterns look good with more contrast, and some don’t. How some patterns seem to exaggerate color values that are close, and other patterns absolutely lose that color value.

Even weaving patterns that I’ve used before, I still feel like I’m experimenting with every scarf I make. Its so much fun! Yes, its more fun when it succeeds than when it fails, but even the failures eventually lead to something cool.

Autumn Colors

I’ve made a couple of these scarves at this point, it seems to be one of the most popular color combinations. Its one of my personal favorites, so I can understand why. It’s also the perfect time of year for them. This scarf just sold on Etsy, and I couldn’t miss the opportunity to take some photos of it on this glorious fall day. It matches the leaves around me perfectly.

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Blue for Houndstooth

This was another commission scarf for a friend, and again it turned out even better than I planned. Commissions are fun! They get me out of my own point of view and give me an excuse to play with something new. She loves blues, greens and purples and liked the thought of houndstooth pattern. She wanted a scarf to keep her warm and safe when she is out cycling at night, so I increased the ratio of reflective strips and did one every half inch. And that certainly did make a difference, this scarf lights up incredibly well.

The colors turned out perfect. It is actually the exact same yarns I used in the Peacock Scarf, but the impression this scarf leaves is so different! Its one of the things I find most fascinating about weaving, its not just the color of the yarn that matters, its the color of the yarn next to it as well, and the one next to that.

Okay, who wants a scarf next?

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Dyed Warp Scarves – A study in teal

These are two scarves I did much earlier in this year. A fellow crafter and I worked out a deal for trading commissioned art objects. I wanted a carved hair pin, and she wanted a woven scarf. This is the hairpin I ended up with, which is amazing and perfect and exactly what I was hoping for. I love that it stares at you. 13221208_944075643278_2196960803119822986_o

When talking about what she wanted in a scarf, she has a favorite shade of blue-teal-gray-silver that she loves. Of course, finding the exact right shade was going to be impossible, so I decided to play with dyeing my own yarn.

The base yarn was my ever favorites Earth Guild Dragon Tales boucle yarn. Its a rayon fiber, so easy to dye. And the boucle structure means it catches light well, is somewhat shiny, super absorbent, and simply easy and fun to weave.

I think its always interesting to see how colors play with each other when weaving, its not like any other art I’ve played with. Both of these scarves use teal yarn from the same dye lot in their warp. But because of the other yarns they are paired with, you end up with dramatically different scarves.

Both scarves use the same tie-up, a broken twill design that creates interesting diamond shapes. The one on the left uses Dragon Tales “taupe” color for the weft that lightens the effect and gives it an excellent gold shimmer. The one on the right uses the same dyed teal in the warp and the weft, but also their “autumn spice” variegated yarn as stripes down the warp, and to create an color transition effect at each end of the scarf.

In the end, neither scarf was the exact shade my friend was looking for. But she said this gold-ish one “called to her heart,” so I consider it and overwhelming success.

The one I call “circus colors” is still available (etsy link), if you feel like falling in love with it…

Peacock Scarf

Recently a friend asked me to create a scarf inspired by peacocks. I asked, “do you mean like the colors? Or are you looking for the shape of the tail? Or the eye effect the feathers have? What do you mean?”

She said, “whatever you want, you decide.” So, well, I did.

Sometimes overly generic guidance in creating an art piece for someone else can be irritating. What do they want? What do they expect? What if you’re wrong? But sometimes it really can be freeing. If you trust the person, and if they trust you, it can be awesome to just be like “sure, peacock, I can work with that.”

When I was commissioning this weaving bench, I told the artist “add something artsy to it.” He said “What do you mean?” “Just add something to it that feels right at the time. That’s something you came up with.” And he did. And I loved it.

Anyways, art inspired by friends can be really really cool. Here’s some photos of a scarf.

I used what is very quickly becoming my favorite scarf yarn: Earth Guild Dragon Tales. Its a point-draft twill pattern, and yes, I think the sort of maze like “spots” look like the eyes on a peacock tail to me, haha.

The warp colors are dark green on the outsize edges, and I mixed in light green towards the center to create a gradient effect. I used the same technique in the weft threads to blend between dark blue, light blue, light purple to dark purple and back again.

Personally, I think I fulfilled the “peacock” brief pretty well. And I loved making it and feeling inspired by just that one word. It’d be fun to try it again. Want a scarf inspired by your words? Leave me a comment and it might just happen!

Light Reflective Scarves

Now that the nights are getting longer, and the evenings are getting cooler, I find myself going back to weaving scarves again.

I was actually in Berlin, Germany for most of the month of September, and of course I couldn’t take my loom with me. About halfway through the trip, I had this idea for a scarf that I desperately wanted to make, but couldn’t do anything but plan out in my head for weeks.

Luckily, when I was able to get home, I was able to put my plan into motion. A couple of months ago I acquired some sample spools of 3M reflective strips cut very very narrow. And by narrow I mean 1/32″ wide. So basically reflective threads. 3M is the company that makes all that night-safe gear that reflects light so powerfully it seems to actually “light up” when hit with a direct beam, headlights for instance. So its used in running shoes, and jogging sport clothes, and jackets, and safety vests etc etc etc.

Since the strips I had were so thin, and actually fairly flexible and strong, I was able to weave them into cloth just like any other yarn.

This is my Starlight Scarf. During normal daylight hours, it seems a fairly normal scarf. Delicate, creamy white blending into silvery grey. The woven pattern is actually the same overshot tie-up I used in the emerald scarf, which is kind of star-like.

But once direct light hits it, especially when the ambient light gets low or even dark, the special 3M threads in the scarf light up as if they’re glowing.

Sometimes you have grand ideas of things you will create, and the reality just doesn’t quite reach your dreams. But other times, other times reality exceeds what you could have hoped for, and those are the moments that everyone remembers. Those are the moments that really feel like art.

This was one of those moments. I love this scarf, it turned out better than I could believe. And it’s success led me to continue playing with those reflective threads.

I did another color gamp (a weaving technique that pairs every color of thread in a set with every other thread.) This time though, I used every color in the Earth Guild Dragon Tales line (except black and taupe.) And in between each color in the warp, I included one of the reflective threads.

The results were just as good, if not better, than the Starlight Scarf.

 

Weaving Wainbow

This scarf was an exploration into a classic weaving pattern called a “color gamp.” The idea is that you do equal strips of many colors along the warp and the weft, that way you can see how each yarn interacts with every other yarn in the set. Most people do them in ROYGBIV order, for obvious reasons, but that’s not required. Its another one of those moments where I really appreciate how weaving and math interact.

Color gamps are great for really seeing color theory in action. Color is one of the most illusive, complex and difficult things to explain or control. Sure, red is red, that’s simple right? But how red is red? What does it mean to be a redder red? Sure, red plus yellow equals orange…. When you’re playing with paint, maybe, less so when you’re playing with light.

How colors interact when they’re next to each other is also very difficult to explain, or predict. So much depends on the weight and hand of the yarn, its fiber content, how reflective it is, how saturated the colors in question are. Thats why something like a color gamp is a good idea. It lets you literally see how each yarn interacts with the other yarns, over and under, shadow and highlight, contrast and complimentary.

Plus it just looks cool.

I’m sorry for the title, I couldn’t help it.

 

Twelve Scarves of Christmas

UPDATE: if you love these scarves as much as my friends and family did, I’m selling more of them in my esty shop for this christmas!

Well, I was very very busy for the weeks up to christmas. There are a lot of photos for this post, but I assume you guys wont mind. I, of course, decided to give everyone a scarf. Scarves are so fun and easy, when you get into a rhythm they don’t even take very long, you get to change up the colors frequently, and they’re just so satisfying.

There’s a local to Asheville yarn store called Earth Guild that does their own dye of some rayon weaving yard. It is absolutely gorgeous, and I’ve been eyeing it for awhile now. They also sell hand-painted warp scarf kits. The yarn is already measured and painted for you, and they provide warp and weft all in a bag. Just warp your loom and you’re ready to go! I confess, once I did the first one and saw how fun and easy and BEAUTIFUL they were, I went a little crazy. The given color combinations are absolutely gorgeous, and with everything pre-mesured, as long as I stayed in the twill family, I simply just tied on new ends to the old ones and didn’t have to do 75% of the annoying pre-work bit.

The only two that weren’t pre-painted kits were the two ones I did with their line of variegated yarns. There’s one foresty green and blue scarf, and a golden scarf with purple and reds. Same weight as the other yarn, just the warp is a variegated and the weft is a solid color. For a couple of inches at each end, I also used variegated in the weft, and then slowly transitioned to the solid to create a nice ombre effect. Does it happen to correspond very closely to the very first scarf I did? maaaaaybe 😉 But it just looks so good!


Anyways, it was so delightful to use Earth Guild’s scarf kits. They are the perfect project in a bag, easy, beautiful, somewhat addictive. They’d also be great teaching tools, they easily display the basics, leave out part of the math, good strong soft yarn, the colors look amazing and hide simple flaws, and they don’t take long at all! Any friend that wants a good project to learn to weave on is welcome to come sit at my loom one weekend, and I’ll show you the basics!


You’ll also note that I got the boy to model for me, as long as I also promised to model, haha! Everyone keeps asking for it, well, I’m finally going to attempt to take more photographs of me actually wearing the things I make.