Silver Stars Scarf

A dear friend wanted a scarf this winter, and while it may have taken a couple of tries I finally found something that worked and that I thought she’d like. I had several failures along the way, which subsequently led to some beautiful scarves, but not ones that were meant for her. This one finally fit the person…

This scarf is actually quite similar to the very first scarf I wove on my own. It uses the same tie-up, and the same sort of “gradient” effect. But I worked in the reflective threads I find myself using more and more often, and changed up the color scheme and the thread density.

It uses an overshot tie-up pattern. This means that the direct pattern has areas of long floats, weft threads that hang over a lot of warp threads. Normally, that could cause problems with the stability of the weave, or be a potential for “caught” threads that snag and pull. However, with overshot patterns you alternate each pick of the pattern with tabby (the classic over-under basic weave.) This adds stability and density to the cloth, making more complex patterns possible with only four shafts.

The lavender fields scarf is also an overshot pattern.  I’m becoming quite fond of this style. I think because I like the almost “picturesque” complex patterns that can draw larger shapes and designs. This particular tencel yarn needed to be set at 30 epi (30 threads per an inch) which was one of the the tightest setts I’ve had to do yet. But it really made a beautifully smooth and drapey scarf.

This scarf uses overshot to silhouette dark stars on a silver background, interspersed with light reflective threads that sparkle and shine like stars in the sky.

Lavender Fields

Another reflective scarf finished! This one’s complex pattern took me a lot longer than any of my recent creations. I also planned it out with a completely different color scheme, but once I got a few inches in changed my mind. Yarns might look amazing together when you line up the spools next to each other, but somehow everything changes once you actually start weaving them.

This overshot leaves pattern demands enough contrast that the complexity of the shapes actually stand out. Sometimes a change of plans can end up surprising you, and though it might not be what I was going for, this scarf is still beautiful.

I think I’m also finally getting the hang of capturing the reflective threads in photography too. Either that, or I just got incredibly lucky with this one. I’m okay with that, haha. There’s about 30 magical minutes when the sun isn’t quite down, but its dark enough that the flash doesn’t wash everything out, but its light enough that my camera can actually find a point to focus on, and the moon is in the right phase, and you turn around thrice widdershins, and and and…

dusk-transition

You can also sometimes get lucky before that though, when the sun is at a low enough angle sometimes it hits just right and you get dramatic sunset lighting AND the reflective moment. I’m particularly pleased with myself for the above transition gif.

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.

 

Emerald Scarf

So I’ve decided on the first real project I’m going to complete on my new loom. Its a little complicated, maybe, but I think it will turn out well.

Tencel yarn 8/2 going on the loom to make a scarf. I’m excited to try out a pretty overshot pattern I got from the book I found: The Handweaver’s Pattern Dictionary. There’s a digital tool called PixelLoom you can use to play with patterns and colors.

pixelloom

My favorite part about this picture is that it shows such an obvious and satisfying progression from tangled chaos to nice straight order. It really scratches the itch on that type A part of my brain that likes everything in its place, numbered lettered and color coded. That’s definitely part of what I enjoy about weaving so much, if I can’t corral all the chaos in life, at least I can take hundreds of mixed up threads, and turn them into whole cloth.

chaos

I like the pattern a lot. But, lest I fear that it is not ambitions enough for a first project on a new loom, I also decided to try out some “leno lace.” You hand pick out groups of threads and twist them around each other and run a weft thread through the middle of the twist to hold it in place. Because this scarf isn’t intense enough already.

This picture shows the completely different tone and feel you can get just by changing the weft color. The bottom is the same dark-green as the outer edges of the warp. The top half is the same shell/cream color as the center threads of the warp. Its always fun to try something different or unexpected as the weft, because you never know what will surprise you. Colors are so influenced by the what’s around them, it can change the character of a yarn completely.

colortest

Here is the finished tencel overshot scarf! As far as first projects go, I am ridiculously proud of this one. It was a birthday present for my sister, because I felt like the super rich green colors, and the star-like pattern just called out to be hers. The yarn was very easy to work with, and has a beautiful feel in the finished project, soft and smooth.

window2

The ombre effect was gotten by using three different colors of warp thread (forest, cactus and a cream color), and alternating them in the transition areas. The effect is exactly! what I was going for.

fringe

A couple of inches from each edge I did a single row of “leno lace.” Its a method of twisting the warp threads over and under eachother, and anchoring them with a single weft pick. You can check out the project page for some close up pictures of it. Although its quite simple, I might try to do an easy tutorial on this method just so that I can get some practice at tutorial writing, and to get some cool variations I’ve thought of recorded. And so that I just have more pages over there under that page heading ;-).

close

I hand twisted the fringe. I know they sell little battery powered twisters, but I don’t feel like it’d speed up the process much when you’re doing a short fringe of lots of different threads. I’d just spend more time unhooking and hooking it up to the next fringe rope. Plus I kind of like twisting fringe, its soothing and easy to do in front of the tv.

fence

I got the overshot pattern, and instructions for leno lace, from a book called The Handweaver’s Pattern Dictionary. Its a fantastic resource with good pictures, good explanations, and decent inspiration. I’d definitely recommend it for anyone who has access to a loom.

Birthday Present for Myself

So, for my birthday I bought a loom. Yep. Get prepared for lots and lots of weaving pictures, because this is what my life is going to be.

The loom is a 36″ Leclerc Loom. Its a brand thats located in quebec, and has been building basically the exact same loom since 1764. Its a beautiful piece, and I’m excited to see what I can create with it.

Last night I celebrated with a glass of mead while warping up my first overshot pattern. That’s what its called when you have patterns where large areas of thread “float over” the base weave. That’s a horrible description, but if you’re really curious, you can google it. You can kind of see what I’m talking about in the final picture of the “reverse” side, where the blue threads float above the white for long portions. I’m still learning a lot, and it is far too fun.