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.

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…

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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.

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 Words

This was probably the hands-down best project I worked on for Christmas. Remember how I said the clasped weft scarf looked kind of like sound waves? I decided to incorporate that into a woven words scarf.

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I recorded myself saying “You are the most wonderful father a daughter could have. I love you daddy.” Then I looked at the sound waves for it, and wove it into a black and white clasped weft scarf. I also artistically drew it out, and wrote the words, and framed it to make it very clear what the scarf meant. Super sentimental, but kind of wonderfully perfect. My dad has always been the most musically inclined in the family, and he’s recently started recording audio books, so sound waves seemed so appropriate.

The yarn is the same dragon tales rayon boucle dyed by an Asheville local place named Earth Guild. Its the same yarn I used for the painted christmas scarves. Its, hands down, some of the easiest and most beautiful yarn I’ve worked with yet. It weaves easy, soft but strong, and washing machine/dryer safe, and SO SOFT once it’s fulled. The colors stayed fast, and it simply glows in the right light.

I love this concept of turning spoken words into a scarf. It could be done with any phrase, or any snatch of music, or famous speech. The black and white look so classic. I also feel like clasped weft would make really cool piano keys along the edge of a scarf.

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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 ;-).

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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.

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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.