Zarzamora Silk Scarf

It was 97 deg F outside today as I took the photos of this scarf. I finished weaving it last week. It felt silly to make a scarf in the middle of a southern summer, but I wanted something simple and fun to work on. It is a 2/2 twill with the yarn at 24epi.

I have never worked with Malabrigo yarn before, but after this I definitely am again. This is their Mora line, spun of 100% mulberry silk. Expensive, yes, but absolutely worth it. The color is so vivid and beautiful and somehow dynamic. Silvers and greens and blues and browns wend their way through the wisteria like purple. Yes, I’m feeling color sentimental-y, but the dye name is “Zarazamora” which apparently means “blackberry” in Spanish and I love it.

The softness and the drape of the scarf is hard to capture in these photos, but it was waaaay too hot to drag out the body form. I’m sure I’ll find a way to take more later. Just know that it is a scarf you want to touch.

 

I also had a lot of fun documenting some of the steps of weaving this scarf on instagram. While the video snippet quality isn’t the best, its something I enjoyed and am going to try to keep doing. Follow it with #watchmeweave if you want! 

Weaving with silk

Silk is an intimidating fiber no matter what you’re doing with it. It took me awhile to sew my first garment out of silk, and weaving was no different. Especially when the yarn I got my hands on was so beautiful. This is a silk-wool blend yarn that is hand dyed in a set of matched colors.

Part of my timidity with weaving came from the fact that I felt the yarn was too delicate to use as warp threads. It is loosely spun and with a slight “fuzz” that I knew would catch and fray on my wire heddles. So I needed the perfect yarn to pair with these beautiful colors.

Eventually I found this incredible dark-purple colored 100% silk, and I knew it would be the yarn to work. It is smooth and strong, and even though it is super-fine I knew it would hold up with the wire heddles.

I chose a simple twill tie-up for this scarf, as I really wanted the yarn to be the star of the show, and not my fancy treddling. I had a lot of fun blending each color of yarn into the next, creating what I hoped would turn into a smooth gradient of color bleed. It worked better for some colors than others, but still turned out lovely.

Fulling this scarf was about as scary as anything else. I’ve done two other wool projects, but never a silk-wool blend. I wasn’t sure how the fibers would really react. In the end, I floated it on a couple of inches of luke warm water in the bottom of the bathtub. I’m usually pretty rough on the rayon and tencel scarves I make, I want them to be able to take a lot, and I know the yarn can take it without warping too much. I twist and wring them out to really get them saturated and move the thread about. I was a lot more gentle with this scarf, I pressed it flat to the bottom of the tub, and shifted it a bit, but I didn’t twist or wring it as I didn’t want anything to shrink unevenly. I stuck it in the dryer on a cool air-fluff for a few minutes, to beat some softness into the yarns. But I removed it quickly and let it air-dry for the remaining time. Over-shrinking this scarf was my biggest fear, but it all turned out well in the end.

 

When making this scarf, I decided to measure the warp for about twice what I needed. I figured if I was going to play with silk, I might as well learn something while I was at it. So I did another scarf that was 100% silk in both warp and weft. The warp is the same as the one above, and the weft is another silk yarn that I purchased while I was hunting for the mate to the yarn above. This weft was a little bit slubby and un-even in how it was spun, which is why I ended up moving away from it for the warp to go with the gradient wool blend. But it was perfect as another weft. In color it was a slightly darker raisin color that really created a nice effect with the warp. I like describing this scarf as “dark chocolate raspberry.” It is almost brown in some light, but berry colored in others. The 100% silk in warp and weft is smooth and crisp and is probably the most luxurious scarf I’ve made yet.

Weaving with silk was actually a breeze. Its a super strong fiber, and less prone to tangling. It was easy to keep the warp strong and smooth and straight. The wool-silk blend stretched a little bit, which made it harder to keep the selvages tight and straight. But the 100% silk worked perfectly as the warp to compliment them.

I’m very proud of these two scarves. They’re the first things in while that I really feel like I took a risk on, or learned something new. Don’t get me wrong, its fun cranking out a rainbow plethora of rayon scarves in arbitrary combinations and ideas. But it also feels good to really try something new, and be worried that you’re doing it wrong, and in the end find out that it’s all okay and it turned out great!

Simple Stripes

These scarves were based off a commissions idea I got off a request on Etsy. It was a lot of fun just doing something very simple. Not to mention a reminder of how fast scarves can go if you don’t choose a complex draft or a lot of color changes.

I deviated from my love of Dragon Tales rayon with these scarves. Not that I’ve given up that yarn, but it was time to play with something different. These are done with a slightly finer tencel yarn. They’re set to 30 ends per an inch, which is the highest I’ve done yet. It takes a lot of time, but gives the scarf such a tight weave and smooth finish. The fabric flows over my hands.

One is a pale jade green and dark forest green. The other is a silvery grey with cobalt blue. Both of them have reflective strips every half inch. I used a narrower width of reflective strips for these scarves since the yarn was also finer and the scarf is thinner and smoother and less “plush” than the dragon tales scarves. It seemed to work out pretty well!

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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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.

In Which I Learn to Weave

I’ve always wanted to learn how to weave on a floor loom, so I finally took a class. I loved it, and now I’ve got an even more expensive less useful hobby than sewing.

The class was to weave a scarf, and we were allowed to choose any material the art center had on hand. I fell in love with a variegated slubby rayon yarn, and used that for the warp. The third picture was my practicing the treddling and play with colors to decided what I wanted to use in the end.

I decided to go with an ombre effect, and the final scarf uses several inches of the variegated yarn at each end of the scarf, which I then alternate with, and eventually end with a solid blue silk yarn. The pattern is “Finnish birdseye” which I chose almost at random, but because I liked the diamond crosshatch pattern, and the tie-up was the same as basic twill.

This piece is actually on display for the summer of 2015 in the Sawtooth Center Gallery in Winston Salem NC.