process · shawl

handwoven alpaca & silk shawl

After the semi-disaster I experienced after buying my loom, I found I had a wee bit of anxiety about starting another project. The table runner project turned out well, although dense, but it wasn’t a large enough confidence booster to get me to warp with a bunch of handspun immediately. Not that I think my handspun is gold – I don’t. I prefer to use it, enjoy it and create more but in this case, I was leery. Firstly, I wanted to play with a different heddle and create a lighter fabric. I also wanted to try to use all the yarn I could to learn about how to calculate yardage requirements for warp and weft (really easy to do once you understand the maths needed). I had bought some Classic Elite Silky Alpaca Lace on clearance at my LYS and decided to use it with my 15 dent reed.

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The fibre content of the yarn is Baby Alpaca and Silk so it doesn’t felt but the hand and drape?

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Beautiful. I think I will actually wear this!

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A trick I picked up from my friend Diana is to put the yarn ball that you are warping from behind the loom in a bowl and here, I’ve got it on the floor. It works really well to keep the yarn from flying out and across the floor – especially when there is a ton of dog hair in the corners of the room *cough cough*.

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I kept the beat really light, although I could have been a little heavier handed as I didn’t use nearly as much weft yarn as I did warp. I also could have made this wider based on the amount of yarn left but I’m planning to use it up in upcoming weaving projects since it is just so pretty woven!

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I had a lot of colour pooling but also some natural plaid happening, which is very pleasing.

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In the end, the stole/scarf/shawl (whatever you want to call it) is 95 inches long and 22 inches wide.

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I lost barely anything with washing – even though I dried it in the dryer after washing in hot hot water. I mashed it around in the water as well and it relaxed nicely.

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I was much happier with my selvedge this time round – slowly but surely, they are getting better. I used the bubble technique and was much happier with this instead of leaving the weft yarn at 45 degrees before beating. I also beat on a closed shed, which I liked much better.

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Lastly, I hemstitched and knotted the fringes, leaving them 5 inches long to show off the yarn as much as possible – I love fringe!

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As I was warping, I noticed major colour pooling of the blue towards the second half of warping. It created, as I mentioned above, the illusion of a plaid and is very pleasing. It has left me very interested in palindrome colour management in weaving.

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The weaving adventures continue and this was the confidence boost I needed to keep going! I’m hoping it will look lovely with a Tova shirt I am hoping to sew up in the next couple of weeks, which is part of my process towards building a handmade wardrobe. Wish me luck!

10 thoughts on “handwoven alpaca & silk shawl

  1. the scarf is beautiful, Rachel! And, as an aside, I am enjoying your weaving posts, even and especially though I have never woven on our loom. When I do get the chance, I’ll have a lot of nice advice posts to look back on. Also, I would like to know more about the “bubble” technique . . . I have never heard that term before. Enjoy your adventures!

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    1. Weaving’s a whole other world, that’s for sure! The bubble is when you throw the shuttle, instead of leaving the yarn at a 45° angle, you bring the two ends down leaving the yarn in the work looking like a half circle or bubble. Does that make sense?! It’s hard to explain without a photo!

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  2. Beautiful shawl Rachel. Glad you have your mojo back so we can see more weaving on your path of learning and discovery.

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