Cashmere Breakthrough

I freely admit it: I’m OCD. Not professionally diagnosed, but obsessive-compulsive nonetheless. For the most part, I believe that this is a good thing, tht it makes me do well at my various endeavors. It is, however, not uncommon to find that it’s caused me do something the hard way. Here’s an example.

I’ve commented that the cashmere silk blend yarn I use for those airy scarves is a challenge to beam. As a result, after my first really frustrating effort with winding a warp for three scarves (which is how many I usually warp for) I’ve been warping for only two scarves at a time. While this made the beaming process remarkably less frustrating, it also made it much less efficient. Threading 300 threads though heddles and reed for just 2 scarves instead of 3 takes much more of my time: for every 6 scarves I have to thread heddles and reed 3 times instead of 2. But at least I could do it without wanting to scream.

handwoven cashmere silk scarves in light and dark purpleThen I decided to weave a scarf that used both the light lavender and dark purple colors of the cashmere silk yarn. I am decidedly unhappy with the finished product. It’s fine, but not even close to what I had in mind, or what I had planned. I spent a fair amount of time planning the pattern, but the yarn is so fine, that the pattern’s not visible unless you catch it at just the right angle, just the right light. BUT…I had a breakthrough while measuring the warp. Since my pattern called for alternating strands of light and dark purple across the width of the warp, it only made sense that I would hold one strand of each as I wound the yarn on the warping board; anything else would have been silly.

When the threads were all measured and I moved to the warp to beam it, I was AMAZED — it was easy to beam that warp! I didn’t think it was just because I was beaming for only 1 scarf; it was mostly because of the 2-threads-at-a-time process at the warping board. Yippee! I was definitely going to try this for my next 2-scarf warp!

I decided to try the new light slate blue yarn.  I measured the warp using two cones at the same time on the warping board.  Not only did it cut the measuring time in half, when I moved to the loom it beamed like a breeze!  It was as quick and easy to wind this lovely cashmere silk yarn on the back beam as any other fiber I’ve used.  Not an inch of difficulty.

Why hadn’t I done this before?   Go back to the top of this post – it’s my OCD nature.  I like to finish one ball or cone of yarn before I start the next.  Starting two cones of yarn to measure the warp doesn’t fit in with my nice, neat desires.  Of course, I have what I think is a good reason for using up one cone before starting the next: it’s much easier to know how much yarn I have left when I’m planning my next project if I have one whole cone vs. two half cones.  Are those started cones half full?  2/3 full?  1/3 full?  The answer sure makes a difference to the new project!

handwoven cashmere scarf
I used that nice, smooth, easy warp to weave two light blue cashmere silk scarves in a huck pattern.  It’s not my favorite pattern, I prefer the blocks of Swedish lace or huck lace, but it is pretty and airy.

I don’t have any of the handwoven cashmere silk scarves up on my website yet, because they sell out as soon as I bring the to a show. So if you want one and can’t come to a show, leave me a comment or email me, and we’ll work it out from there.

I’m going to try the two-cones-at-a-time thing and warp for 3 of these handwoven cashmere scarves next time!

Your turn: how have you gotten in your own way?

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