Cashmere Silk Scarves

I haven’t posted about weaving in so long, you probably thought I haven’t been weaving. Not true.

I finished the purple cashmere silk scarves, and I’m really happy with the finished product.
cashmere silk scarves

As you can see in the photo, they are extremely fine gauge and lightweight. The 50-50 blend of cashmere and silk means that these scarves are soft as a feather and drape beautifully. If you look closely at the scarf on the left, you can also see that I wove the ends of this scarf in a diamond twill pattern. The other two are all tabby weave.

What the picture doesn’t show, despite more than a dozen attempts to photograph it in various lighting conditions, is that there are tiny seed beads woven into one of the scarves. They are really gorgeous in real life, with the shine of the glass beads a great counterpoint to the softness of the handwoven scarves.

I hadn’t woven with beads before, and wasn’t sure if I would want to insert them into these scarves, so purposely didn’t put the beads on the warp threads — I wanted to weave one of the scarves without beads to determine if this would be a classy addition to the cashmere silk scarves or if it would detract. Once I decided it would be good, I strung the seed beads onto the yarn after it was already on the bobbin. To achieve my desired effect, I wanted to place 1 seed bead at a time in a rather random fashion across the length and width of this handwoven scarf. That meant that the vast majority of shuttle throws required much more time than usual.

Here’s how it went…
Step 1) Gently (so as to not put any stress on the fine, fine fabric) pull a length of yarn off the bobbin long enough to go across the width of the scarf plus several inches.
Step 2) Push all the seed beads back against the bobbin.
Step 3) Throw the shuttle, taking care not to let the beads slide off into the shed (except, of course, when you want one bead to fall in a particular place).
Step 4) Beat the yarn in.
Repeat about 24 times per inch. (For my non-weaving readers, usually the sequence is throw the shuttle, beat the yarn, repeat.)

I’m guessing that the beaded scarf took more than twice as long to weave as the other two. I don’t know if it’s really worth it, if my customers will be willing to spend substantially more for it. Time will tell.

Your turn: If you’d woven with beads on the warp yarn, is it much more time consuming, as it is on the weft yarn? Or is there a better process to weave with beads on the weft yarn than the one I used?

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