Royal Purple Handwoven Cashmere

I finished weaving another warp of three cashmere & silk scarves. I’m so glad I discovered the trick of preparing the warp so I can do three at a time without pulling out my hair!

This time I wanted to try a woven lace pattern that was a bit more complex, requiring me to use my 8 harness Macomber loom instead of my 4 harness counterbalance loom that I use more than 80% of the time. This alternate lace pattern also needed to be woven tighter than the other cashmere & silk scarves in order to produce the end result I was after. So instead of setting at 18 ends per inch, as I have done with the others, I threaded the reed for 36 ends per inch – twice as thickly.

I was crossing my fingers that I’d like the pattern, since it required 360 ends to give me a scarf that would end up being around 9″ wide. That was a lot of winding on the warping board, and much more time consuming, a lot of threading through 360 heddles. I guess I wasn’t in exactly the right frame of mind while I was threading – not enough focus – because I probably ended up threading 500 heddles by the time I was done. How is that possible? I kept making threading errors that I’d catch at the end of a bundle of 50 threads (that was one pattern repeat) and have to take lots of threads out and re-do. Even so, when it was all threaded through heddles and reed, tied to the front beam, and I was weaving the fringe spacer header, I found another threading error. I SURE wasn’t going to unthread more than needed, so the easiest fix was to make two string repair heddles and tie them into place.

Anyhow….once it was all done, I started weaving the pattern, and I could tell immediately that I did like it. Yippee!
purple handwoven cashmere scarves

Nowhere near as thin as the earlier ones, I think these are beautiful in their own right. Granted, they don’t drape quite as softly, but they have more sheen. There’s always some trade off.

The center scarf is the first one I wove — a diamond huck lace pattern that I think is really pretty. On the right I changed the treadling slightly. It’s hard to see the difference in the pattern in this photo; it’s pretty subtle even in real life. On the left, I went back to the first treadling pattern, but dramatically changed the firmness of the beating. I think you can see that the diamond pattern is substantially elongated and the scarf is much thinner. I like it, too. I’d be hard pressed to choose which I prefer.

I’m anxious to see shopper’s reactions at the upcoming Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. If you’re in the Buffalo area, I hope you’ll stop by and give me your input.

Your turn: have you tried anything new lately?

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