Mohair in May

Last weekend I did a small, local show with some friends and fellow creative types. Partly because of my obsessive nature, partly because of my desire to show others the weaving process, I almost always bring my little rigid heddle loom (RH) to shows. This was no exception.

Much as I like weaving on it, and love how lightweight, portable, and easy-to-use it is, my RH does have some limitations. I have 2 heddles for it, a 6 dent and a 12 dent. That means I can have either 6 threads per inch or 12 threads per inch. But most of the fibers I work with are sett at more like 18 threads per inch. So I’m always wondering what I’ll warp the loom with when I’m preparing for a show.

Even though it’s May, I decided I’d use some of the beautiful mohair I have. Although it’s a fine yarn, it’s sett at only 6 threads per inch; anything more would be REALLY a challenge to work with, because all those hairs catch on each other. On my RH loom, I open a shed, separate the threads by hand, throw the shuttle, beat lightly. Open the next shed, separate the threads by hand, throw the shuttle, beat lightly. I do believe that if I was working with it on my floor loom there are some tricks I could use to minimize or avoid hand separation, but I haven’t tried it.

One of the real benefits of weaving with mohair on the RH at a show is that I’m totally unconcerned with how tedious and time consuming the process is. The slowness would make me a bit nuts at home, but at a show, I’m just fine with it. And visitors are amazed at how much work it is, which is also just fine with me.

Anyway, I set up the loom to make just one scarf, in a houndstooth check in purple and silver. I wove it on Friday & Saturday at the show, finishing the last few inches at home on Sunday. Then the challenging (to me) process of wet finishing it. The scarf gets tossed in the washing machine and agitates for just the right amount of time.

But what IS that amount of time? How should it look when it’s done? Those are all unknowns, at least to me. It’s sort of like when my grandmother told me to add enough flour to the dough to make the bread feel right. Huh?

The scarf comes out of the washer, and while it’s still wet it’s brushed with some vigor with a dog brush to bring up the hairs. Again scary; although a little less so this time than it was my first time.

The end result? I LOVE this scarf! I think it’s absolutely gorgeous, and I’m sorry it’s May so I won’t be able to wear it while I’m trying to sell it.

Are you ready to see it? You are? Okay!
purple & silver handwoven mohair scarf

Your turn: how did you spend Mother’s Day weekend?

4 comments to Mohair in May

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