Handwoven Egyptian Cotton Scarves

I really do pay attention to what my customers, and potential customers, say they want. At the Kenan show, I had some requests for more cotton scarves. I don’t usually do a lot with cotton other than my lace, because personally, I prefer the feel and drape of rayon & bamboo. I sure do want to keep people happy when I can, though, so I went to Tammy to see what she already had in stock in handpainted Egyptian cotton. (No time between shows for custom dye work.)

She only had one size, 5/2, dyed up. I bought two batches, Visionary, a colorway I’ve used before in rayon, and a new one called cayenne in rich reds and oranges. It’s always interesting to me how different fibers take the same dyes, and the cotton is quite a bit darker than the rayon. Still, I new I needed to add some blues & purples to my stock, so I started with the Visionary.

I also knew I had to sett the cotton farther apart than I had previously to make the scarves softer and more pleasing to me. After all, I have to please myself before I please anyone else. So I decided on 15 ends per inch, and threaded the loom for Ms & Ws.

handwoven Egyptian cotton scarf, visionary

I wove the first (in the middle) using a solid periwinkle cotton weft. I particularly liked it. But for the second, I decided to go back to the ‘dark enhances colors’ theory. Since the Visionary yarn includes blue, purple, and green, I chose a solid dark forest green cotton for the weft (on the left), and again treadled it in the Ms & Ws pattern. It’s so dark, the distinction hardly shows up at all. Well poop on that!

So for the third scarf, I used the Visionary yarn as weft, and treadled in a straight 1-2-3-4 twill. I like this one substantially better than the green.

As for the sett, 15 ends per inch was okay, but I’ll make it even less dense next time around.

3 comments to Handwoven Egyptian Cotton Scarves

  • Hello…Your scarves are very beautiful…BUT I would like to explain what I am looking for…I am a male living in the USA and the other day I saw a blue/white scarf with some two – three inch fringe showing…the blue was “Indigo” Blue…I asked the man where he had gotten it and he said he has bought it in Egypt a while ago…He had it wrapped around his neck inside of his leather coat…He also said that it was made from Egyptian Cotton and it appeared that the Indigo blue pattern was printed on the white cotton…It seemed to be medium weight cotton…It was simple but beautiful and I would like to locate one to buy for myself…Sorry to bother you but if you have any information would you please email it to me…THANK YOU very much!!!…bye…Jonathan (

    • Peg Cherre

      Thanks, Jonathan. From your description, the scarf you saw was dyed using a batik method — indigo dye on white cotton. I can’t do anything woven that will approximate that kind of look. I think you can find what you’re looking for in import stores.

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