Rayon Gemtones

I have time to weave one last project before the Roycroft show. Although I was happy enough with both the Surreal rayon scarves and the Visionary Egyptian cotton scarves, neither gave me the gemtones visual that I wanted. So I decided that’s what I’d do. Time crunch being what it was, I set up the loom for only 2 scarves – I didn’t think I’d have time to weave 3 – sticking with that all-over huck pattern from the eggshell cotton scarves.

handwoven rayon scarves, gemtones lace
Ta da! I do really like them.

The outer stripes are a brilliant turquoise-y color, then a deep purple, with a navy in the middle. I had considered a medium green in the middle, giving the sapphire->amethyst->peridot colors of actual gems, but decided that without sampling (my nemesis), I might be unpleasantly surprised by what that green would do. So it’s sapphire->amethyst->lapis lazuli. I used that same turquoise/sapphire for the weft on both scarves.

For folks who aren’t familiar with huck or other lace weaves, I thought you’d like to see the difference between the two sides of these scarves.
gemtone huck lace scarves, front & back
On the right in the photo you’ll see that the sapphire is prominent, with some longer strands (called floats in the weaving world) holding together bundles of the other colors of threads. Those floats are horizontal, running the width of the scarf. On the left you’ll see that the other colors are more prominent, with the purple and navy having those floats. These floats are vertical, running the length of the scarf. I won’t call these the front and back of the scarf; it’s not like one side is better than the other, they’re just a bit different.

Now it’s time for another confession. I haven’t always pressed my scarves as part of the wet finishing process. I wasn’t sure if it was really worth it. I know better now.

Look at the difference between these two scarves.
scarves ironed and not
The first thing you’ll probably notice is that the scarf on the left, the one I’ve pressed, is a full 1/2″ wider than the one on the right. In something this size, 1/2″ is a lot – it’s almost 10%!

Given the quality of the photo, you may not be able to see much more than that, so I’ll just tell you what the other differences are. The laciness, the airiness, the amount of open space on the pressed scarf is noticeably different than on the non-pressed scarf. This is pretty significant when you’re making handwoven lace! Finally, the floats, those places where the threads are longer than their neighbors, are settled into their homes much better. They lay flatter and do their job of gathering their friends together more neatly.

From now on, I’ll be pressing scarves. Live and learn – mostly from other weavers!

So now I’ve caught up on what I’ve woven since June 6, between the Kenan show and the Roycroft show. I sold 17 pieces at Kenan, and since then wove 17 and beaded one (2 unsaleable). I have been busy. By the time you read this, the Roycroft show will be in full swing. I’ll see what shoppers have to say there, and will begin my July weaving pretty quickly after that. I wonder how it’ll change my focus – my colors, my fabrics, my patterns….

2 comments to Rayon Gemtones

  • The colours in these are like gems. Lovely. Laura Fry’s book on finishing handwoven fabric is excellent!

    • Peg Cherre

      Although I don’t have Laura’s Magic in the Water, I do read her blog very regularly, and it was she who convinced me that pressing was essential. She is absolutely correct, although I admit she is much more systematic in her pressing methods than I.

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