Where does the time go?

How is it possible that another 10 days have passed without a blog post? Answer: I’ve been really busy.

Last weekend I had another great show in Buffalo. People were particularly interested in my scarves on Sunday, when the weather was cooler.

And next weekend I have another big show – Clothesline in Rochester.. So now I have to weave, weave, WEAVE! I’ve gotten six scarves done in the last 4 days, and will put a warp for 3 more on my loom today. I’ve taken a few days off my paycheck job to give me more time. The new scarves are in the drying process, so haven’t been photo’d yet, but I can show you a few more things I finished before the Elmwood Ave. show last weekend.

First I finished the two purple & silver mohair scarves I’d put on the rigid heddle loom for the Chautauqua show. I do love how these scarves look, and am getting better at wet finishing them in soft-as-a-cloud delights. Many other people agreed, so I simply re-created the one I’d woven in May.
purple & silver handwoven mohair scarves

I knew I needed to stock up on some cashmere silk blend scarves, so I started with the light blue. I would have made 3 of them, as is my usual fashion, but I only had enough of the blue yarn to warp for 2.
handwoven blue and cream lace cashmere scarves with silk
I put a cream stripe down the center, and wove lace along both edges. I think they’re lovely. Interestingly, although I did sell four handwoven cashmere silk scarves last weekend, these were not among them. That’s not a problem, just a comment.

I also had some black cashmere silk yarn that I hadn’t used yet, so I could definitely warp for 3 of those. And did. (Warning to non-weavers: weaving terminology follows. Simply skip down to below the picture if you don’t want to read this part.)

I decided this was a great opportunity to try something I’d been wanting to do since the MAFA workshop in July – name drafting in overshot. Since I was only making a scarf and wanted to have a reasonable number of repeats, I didn’t want to use my entire business name – second wind weaving – so just used the first two words. I played with star fashion vs. rose fashion and an assortment of assignment strategies, ultimately choosing a standard arrangement in rose fashion. I really like the visual.
cashmere silk name drafting

I used a gray silk for the pattern on the black cashmere, making a border that’s about 4″ wide. The rest of the scarf is plain weave. I enjoyed weaving the border.

It is funny to me how I forget things. When I wove the first border on the first scarf, I was being very careful to follow the pattern correctly, and used a very light beat. After I got my border done I thought my beat was too light — the fibers weren’t packed in tightly enough — and the pattern was therefore more vertically oval than round. I had to make the other end of this scarf the same, so used the same light beat.

For the second scarf, I beat the pattern in more firmly, making the pattern more rounded. Looked great to me. Until, of course, I took them off the loom and wet finished. DUH!! Of course those vertical ovals on the loom reverted to circles when they were released from the tension of the loom, and circles on the loom became horizontal ovals. I think only a weaver would notice these details, it just made me chuckle.

So here are the two scarves.
handwoven cashmere silk scarves, overshot

I really like them, both on the loom and off, but can’t decide if they’re classy scarves or grandma scarves.

I had planned to make the 3rd scarf different – no border and a lace treadling. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do it. I found the black yarn to be problematic from the beginning. Lots of broken warp threads, something that hasn’t happened with any of the other colors I’ve used. However, I did have the same experience with black rayon chenille last year, and did some online research that told me that black yarn can be troublesome. A solid black can be a challenging color to achieve in dyes, and as a result, it can sometimes weaken the fiber.

I was clearly having that problem. By the time I’d gotten to the end of the second scarf, I was fixing lots of warp threads. That was enough of a pain, but the yarn along the selvedges was become really troublesome. As a result my selvedges were thick and uneven. I tried several strategies to try to correct it, all unsuccessful. I ultimately decided it was better to cut off the 2 scarves and waste the rest of this lovely fiber than waste my time weaving a scarf I was not going to be happy with that was not going to be saleable.

After this frustration, I needed to weave something quick and easy. So I put on a narrow warp (42 ends) of cotton and wove 25 bookmarks. I used a periwinkle overshot threading, an assortment of weft yarns, and an array of treadling patterns.
more handwoven bookmarks

Your turn: are those two black scarves with the gray borders something a young woman would wear, or only a woman of a certain age?

Have a great Labor Day Weekend!!!!

3 comments to Where does the time go?

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