Handwoven Rainbow Shawl

I know I need to make more shawls before the Roycroft Winter Show. I also have a special order for a shawl and three special order scarves. While I was waiting for final input from my customers on the special orders, I decided to make a rayon chenille shawl.

I’d seen some gorgeous weaving with many different colors of yarn, offset by black. I’d not done anything like this, and wanted to give it a try. I ended up with 16 different colors, arranged in a prism fashion. I used 8 strands of black in between each color. (Next time I’d use less black – perhaps 4 strands between each.)

After I got it spread out on the back beam, it was clear to me that my colors needed a bit of adjustment. The orange was way too bright, and there was too much purple.
handwoven rainbow shawl on back beam

I was okay simply removing several of the purple threads and having the shawl be 8-10 threads narrower. At the other edge of the shawl, however, I thought that while the orange was too bright and overpowering, I should have had more of the red. So I wanted to insert as many red threads as I removed of the orange. I also wanted to get rid of a few black threads from the right edge; I wanted it clear that I intended the width of the black selvedges to be different, and if they were too close in thread counts, it would look like I’d made a mistake.

After making all those adjustments, and having a few broken threads, here’s what the back of my loom looked like. Pretty ugly.
rainbow shawl messy back beam

The final result of the shawl is a bit more subdued than I had envisioned, but that’s part of the reason I’d make the bands of black narrower next time around. Other than that, I’m happy with the design. (I’m also happy that the photo shows the sheen of the rayon chenille; that’s usually quite hard for me to achieve. I shot this one on my bathroom counter. I’m going to try the next one there.)
handwoven rainbow rayon chenille shawl

I also enjoyed being a bit random in my planning. I had no preconceived notion of how wide I’d make each color band. I simply picked all the colors first and set them out in the order I’d use them, and wound as many wraps as I thought would look good. This is different than my usual very planned methodology. It felt good, and I’ll do it again.

Your turn: has changing your methods brought you successes?

3 comments to Handwoven Rainbow Shawl

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