Handwoven Silk Shawls

The cayenne baby wrap finished the warp on the loom, leaving the Macomber empty. As planned, I focused on weaving pieces for my upcoming jurying. I’m getting anxious because time is ticking away and I don’t have the pieces I think will serve me well.

So I spent some time creating a draft for an 8-shaft undulating twill.

undulating twill draft

Then I measured 528 ends of 20/2 undyed silk a bit over 6 yards long and warped up the loom at 24EPI. For weft I wanted to use some 20/2 silk I’d dyed with indigo last year at my guild‘s natural dye workshop. I hand hemmed the beginning edge and set off weaving. I loved the way the weaving looked, and got a bit over a foot woven when I took a whole bunch of measurements and realized that I would not have enough yarn to complete the piece. Damn, damn, double damn! I couldn’t bear to waste the silk, either the undyed or the indigo dyed, so I painstakingly unwove 12+”. What a drag!

Then I tried four different colors of silk and silk-blend yarn I had. I wasn’t excited about any of them. Must be time to walk away from the loom for the night.

Next day after playing around some more I decided to use some custom-dyed 20/2 silk I had in Twilight blue. I knew the colors would have more contrast than I wanted, but I wasn’t getting anywhere, so I went for it. I tried and tried to get the colors accurate, but couldn’t really – it’s much more blue in real life.

handwoven cream & twilight blue silk shawl

I could tell even on the loom that the beat was not perfectly even, despite my best attempts, so I knew this wasn’t going to be a jury piece.

That meant I really needed the second shawl to be beautiful. I decided to use some 6/60 silk-linen yarn, since the color was similar to the natural-dyed indigo. This color is way off, too, showing much grayer than in real life.

handwoven cream & winter blue silk & linen shawl

I was happy with how it looked on the loom and hoped I would feel the same after wet finishing. I did, yay! This shawl will go to the jury.

I like both of the sides, where the cream makes the wavy lines and where the winter blue does. A bit closer to the real color, but still not right.
cream & blue silk, up & down

Then I got stalled on my next skyline and had to walk away from the loom on that, too. So while I was not weaving I decided to bead the ends of the shawl. I used pale blue seed beads and gray freshwater pearls. Here’s the entire width of the shawl.
beaded end of silk shawl

I did notice as I was beading that about 1/4″ of the width is pulled in a bit on the end, and I’m sure the jury will, too, but if that’s the only criticism on the piece, I’ll be okay with it.

Now for a closeup of the beading.

beaded end closeup

Back to the re-do of the skyline!

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