Silken Dreams

Aside from my baby wraps, all of which are custom orders, I sell the overwhelming majority of my hand weaving at juried art & craft shows. So far this year I’ve only had one show, in East Aurora with my fellow Roycroft Artisans. Although I didn’t sell many pieces, those that I did sell were my pricier ones.

I have two shows in August so needed to replenish my stock. Weaving more silks and shawls seemed to be the thing to do.

Way back in early June I wove three silk scarves. When I set up for the June show I got a bit of a jolt when I realized those scarves weren’t with me. Where were they? I pictured my house—they weren’t where my recently-finished pieces usually were. What had I done with them?

Suddenly it struck me – I had put them in a bag and brought them to a Guild meeting to fringe, and then forgot about them. I knew where that bag was so wasn’t worried.

These scarves have a 30/2 silk warp – finer than the 20/2 I usually weave with. I used a gebrochene pattern, giving me the complexity I like. I wove the first one with 4 strands of ruby tram silk.

ruby tram gebrochene

I wove the second with 4 strands of tram, too, this time in a burnt orange. The orange tram was quite a bit finer than the ruby, so this scarf weighs nothing. To my eye and hand it’s by far the best of the three – the color, the sheen, and the feel.

orange tram gebrochene

I wove the last in a 20/2 twilight silk. Usually I love the twilight, but this time, paired with the 30/2 warp, it created a scarf that’s nice to look at but ‘heavy’ compared to that lighter-than-air burnt orange.

twilight silk gebrochene

After the show I moved to shawls…I’d sold 5 in June & needed to have more in my stash. I stuck with silk and with an 8-shaft pattern, this time in a ‘falling leaves’ weave pattern.

falling leaves draft

I had 4 complementary colors of silk that I wanted to use in weft. My plan was several inches of color one, then several inches of color 1 alternated with color 2, then solid color 2, then color 2 alternated with color 3….you get the idea.

I’m quite happy with how it turned out.

falling leaves silk shawl with gradations

falling leaves silk shawl 2 length

Then I decided to use those same colors, but instead of the 1-and-1 transition, I’d use the gradation plan I use for my baby wraps.
falling leaves silk shawl 1

falling leaves silk shawl 1-b

falling leaves silk shawl-length

For the third shawl on the warp I used 3 blues and the gradations. I also changed the treadling, beat a bit harder, and decided to hem instead of fringe. (I often have helpful, or at least helpful-meaning, artists offer suggestions at shows; last year one snarky artist said, “I’d never wear something with fringe.” Initially hurt, I decided to give it a shot. I won’t do it again, at least not on a silk shawl.)

got the blues silk shawl

The two darker blues – twilight and pacific – although quite a bit different on the cone, are too similar for the gradation to work. C’est la vie. Also, the harder beating produced a shawl that doesn’t drape as nicely. I definitely prefer the first two.

I wove 2 more silk shawls, too – they just got cut off the loom and still need fringing, wet finishing, and pressing. You’ll see them eventually.

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