Thursday, 12 June 2008

The blue-green rayon and silk scarves

It's been a while since I had the chance to post. First I was away working for two months, and when I got back it was so sunny and spring-like, all I wanted to do with my spare time was to work in the garden.


Despite having the rayon warp sitting invitingly on the loom waiting for me and all of the silk caps spun and ready, all I managed to weave in my first month home was one scarf.


I'd thought that the scarves would be in a twill. But although the white scrap cotton I used to space the warp looked great, I'd put the warp on the loom without thought for what draft I was going to use - so threads were regularly skipped on the selvedges with the twill. In addition to this, I found that a twill made the weft colour too dominant - and that wasn't what I wanted. This series of scarves was going to be more about the interplay of variegated colours and stripes rather than one single colour. So I completely undid the couple of inches of twill and started again.

Instead, I decided to use plain weave for a more balanced colour spread and a technique called clasped weft, which an Australian weaver had posted a fabulous tutorial on. As I had the stripes of blues, greens and yellow in the warp anyway, I decided to use a weft of variegated blues and yellows on the blue side, and an almost solid-colour cornflower blue on the green/yellow side. Would this be too busy in terms of colour? I was about to find out.

Photobucket Photobucket

The answer was no. I was quite pleased with the result. And yet, despite this, I found myself unable to return to the loom much for weeks and weeks. I was just lacking insipration, and the garden was calling. I don't know whether it was the weaving in plain weave (after weaving all those metres of plain weave linen) or just the call of the weather and the garden, but little weaving was occurring! Then, one day a couple of weeks ago, I suddenly got the weaving bug. And in a single weekend wove two more scarves. The second was in varigated soft greens, and the third clasped weft again, in emerald green with blues and yellows, and the other side the same cornflower blue as the first scarf.


For the fourth scarf, I used the left-over spools of silk and made one-inch horizontal stripes to give a kind of pseudo-check effect.


Here are the four scarves, folded together. Because they were a simple weave, they were very fast to weave. I really enjoyed playing with such bold colours, and am quite pleased with the way they interact. The stripes in the warp aren't as bold as I'd imagined they would be - sometimes they stand out, sometimes the blend into the weft - even the gold thread!


A friend told me that these reminded him of the weaving he saw as a child in his native India. I'd been aiming for a summery, casual, tropical/nautical feel, so I think I'd call that a result.


  1. hi,
    This is an exceptional and beautiful example of the clasped weft technique. Your blog is beautiful. I'm glad you found my little tutorial helpful.

  2. Thanks Kaz!

    I find all of your tutorials helpful - it gives me great pleasure to read your blog.