Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tensel / Silk Scarf

After ten and a half months, I finally took this scarf off my Leclerc Artisat loom and finished it just in time for our weaving guild challenge, Fine For Me.  Everyone was challenged to weave something with yarn that was thinner than we ever used before.  Our guild has members with a wide range of experience, so it is going to be interesting to see the different items next Monday when we meet.

The finest yarn I used previously was a 20/1 linen.  I had to use something thinner than that, so I used a yarn that had been in my stash for quite a while.  It is a blend of 80% tensel and 20% silk and is quite shiny and a light eggshell color.
 This yarn is sett at 40 ends per inch and my scarf  was 8" wide on the loom.  That is a lot of tiny threads but hardly made a dent in my cone of yarn!

To keep it in control as I was putting the yarn on the loom, I used my pair of "angel wings" to keep the threads from tangling.  After measuring the yarn, I slipped the two dowels in the cross, which keeps the yarn in threading order.  The warp went on the loom without any problems.  I think the key to that is keeping tension on the warp while winding it on the warp beam.
The pattern I chose is from Marguerite Davison's book, A Handweaver's Pattern Book.  It is called Kay's Design, on page 144.  It is an overshot pattern, which requires two shuttles, one for the tabby (plain weave) background yarn and another to weave the pattern.  The pattern yarn is traditionally a thicker yarn than the warp and tabby yarn, so I utilized my double bobbin shuttle to weave two strands of the tensel /silk at the same time.  It works much better than to try to wind two strands of yarn on one bobbin.

I started off with a sample to check the pattern for errors before I started the actual scarf.  I could tell right away that the scarf was going to take FOREVER to weave!  I think I figured out I had to make 72 passes with the shuttles to weave an inch.
I hemstitched at the beginning and end of the scarf because I wanted to twist the fringe to help keep it from tangling and fraying.  Click on the photo to enlarge it to see the detail.  The hemstitching helps define the bundles that will be twisted and also holds the initial woven threads in place.
After weaving 60", I called it quits, finished the hemstitching on the other end and cut the scarf off the loom.  One end was finished and I was just getting started twisting the fringe on this end when I took this photo.  Each clip has four threads for a total of twelve for each fringe.  I was glad I hemstitched because it made it so much easier to separate the bundles.
The fringe turned out pretty nice and just a shake untangles it.
After the wet finishing process, I pressed the scarf to set the yarn.  I am not real happy with how flat it looks and am thinking I might try steaming it to see if I can raise the pattern threads a little.  I liked the look of it better before it was washed, but the wet finishing improved the softness and drape of the fabric.

If you look closely at this photo, you can see the slight bit of color from the Sulky rayon machine embroidery thread I used for the tabby yarn.  It is variegated pastel colors and the blue shows the most.  I wouldn't use it in a project again because it was so slippery and curled up a lot, especially toward the end of the bobbin.

I finished up my records and draft to share with my guild, but needless to say, there will be no samples to give to anyone!  Now I need to get my crackle project off another loom, write up those records and possibly weave some samples.  I should have some photos of that Christmas runner project soon.