‘Start with a skein’ SWAP: Finish with a scarf

Since my SWAP wardrobe was inspired by the colours in a skein of yarn, I should show you the finished scarf.  After a few wrong turns learning experiences, the end result was a featherweight scarf that really showed up the colour variations in the dying. 

As a recap, this is the skein as I bought it.  It is a fine 2 ply wool in delicious colours of navy and burnt orange.  I wanted the scarf to have an ikat like effect that showed up the colour variations in the skein, with the focus on the orange colours.  The second photo shows a scarf from Handwoven Magazine (Sept/Oct 2011) that I was wanting to emulate.  It is a twill weave, with a painted warp and plain white weft.



The first step was to count the wraps to determine the sett (# threads per inch for the warp). My previous scarves have been a little firm, so I wound the wraps looser than I normally do (= first major blunder).  For a twill weave, the sett is 2/3 the number of wraps and I should have twigged that the number was too low.

The calculation came to 240 warp threads for a 6″ scarf. Winding the warp was very slow.  It was done as a continuous circle, making sure that the colours stacked up each other.  To get the scarf long enough, the warp was twice the length of the skein – about 4m on the warping board as the yarn was quite stretchy.  This worked out well as I had enough for loom waste and a good 1/2m for sampling.

The draft I chose was from Anne Dixon’s book of 4 shaft patterns.  The threading repeat was over 32 threads, so 7.5 repeats.  With my loom, I need to start threading at the centre and work out to either edge.  I threaded the first half correctly, but for some reason when working in reverse, I did a 30 thread repeat ( = second major blunder).  So I pulled out 120 threads and re-threaded them through the heddles.  Oh what fun!!!.

So then came the sampling.  My error on the sett came back to bite me as the threading was too wide.  So I pulled the threads out of the reed an re-sleyed it tighter ( 2 threads per dent).  The result was better, but the weft (plain) thread was dominating and colours were not showing up.  The pattern was nice though and I may use it again on a solid colour.  The scarf would be too narrow if I re-sleyed it tighter, so I switched to a plain weave.  I made samples with plain weave and basket weave, using different colours and thicknesses in the weft.  Finally I settled on plain weave, with a navy wool single for the weft.

Weaving was fairly quick and the scarf was looking very gauzy on the loom.  Most importantly, the colours and ikat effect were showing up well.

And once washed, the wool fluffed up nicely to fill in the gaps and has a gorgeous drape.  The colours show up really well and I learned a heck of a lot in the process.  The scarf was finished just in time for the Wool Day run by our local spinners and weavers group.  I wore it with blue jeans, a cream shirt and my burnt orange jacket.  It got a lot of comments and it was really nice to show to the lady who I’d bought the skein from.  Naturally, I a couple of skeins followed me home.  With the success of the SWAP, I plan to use the same formula for an autumn winter wardrobe…… 🙂

5 thoughts on “‘Start with a skein’ SWAP: Finish with a scarf

    1. Thanks Sharon. I made a lot more work for myself with all the mistakes but I’ve learnt a lot in the process. The actual weaving is incredibly relaxing to do


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