Silk Python Scarves

Handwoven Magazine May/June 2015 Photo: Longthread Media website
Recently a good friend lent me an 8-shaft table loom for a bit of a play.  I’m normally limited to 4-shafts so I decided to make the most of it.  The scarf pattern, by David Wismar, is the one shown on the cover of  May/June 2015 edition of Handwoven magazine.

Draft #45548. Source:
The draft is #45548 on  It has a pattern repeat of 80 picks – how is that for giving myself a challenge???
His scarf was woven with 8/2 tencel. I didn’t have any so I substituted a 20/2 silk and used KraftKolour dyes to get the four colours.

Scarf 1 – Warm colours

Warp : Mallee

Weft: 1 part Mallee to 3 parts Wombat

Scarf 2 – Cool colours

Warp : Saltmash with a pinch of Marine to get a duck egg blue colour

Weft: Granite (pearl grey)

Setting up the first warp took an entire day.  I’m not the quickest at warping in the first place and the pattern was most more intricate that other weaves I’ve done.  Add to that the pattern is not symmetric.  I was really careful to check and recheck the threading.  I only had one threading error which in which the thread didn’t actually go through the heddle.

The loom took a bit of getting used to and I quickly realised how nice my big 4-shaft loom was with it’s wide shed, treadles and winding system.  On the plus side, I could easily  take this loom outside and weave in the sun – absolute bliss on a cold day.


A loom with a view
A loom with a view

The first scarf was woven over about 5 weeks, just doing a half or full pattern repeat at time.  The photos below shows how the pattern come up.  The texture of the scarf is quite amazing.

For the second scarf, I tied the new warp onto the first.  The knots jiggled through the reed and heddles without any trouble.  Tying the 164 knots was pretty tedious but so much quicker than rethreading.  I think it took about 2hrs with a few short breaks to have the new warp set up for weaving.  As I was tying them on, I could help thinking I’d seen the colour combination before  like on the rug and tiles 🙂

One of the problems I found with the weaving is that the pattern isn’t that obvious as it is being woven.  It shows up more as texture.  When you view it from the back of the loom, the pattern really stands out.  I wrote the treadling out onto a small sheet stuck to foam, and used a pin to mark my place as I worked through the pattern.  Normally, I can see the pattern and get used to the treadle sequence, but this was too complex.  Working from the pin-board allowed me to keep on track and I can only see one treading error in the finished scarves.  And after the first 10 repeats, you can get into the rhythm of it.  The second scarf was done and dusted over 3 days.

Here are the two side by side.  For the first (rust) one, I used a more open weft.  It ended up with a lot more texture than the second.  Both have a lovely light and silky feel.  And so ends my playtime with an 8-shaft loom.  I’ve returned it to it’s owner with the warp tied off so she can tie on her own warp.


The two together

At a Glance:

Pattern #45548 on  (8 shaft)
Warp 20/2 silk.  24 epi ( 2/dent on 12 dent reed).  2.5m warp.
Difficulty 4/4  Pattern repeat is over 80 picks and the pattern wasn’t very obvious when weaving.  Weft was bending on the loom.
End Result 4/5 – Love the feel of the scarves.  The pattern is fantastic but it needs to be in the right light to see it well.  More contrast in the yarn colours may help???

5 thoughts on “Silk Python Scarves

  1. Oh my goodness, those are stunning.

    **I do not need another craft. I do not need another craft. I do not need another craft. I do not need another craft. I do not need another craft. I do not need another craft. I do not need another craft. I do not need another craft…… LOL


  2. I’m catching up on blog-reading, so am a bit late with this comment, but I have to say I am totally in awe of this beautiful weaving!


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