Thursday, December 14, 2006

How I Make a Shawl: The Two Candidates

I believe good shawls age like good wine. I was unhappy with both of these last week, and refused to photograph them, but today, they didn't look.... so bad.

The yarns I used in this first warp were in three blues and one undyed 100% merino wool, 110/2. The sett was 18 DPI.

For this first piece, I used a variegated-dyed merino boucle in the weft. The weave is #40229 from Kris Bruland's The weft shrunk far more than I had anticipated, so the shawl has a squishy, stretchy texture, but is surprisingly light-weight.

I had anticipated the loops on the boucle to pop up all over, making it a piece showing off the beautiful oranges and greens of the weft yarn, but the result is more warp-dominant. I don't like that the construction is not exactly stable, (i.e. the long warp floats might catch buttons and long earrings, but pulling it warp-wise and weft-wise, the thread will go right back into the textile); on the other hand, I think it looks like water over sea weeds and shells.

In the second piece, possum/mohair/merino wefts in four colors were placed in Fibonacci sequence, the colors representing grass, sand, shallow and deeper water. The weave is #12833 from the same, turned.

I didn't like the teal yarn being much more vivid than the other three, and even though all four colors were used in the same proportion, the shawl appear predominantly teal. As well, in spite of sampling, the finished textile is much stiffer owing to the weave structure; this is totally different from the shawls I usually weave with the exact same combination of warp and weft yarns and the sett, but woven in looser twills. The appearance and the hand of this piece ended up being masculine/rustic/tough, which is not the kind of textile I normally weave, like, or had planned, but the appearance matches the hand, and this is a sturdy, long-lasting piece of cloth.

I am not sure if these pieces will make it into the final selection. I tried to challenge my self-imposed boundaries and preconceptions, and I created two pieces that I would not have woven had I not tried new things. Yes, I am ambivalent about these at this point, but I also feel both of these suit "Sea, Sand and Sky".


  1. Hi Meg,
    A lot of work! Amazing what you do.

  2. Meg I can smell the seaweed and yesterday as I walked the beach the shells tumbled and tinkled as the waves receded. I can see it in the wrap.
    How long are the warp floats, I think the rule is 1 cm or less.

  3. Hi, Paul!! Thanks for stopping by! No wonder I'm so grumpy all the time, yeah?

    Dianne, like I said, not good.

  4. I was wrong, looked up my notes and the float can be half an inch. Does that help.

  5. Dianne, thank you very much for checking, but for me, regardless of the length of the float, it feels too long and it catches, and that's not good construction for me.

  6. Hi Meg,
    this all is incredibly impressive. How can anybody ever pay you for so much knowledge, care, work, great material? So amazing.
    By the way, I just love that blue to teal scarf (with the flower vase), if you ever sell it, let me know (email on my blog).
    I wish you lots of joyous experiences with your artistry and craft,

  7. Thank you, Merisi, for the complements. I am at least a week behind schedule, however, because I've been ... enjoying the Christmas spirit in the blog world bit.... Back to the basement.


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