Textures For a Friend

April 10, 2011

Years ago bought some recycled sari silk because I loved it.  I couldn’t figure out how to weave it, though.  The yarn was bulky, but it wanted to be garment.  It was a textural handspun with twists and snarls as well as slubs, yet it wanted to be a warp.  I could see it would not work as a warp with either a rigid heddle or a conventional loom.

Back in the fall I wanted to make a gift, and whenever I thought of the friend to be gifted I found my mind turning back to the impossible sari silk.  At last I realized this might be a job for my new (-ish) standing inkle loom.  I wasn’t at all sure an inkle loom could produce cloth with a scarf-like drape or whether the leashes would handle the slubs any better than heddles would, but a sample band showed me it could be done and how to do it.  Then I wove this:

Scarf: Textures for a Friend

Completed: early February 2011

Pattern: warp-dominant plain weave

Warp: 2 ply sari silk–1 ply multicolored, 1 ply black

Weft: Antique French knitting twist, size no. 4, navy blue, 18 wpi.

Ends: 31

Warp length: about 2 1/3 yards–close to the maximum capacity of the loom

ppi: about 4

Width on loom: 4- 4 1/2”

Finished width: 3 3/4”

Woven length: 78” without fringe

Finished length: 76 1/2” without fringe

Finishing:  Hemstitched 5 1/2” fringes in bundles of two then tied off each warp yarn with overhand knot to keep from untwisting.  Hand washed in tepid water, tepid rinse, followed by many cold rinses disperse excess dye.  Let drip dry, then while still damp tumbled in dryer on very low heat to fluff.

Conclusions: I would have woven this even wider, but it turned out I had to cut out a lot of segments of yarn that were weak or even had bits of thorn, string, and shredded plastic spun into the yarn, so there turned out to be less of it than I anticipated.  I believe my loom could make a scarf as wide as 5” (finished width) if I was careful about not letting it pop off the pegs.  The slubs were not a problem because of the way you have to slacken the warp as you advance it on an inkle loom.  This makes it easy to guide threads through the leashes by hand if anything gets hung up, which only happened once or twice.  My first time weaving silk.  Firm and pliable at the same time.