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The Sampler Scarf and the Samples

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I originally meant to put everything together in one post on Friday, but as I started going through the pictures, I just felt like it was too much information for one post -- and I knew I wouldn't have time to put it all together well all at once on Thursday night.  So I decided to break the post into two parts: what I did to set up the project and the results.  Without further ado, here's the results!

20090219_SamplerScarf.jpg First of all, I'll start out with the finished product.  Here it is basking in the cold light of morning after I finished it.  It is not completely clear, but the selvedges on this project are light-years better than those of the first project I tried.  And this is basically because in the first project I was trying to work out the technique for making it happen without any reference.  With this project, I had the help of good reference materials and I took advantage of them.  It's easier to describe what helped with pictures than it is in text alone, so I will save that discussion for the next project that I work on -- but you can definitely find information about how to have nice selvedges in Weaving Made Easy: 17 Projects Using a Simple Loom-- her pictures are very good and her discussion of this is very helpful for beginners.

20090219_SamplerScarfEdges.jpg Ok!  Onto the sampling.  As I mentioned in my previous post, the warp I set up alternated two ends of my orangey-red and two ends of purple, beginning and ending with two ends of the orangey-red.   My goal with this project was to see how different combinations of weft threads looked in combination with the warp.  I wasn't very systematic about this in the scarf itself (I just did whatever entertained me at the moment, but made sure that I tried all the combinations that I could think of.  I'm putting them in better order here to make the progression more clear.

20090219_2xAll.jpg

20090219_2xAllPurple.jpg
These are the results for using all orangey-red weft threads (top) or all purple weft threads (bottom).  Consistent with how I understand color theory and using warm and cool colors together, it doesn't surprise me that sample with the all purple weft still reads as very orangey-red while the sample with the orangey-red weft hardly reads purple at all.  Cool colors tend to recede and be dominated by wram colors, and that really played out in this case!

20090219_2x1x1.jpg
This swatch alternates picks of purple and orange-red.  So when the heddle is in the up position, you are always using one color and when the heddle is in the down position, you are always using the other.  I can't remember which color went with which heddle position for this particular sample, but I can tell you that if you were to swap the colors used for the two different heddle postions, you would get the opposite pattern where what you see as orangey-red now would be purple and what you see as purple would be orange red.  This was the only one of my tests that really worked out this way.

20090219_2x2x2.jpg This is the hound's tooth check pattern.  Two orangey-red weft threads alternate with two purple weft threads.  Because each pair of threads gets used in each of the heddle positions, you don't see any real variation when you alternate with pair you start with. 

20090219_2x4x4.jpg In this case I did 4 threads of purple followed by 4 weft threads of orangey-red (I did try an intermediate two threads of purple and three of red, but it ended up looking kind of muddy and not all that interesting).  Here you can see what I think of as almost a little space invader pattern... but when you back up, it starts to look like stripes.

20090219_2x8x8.jpg Finally, I ended the scarf with 8 threads of purple followed by 8 threads of orangey red.  This pattern definitely reads as wide stripes! (See the sample on the bottom left side of thes scarf in the picture below)
20090219_SamplerScarfInActi.jpg When I first took this scarf off of the loom, it was on the stiff side, and I was a little concerned about whether it would actually work as a scarf.   However, just like most hand knits benefit from a little bath, so do woven materials.  I soaked the scarf for about 1/2 an hour in luke warm water with Eucalin and some mild hair conditioner and the resulting fabric was much softer and more scarf like. 

I ended up tying groups of warp threads together and trimming them to a reasonable length for the finishing of the ends -- this was because I didn't pay attention to the instructions for hemstitching, and, in my excitement about having a finished project, I took the scarf off of the loom before I did the hemstitching, which makes it pretty hard to do that.  But for a simlple scarf, the tied ends are a completely acceptable and durable finish. 

Not only has my scarf seen photographs, it's also seen actual outdoor in the winter action -- I wore it to work on Friday.  Definitely a different feel from a hand knit scarf, but still awfully nice to be wearing something I made.  I am now thinking about what I have in my stash that might be man-friendly, since I think that John might take to a scarf like this (albeit in one regular pattern) better than he does to handknit scarves.  I'd also like to find some chenille yarn to make myself a plaid chenille scarf with.  I have some "Touch Me" in my stash, and I'm wondering if the combination of Touch Me, weaving, and a bit of fulling would make for something very yummy to wear indeed!

So now the thinking about what to try next begins.   I took the plunge and ordered an 8 dent heddle so that I can work with some slightly larger yarn that I have in my stash.  The funny thing about weaving?  I am actually dreaming about it.  I don't think I've ever had dreams that involved knitting.  But with weaving, I wake up with pattern images floating around in my head.  So clearly some part of my brain is absolutely taken with my new craft.  But that said, I still don't really have any firm notion of what is going to be on my loom next.  I'm thinking a little more stash diving might help the process along.

Lovely scarf! I leave not too far from Mannings Weaving center in Southern PA. I have been toying more and more with the idea of a loom!

It is interesting what we are drawn to... I love the look of handspun yarn, absolutely fabulous, but NO desire to spin!!

But weaving, that is whole different ball of wax!

What a great idea for trying out different combinations! And the scarf is really pretty, too.

wow! that looks awesome. I keep giving a forlorn glance at the looms at The Spinning Loft whenever I make it up there and now you've totally added to the temptation! Great job on the scarf!

Gorgeous! For some reason I'm always surprised by how much variation can be done with just a rigid heddle loom. It's a lot more interesting than the scarf I'm currently wearing during my commute (grey woven scarf from a few years ago). I'd love to have a combination of hand made and warm!

Very nice scarf! I think weaving is a nice compliment to knitting and a good way to use up some of the stash. And weaving a scarf definitely goes faster than knitting it!

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