Monday, February 26, 2018

Weaving Handspun Silk Scarves

I finally got a loom! I got it a few months ago as a birthday present. So far I've woven two handspun wool scarves, twelve cotton kitchen towels, handspun wool fabric with which I made a skirt, and three handspun silk scarves. 

I just finished the scarves today. I spun up three types of silk to weave them with. In the picture below they are Red Eri, Tussah, and Muga.

I wound a little over seven yards of warp:

 The warp was so pretty before it went on the loom:

While weaving, I was sure I was going to mess everything up and ruin all of this expensive silk.

I wove two scarves in two different types of tabby, and one scarf in twill. Below you can see them just off the loom before wet finishing.

I didn't totally mess them up, but the twill scarf is the best. I wove the plain tabby intentionally very open. That one is the second-best. The third scarf I wove in a loose, but not open tabby - not a plain tabby, but I can't remember the name of it. It came out least-well of the three.

Here are they are, all dry after being wet-finished and pressed:

 A few things I learned: sampling is a good thing. I didn't do it with these and wish I had. Also, the warp with silk can be sett closer than you might think. And when tying the warp onto the front beam, I wouldn't recommend lashing it on, but rather tying it on - I think that would disrupt the weave of what you wind on a lot less (I had a problem with the lashing cord and knots pushing the weave structure apart when the cloth was wound around the beam). And if you are going to weave with silk for the first time, you should probably use less expensive silk than eri, tussah and muga.

You may be asking yourself why I would weave with expensive types of silk on my very first foray into silk weaving. The answer is that these are the only types of silk I had on hand. Now my supply has been exhausted, but I am eager to get more silk, probably mulberry this time, and weave some more!

Even though the scarves aren't perfect, they are still extremely beautiful, solely because of the beautiful nature of silk, and these types of silk in particular. I was hoping that they would be good enough to sell, but I think only the twill one is good enough, unless I explain the less-than-perfect nature of the others in their description and price them accordingly. They actually have a sort-of rustic-woven charm to them that some people might like.

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