Monday, November 9, 2015

Alpaca Shawl

I live in an area with a lot of alpaca ranches.  Well maybe these days, there are lots of alpaca ranches in a lot of places.  In any event, it's nice to weave with this fiber.
I had some wool/alpaca/angora blend in a few different shades of gray so I decided to use all that I had for warp for a shawl.  It was a good thing I had decided to commit it all since I needed every inch.  With the different shades, I came up with a plan to move from the dark yarn through the medium grays to a natural color.  It turned out to be semi-systematic with only one section that was too much of the same shade for a bit too many warp threads.   

The warp was threaded as a point twill on 8 shafts.  The thread order was 1->8, 1->8, 7->1, 8->1.  So kind of like a double 8 shaft point.  The sett was 12 epi. 

The weft was a medium gray alpaca yarn I bought at Carol's estate yarn sale several years ago.  It was a nice medium color that worked well with the variation of shade in the warp. 

The tie-up is my standard 2-2-1-1-1-1 that I'm using for my towels.  To be honest, I have to say I used is since it was already on the loom I wanted to use and it is a pain to change the tie-up.  And since I knew there were more towels in my future, I left it. This was treadled as a double point - treadles 1->8, 1->8, 7-> 1, 8->1. 

I love making things that don't require doing something to the fringe in order to finish the piece.  Unfortunately, this shawl needed to have the fringe "finished".  I used my hair curler to twist the fringe.  This takes almost as long as the weaving but worth the effort.  This was the first time I finished the fringe before wet finishing the shawl.

To wet finish this shawl, I did take it for a wash in my front loader washing machine with cool water and a handwash setting.  With trepidation, I put it in the dryer on the very low setting for about 8 minutes.  Fortunately it turned out great.

This is my third shawl made with mostly alpaca yarn.  I think I'm starting to feel comfortable with this fiber.