Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Right Fiber for the Job

I belong to a group who make shawls and lap robes for people who might need one.  We recently sent one to an acquaintance of mine who lives across the country.  She loved the gift but unfortunately it was made with wool and she is allergic to wool.  I was so sad that the gift had brought irritation - literally.  Since we didn't have another shawl in our collection that was appropriate, I thought that I would just weave one.  Easy - right??

I thought I should have lots of yarn that would work.  After looking through bin after bin, I did have yarns that would be suitable, but there wasn't enough.  Or I had yarns that would be perfect, except for that 20% wool content.  

Finally, I found two skeins of Misti Alpaca cotton/silk mix - "Pima Silk Hand Paint".  It was perfect, except I didn't have enough. Fortunately, 3/2 perle cotton was just about the same grist as this yarn.  I had some in the color "duck" from UKI that would look great.  Now, what to use for the weft.  I didn't want to use something too similar to this warp because I wanted a cozier final textile than would result from using say, the same 3/2 cotton as weft.  I settled on an acrylic yarn that was probably twice the grist of the warp.  I was a little concerned about this but thought that because it was a spongier yarn, it would fill in the spaces fine.  

For the warp, I alternated the cotton/silk yarn with the 3/2 cotton.  It was sett at 15 epi.  The warp was threaded to an 8-shaft point and the tie-up was a 2-2-1-1-1-1 twill. I had just enough of the cotton/silk yarn to wind on 28 inches of the warp, in the reed.  The acrylic weft was woven at about 5 ppi.  

I was pleasantly surprised at the results.  The weft yarn filled in and the color variations of the painted warp showed through nicely.  The warp floats, although no longer than three thread lengths were a bit longer than I would have liked because the weft ppi.

I washed the resulting shawl in my front-loader washing machine on a relatively gentle setting.  I also put it in the drier on a low setting and dried to dampness.  A twisted fringe was then created using a hair twirler.  

The shawl turned out to be snuggly with lots of colors interest.  I'm hoping it will suit the bill.

Finished Shawl

Shawl Detail

This was an interesting exercise to figure out how to make a shawl given constraints of fiber content and a desire to use yarn that I had in my stash.  I'm very happy with the result.

1 comment:

Sharon said...

I love it! What an interesting exercise - food for thought.