Sunday, July 16, 2017

Twill Shawls

I was browsing through my yarn stash in early April and stopped to admire the large quantity of Malibrigo wool sock yarns that had been collecting over the past few years.  Each time my local Ben Franklin had a sale, I picked up a new skein.  They are wonderful yarns with so much color it makes my heart sing when I look at them.  (Which is exactly why I bought them in the first place).  I started laying the yarns out  to see how the colors meshed and then added some more sock yarns from my stash that I had dyed and others that a friend had dyed (Wooly Daisy).  Shawls, I thought.  Big woolen shawls with loads of color.

The first thing was the design and since there were so many colors, I opted for twill blocks.  A three block profile was established and this gave me the option of weaving off the blocks with different treadling sequences. 

After carefully weighing the yarns or seeing what yardages were on each skein,  My calculations told me I had enough yarn for 12 yards at 28" wide and I plotted out the color stripes, keeping in mind how many yards of wool I had in each color.

As I started winding the warp on the beam, I found that some of the yarns had more elasticity to them than others.  Warning bells went off in my head.  This would mean that after these yarns were released from tension, they would contract differently than the others, leaving ripples in the finished cloth.  I had to pull off some of my stripes (sectional warping made it possible) and actually buy more yarn to fill in the spaces.  My original stripe plan was altered as I warped - for better or worse, who knew?

I devised several drafts to fit the striping and added a basketweave selvedge to the edges.  I thought that I could do some shawls with blocks of broken twill and some with straight four thread twills.  Because each block of twill requires four shafts, the main body of the shawls required 12 shafts with another four shafts for the selvedge. (16 shafts in all).

Once the loom was warped, I wondered what color weft should I use to unify the dizzying array of color stripes?  I found some nice dark teal wool, a meadow green (the cone said it was cashmere - I'm not convinced) and finally some nubby silk that I dyed in a dark purple blue.

I hoped that I would have enough warp for four shawls, but sometimes my block sequence begged for a bit longer piece, so I wove them out at close to 100" more or less.  Big shawls that make a bold statement when worn.
I look at the shawls draped on my mannequin and wonder if the orange stripes aren't a bit too bright for the rest of the warp.  The red seems OK, but the orange?  Well, it is what it is.


  1. Thanks for the inspiration! I've been buying sock yarn as well and have a ton. Love how they turned out!!

  2. Very beautiful shawl accompanied by some very informative weaving information.
    Thank you for sharing

  3. I think the colors are wonderful together.

  4. I actually like the orange. I think it brightens it up. Inspiration....