First off, my apologies to Irwin Shaw and Bruce Springsteen. Shaw, a noted screenwriter, playwright and novelist is the author of the short story “The Girls in Their Summer Dresses” . Springsteen in his acclaimed album “Magic” produced in 2007, included his lovely poem about youth and longing, “The Girls in Their Summer Clothes”. Secondly, I’m taking poetic license with the term “girls” in referring to women of all ages. At my age, I feel I’ve earned the privilege to be called a “girl” again!
That being said, let’s get on with this post. Check out this delightful slide show “On the Street/Muffled” by New York Times columnist Bill Cunningham. In the heat of August, these images show lovely New York City women (and one lovely man) sporting an array of elegant scarves over their tank tops, tees and summer dresses. Some scarves look like they might be cashmere, some silk or rayon and Cunningham describes them all as “gossa-meer”. I imagine that’s a reference to their soft and flowing nature. With warm weather approaching, this is the fashion statement of the hour. Even Memphis’ own newspaper, “The Commercial Appeal” featured a fashion article proclaiming that scarves are hot – even in hot weather.
This is excellent news for weavers! Though I love the look of the lacy and open felted scarves that are so popular with weavers these days, they are just not appropriate for warm weather climates, and certainly not something you would want next to your skin in 90 degree heat. In recent weeks, my students and I have been weaving open weave scarves out of cotton, rayon, and bamboo yarn. These scarves were woven on a rigid heddle loom with a warp and weft of rayon flake yarn.
When threading the warp, one inch sections of yarn were separated by 3/4 inch sections of empty slots and holes in the rigid heddle. When weaving, a 3/4″ wide cardboard spacer was used to separate one inch woven sections. In this scarf, spacing occurred in both the warp and the weft.
The photo of the finished scarf was taken before washing. A gentle hand washing will allow the woven areas to slightly shift so the open areas will look softer and more delicate. This rayon scarf will drape beautifully after washing.
A blend of 10/2 perle cotton yarns was threaded for this warp spaced scarf on a 4 harness floor loom. Random warp threads of gold metallic yarn were placed in the warp.The warp was threaded in a point twill threading. The weft was dyed bamboo yarn with short pieces of gold metallic yarn placed in the shed at random intervals. The weft spacing was determined by the insertion of a satin cord which was removed as the weaving progressed, then inserted into the next “spaced” section. The satin cord used as a spacing device in the weft was recommended in Sharon Alderman’s Book, A Handweaver’s Notebook.
I also cut a paper template and used it as a measuring device to be sure that each woven section was equal in length. Because of the twill threading, I needed to add floating selvages and while weaving, I inserted my shuttle over the floating selvage when entering the shed, and exited under the floating selvage in each row.
To weave a twill without a floating selvage, this is what you will need to remember: when facing the loom, and this is assuming you have a 4 harness loom, thread the left selvage thread of your warp on an even numbered harness (2 or 4), and thread the right selvage thread of your warp on an odd numbered harness (1 or 3). Then start weaving by throwing the shuttle from right to left. But I have discovered that this only works if you are treadling a straight twill. It does not work for a reverse twill treadling. So, you’ll probably have to deal with a floating selvage after all. But when using a floating selvage all you have to remember is enter over and exit under. Just a few details to keep in mind!
When these warp and weft spaced scarves are washed and finished with neatly twisted fringes, they will feel soft and silky and give a girl just the right look for a summer scarf.
Filed under: Aging, Fiber, Handwoven, Memphis, Uncategorized, Weaving | Tagged: 4 harness, bamboo yarn, Bambu 7, commercial appeal, cotton, fashion, floating selvage, girls, handwoven scarf, Irwin Shaw, loom, New York, rayon, rigid heddle, Springsteen, summer, twill weave, weavers, weaving class |