I used to wear fashion scarves on a regular basis before covid, and before I retired from my job. I have a variety of scarves in wool, cotton, and other blends of fiber, in both flat and infinity styles, rectangular and triangular shaped. I wore them like some people wear jewelry to provide interest for an outfit, but also to add an extra layer of warmth in the winter.
I have some 100% cotton yarn in my stash, so I decided to try using some for weaving a scarf. Wool scarves can be scratchy and some people are allergic to it, so cotton is a good lightweight hypoallergenic alternative that can be worn year around and in warmer climates. I picked out white 8/4 weaving yarn that I had used for dish towels, and Sirdar Beachcomber 100% cotton thick and thin variegated yarn, in a combination of turquoise, dusty blue and white.
I was not sure whether to use the 8 dent or 10 dent heddle for the warp yarn. There is not a right or wrong, but using the 8 dent heddle would result in fewer yarns per inch for a looser fabric. I used the 10 dent heddle for the dish towels with the same warp yarn, so that seemed like what I should use. I knew that I could start over if I did not like the result.
Our dining room table with all the leaves in is just right warp length for a scarf. The ceramic bunnies my mom made were watching over me.
When my mom was a ceramic art student she worked on a project to try out many different glazes. First she formed one small bunny and made a mold out of it. Using the mold she made dozens of bunnies, firing each with a different glaze. After she passed away, we used some of these rabbits for table decorations at her memorial service, and offered for family and friends to take one as a memento. There are still quite a few left in her house where I now live, including these three on the dining room table.
The following photo shows the beginning of the weaving, with the white warp yarn wrapping around the front beam, plain header rows that will be removed later, and a few inches of the variegated weft yarn. The rest of the warp yarn wound on to the back beam is not in view.
After weaving a few inches, I went back and added the hem stitch after the header rows and at the beginning of the warp yarn. It is best practice and easier to do this while the project is still on the loom.
The weaving goes pretty fast when there is not a pattern to follow or any changes of yarn. I do not know how many actual weaving hours it took, but after a few days of doing some weaving plus other things, I got to the end of the warp yarn, pictured below.
In my excitement to see what the scarf would look like, I forgot to do the hem stitch at the end before cutting the weaving off the loom. That made it trickier but I tied groups of warp yarns together loosely just to keep the last rows of weaving from coming apart while I did the hem stitching. The following photo shows the scarf removed from the loom with hem stitching on both ends, but before making the fringe or washing it.
I had some questions for Torri, my weaving mentor at Tangles to Treasures in Fergus Falls, about options for the fringe. There are various methods and options for what to do with the ends of the scarf. Torri sells Schact weaving and spinning equipment including a gadget called a “Fringe Twister”, as seen in the photo below on Torri’s work table, but you can accomplish the same thing by hand. I have not succumbed to temptation to buy one of these….yet. Twisting fringe involves taking two adjacent groups of warp yarns, twisting each group, and then twisting the two groups together in the opposite direction. There are youtube videos showing how to do this. The result is a very professional looking finish rather than letting the yarns hang loose. Leaving the yarns loose can be an option too, depending on the yarn you are using and what look you are after. I considered making an infinity scarf by sewing the ends together with fringe, or by cutting off the fringe first. In the end I decided to leave it as a rectangle shaped traditional scarf with the twisted fringe.
The next photo shows one end of the scarf with the fringe “twisted” (by hand rather than using the gadget), and the other end not yet twisted. Some of Torri’s weaving projects are on the table next to mine. As you can see hers have significantly more complicated patterns, made on a bigger more complex type of loom.
I finished twisting the fringe at the other end of the scarf back at home, and then washed it in the washing machine with a load of laundry, and dried it in the dryer. As expected the scarf shrank some, coming out nice and soft. The colors are not reflected very well but following is the completed project, which measures 8 inches wide by 68 inches long.
I like the way this scarf turned out. It is now listed for sale on my Etsy shop, along with other items that I made, and items that were store samples from the The Yarn Shop in Glen Arbor, Michigan.