Sunday, July 24, 2011

'Our Scarf'......

I'm going to try this again using a blog format that is much more user-friendly than my last attempt.  Being that I'm not very patient with computers, nor much inclined to figure out why something does or does not work, I'm hoping this will be a more successful 'go' at it.

I'll christen this blog with a project that I started in January of this year, inspired by the gorgeous samples in Sharon Alderman's 'Mastering Weave Structures'.  I had the 12H Woolhouse Carolyn available for a new warp, and one of my favorite fibers to weave with is Infinity (Soy) Silk.  I envisioned a plain weave scarf with doubled ends at each inch repeat in a contrasting color and mirrored in the weft.  Because I didn't want the unsightly and glaring woven in ends of the doubled contrasting weft shots, I sent this photo to my dear friend and fellow weaver, Ellen, and said:  'Ellen!  Heaven help me!  But I think I'm going to have to do something other than weave in these ends....maybe some kind of small bead'?  Ellen most enthusiastically wrote back:  'Oh yes!!!  Can't you just see pearls at those ends'?

......that sounded perfect to me, and from that point on, as I worked my way through 5 needle threaders and several packs of #24 tapestry needles, I would occasionally send a note to Ellen about 'what a great idea she had!!!' and maybe a little grumbling about the amount of time it was taking to accomplish this task.  At 70 inches excluding fringes, 140 beads were affixed to each cream intersection.  Because beading needles were not only too long for me to comfortably work with (I cut my teeth on quilting betweens many years ago) as well as too narrow in the eye to accomodate the doubled weft threads, I found #24 tapestry needles to be the magic combination of size of eye and small enough needle to move through the bead.

I went through so many needles (the eye would eventually fall apart after maybe 6 or 7 bead threadings) and threaders (I think they're just simply not made very well) because of the sheer number of threadings required for each bead.  I've tried to capture the process; I hope I can get it all in order:

First, I would clip / trim the ends of each doubled weft shot... thread both onto the needle, followed by stringing a single pearl (Swarovski pearl beads come in a variety of beautiful colors!!)

In order to ensure that the bead did not later pull off, I tied two square knots after making sure that the bead was not pulling into the woven fabric.... that point, each of the two threads were re-threaded and brought back through the bead.....

...catching just a hair of the fabric itself....

..and just to make myself feel better, I sewed it through the scarf one way,

...then back the other way, after which it was clipped close to the base of the bead.

..second thread was done likewise..... voila!

I have to say that although it took as many hours to bead this scarf as it did to set up and weave (a total of about 35 hours altogether), I *so* love how it turned out!  And truth be known, I found all of that time spent beading to be very relaxing and enjoyable.  So I will certainly be doing this again, given how much I love the finished product.

When it then came to fringing, I tried a few fringes using the hemstitched bouts of 6 threads; however, it was just too anemic a fringe for my liking.  I borrowed from the inspiration of Susan Harvey's gorgeous finishings and decided to combine two hemstitched bouts per twist.  While I prefer a 3-ply fringe for its balance, which I did on the first side, what ended up happening was that the side that was divided in two in order to create the three sections had an obvious 2 sections in the area nearest the scarf which creates the little triangle.  I decided to slap my OCD thoughts aside on the second edge and try two ply fringes, which made the little triangular sections nearest the scarf edge much nicer.  I know now that I need to spend more time in the planning for how the fringes are going to be worked, including the size of the hemstitched bout that I need as well as the requirements of each fringe in order to have it come out just as I like.

And now I realize that in wrestling with the photos and captions, I became frustrated and just stopped before finishing...which is what I do....

...but in closing, this is 'our scarf', as Ellen and I have referred to it for the past 6 months.  It took 6 months to finally finish (mostly because I detest shopping. so would have long stretches inbetween when my needle supply was exhausted)....and many hours of joy.  I thank you, Ellen, for your great vision and ongoing encouragement!!

Until next time.......