I love chenille scarves and I love Tencel scarves, but I would never have thought to combine the two. Fortunately, just like the brilliant minds that combined peanut butter and chocolate, Sarah Jackson thought to combine chenille and Tencel, and the result is weaving heaven. You can find her Turnabout Scarf in the Loom Theory: Four-Shaft Scarf Collection and can read what Sarah has to say about her design here:
Designer Sarah Jackson’s Statement
SOFT AND LUXURIOUS, rayon chenille is a delight to wear but works best in “stricter” weave structures. For that reason, I chose diversified plain weave for this scarf. Diversified plain weave (DPW) has no floats, making it perfect for chenille, which tends to worm when not under control. (Worming occurs when a loop of yarn pulls away from the woven fabric and twists back on itself.) DPW designs typically require 8 or more shafts with heavy threads that are usually 5 or 6 times the diameter of the fine tie-down threads that are in both warp and weft. The heavy and fine warp threads are often the same color in warp and weft, so the design is created by changing where the warp color or the weft color appears in the cloth.
In a Handwoven article about DPW, Madelyn van der Hoogt discussed the history and development of the structure and wondered if Klara Cherepov, who coined the term diversified plain weave, was a “what if” kind of weaver (see Resources). I like to think that I am a “what if” kind of weaver. I’ve woven DPW on 8 shafts and wondered, “What if I used only 4 shafts?” This scarf is one answer to that question. In addition to reducing the number of shafts, I chose to use heavy and fine threads that are similar in weight: the chenille is barely 2½ times the diameter of the finer Tencel. As a result, the fine threads contribute noticeable color accents—pretty flecks of teal, brown, and purple.
I encourage you to be a “what if” kind of weaver, too. Don’t let the customary way of doing things stop you from interpreting traditional structures in new ways. A change in direction or reversal of convention might just be the turnabout you’re looking for!
Project at a Glance
STRUCTURE: Diversified plain weave.
EQUIPMENT: 4-shaft loom, 9″ weaving width; 8-dent reed; 2 shuttles.
YARNS: Gypsy Chenille (100% rayon; 1,300 yd/lb; Cotton Clouds). 8/2 Tencel (3,360 yd/lb; Cotton Clouds).
OTHER SUPPLIES: Synthrapol textile detergent.
FINISHED SIZE: 7″ x 72″ (after washing and joining).
Featured Image: Sarah Jackson’s Turnabout Scarf combines shimmery Tencel and sumptuous chenille in a scarf that showcases the best of both yarns.
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