Wooly Lace

Handwoven MagazineAsk Madelyn


This is a classic Ask Madelyn from the archives. It was originally published on November 28, 2012.

Hi Madelyn!


I have a question, or maybe it's really two. I'm trying to weave huck-lace throws. What I'm looking for is a light and lacy look. A lacy fabric in wool should also be warm and cozy. I've been trying various wools (Harrisville Shetland, JaggerSpun Maine Line, and others). I have also been using two colors, a bright contrasting color for the floats against a darker color for the threads that always interlace in plain weave. What I'm getting are really nice throws, but there are no lacy holes and what you see is the pattern created by floats. They're OK, but not what I had in mind.





Hi Marty!


I think that you ARE asking two questions. First, about the lacy texture. I, too, tried to weave huck lace in wool for what I was imagining would be warm, but lacy, shawls. No matter how openly I sett the threads, as soon as I placed the shawls in water, the holes filled up with the fulling wool. I did want the softness that fulling would provide but I didn't want to lose the lacy holes (and I couldn't imagine weaving wool shawls with instructions Dry Clean Only). I tried using Superwash wools, which did not change at all with washing, but I didn't like their feel. I discovered two solutions. My favorite is a wool called Mora by Borgs (I get mine from Glimakra USA but it is probably available from any retailer carrying Swedish yarns). This yarn is nonfulling, but not because of any processing. I think it must be a worsted-spun yarn with no crimp. It doesn't have quite the softness or warmth that a fulled wool would have, but the texture is lovely and lacy and stays that way with normal handwashing. My second solution is to use JaggerSpun wool/silk. It fulls less than an all-wool shawl would but doesn't give as lacy a look as the Mora.


Your second "question" is really about color. For a lacy look, a piece really needs to be woven with the same color in both warp and weft, otherwise, as you've seen, you do notice the contrasting colors in the floats more than a lace texture. This can be a good thing if it's what you want, especially with huck. With huck, the warp vs. weft floats look like a pattern representing weaving. Also, for a lacy look, the colors should be light in value. You need to see the contrast made by the shadows in the holes with the yarns to see "lace." In yarns of dark values, there is too little contrast.



Post a Comment