How could we weave scarves that change color from the beginning to the end, top to bottom, just like a Chameleon, on a Rigid Heddle Loom and not have to dye the warp to do it? Tubular Spectrum™ mercerized yarns to the rescue! Using a favorite tapestry technique of combining thin yarns to make thicker yarns, we used three ends of mercerized cotton yarn as one working end.
Using multiple strands to create one working end gave us the ability to create an ombre in both the warp and weft by gradually replacing one strand of the three ends with the next color. Although we would have more ends to work with if we used 20/2, we opted for 3 strands of 10/2 Tubular Spectrum Mercerized Cotton.
To create the warp, we used the easy, direct warping method on our 15” Cricket Loom with an 8-dent heddle. Starting with 3 strands 10 Blue Green used as a single end for an inch (4 slots) we created a 1″ warp stripe. Then we replaced one strand of 10 Blue Green with one strand of 5 Blue and wound another 1″ warp stripe. Then, we replaced another strand of 10 Blue Green with a 5 Blue strand and warped another 1″ stripe. The next inch all three strands were 5 Blue. Then we repeated this process with 10 Blue, ending with solid 10 Blue. In theory, we could have carried this all around the color spectrum, but 7” is wide enough for a scarf.
Once the warp was ready, we created weft yarns by making 7 combinations of the three strands just like each of the inches of warp. We wove across this gradually shifting warp with the same 7 color combinations to create an amazing ombre scarf.
We first wove the scarf in plain weave at 8-epi, and loved the resulting scarf. The colors change gradually from blue to green both across the warp and from one end of the scarf to the other.
Never being satisfied with one variation, we wondered what the scarf would look like with more texture.
Bring out the pickup sticks to create 3 harness twill fabrics with weft floats! The Chameleon scarf in a 3/1 lace pattern is thicker and has more drape when woven at either 8 or 10-epi. It is important to watch the beat when setting it at 8-epi to make sure to keep an even beat. It is very easy to beat it too hard. Setting the scarf at 10-epi made it much easier to beat square and the resulting fabric is substantial – thick and warm with a lovely texture.
Now it’s time to play with other color combinations. More on that soon!