Thursday, May 3, 2012

Handwoven, Handspun: Sydney Harbour shawl

Where was I? Forgetting to blog, that's where I was. :\

OK, let's just pick up anywhere... I've been busy spinning and weaving and knitting, and I have lots of things to show you. I'll just pick one, that I happen to be quite proud of, and that's my Sydney Harbour Shawl.

My friend David at Southern Cross Fibre started a line of semi-solid colorways, designed to stand well on their own or to be used with others in stripe work or colorwork. He offers them as singles or in combo packs. I got one of the Sydney Harbour combos, and was inspired by the beautiful colors (and egged on by David) to spin and then weave a striped warp shawl.

The colors are so lovely together:

The fiber base is polwarth, a beautifully soft wool with a lovely shine. It's a Merino/Lincoln cross, so it has the softness of the merino with the strength and lustre of the lincoln. I spun each color separately, and navajo/chain-plied to give me a nice round soft yarn in a heavy fingering weight.

Then I spun some undyed moorit (a term used for non-white wool, usually tan to light brown, but more of an oatmeal color in this case) polwarth to pair with the colored skeins so I could make a wider shawl. I also spun some of the same moorit polwarth into a 2-ply laceweight to use as my weft.

I warped it on my 25" Schacht Flip rigid heddle loom. I knew I wanted it to be plainweave, and I wanted to minimize loom waste. The rigid heddle looms are great for this - I ended up with NO loom waste, as my tie-on lengths became my fringe.

I had great fun planning out the striping, and the weaving went all too quickly.

A hand-twisted fringe and a bath, and it was done.

I believe this is the first project I've taken from fiber to finished handwoven piece, and it was immensely satisfying. It's very soft, wonderfully warm, and I'll definitely use it in cold weather.


  1. Oh, Debbie, that is gorgeous! And I'm agog at the beautiful spinning, how even it is, and the hand of the shawl seems just perfect! You must be so pleased. Just beautiful!

  2. Wow, just wow - you're an inspiration! I can't wait to retire ;-)


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