The rigid heddle loom is seductive. It is supposed to be a travelling companion, a way to keep weaving on the road. So far it has sung a siren’s song, sitting smugly in its neat carrying bag, telling me I really need to get used to it before we ever hit the road. And so there is a scarf, here shown at the start and then before finishing and after.
By “finishing” I mean the washing and drying process without which a woven item is not really complete. Things change in that wash – fibers move around, things shrink or not, and you find out what you really created and whether it’s anything like what you had in mind when there were skeins of wool waiting for your hands.
This was my first project – a scarf of variegated wool and hand dyed mohair. The wool is odd – it was “pre-knitted” which means if you look at a strand of it you see what looks like a long chain of knitted stitches. I had no idea what it would do when woven and chose this first project to experiment.
So I now have before and after photos. On balance I’d say I’m pleased, but there are several things that were not-so-pleasant surprises. Here’s the scorecard:
Plus: The selvedges are even (hooray!); the hand-dyed mohair provided a shading I hadn’t expected; the twisted fringe stayed twisted and plumped up a bit rather nicely; and the finished piece is softer and more wearable than I expected. (I was afraid the mohair would make it itchy-scratchy, but it didn’t.)
Minus: It’s much longer and wider than I wanted because it did not shrink as anticipated (DH exclaimed, “Lew Alcindor could wear that!” If you don’t know who Lew Alcindor is/was, ask your grandparents.) Mohair, I learned, shrinks differently from the wool and so the two fringes on each end that include mohair are longer than their neighbors.
On balance it was a good first project, and I learned something about working with mohair of which I have quite a lot. The loom and I are friends, and the next project – a new band for my souvenir-pin-laden hat – is already under way.
And no, I have not forsaken my beads…there are two new necklaces in process, too. Stay tuned!
P.S. If you’re wondering, it’s an Ashford Knitter’s Loom, and I’m loving it!