Chocolate Mint Swirl
At some point in your weaving life, you discover sample pages. Typically, a sample page contains a weaving draft, information about the yarn used, and (the best part) a sample of the actual woven fabric. You can often find them at guild sales, conferences, and de-stash sales.
Back in 2004, just a few months after I learned to weave, I attended the Conference of Northern California Handweavers. In the middle of the vendor area, there was a table absolutely covered in sample pages, some of them 50 years old. And there was a sign on the table – “FREE” – oh my. I resisted the urge to grab the entire lot and dash out to my car, and instead forced myself to only take the ones that really interested me.
One of those samples was an 8-shaft color-and-weave pinwheel twill. I knew at once I had to weave that structure. But what to make? The answer came that same weekend: my friend Darlene, owner of Hand Jive Knits, asked me to weave something out of her naturally dyed yarns for display in her sale booth. Ding! I had my inspiration.
Darlene gave me a selection of colors to try out, but the ones that really jumped out at me were the Spring Green and Chocolate. Maybe I was craving after dinner mints at the time, because I suddenly got the idea for a chocolate mint swirl scarf.
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8 shaft loom, 12” weaving width, 8-dent reed, 2 shuttles
Warp and Weft yarn
Hand Jive Knits: Nature's Palette™ Fingering Weight Merino (185 yards/50g) warp and weft
- 376 yards (3 skeins) Chocolate
- 350 yards (2 skeins) Spring Green
For a list of stores carrying Hand Jive’s Nature's Palette™ yarns, see http://www.handjiveknits.com/
Warp order and length
136 ends (includes 2 floating selvedges) 3.5 yards long (allows 6” for header and samples, 15” take-up and shrinkage, 8” fringe, and 25” loom waste).
Colors alternate every eight ends: 8 ends brown, 8 ends green, and so on. Floating selvedges should be brown.
16 ends per inch – 2 per dent in an 8-dent reed. 8.5” width in the reed.
8-shaft color-and-weave pinwheel twill
Take-up and shrinkage
one scarf, 7” wide and 72” long
Due to the long floats at the sides of the pattern, a floating selvedge is necessary. If you’ve never used a floating selvedge before, it’s pretty easy to deal with. The floating selvedge works just like a regular warp thread, except that it doesn’t go through a heddle (it does however, go through the reed). As you’re weaving, just go around the floating selvedge each time you throw the shuttle. It doesn’t matter if you go under it when entering the shed and over it when exiting or vice versa, just as long as you’re consistent about it.
Because this is a color-and-weave pattern, it requires two shuttles alternating every 8 picks. If there’s one tricky part to this pattern, this is it. There are several ways to deal with the color changes.
- Cut the weft every 8 picks. Bad idea. Not only will you have a lot of loose ends to deal with, the cumulative effect of adding a new weft and crossing it every 8 picks will mean the sides of the scarf will be bulkier than the middle.
- Run the currently resting weft alongside the floating selvedge. Better choice, but you’ll always have a line of the “resting” color running along the outside edge.
- Use the second method for the brown (outside) weft, and follow the path of the outermost green warp with the green weft. Huh? You ask… Here’s the detailed explanation:
When you’re weaving with the green shuttle, just let the resting brown weft run alongside the floating selvedge thread. If you have a castle on your loom, you can put the shuttle holding the brown weft up there, and simply catch the brown weft along with the floating selvedge on that side for every pick.
When you’re ready to switch to the brown shuttle, on the last green pick, keep the shed open and go around the floating selvedge and back into the shed with the green shuttle. Bring the shuttle back out of the shed when you get to the outermost green warp end. If that warp end is currently down, bring the shuttle up; if that end is currently up, take the shuttle down through the warp. Beat and advance to the next pick.
Weave the next 4 picks of the pattern – that outermost green weft will either be up or down – your resting shuttle yarn should follow the same path. After those 4 picks, that outermost green thread will switch – moving up or down. At that point, take the resting green shuttle and go back up or down through the warp so that the resting shuttle thread stays alongside that outermost green warp.
It sounds complicated, but you kind of get into a rhythm after a few inches. I think it makes for a very nice, clean-looking selvedge.
Hem stitch over four ends while on the loom with Chocolate-colored yarn. Wash gently in warm water, wring out and press on low heat.
Nancy is one of those people who can't just sit and watch TV or wait for the dentist without yarn in her hands. After many years of knitting, crochet, and spinning, she learned to weave in 2003, and has never looked back. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, daughter, son, and way too much yarn. She really wanted to name her tabby cats "Ripsmatta" and "Overshot" but got outvoted by the rest of the family. She writes about all things fiber in her blog: Wooly Stuff.