Rigid heddle weaving is a relatively new pursuit of ours here at the Purl Bee. With last spring's arrival of Schacht Spindle Co's tabletop Cricket Loom a whole world opened for us, a world of reeds and shuttles, warps and wefts. And as we explore this unfamiliar land, under every rock is a surprise even more beautiful than the last.
This project pairs fine yarns with a fairly open reed and a light touch. With the ocean and its salty breezes and sparkling tides on my mind, I chose for the weft Alchemy's Silken Straw. It embodies the rusticity of driftwood together with the elegance of a pearl. In contrast, Purl Soho's extraordinary Line Weight serves as the warp. A simple single ply of merino, it brings a cottony, matte softness to the project.
As exquisite as the Pearl Cowl looks, it's actually a breeze to make. Even if you have never woven before, you can plunge into the ocean and come up with a pearl! To get started, pick up Purl Soho's Materials for Pearl Cowl, which comes either with the 15-inch Cricket Loom or as a yarn-only kit.
And don't forget dear mom, whose day is less than a month away. Wouldn't she feel as beautiful as a mermaid in her own Pearl Cowl? Happy weaving! -Whitney
Purl Soho's complete Materials for Pearl Cowl kit includes...
- 1 skein of Purl Soho's Line Weight, 100% merino wool in Heirloom White
- 2 skeins of Alchemy's Silken Straw, 100% silk in Platinum
- Schacht Spindle Co's 15-inch Cricket Loom
Already have a loom? Get the yarn-only Materials for Pearl Cowl kit!
Either way, you will also need...
- A sewing machine
- Sewing thread in a coordinating color (I used Guterman's Cotton Thread, color 1040.)
NOTE: This project uses an 8-dent reed, which comes with the Cricket Loom.
Warp Length: 74 inches (includes 20 inches of loom waste)
Warp Ends: 104
Width in Reed: 12 1/2 inches
Ends Per Inch (E.P.I.): 8 1/3
Pick Per Inch (P.P.I): 13 1/4
Finished Dimensions: 12 1/2 inches wide x 54 inches in circumference
Cricket Looms come with a very user-friendly instructional booklet that walks you through every step of the weaving process, from assembling the loom to tying fringe. For even more guidance, check out our Cricket Loom Tips here. And for the Pearl Cowl pattern read on right here!
Warp the Loom
Set up the warping peg 74 inches from the front of the loom.
Use the Line Weight yarn to thread the 8-dent reed, which comes with the Cricket Loom. Pull the first loop of yarn through the 4th slat from the left end of the reed.
Working from left to right, pull the yarn through each slat, ending with the 5th slat from the right end of the reed. You should have 104 warp threads.
Finish the warp according to the Cricket Loom instructions, moving the threads from left to right. You should have 104 warp ends.
Weave several inches with scrap yarn (I used a worsted weight yarn) until the warp threads are evenly spread out.
Wind a shuttle with the Silken Straw.
Leaving a 4-inch tail, push the shuttle through the shed and beat once very lightly.
Continue to weave with the Silken Straw, lightly beating each row once.
When you have woven 56 inches of fabric, cut the weft yarn, leaving a 4-inch tail.
Weave for a couple of inches with scrap yarn.
Cut the fabric off the loom.
- The photos in this section show a cowl whose weft was made with Silken Straw in the color Husk. Another nice choice!
- Backstitch at the beginning and end of each seam.
Use a sewing machine to sew a zigzag stitch across each raw end of the fabric. Sew right up against the scrap yarn and be sure to stitch over the weft tails as you sew.
Cut across the warp between the zigzag stitch and the scrap yarn. (Be gentle with the fabric at this point because the warp can still be pulled loose.) Do the same with the other end.
Fold the fabric in half, aligning the raw ends. Pin the edges together.
Sew the two ends together with a straight stitch, leaving a 3/8-inch seam allowance.
Turn the cowl inside out and pin the seam flat.
Sew along the length of the pinned edge with a 5/8 inch seam allowance (encasing the first seam allowance in a French Seam).
Fold the 5/8-inch seam allowance to one side and pin it down.
Edgestitch along the length of the folded edge.