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Sunday
Apr132014

Whit's Knits: Woven Pearl Cowl

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

Materials

Purl Soho's complete Materials for Pearl Cowl kit includes...

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.

Size

Finished Dimensions: 12 1/2 inches wide x 54 inches in circumference

Note

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!

Pattern

Structure

Plain Weave

Warp

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

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

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.

Finish

NOTES:

  • 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.

All done!

Reader Comments (9)

Wow so lovely!!!! I would buy that! love Lisanne
draad en praat...
April 13, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdraad en praat
I LOVE my 15 " Cricket Loom !!!
I made lots of scarves this winter ...
Your project is a MUST for me!!!
After making a scarf for my 9 year-old grandson, he wants a loom!
(My brother taught me ... he took to weaving upon retirement )
;-)
April 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJane Massey Dionne
This is beautiful! I don't have a loom (or much time), but I am feeling very tempted...
April 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle
Thanks so much for the detailed sewing instructions! I've been struggling with sewing with my own woven cloth and this will really help. I think I will make this cowl for my mom!
April 13, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdavida fernandez
Handwoven fabrics must be wet finished to become real cloth. A light soak in warm water and gentle soap, followed by a rinse and laid flat or hung to dry. This is the way the owner will clean it in the future and the look of handwoven should be consistent from the first time they see it till after it needs cleaning. Laura Fry has a PDF publication called Magic in the Water - with photos of before and after wet finishing that will illustrate what I mean.

Since you are new to weaving in your store, I feel confident that you want to continue learning about the entire process and teaching your customers best practices.

Well done for carrying the Cricket loom. Our weaving group uses them in classes at our Guild House in Houston.

Diane
April 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDiane
In a word...gorgeous.
April 15, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersimplequietmodern
This project is very inspiring and the steps are so clearly laid out and photographed!
Diane's comment above was just what I was thinking as I read the article on the beautiful cowl above. I would want to wet finish this as well (very carefully, since silk and wool will react differently in the water). This step will bring out the "yummy" and cozy qualities of the cloth, making the silk and wool snug up to each other just a wee bit. I was fascinated by a copy of Laura Fry's book at our guild library, if you ever see a hard copy of her book, she has pieces of fabric inserted that show before and after examples of wet finishing of different fibers, and different weaves, etc. It tuly is "magic". That being said, I also believe "rules" are there to be pushed and sometimes broken!
Anyway I was inspired to run to my rigid table loom and start a cowl like this one; beautiful!
April 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie
I am about to start weaving this beautiful project as a gift. Just wondering if anyone did the wet finishing that Annie mentioned above and how it turned out? Should I wash it first before giving?
July 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRosemary
Hi Rosemary,

I haven't wet finished my version, and like you, I'd love to hear if anyone has! If no one chimes in, maybe you could weave an extra 6 inches (separated from the main cowl section by some scrap yarn) and experiment with that piece. I know from having knit with both the Silken Straw and the Line Weight that they undergo pretty dramatic changes when they're blocked. The Silken Straw softens tremendously and the Line Weight blooms quite a bit, so it could be a very interesting study!

Thanks so much for asking and let us know what you discover!

Whitney
July 18, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee

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