My tips & hints for weaving a V-Shawl
I’m always excited once my V-shawl is finished, off the loom and unfolded to get my first view of how warp and weft converge to create a unique plaid design, created by this double weave technique.
My newest design was just published in the March/April 2012 Handwoven magazine and is available as the Parallel Fushion V-shawl kit woven in Bambu Lace from Cotton Clouds. Once you experience weaving this V-shawl, you’ll be ready to design your own. Let me share some tips on weaving and then designing your own V-shawl.
What is a V-Shawl? It’s a double weave shawl with a V-shaped back. A V-Shawl stays put on your shoulders and covers the back.
I have taught dozens of students to weave their own V-shawls in my “Weave a V—and Learn Double Weave at the Same Time” classes in Northern California. Click Here if you’ll be in the area and would like to join a class. If not, here are some of my tips (also highlighted in the March/April 2012 Handwoven)
Tips for Designing Your Own V-shawl
- Use graph paper to draw a miniature of your shawl. You will have two fronts that join at a right angle. Draw your desired warp threads. Each drawn thread will go straight from the front edge through to the back. You will see that the warp threads from each side cross each other at the midpoint. Cut out the paper pattern and fold it in half to mimic the layout of the warp threads.
- If you’re happy with the randomness and chance of how the warp don’t bother with the graph paper.
- Pay attention to which stripes you want on the inside of the V and which will be on the outside. You will want to make sure you dress the loom with the warp threads in the right order. I always have the inside stripes (the fold of the V) on my right while I’m weaving.
- Plan on warping from back-to-front. Even if you are used to winding multiple threads at a time, wind each thread individually for your first v-shawl project. You will want to have each pair of threads joined in a loop on the back stick.
- Plan on a warp of 88” for most looms and weavers. Extra warp will be wasted as you cut warps in back of the heddles.
- Use a sett for each layer in which you can weave plain weave with picks per inch that equal ends per inch. This will be doubled for your warp. Sett becomes important as you begin to join the layers. If you beat your weft more densely than your sett, your shawl will be shorter in the back and the design formed by the crossing threads will be flattened. If you beat your warp less densely than the sett the back of your shawl will be longer and the design elongated. An elongated shawl may look fine (especially if there is not an obvious plaid design) but you risk running out of warp. [Ask me how I know this!]
- Consider your weft! Unlike most woven pieces your weft will impact the front of the shawl, but not the back. Choose a weft yarn that is already dominant in your warp or one that is similar enough in color and grist.
- A special thanks to my students for sharing their V-shawls in this blog.
Parallel Fusion V-shawl photos copyright Handwoven Magazine 2012.
Photo by Joe Coca.
Used with permission. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted.