I was first struck by the “feel” of this fibre – an amazingly soft and lustrous blend of 50% camel and 50% silk, purchased from West Coast Colour and Carding at Fibres West. Lynne has a wonderful way of dyeing that produces so much more than “What you see is what you get”. What you see on the surface of the roving are deep, intense colours – in this case, reds, greens, blues, pearls, pinks, purples, and an occasional flash of orange. What I get through spinning are incredible variations on a theme and colours that do not repeat but instead change across and up and down the roving. For me this fibre was “love at first sight.” As I spun it made me think about a tumultuous, tumbling ride along the rapids, reaching slow, calm, waters, and then being pulled into the rapids again. I just kept spinning, eager to see where it would take me, just like being caught in the rush of a new love.
I decided to spin this fibre fine, emphasizing the luster of the silk, with a plan to use it for weaving. I got a beautiful random variegated yarn, and made a 2-ply yarn. I used a short forward worsted draft for stability while weaving. The fibres drafted easily creating a slippery, high luster yarn. I continued spinning, moving through colours of fuchsia lipstick to stormy grays. It was so interesting to spin because the colours were constantly changing. The resulting yarn is lace-weight, and I ended up with 493 yards of 2-ply from 113 gms (4 oz) of fibre.
And so, on to the weaving. I wanted to use the handspun as warp and I wanted to create two related scarves. I wound a warp 5 yards long, and sett at 15 ends per inch. I was about 10 threads shy of my desired width of 7” for the scarves, so I added 10 doubled ends of 2/20 fuchsia silk spaced out through the warp.
Woven on my four shaft loom, I selected a broken herringbone twill.
For weft I chose 2/20 silk in pale blue-gray for the first scar and in fuchsia 2/20 silk for the second scarf . Both were woven at 15 picks per inch for a length of 72 inches on the loom, excluding fringes. The ends were twisted and then the scarves were finished with a hand wash in a warm bath with mild agitation to full the yarns, laid flat to dry and ironed while slightly damp with a warm iron set to silk. Two finished scarves, soft to the skin, with good drape and a pleasure to make from start to finish.