This project has a history that goes back quite a way. In 2005 I travelled to the UK for the first time. I knit my way around the country, sometimes visiting places just because there was a famous yarn store. In a lovely little shop on the Isle of Skye I bought some beautiful, rather expensive hand-dyed and spun silk. A year or so later I knit the Scribble Knit Shawl:
But the lace weight wool yarn I used for the thin thread eventually went a bit brittle and snapped. I frogged the shawl and kept the silk. Some time in the last year or two I saw a book cover featuring a girl wrapped in a shawl made in what looked like a honeycomb structure, and it got me thinking that I could weave the silk as the feature thread in honeycomb.
I wanted the main yarn to be silk this time, since I’m more sensitive to wool these days. Finding a thin silk yarn to go with it took some time. I bought some online that I thought was black, but turned out to be brown, and I had a sample of another yarn sent to me, but that one wasn’t quite right either. Then a recent sale at Dairing Yarns had me snapping up six balls of a thin black silk yarn. Not a slippery silk, but one with a texture more like linen or cotton. I think I bought all they had left, and when I came to doing the sums for the project I realised I was going to have a fairly slim shawl. Or a wide scarf. That was okay. I’d take either.
I used my new warping board, made by Paul, to measure the warp …
… and threaded the loom. To be honest, I wasn’t all that sure if this would work. I’d not woven honeycomb before, and rarely woven silk. I didn’t have enough yarn to sample. I figured I’d have a go, and unweave if I didn’t like it. Following a draft in The Handweavers Pattern Directory, I got weaving. Immediately I realised I was going to have to do some careful calculations if the slubby silk was going to last the whole scarf/shawl. I worked out that I would get less than halfway through. Having two picks of feature yarn next to each other wasn’t thrilling me, so I tried using the main yarn for one of them instead. It worked – and I liked the result much better. A 10cm plain border at either end would also help stretch the feature yarn over the entire length.
I unwove the test section and started again:
And I really like it.