By Denise Renee Grace
Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of working with some beautiful hand spun cashmere yarn from Afghanistan. From the Mountain is a great company working with folks overseas to bring viable hand made products to the United States to help support those artisans. The yarn was spun by women in Fayzabad, Afghanistan, and offers an alternative method of income in a primarily opium-based economy. This is the softest yarn I have ever felt and so evenly spun, it is a dream to weave!
I got all four colors in worsted weight, 3 skeins of gray, and one of each of dark brown, light brown, and natural white. Using the full width of my 20" Flip, I chose the variable dent reed with 5 and 8 dent sections (in this order 8,8,5,5,8,8,8,8). Since I love the direct warping method, I rotated 3 of the colors in each dent starting with dark brown, light brown, then off white and ending with dark brown again on the other side of the shawl. I just carried the yarn over as I warped along to get the striped effect.
The woven shawl wanted some embellishment, so I got out my Zoom Loom. Flowers and leaves are easy to make with a single square. (See our tutorial to learn how to make them.) The flowers and leaves were made before the squares were washed. I felted them a little bit by agitating slightly during the washing process and putting them in the dryer for 5-10 min, watching them to make sure they didn't felt too much.
Before attaching the flowers and leaves, I crocheted a swirly vine directly onto the fabric with a G hook. I worked the crochet in the 5-dent sections where the weave was a little looser. This made it easy to get the hook in between the woven web. You may find it helpful to use an invisible marker to trace your path before starting to crochet. Sew on the flower and leaves, weave in ends, hand wash, and lay flat to dry.
This is one of my favorite creations so far. The drape is amazing and it feels so luxurious. I was also pleased with result of the embellishment. It added just the right touch to make this a smashing success!