Designed and woven by Judy Pagels
I find inspiration in so many of the Woven Scarves book designs but have been particularly drawn to exploring the bleaching technique (discharge dyeing) in Stephanie’s Steampunk Scarf. I had wanted to make a scarf for my dear sister-in-law for some time and this was going to be that very project. It all came together so nicely, first the yarn selection. I chose Crabapple Yarns ardent fingering weight 51% organic cotton and 49% bamboo in the colorway Niagra (sett was 10 epi). Perfect for three reasons – #1 organic, #2 blue is her favorite color, and #3 the fiber would respond to the bleach pen.
I wove a plain weave scarf on my Cricket Loom while contemplating the perfect design for the completed scarf. My sister in-law LOVES snowflakes so that was an obvious choice, but I wanted the scarf to be wearable for all seasons. I decided to feature partial, simple, over-sized flakes down the scarf. Perfect element #4: this yarn has subtle value variations, nearly white in some places, which made a lovely backdrop for the snowflakes.
Since I have a light table, I opted to use it to help “transfer” the flakes to the scarf, as opposed to the stencils as used in the book. I enlarged my design on my copier until it was quite oversized. Then, I put the design on the light table, covered it with a piece of glass.
I began discharged dyeing at the end of the scarf, positioning the scarf over the flake where I wanted it to appear (holding the scarf in place with masking tape to prevent it from moving around). Starting with one of the circles and moving on to the rest of the flake I noticed right off that the first circle was too large. Oops! Helpful tidbit – SHAKE the pen before applying the bleach or it may run. OK no problem, I just made some more of the circles a bit larger for consistency, which in turn led to a less obvious snowflake look. Aha, could perhaps be a stylized branch for my master gardener sister-in-law. Terrific! Perfect element number 5!
After bleaching the first flake, I carefully moved the fabric away and wiped the residue bleach off the glass, ready for the next flake and application. I was also careful to keep the completed part of the scarf from touching itself or anything else. After letting the bleach dry, I rinsed the scarf several times, hand washed it in the sink, and partially machine dried it.
This was a blast! It was fiber meets graphics, meets a very personalized gift! Like with so many projects, I was thinking of my next endeavor before I had finished the one at hand. What other bleached designs await? Hmm, I do love paisley, just doodling sounds fun, perhaps text, bleaching and embellishing… And on what? Another scarf? A pillow? A window covering? A mixed media piece? YES to all!