Ever since I first saw this deflected double weave scarf by Madelyn van der Hoogt, I’ve wanted to play with this version of the weave structure – the idea of interlocking yet distinct layers of weaving sparks my imagination.
It seems to me like a metaphor for the layers of meaning and ‘otherness’ that intertwine through life, the ‘thin places’ and thresholds of enchantment I glimpse in the everyday. The original scarf is woven with a fine merino but I’m trying to use what I have whenever I can, so I chose some of my handspun yarn and adapted the draft to suit. I used unfulled handspun for this so there was plenty of scope for of felting shrinkage.
The weaving is straightforward, the ‘layers’ alternate, and one layer weaves plain weave while the other floats. It goes relatively fast because of the size of the yarn and all the spacing.
Off the loom, the weaving is quite fragile and needs careful handling to minimise movement of the yarns. The unfinished width off the loom is 25 – 28cm.
I divided it into 5 pieces to experiment with different ways of finishing it and these were the results. They don’t have a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ side but the two sides are different because of the dominant direction of the yarns.
This first exploration was hand washed and I spent some time rolling some of the float areas between my palms to felt the yarns together. Felted and fulled. Finished width 16 – 17cm. The two layers stay separate, and the gaps are bigger so the layers move independently.
The second exploration was put into a washing machine with a normal load of washing and washed at 40 degrees on a quick wash setting. Felted and fulled. Finished width 14 – 15cm. The most densely felted and textural. The two layers stay separate but are closely integrated.
The third experiment was steamed (I have a washing machine with a steam setting – I haven’t tried steaming on the stove). Lightly felted and not fulled. Finished width 15 – 16 cm. The layers and the yarns stay separate. Very soft, squishy, and fluffy, rather than robust.
My fourth exploration was finished by rolling and rubbing using feltmaking equipment, the same way that felt is made from fibre. Felted but not fulled. Finished width 21 – 22cm. I decided not to full it as I like the way the yarn has felted into solid flat strips in place and didn’t want to shrink these further at this stage (maybe later or next time). The layers are largely separate but have felted together in a few places. I could probably avoid that by separating them more assiduously between rolling.
The last experiment is similar to the fourth but with the addition of some sari ribbon and sari yarn between some of the layers and using this nuno felt tumble drier technique, except that I used a warm setting so it would be possible to dry some washing at the same time. Felted but not fulled. Finished width 21 – 22cm. The layers are mostly either joined deliberately by the fabric or felted together by the process. I had less control in this one than in number four, and the yarns have also felted together a bit more and with more energy and crinkliness, all of which I like. And I love the effect of including the fabric.
So, with several interesting transformations, I’ve gained a much deeper understanding of this form of deflected double weave, and there’s still so much more left to explore.