Shawl progress

The embroidery for the shawl is progressing, slowly. I’m working on the leaf layer.


Published in: on August 9, 2012 at 6:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

Embroidered Shawl update

The shawl’s embroidery now has more detail in he cone and two of the major vines started. There is a little more needed for the outer curve of the right hand vine and the left hand vines. Then it is time to focus on the flowers. I have an idea of how I’m going to do them for the vines. The flowers that go in between the blue fir stitch an the brighter green still need to be determined.


Published in: on June 21, 2012 at 7:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

New (to me) Plaid Shawl

Thanks to a text message from my sis-in-law, I made it to one of my favorite place’s fundraisers where I picked up this shawl. With these colors it just had to come home despite the fold fractures.

It is 63″ by 128″.

There are plenty of moth holes and fold fractures. But, I’m going to have to spend some time looking closer at the damage spots because I noticed something as I was measuring it. Along the sides, the red areas are shorter than the other color areas. I’ll need to determine if these areas have worn differently, if they were trimmed back (there is very little red fringe but plenty of blue and green) or something else.


Published in: on June 16, 2012 at 12:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

Shawl Embroidery progress

The base of the cone motif which will get more texture & color added then get covered with floral vines and leaves. Or such is the plan. (I have an idea for a second one too.)


Published in: on June 15, 2012 at 5:33 am  Leave a Comment  

Time for a Vote on Embroidery

I have yet to pick an embroidery for my shawl. I need some opinions. Right now it is too tempting to leave it simply fringed because it is so pretty as is. The base is the creamy off white with narrow fringe (right now).

I am thinking about this border – simple and doable.

Here are the corner designs I am pondering. Please vote for your favorite in the comments section. Info on why will be helpful.










Published in: on March 31, 2012 at 11:43 am  Comments (6)  

Shawl Wool

Here is the wool for the shawl with the fringe started.


It is very light weight in a creamy off white color.

Published in: on March 20, 2012 at 6:21 am  Leave a Comment  

Paisley Long Shawls

You know I Love paisley.

Elizabeth Aldridge is now offering Paisley long shawls, also known as scarf shawls. These lovely shawls are a silk and wool blend, 28″ wide and 70″ long. She has a variety to select from on her website. Just look under “Sundries”. I’m rather fond of the deep red one.

There are a couple ways you can take these shawls to make them bigger and more square.
One way is to take two shawls; trim off the border along one long side of each. Seam them together along the sides where the border was removed. This would give you a shawl roughly 70″ by 50″. You could do this with a third shawl adding it to the center. This could give roughly 70″x70″.
Another option is to take the borders off of these shawls and add them to a center square. You would need 2 shawls to go around a square wool shawl. (2 shawls = 4 borders.) You can attach the borders on all one side or on alternate corners for a turn-over shawl. (When it is folded, you will see both borders.

Adding ‘paisley’ borders to wool or cashmire centers was common in the mid-century. This happened in one of two ways. The borders were woven seperately. They could be sewn on the centers by a group of women then sold commercially or the borders could be sold/bought and sewn on at home.


Here is a great illustration of long shawls during the Regency era.

Here is a beautiful blue long shawl

For those thinking of piecing two or three of these shawls into a larger shawl, here is a 20s/30s shawl with the border added to the center.

This is a must-see 1815 English shawl in a brillian blue with floral motif

Published in: on August 25, 2011 at 6:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

Storing Shawls

Another post I started a while back but didn’t finish to post…

A recent conversation led to thinking I should put together a post about storing shawls. Ideally, I could show you photographic examples of what can result from different conditions. Until I can give you those photos, we will stick with a list – Folding can cause creases and breakages. Moist conditions can lead to mold, mildew and rot. Dry conditions can lead to fiber brittleness. Bugs can cause holes. Contact with wood or acidic surfaces or being stored in non-acid free containers can lead to discoloration. Pretty awful right?

Guidelines for the Care of Textiles from the Textile Museum in Washington DC

How do I store antique textiles at home? From the Smithsonian

Preserving Your Treasures-Care and Storage Methods for Clothing and Textiles by the Missouri Historical Society



Published in: on July 20, 2011 at 1:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Fringing Shawls

Fringe Frustration
Fringing Your Wool Shawl:

A Guide to Fringing Your Wool Fabric Shawl

My fringe frustration comes after working many hours on my new red shawl. I carefully found the weft grain and fringed for hours, and hour just to find in the end my shawl is not square. Thus, the title fringe frustration.

Most shawls of the early Victorian era were fringed on two or four sides. This applies to wool, silk and cotton shawls. As a shawl’s fringe was often made from it’s warp and weft threads, a squared shawl was fringed on the grain. The shawls I have observed have had fringe ranging from 3 inches to 10 inches in length. Personally, I find the longer fringe pretty but difficult to live with.

Helpful hints before you start
– Make sure you purchase plenty of extra length to work with. I often find merchants do not cut along the grain. If your fabric is not cut on the grain you will lose length on one or both ends.
– Have a lint basket near-by. This works much easier than a bag.
– You might also want a lint brush to clean up with.
– Pick up your favorite movie or audio-book from the library. You will need several hours of video or audio.

Purchasing Your Fabric
For a square shawl, you will need the width of the fabric, plus twice the length of fringe, plus waste.
———- For example: The fabric width is 60″. You want 5″ fringe on each end. There is approx. 1.5″ waste on each end. You will need 60″+10″+3″= 73 inches.
For a long shawl or double square shawl, you will need twice the width of the fabric, plus twice the length of the fringe, plus waste.
——— For example: The fabric is 60″. You want 6″ fringe. There is approx. 1.5″ waste on each end. You will need 120″+12″+3″=135″.
If you are working with a plaid, stripe or check fabric, you may need additional length in order to have a balanced design. Be sure to lay your fabric out on the cutting counter to double check you measurements.

Step One – Find the grain
I find it easiest to work along the grain of the fabric as I fringe. But, as I learned with the red shawl, make certain your fabric is square first.
To do this, snip the fabric at the selvedge about a half inch from the cut end and tear along the weft. This will create a straight line along the weft. Do this at both ends. Lay the fabric out flat. Each corner should form a 90 degree angle. With in the fabric, the weft should run perpendicular to the warp. If there is a small difference consider squaring your fabric. (see below)
At one cut end of the fabric, measure in from the end the desired length of your fringe. Mark your measurements along the width of the fabric. Repeat this at the opposite end of the fabric.
Using a seam ripper or embroidery scissors, carefully snip the weft thread that passes through these markings.
With a thick needle or small crochet hook, carefully remove this weft thread. The space created by removing this thread becomes your measurement guide in the next step. If this line is not easy to see, remove a second weft thread in the same way.
Repeat this process at the other cut end of fabric.
This image shows a green shawl where the weft threads have been removed:

Step Two – Sectioning
It is easier to fringe in sections rather than lengths. Make cuts, dividing the width of the fabric into 2 inch sections. To do this – Cut along the warp threads from the cut end of fabric to the removed weft line you created above. Repeat this on the opposite end.

Step Three – Fringing
Here is the fun part! Put a movie or audio book in the player. Using your fingers, large needle, crochet hook or anything you think might help, remove the weft threads from each section. I find it easier to alternate from working vertically to working horizontally removing threads.

Step Four – Finishing
You can finish your fringe in a few ways; knotting, hand stitching, or working a weft thread back through the fabric.
One of the simplest ways to finish as shawl is to stitch along the fringed edge. Using a matching thread, make a sort-of back-stitch and whip-stich combination along where the fringe meets the fabric. Go forward 5-7 warp threads at the fabric edge, then back three threads and up tree warp threads, catch the stitch and go forward. This sounds much more complicated than it is. Picture to come.
A method used before taking a shawl off the loom is to work the weft thread back through the edge. This process could be attempted if you can save enough of your weft thread. I have not yet tried this.
For knotting your fringe, I suggest an over-hand knot (as you would knot the end of thread) instead of a square knot (as you would start your shoe laces), because a square knot tends to pull threads together creating a puckered look. If you are going to do multiple layers of knots, creating a nice diamond pattern, I suggest starting with an over hand knot than continuing with a square knot for a flat diamond pattern.
This image shows fringe from warp threads that were knotted as the scarf shawl was removed from the loom:

This image shows fringe knotted with an over-hand knot:

Squaring your fabric
You will need a large, flat, traffic free space for this. Double check prior to doing this that your fabric is color fast. Otherwise you may stain the drying surface. At each end of your fabric, snip at the selvedge and tear the fabric along the weft threads. Do this at each end. This will create a straight edge along the weft. Wet your wool fabric. Do not agitate it as this can cause your wool to shrink. Press out excess water. Lay the fabric out flat using a quilter’s rule to square the edges. Place weigh (jars of food work well) on each corner and side. Allow your fabric to dry. Go back to step one.

Published in: on July 1, 2009 at 11:22 am  Comments (2)