Studio Projects

Gypsy Shawl

A Needle Woven shawl done on a basic Continous Weave background.
This is one that I made just for myself to try out several ideas.

I used a natural colored handspun two ply wool yarn.
I wove a basic Continious Weave on an eight foot Tri Loom
 with 1/2 inch nail spacing

Basic weaving and yarn

design layout design one

 To help with my design I used white yarn
 to lay out a grid over the weaving.
I used paper pieces with tape loops on the back
 to lay out a design.
I tried a number of different designs- photographing each one
before I moved the papers into a new design.


Once I decided on a design
I used yarn to needle weave in large running stitches
 to outline the design blocks.
I then removed the grid and papers.


                                           starting the design blocks

I used some commercial wool yarn I had inherited
from my Mother- in Law for memories.

The rest was white hand spun wool yarn
 I dyed in 6 to 12 foot sections
 with food coloring.
I wanted a wide variety of shades
so I did not measure my dye- just went by eye.

Here you can see some blocks still outlined in white
and others that I have started needle weaving in colored outlines.
It takes two needle woven rows to make a solid outline row of color.

Once I had my first row of color done I pulled out the white outline yarn.

I designed the fill in as I wove.
 I worked on many blocks at the same time.
Adding the same color to many different blocks.

  horizontal block

Filling in blocks  double block 
Every block is a different design.

  As I wove the blocks I used some of each color to start adding fringe. 
I wanted the colors to be spread through out the fringe.

The round circles are flat shell charms that I added
to give more detail and some sparkle.
 They are fastened on with jump rings so they also move a little.
I put them in short rows and also in the center of design blocks.

I was going to use just the gray to fill in the back ground
 but I felt it was to dark.
I added a strand of single handspun white
 and needle wove the two strands together.

I started on the shorter rows.
 Leaving a tail long enough for fringe
 I wove up to a block and back down.
 Tieing the ends off at the loom edge to form fringe.

           background, fringe and embellishments  
                 I also used much smaller blocks
                 all filled with the same color
             but different colored outlines to fill in
                           the over all design.

Finished weaving on the loom

This is the finished weaving on the loom.

From the first I had thought of it as my Gypsy shawl.
Once it was done I realized it reminded me of
designs from Northwest Native American tribes.

wearing my shawl   

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Copyright Barbara A. Herdman