Thursday, August 16, 2018

Deflected Double Weave with Fulling Techniques on 4 Shafts: How to Weave a 'Puzzle Scarf'

I call this a "Puzzle Scarf" because the two layers intertwine in a puzzling way. But the scarf is simple to weave, requiring just 4 shafts. 

The intertwining layers you see are one of the distinguishing characteristics of the structure known as "Deflected Double Weave." Unlike Double Weave -- where the layers are each woven (usually in plain weave) and sit one on top of the other -- in Deflected Double Weave, the layers are alternately plain weave and floats, with the floats being "deflected" around the woven sections. And those floats will alternately twine above and below each other, so that the two layers still form a single piece of fabric.

Collapse techniques -- more accurately in this project, fulling techniques -- add more to the puzzle of this scarf, because without shrinking, it would look like a piece of gauze. The texture is achieved by fulling the yarn, so that the floats create woolen cords (I sometimes call them "dreads") that form interesting patterns. I love the effect and I thought I'd share the pattern on my blog -- because it's surprisingly simple.

For so many of my fulling projects, my go-to yarn is JaggerSpun 18/2 merino. Collapse techniques typically require fine yarns, and this is a lace-weight yarn at 5040 yards per pound. When it's sett loosely (another rule for collapse fabrics), the merino fulls beautifully as it's washed and agitated with hot water and soap.

Here are the instructions:

Warp: Wind a 4-yard warp (or any length you choose) of 240 ends consisting of five stripes alternating in two colors: [48 ends of color A and 48 ends of color B] twice and ending with 48 ends of color A. 
Sett: 16 ends per inch for a 15" width in the reed
Weft yarns: same two yarns as warp
Picks per inch: 16 

Here's the drawdown:

Looks pretty simple, right? Here's what it looks like as you begin weaving:

First you'll weave at least 8 picks of waste yarn as a base for your fabric. Then leave a space of about 3" before you begin weaving the scarf. (I inserted a stick shuttle to help me create a straight fell line as I began the scarf.) The waste yarn will be cut off when you have finished fulling the scarf, leaving a neat line of cords for fringe.

Begin by weaving 8 picks in plain weave. Then start layer A (mine is in burgundy), weaving 48 picks at 16 ppi. The fabric looks like gauze on the loom. But the good news is you don't really have to worry about neat selvages, since the fabric will shrink so much it won't make any difference!

Next weave your second layer (mine is in blue). Note that the selvages on both sides of this layer are 3" inside the selvages for the first layer. That's another characteristic of Deflected Double Weave: the layers don't have the same selvages. You can see in the photo below where the blue weft starts and ends. 

I recommend cutting off as you complete each color -- unless you don't mind the unruly weft yarns that you carry along between layers when they're not weaving. If you DO choose not to cut off, understand that the second layer (the blue layer here) has to start with the shuttle UNDERNEATH the burgundy layer. Otherwise, your blue weft yarn will float on top of your fabric when all the others are floating underneath.

Here's the easy part: Just keep weaving, keeping in mind that you will have about 30% shrinkage length-wise after you've fulled your scarf. That means you'll want to weave 100" for a 70" long scarf. 

When you've woven your desired length, finish as you started: weave 8 picks of plain weave in color A, then leave about 3" of warp unwoven, then weave 8 picks of waste yarn. (Again, you'll cut this off after finishing so that you'll have fulled cords for the fringe and they will be all neat and tidy.)

Now for the fulling, which is really the toughest part of making this scarf.

Wash, agitate and scrub freely in hot water and gentle dish liquid or shampoo. After the first 3 or 4 minutes of this, take it out of the water and rinse it in cold water to make sure that no parts are adhering to other parts of the scarf. (Although you want the unwoven warps and wefts to make cords, you don’t want them to fuse with other parts of the scarf, which happens when you're not paying attention.) The scarf will look messy and stringy at first, but continue to scrub, agitate, rinse and then stretch it out on a flat surface, pulling the two plain-weave sections horizontally so that they lie flat. (Basically, you are coaxing the fabric into the shape you want.)

You need to repeat this process for a while -- at least 5 or 6 times -- to get the cords to become substantial. The goal is that these floats fuse together, becoming thick and solid so that you can no longer see the individual threads.

When it's fulled sufficiently, lay the scarf on a flat surface to dry. After it's dry, cut off the waste yarn so that the fringe (which should be cords at this point) is all the same length and looks even. Iron the scarf on "wool" setting to get a smooth look, where the cords and plain-weave sections lie flat.

Snip off any single yarns that have not been fulled into cords.

There you have it! You've solved the Puzzle Scarf. 


Lynn in Tucson said...

Thank you! I love this look and have been very curious as to how to accomplish it on 4 shafts.

Would you recommend previous double-weave experience before tackling this?

Denise Kovnat said...


Experience with double weave isn't essential, really, to weave this. The trick is to beat gently -- I like to say that the beater is really a "placer" -- so that you achieve 16 picks per inch.

The other challenge is the washing: You need to make sure that the various parts of the fabric don't adhere to each other, which tends to happen early on in the process. And then you need to agitate (in warm water and soap) a lot, then rinse, then spread it out -- and repeat these steps at least 5 times in order to get the cords nice and thick.

Hope this helps!

Notes from CNCH, the Conference of Northern California Handweavers

  Let's start with the photo above: a series of samples woven on eight shafts in deflected doubleweave by Marta Shannon. It's just o...