Weaving Ruffles

Marcy Petrini

March 2019

In the Spring 2019 issue of Shuttle Spindle & Dyepot (# 197), there is a wonderful article about Ann Richards and her collapse fabrics.  

I have long been intrigued by three-dimensional textiles, but I have never systematically pursued them. Here and there I have dabbled to make some simple ones, projects that may be suitable for my teaching. One technique I have tried is to make ruffles. 

A few Convergences® ago I found some stretchy yarn that I thought would be fun to weave. It is a 1% Lycra®, 99% cotton loop, close in size to 5/2 cotton, hand-dyed in wine and purple by Teresa Ruch and available in her booth.  

To weave it, I wanted to have stripes of the Lycra® to make a sample scarf with ruffles; to figure how what the rest of the scarf should be, I tried yarns in cotton, wool and silk of approximately the same size as the Lycra®. The silk ended up giving me the results I was looking for: drape and not too much fulling so that the Lycra® could contract. 

On my shelf I had a wine color 100% silk, Hana from ArtFibers which wrapped at 22 wpi. It is a bit smaller in grist than the Lycra®, but it had a wonderful hand and the colors went well together. I decided to use it and sett it at 15 epi, while the Lycra® would be sett at 12 epi. 

I divided the 6” width into: 1” silk, 1” Lycra®, 0.5” silk, 1” Lycra®, 0.5” silk, 1” Lycra®, 1” silk. 

To weave it, I used plain weave for the silk, threaded on shafts 1 and 2, and ribbing for the Lycra®, threaded on 3 and 4, as shown below. The weft was the same Hana silk, even though I used I different color in the drawdown, so I could see the structure. 


Click here for the full-sized draft (a PDF will open a new window)


To avoid floats where I didn’t want them, the structure required an even number of threads, so I adjusted the width slightly; the 1” of silk was 14 treads, and the 0.5” was 8 threads, so the total was just a threads short (44 threads rather than 45 for the silk). 

The bouts of Lycra® were tension separately with weights since the loom I planned on using doesn’t have a second beam. 

In sleying, I didn’t want to bunch up the silk, so I chose a 15 dent reed, sleying the silk 1 per dent, and sleying the Lycra® 1, 1, 1, skip 1. 

Here is a photo of the finished scarf. For didactic reasons, I chose not to trim the considerably longer silk fringe. Of course, for a finished project, I would trim them all to the same length, but I would also leave longer fringe for the Lycra®. Perhaps beads at the end of the fringe could stretch the Lycra® so extra length may not be necessary. 




Not surprisingly, there was some take up and a lot of shrinkage. The Lycra® didn’t crimp much until it was washed. Length-wise the take up was approximately 10%, but the shrinkage was nearly 34%. I had planned about 30% take-up and 50% shrinkage, so the final length, almost 70” was plenty long. In the width, the take-up was 8% and the shrinkage 5%. I hope this inspires you to try some Lycra® in your weaving!  

  Happy weaving!

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