Weaving with with Yarn from the Stash

Marcy Petrini

September, 2017


The shawl I talked about last month was woven at the end of 2015. I had bought all of the Angora yarn that I had been able to find a few months earlier. I had used up 21 balls; the remaining 14 balls went to the “white” shelf – my yarn is stored in open shelves by color; the Angora wasn’t really white, but close enough for the purpose of storage. I periodically would have to move it out of the way to get to some other yarn, and every time, I would think: “this yarn feels so wonderful, I really should do something with it.”

In the middle of this year, I decided I would take my advice. Now I had to figure out what I could do with what I had since I really couldn’t buy more and even if I could, the color may not be the same. The 14 balls were 686 yards, too much for a scarf and not enough for a shawl, at least the size shawl I like – at least 20” wide (24” on the loom) and around 90” long (a warp about 3.5 yards long).

Assuming I would keep the beat at 12 ppi, as in the previous shawl, how much fabric would my Angora make? 

Here is my thinking; 1” of fabric would need 24” times 12 ppi which is 288” or 8 yards; 686 is enough to make ~86”, which would be less than 80” after shrinkage, way shorter than 90” ...Uhmmmmmm…

Meanwhile I was thinking about the warp. At first I thought of using a colorful warp as I did in the previous shawl, just not the same yarn, but nothing I tried seemed to work well; the Angora had too much pink for most yarns I had. Finally I thought of trying black and that was the answer. I had a large cone of Jaggerspun Zephyr, 50% wool, 50% silk. I don’t weave much with wool because of our warm climate in Mississippi, but owning a warm shawl for some cold (relatively) nights going to a concert or a play would be nice.

My thinking is usually circular; so while I was pondering whether I had enough weft and what I should use for warp, I was also thinking of what pattern I should use. I wanted something I had never used before. This was going to be woven on my 4 shaft loom, so Davison is my go-to source. I found the long rib weave, as she calls it. Here is the drawdown:


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


The floats could be a bit long, so I would set the Zephyr at 24 epi; I had plenty of warp yarn for 24” wide on the loom and 3.5 yards long. The weft however….

How about some Zephyr stripes? But how much?

To weave 94”, I would need 8” (94” – 86”) worth of Zephyr stripes, or approximately 1” of zephyr for every 12” of fabric, or ¼” for every 3 inch of fabric. 

Confident that I wouldn’t run out of Angora, I warped the loom and, after starting, I thought I would make my life easier by weaving 9 repeats of the pattern with the Angora and 2 repeats with the Zephyr.

As I said, I am not used to weaving with wool, so my challenge turned out to be keeping the beat light and even. I tended to beat too hard, even with the tension on the warp lose. I ended up making myself a 3” cardboard ruler with 12 epi lines so I could easily check the beat.

I am pleased with the shawl! It was finished in early August. It is 21” wide, the slightly wider width the result of the take-up and shrinkages less than planned (~6% rather than 10%); the 94” length was mostly from less take-up, about 3%, with slightly less shrinkage, ~ 5%; I do like long shawls, thus the extra length was a bonus. It’s still in the upper 80⁰s here, so it will be a bit before I can wear it, but here it is!



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