Learning Curve

Hi Friends,

A few weeks ago I got some new yarns from an estate sale at the Ventura County Handweavers Guild meeting. Four of them were browns and tans that looked really nice together. I paired them with mauve and rose yarns, a couple of golden yellows, and two novelty yarns.

All of the scarves shown below use these same yarns in the weft. Only the warp yarns change.

Weaving yarns

I thought the yarns would look good set against a gray warp. Nope! They turned into a muddy mess against the gray.

Cassandra Tondro handwoven scarf

Weaving is not like painting. When I’m painting I can combine complementary colors on the same piece and they stay separate without a problem. But with weaving, the warp and the weft yarns blend together, and complementaries turn to brown.

Not to be deterred, I tried the weft yarns against a space-dyed warp in cream, tan and brown. A little better, but still not what I had been hoping for. I’m losing the rose and mauve in this one.

Cassandra Tondro handwoven scarf

I wasn’t ready to give up. What would happen if I used brighter colors in the warp?

Cassandra Tondro handwoven scarf

Wow! The colors in the warp are so strong that you hardly even see the weft yarns at all on this piece.

I thought maybe a thinner warp would show off the weft yarns better. The warp yarns on the previous three scarves are all pretty thick. A thinner warp yarn might allow the weft to stand out more. I decided to try a thin pink cotton warp next.

Cassandra Tondro handwoven scarf

This is more the look I was going for, but the pink is pretty strong.

All four of these scarves are perfectly fine, but they’re not what I had set out to create. With weaving it helps to be more intentional when choosing the yarns.

Have I learned anything from these experiments? I think so. I learned that a thin warp yarn allows the weft to stand out. Complementary colors in the warp and weft turn to a muddy brown. And strong colors in the warp will overtake the weft.

Where is your learning curve? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.

With love and appreciation,


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