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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Wattle scarf

While I was making the Ottoman Scarf from Alison Snepp's January SA Embroiderers' Guild class (, I decided to try the same techniques on a scarf using a wattle motif.  I managed to buy a black scarf from Raffal after contacting Helen Webster at Raffal.

A hunt through my gardening books gave me a photograph of wattle that I could simplify  and enlarge sufficiently to produce a design that might work on the end of a scarf.

Armed with a very poor photocopy of the original wattle picture (the book was pretty big and I didn't want to carry it around) I went to Christina's on Prospect Rd, Adelaide, to selected threads. As always, they were very helpful and between us we came up with a practical set of threads. I wanted to stay with the Gumnut Stars silk thread. It is lovely to work with and very helpful in achieving the effect of the grey-green leaves of wattle.I used two shades of yellow and two shades of green.

I then began the hardest part - transferring the design on to the wool. These scarves are very loosely woven. 

The plus side of this is that it makes it possible to use a light-table to transfer a design. I tried a black pashmina from another source that showed nothing at all through the light table!

The down-side is the difficulty of keeping a consistent line going across the fibres - especially on a black surface. I used a gel pen and kept turning the light on and off to see what I had finished and where the gaps were, since the white gel doesn't show up with the light behind.

I was able to get enough of the structure in place to enable me to begin to embroider.

I began with the outlines in chain stitch. This gives me a framework before the chalk fades. I can then fill in and improvise around the outlines.The photos below, because of the light I focused on it, bleach out the thread colour.

I used chainstitch for the leaves, as they are so long and thin, and atma stitch inside the chainstitch outlines of the wattle balls. This works well on the loose weave of the scarf.

Although it was a little harder embroidering on the black scarf than on the cream one from Alison's Ottoman Scarf class - just because of the usual difficulty of seeing the threads through the dark background - it was nevertheless fun to do. I could have embroidered over the light table, but chose to work without it.

The french knots were a little tricky on the loose weave, but made a big difference to the overall look.

The final challenge was the dreaded tassels - 58 in this case, 30 at one end and 28 at the other. These scarves are not tied off with same number of bundles at each end. I did more green than yellow tassels, partly because I had more green thread and partly because I didn't want yellow tassels to overwhelm the wattle design.

I don't dislike making tassels as such, but making them around the knots on the threads already hanging from the scarf is quite tricky.

Once done, I teased them up a bit using my handy boo-boo stick.


                                                                  I am pretty pleased with the result. It turned out much as I had imagined it


Anonymous said...

My word thats come along beautifully. Very brave working on black. Have never tried it myself.

sewnbysaliba said...

That is simply gorgeous! I love the design you have used - very striking and realistic!

Karyn said...

The yellow and green on the black look so good. I bet you can't wait for the cold weather to wear it!