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Weave this Cotton Summer Scarf

This week's free weaving pattern by Deborah Held is the perfect summer scarf or cowl - a simple tabby weave that can be woven on a rigid heddle loom or a floor loom. Grab up to 7 colors of 8/2 un-mercerized cotton from your stash (or buy some!) and start playing. Don't stress about picking colors - go with your gut, or choose from a few color combos I recommend below. Find all the geeky weaver details after the photos!

free cotton scarf weaving pattern

free cotton scarf rigid heddle weaving pattern

cotton weaving yarn

free cotton scarf rigid heddle weaving pattern

 Project Details

  • Warp: Up to 7 colors of 8/2 Un-Mercerized cotton weaving yarn. You'll have lots of yarn left over after this project - use it to make more scarves, or placemats and towels. 
  • Weft: 1 cone of 8/2 Un-Mercerized cotton weaving yarn (Choose your favorite color from the warp threads, or choose the lightest color so the warp colors are more dominant)
  • Warp length: 2.25 yards (you can weave 65" for a full length scarf with fringe, or you can weave 36" for a cowl and use the rest for sampling)
  • Width in Reed: 7" (This shrinks to about 6.25 wide after wet finishing. If you'd like a wider scarf, you can also do 8"-9" in the reed)
  • 84 ends
  • 12-Dent Reed, as 12 epi
  • Tabby Weave
  • 2-Shaft or 4-Shaft Loom or Rigid Heddle Loom. This was woven on a Cricket Loom
  • If you’re using a Rigid Heddle loom, you’re going to want to use anindirect warp-on to make it easier to change the warp colors. If you don’t have a warping board and can’t maneuver some kind of warping board cheat as an alternative, you can absolutely direct warp; it’s just going to take a while to do so many color changes, so be ready. Consider working in 30-minute stints to break up the work of knotting on so many individual ends.
  • Don’t forget the finish: a good wash and dry. The beauty of cotton (in addition to its lightweight wearability) is its ease of care. A light machine wash will remove factory and natural oils; a trip through the dryer softens your piece ever so delightfully. If you'd like to sew it into a cowl, you can use these instructions. If you'd like it to be a scarf, simply hem stitch and twist the fringe! 

 Debbie writes: "The scarf is woven in a balanced plain weave, centered at 7 inches in width, and with a total of 84 (single) ends. In this instance, more is more. I used seven different colors in a relatively narrow piece. (I started with five, but wasn’t getting the look I was after and added in two more.) 

As for picking colors...I enjoy the rhythm of plain weave and generally let my warp do the talking in my scarves; so I don't shy away from strong colors. I find that odd numbers work better than evens: three or five warp colors (or even seven) tend to be more pleasing than two, four, or six. I select the range of colors while thinking of a theme, be it a season, a fabric swatch to emulate, a mood, or a feeling. (In this case, I was going for an overcast summer's day, which is what these blue-based colors reminded me of when I first saw them.) No matter what, I always punctuate my color palette with one unexpected color choice. Here, that is the spicy orange yarn. In my opinion, that's what "makes" any fabric. Finally, I then choose one color from the whole shebang to serve as my "neutral," which I then use as my weft."

Really, truly, I encourage you to use from your stash or pick your own colors and design your stripes at the loom! But if you'd like our suggestions, you can find three suggested colorways, packaged up in an easy-to-purchase kit. (Note that none of these are *exactly* the colors in these photos - just my suggestions for some colors that would lovely together in a scarf like this!) You'll have lots of leftover yarn from this kit, which you can use to make more scarves, or towels and placemats. 

Deborah Held is a full-time spinster living in the Atlanta area. She finds peace and comfort among her wheels, spindles, and a great deal of wool, as well as from her best friend, 15-year-old Italian greyhound, Iggy. One of them is a regular contributor to Spin Off and www.interweave.com. They can be reached viawww.debbieheld.com.