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Cotton Twill Scarves from Our Archives!

Two scarves with similar roots but different looks. Both are free for subscribers—choose your favorite!

Susan E. Horton Apr 24, 2023 - 3 min read

Cotton Twill Scarves from Our Archives! Primary Image

One side of this scarf features the purples of lupines while the other side features the colors of spring grasses and spring blooms. Photo by Joe Coca

I've commented before about how sometimes when I’m, ahem, working hard going through our archives researching a subject, I come upon something surprising. This time it was not one but two twill scarf patterns by Sheila O’Hara. Both were on the Handwoven website circa 2002 but had somehow slipped through the cracks. I found the 8-shaft version in an unexpected spot in our archives. Then as I was talking about it with my colleagues, we found another similar 16-shaft pattern in the digital archive of Handwoven’s previous websites.

Both patterns are double-faced twill and distinctly different on each side. One thing I love about Sheila’s work is the gradations she creates. These scarves are a beautiful example of how to shift colors gradually and create the sense of movement within a piece of cloth.

The 8-shaft version (seen at top), which was originally published in Handwoven September/October 2002, has 23 colors of 10/2 cotton in the warp in a series of several different gradations. Sheila based her colorway for the scarf on flower colors. She filled one side with the purples of lupines and the other side with the colors of spring grasses and spring blooms. I checked color availability and found 5 of the colors are no longer available, but there are many close substitutions in the same yarn line or others. For some of the smaller put-ups that are needed, I bet you could substitute 10/2 cotton sold for embroidery.

Blues and grays make a statement in this stunning twill scarf. Photo by Joe Coca

The 16-shaft version (above) is similar to the 8-shaft version, but it is more subdued in its colorways with gradated blues on one side and blacks and grays on the other. Although the gradations are simpler, having more shafts to work with allowed Sheila to add checkerboard-like patterns to the scarves where the colors that dominate on the one side seem to pop through to the other side. The pattern calls for 6 colors of 10/2 cotton. One of the light blues in the warp has been discontinued, but there are many alternatives for it, and I added a suggestion of one in the PDF.

The WIFs are in the Handwoven Library, and the PDFs are below for you to download!

Enjoy these two cotton scarves for your summer weaving and wearing.

Weave well,


Download the 8-shaft scarf full of spring colors here!

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