I travel a lot by train and airplane, and there have been many times when I have wished I had a cozy shawl like Deborah Jarchow’s Travel Shawl woven on a rigid-heddle loom. Not only is the Travel Shawl (from Handwoven May/June 2018) large and warm enough to cuddle up in, it’s thin enough to drop into your bag and light enough not to add much weight to your luggage. Did I mention it’s also beautiful? It is, with a slow color change that moves from the side toward the middle and then back to the other side. They no longer offer blankets on airplanes, but you can bring your own, much more beautiful version—the Travel Shawl by Deborah Jarchow.
Designer Deborah Jarchow’s Statement
My inspirations usually come from beautiful colors. I often have an idea about a particular project but don’t get too excited about it until I envision the palette that will bring it to life. Fortunately, my studio is filled with an abundance of yarn, and as I weave, it’s easy to gaze at my yarns and dream about my next project before I’m finished with my current one!
I’m also sometimes inspired by need. As a frequent traveler, I find that airport lounges and airplanes are often too cold for my comfort. I challenged myself to design a durable and lightweight shawl small enough that I could easily slip it into my carry-on bag, yet still big and toasty enough to keep me warm. I chose a lightweight cotton/acrylic blend for warp and a slightly fuzzy mohair/silk blend for weft to keep the fibers in place in the relaxed sett. By weaving three narrow panels that I then sewed together, I was able to make the project on a 10-inch loom. The range of colors in the gradient-dyed yarn allowed me to get smooth color changes without too much effort on my part. The yarn did the hard color work, so I could just enjoy the process and the results.
Project at a Glance
PROJECT TYPE: Rigid heddle.
STRUCTURE: Plain weave.
EQUIPMENT: Rigid-heddle loom, 10" weaving width; 10-dent heddle; 1 shuttle; 1 bobbin.
YARNS: Trendsetter Smoothies (52% cotton/48% acrylic; 880 yd/7 oz; 2,011 yd/lb; Trendsetter Yarns). Silkhair (70% kid mohair/30% silk; 230 yd/25 g; 4,177 yd/lb; Trendsetter Yarns/Lana Grossa).
OTHER SUPPLIES: Tapestry needle; cardboard strip for back beam; Fray Block.