Soft, luxurious rayon chenille….Have you been afraid to weave with it? There's no need to be worried when using Cotton Cloud’s high quality, 100% rayon Chenille. By following our suggestions, you can weave a scarf or shawl to be proud of!
You may have heard of chenille’s tendency to “worm” or of the difficulty in warping chenille. Not all chenille is the same so be sure you are weaving with a quality chenille you can count on.
I'm going to give you the peace of mind with some tips for success.
Let's start with warping chenille...
- Don’t worry if chenille twists when winding your warp. This is just something chenille does and is expected.
- When winding your yarns onto the back beam, take it slow and don't comb the yarns. Your heddle or reed, will keep your yarns in control.
- I like to use the "Crank and Yank" method which keeps all the yarns at the same tension. To do this, divide the warp yarns into small groups in front of the reed and pull on each group firmly after each turn of the beam. This provides an even and tight tension all across the warp.
- Sett chenille at 12-15 epi. The Chenille Bliss Scarf project that is featured in this blog post will be sett at 12 epi using a 12-dent reed or heddle.
- If you are weaving on a rigid heddle loom, you'll need to transfer one of the slot threads into the holes. I like to use a plastic heddle hook while threading the holes. If you are using a metal hook, take it slow so that the hook doesn't break the chenille threads.
Weaving with Chenille...
- Keep the warp fairly tight. Chenille doesn't have any stretch but is very strong and can handle a tight tension.
- If weaving on a rigid heddle loom you may find that the threads in the slots may be a little looser than the threads in the holes. You can easily fix this by placing the heddle in the down position and slipping a pick-up stick or thin strip of cardboard behind the heddle and between the slot threads and hole threads. Push this stick to the back of the loom, and out of the way. This will open up the shed and will help to achieve a better tension.
Plain weave is the preferred weave structure for chenille. You won't want floats that will snag or work themselves out of the woven fabric.
Use a firm beat at 13-15 ppi. This will seem like a very tight weave, but is necessary to prevent your chenille from worming. Your scarf will feel very stiff and rather thick by doing this. Don't worry about this because your chenille scarf will magically become soft and silky after the wet finishing process.
- Chenille makes it easy to maintain good selvedges because of its fluffy characteristics. Keeping the warp fairly tight and developing a smooth weaving rhythm will help maintain good selvedges without hand manipulation of each pick.
Here are two scarves I've woven with Cotton Clouds Chenille Bliss Scarf kits in Red Maple and Blue Denim. The kits come with both solid and variegated chenille that make a generously sized 10" x 68" scarf.
The instructions are included in the Chenille Bliss Scarf Kits and can be woven on either a rigid heddle or 4-shaft loom.
The following pattern can be woven on your rigid heddle or 4-shaft loom. Instructions are given for both styles of weaving.
Weave Structure: Plain weave.
Yarns: Chenille Solid and Chenille Variegated (1300 yds/lb)
Warp: Color A Chenille 180 yds; Color B Chenille 180 yds; Variegated Chenille 220 yds
Weft: Chenille Solid Color A 380 yds
Equipment needed: rigid heddle or 4-shaft loom; 12-dent reed; 1 shuttle; 1 needle for hemstitching
Width in Reed: 14.3”
Total Warp Ends: 172
Warp Length: 3 yds (108”)
Sett: 12 epi; 13-15 ppi
Finished Size: one thick & fluffy scarf 10.5” x 66” plus 6” fringe
Rigid Heddle Instructions: (see 4-shaft instructions below)
Warp two threads per slot following the warp color order chart. For example, 18 threads will be going into 9 slots.
Wind the yarns onto the back beam, then transfer one thread from each slot into the holes.
Tie the yarns onto the front apron rod in small sections and tighten the warp.
Chenille doesn’t have any stretch so you may need to place the heddle in the down position and slip a pick up stick or thin strip of cardboard behind the heddle and push to the back of the loom. This will help to achieve a better tension.
Wind a shuttle with weft Color A. If using a stick shuttle it’s best to use a shuttle that’s just a little wider than your weaving width, such as a 16” shuttle.
Weave 9” of waste yarn allowing for fringe. Beat lightly so that it will be easier to remove this waste yarn later. You can also use strips of paper napkins instead of waste yarn which makes it really easy to remove when you’re ready for finishing your fringe.
Now you are ready to start your chenille scarf. Leave a tail four times the width of your warp and then weave 3 picks. Hemstitch across with the tail in groups of 3 warp threads and 3 weft threads in these three rows. A hemstitching video is available on the Cotton Clouds Rigid Heddle Weaving Facebook Group for reference.
Weave in plain weave for 68” or preferred length for your scarf. Chenille needs a firm beat at 12-15 ppi to prevent worming. Once you have finished weaving your scarf hemstitch across as you did at the beginning. Cut your scarf from the loom making sure to allow for fringe.
Trim your fringe to 8” on both ends of your scarf. Lay one end of your scarf on a flat surface and place a heavy book on it so that your scarf doesn’t move around. You can now proceed with a fringe twister or twist your fringe by hand in groups of 6 threads per twist.
Starting at one side, separate your first six strands and divide these into two groups of three. Twist the first group of three strands clockwise until the twist is nice and firm all the way to the top of the twist. Then do the same with the second group of three strands, still holding the first twisted group. Once you have both groups twisted, hold these two twists together and twist them back on each other counter-clockwise. Secure at the bottom with an overhand knot and trim evenly. If you end up with an odd number of threads at the end of your fringe just twist the extra thread into the last fringe that you make.
Wet finishing and care for your scarf...
Your scarf will be quite stiff at this point but will get nice and soft after washing.
Hand wash your scarf with a small amount of dish soap and rinse. Refill your sink with water and add a teaspoon of fabric softener and let your scarf soak for a few minutes. Rinse again and squeeze as much water as you can from your scarf. Roll in a thick bath towel and press out excess water. Unfold and lay flat to dry. Your scarf can be placed in a pillow case and put in the dryer on gentle for a few minutes once it’s almost dry. You will be amazed at how soft and silky your scarf becomes!
Scarf Shown in Blue Denim
4-Shaft Loom Instructions:
Wind a warp of 172 ends following the Warp Color Order Chart.
Warp your loom using your preferred method (front to back or back to front).
Sley the reed with one thread per slot in a 12-dent reed. Thread the heddles in a repeat of 1, 2, 3, 4, with one thread in each heddle. Tie up the heddles for plain weave with treadles 1,3 and 2,4.
Weave with scrap yarn allowing for a 9” fringe area. Beat lightly so that it will be easier to remove this waste yarn later. You can also use strips of paper napkins instead of waste yarn which makes it really easy to remove when you’re ready for finishing your fringe.
Wind a bobbin with Color A Chenille.
Leave a tail four times the width of your warp and then weave 3 picks. Hemstitch across with the tail in groups of 3 warp threads and 3 weft threads in these three rows. A hemstitching video is available on the Cotton Clouds Rigid Heddle Weaving Facebook Group for reference.
Weave the entire length of your scarf in plain weave lifting shafts 1,3 then 2,4.
Weave for 68” or preferred length for your scarf. Chenille needs a firm beat at 12-15 ppi to prevent worming. Once you have finished weaving your scarf hemstitch across as you did at the beginning. Cut your scarf from the loom making sure to allow for fringe.
Follow the same Finishing and Fringe Twisting instructions shown above in the rigid heddle weaving instructions.
We've made it easy for you to weave your very own Chenille Scarf with our Chenille Bliss Scarf Kits! We have five color options to choose from. Each kit comes with two solid and one variegated color. I've woven the Red Maple and Blue Denim scarves that are shown and we'd love to see what colors you choose for your scarf!
We hope that you will give chenille a try. You will be amazed with the end results!Jodi Ybarra
Cotton Clouds, Inc