A Cotton Shawl

12 January 2015


I bought this handwoven shawl, rebozo, on my walk home one evening when I was freezing.  As soon as the sun goes down the temperature drops rapidly.  As you walk by the old stone walls from the Colonial Era you can feel the heat radiating from them.     But it is not enough as I walk or if the wind blows.
I bought this shawl to keep me a bit warmer.  I would like to share with the weavers out there the structure  of this simple rebozo that was  handwoven, probably on a floor loom.
The warp is natural , matte finished cotton, 16/2.  It is used double in both the warp and weft.  There are 16 of these doubled warps per inch.  There are about 14 doubled wefts per inch, making it a nicely balanced plain weave. At intervals a disign element in black thread has been added.  It is a continuous supplemental weft, rather like our overshot, added without distorting the plain weave.  The Supplemental weft is finer than the ground weft and is also used double, my guess is that it is 30/2 unmercerized cotton.  The design of the supplemental weft is simple block, loom controlled I think.  It is so simple it could easily be duplicated with one pattern stick on a RH loom.    So the colored design block is:
      tabby A-ground weft
      pattern shed-  black weft
      tabby B -ground weft
       pattern shed-back weft
tabby A-ground weft
tabby B-ground weft.
This sequence is repeated 6 times for each block.  The black weft is neatly carried up the side with in the block. These colored blocks are followed by 10 rows of tabby, one row of 2 over 2 leno and 10 rows of tabby. Notice that the leno does not go all the way to the selvage, 6 twists have been omitted on each side and an extra weft inserted to fill in the space.

There is no hemstitching, something I have not seen in any work here, and the fringes are finished with knots.  Five rows of simple overhand  knots, 12 warps in each knot, in an alternating order.
I don’t think the shawl has been washed yet, it still has that stiff kind of waxy feel to it.  i tink it will be much softer and more drapey when washed but it is too big to hand wash in my sink in the bath so it will have to wait.


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