Latest batch of upcycled scarves

Increasingly I’m sourcing more of my scarves from charity shops, vintage markets and car boot sales.

I love the thrill of the hunt, and there’s a real sense of achievement in taking a slightly tired cast-off, cleaning it, and transforming it back into a desirable item by stitching, clamping or wrapping it in the indigo vat. And it feels more sustainable than ordering cheap silk scarves from China.

So here’s a sneak preview of my latest transformations. First, a couple of raw silk scarves.

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This was a multicoloured silk scarf that was a little gaudy for my taste, so I thought I would try to tone it down with some arashi shibori. I think the jury is still out on whether I succeeded. 😉

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And with winter fast approaching, I’m starting to work on thicker scarves. This one is a mix of wool and silk.

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And this is a knitted cashmere scarf with ori-nui shibori.

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Ironically, we seem to be having another hot spell, but I’m sure that will soon change!

Shibori on cashmere

About a year ago I picked up a slightly grubby cream cashmere scarf at a car boot sale for £1. I had an idea that I would use it for shibori in some way, but after washing it I put it away somewhere and promptly forgot about it – too many other ideas to pursue!

Then while clearing out the house in readiness for the decorators to come in after the flood, I found it again.

Ever since reading about this technique for making a wood grain patterned shawl I’d wanted to try it – but I thought I’d better practise on a smaller sample first. Of course the cashmere is thicker than cotton, but I thought it might work.  I was a bit nervous about ruining the scarf – with all the dipping and swishing, what happened if it felted, or the chemicals ruined the softness? – but kept telling myself that it had only cost £1.

So I stitched, pulled up, wet and dipped several times. When I undid the stitching, I could feel the ridges where the stitches had been pulled up, and wondered whether the cashmere had felted slightly in the areas that were exposed to the indigo. However, I liked the texture, and even after rinsing and drying it I can still feel slight ridges.

Overall, I think the scarf may be too narrow for this type of pattern and I could have stitched across the entire width. But I do like the slightly textured effect, and it’s made me want to try out more shibori on wool. Probably not cashmere(!) but maybe as part of the felting process.