Posted by: bschutzgruber | October 26, 2014

When disaster strikes……

Every artist knows there are times when a project just does not want to go as planned and this was one of those projects.

In September I started on a commissioned shawl.  The warp was 10/2 cotton in 20 colors.

rainbow warp

642 yarns threaded in a point twill over 8 shafts/harnesses.


3″ into the weaving and I realized I had a misthread in the pattern = inappropriate expletive uttered!!!  What to do?
Do I (A) keep going with the philosophy that we humans are not perfect and embrace my imperfection or (B) correct the mistake = unweave, untie, unthread, rethread, and retie?


If this was something I was making for myself, I would probably go with option (A) as there was only 1 thread in the wrong place.  BUT this shawl is something I am selling and the buyer deserves the highest quality work I can give…. so option (B) is it.

I took out the black 5/2 cotton weft and the red header then dealt with 200+ threads and heddles to get the 1 thread moved to the correct shaft, retie and finally back to where I was…. 24 hours earlier.

Weaving now went fairly smoothly…


…until 5″ from the end when I noticed a lot of black fuzz = uh-oh.  I took out several rows to see what was going on and I realized the 5/2 cotton yarn was disintegrating = WHAT is going on here????  This particular cone of yarn had been in my stash for quite a while and though the outer section was OK so the first 2/3 of the shawl was fine, the middle of the cone had rotted and the last third of the shawl was falling apart = REALLY inappropriate expletives uttered!!

At this point I had no idea if the fabric was stable and would hold up during washing so I stopped weaving, hemmed it, cut it off the loom and held my breath as I put it in the washing machine.

Here’s how it came out.  A misthread is a pain but this is a disaster that cannot be saved.


I emailed my client and explained the situation.  Luckily she was OK with getting the shawl by the end of October so back to square one I go.  I decided this time I would use 5/2 bamboo for the weft, ordered the NEW yarn, and as I waited for the delivery, I began to wind out another warp.  I kept the ends of the old warp threaded through the reed and heddles so all I had to do is tie the new warp onto the old then pull it through.


The second warp wound on and the new weft in hand, time to start weaving…. AGAIN.


This time there was no added drama as 87″ of this new shawl was woven, hemmed, cut off the loom…


…and the finishing work began = tying knots and twisting fringe.


Holding my breath I put it into the washing machine….. and it came out just fine = whew!!  

Because one side of the fabric has the colored warp dominant and the other has the black weft dominant I sewed the shawl into a mobius loop so that you can see both sides = SUCCESS!!  And the Rainbow Mobius Wrap has been shipped to her new owner.

1_front  2_back

Lesson learned from this project:
check ALL yarn prior to using it in a project!!!



  1. Wow! You really documented your torment on this beautiful garment!


    • Hopefully I will not have to experience it again!

  2. The resulting shawl is absolutely breathtaking! Well done!


  3. The finished möbius is beautiful. I’ve had many many disasters in weaving but never yarn that disintegrates. Something must have gone wrong in their dye process. Sometimes the journey is just painful to get the desired results.

    • Apparently black dye is really rough on the fibers causing them to weaken. Lesson learned!!

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