Saturday, January 18, 2014

Radiant orchid

 First, I want to say that I made this scarf BEFORE Pantone named Radiant Orchid as the Color of the Year.  Truth.

I've been making pieced, recycled cashmere scarves for almost 10 years.  I've grown weary of the same 5-inch strips sewn back-to-back, using the ribbing as fringe.  My friend, Anne Marie, mentioned that her favorite scarf ever was a cashmere scarf that was backed in silk.  Well, that got me thinking...
 I had a piece of silk purchased years ago in some of my favorite shades of purple.  And, I had bags and bags of cashmere scraps all color sorted.  I went to work finding cashmere scraps that matched my piece of silk.  Using the scraps as my guide, I determined that I'd have to cut my strips 1 1/2 inches wide to maximize the scraps I had.  I am all about making something out of nothing and this project is right up my alley.

After cutting all the scraps into strips, I cut them cross-wise into different lengths.  Everything was a multiple of 2 1/2 inches.  This way I could lay them out like a brick wall (just like my iPad cover) and the cross seams would be offset and, therefore, stronger.  Some strips were longer if the scrap allowed for that, but most of the little pieces are the smallest size:  1 1/2" X 2 1/2".

There are 93 pieces of cashmere in this scarf.  I counted.
 The scarf is about 10 inches by 60 inches finished.  And, it is a stunner.  I wear it quite a bit because I have an eggplant-colored down jacket and I wear a lot of purple day-to-day.  By twisting the scarf as I'm putting it on, I end up with both cashmere and silk against my neck which is pure heaven.

Yes, it took a long, long time to find the right colors, cut those little tiny pieces of cashmere, and sew them all together.  But, the result is certainly worth all that effort.

Then I got to thinking, "How can I make a similar scarf inexpensively enough to be able to sell at a reasonable price on Etsy?"  I started looking on Ebay for vintage silk and came across some vintage sari's from India.  Bingo.

Below are some shots of the other scarves I made for sale.  The sari's cost about $25 and contain massive amounts of yardage.  Probably 4 yards or more.  Often, the ends are intricately patterned as you see with the green scarf.  I washed the sari's on gentle in my washing machine and dried them with no heat.  Another bonus:  silk can be torn on the grain just like wool.  This makes tearing the silk yardage a 5-minute piece of cake.  I made these scarves slightly longer (65") and slightly narrower (10" unfinished) because I found my orchid scarf to be a little thick and a little short.  Still wearable, of course, but the slightly longer length of the new version is just right.  I made 3 of the green and 5 of the maroon/black/grey.  All sold very, very quickly at a price of $75.  The maroon style was made because the colors of my boys' school are maroon and black.  So, all 5 of those sold to fellow moms at school.  And, I still have a ton of silk left for more.  The cashmere pieces are 10" wide and various lengths and that's the hardest part to source.  That's a big piece of cashmere so you can't use the sleeves unless it's a very large sweater.  I use the sleeves for my gloves and cut scarf pieces out of the fronts and backs.  A great project and very successful.  I hope you agree!

No comments:

Post a Comment