Weaving a Shawl with Naturally Dyed Wool

Weaving a shawl in naturally dyed wool was an exciting first project for me. After doing a fair number of samples with the Romney Kent wool that I had so much of (see my blog on Learning to Weave) I decided to weave a shawl using some of the greens, golds and fawn from my dyeing experiments along with the plain cream. I’d bought a simple linen shift dress in an olive green and wanted something to wear over it in the evening.


The samples I’d worked through from the list my weaving friend had given me gave an idea of the effect I wanted to achieve. I wanted to use one pattern to keep the project relatively simple and use different colours in the weft and warp to achieve an interesting effect. All these samples were done using a straight threading of the warp from shafts 1 to 8 repeated.

One of the first set of samples used cream for the warp and black for the weft. It was interesting to see the variation in pattern and texture.


I then repeated some of these patterns further in another set of samples that had three colours in the warp – dark purple, pink and cream – to see the effect of more colours on some of the patterns, the weft was woven in blocks of the same colours in the warp and then blue and green as another variation.

The pattern chosen for the shawl is fairly loose and has three threads in the weft that bunch together. This is the pattern numbering for the eight shaft Louet Jane I use:

1256    3478    48        1458    2367    26  

So six rows or throws to the pattern lifting shafts 1256 for the first throw, shafts 3478 for the second and so on.

Colours chosen for the warp:

Dark green from eucalyptus leaves (alum mordant) with iron modifier

Green from comfrey (copper mordant)

Fawn from dahlia stems and leaves (alum mordant)


Colours chosen for the weft:

Gold from tansy flowers and leaves (copper mordant)

Deep fawn from comfrey (alum mordant)

Grey/green from tansy flower and leaves (rhubarb leaf mordant) with iron modifier

Beetroot (alum mordant) with iron modifier

Olive green from comfrey (alum mordant)  with copper modifier

Fawn from dahlia stems and leaves (alum mordant)


The dimensions of the shawl were 1.8 metres long and 0.65 metres wide and the weft was worked in blocks to give a mirror image from the centre.


The ends were knotted in groups and cut level.

I was really pleased with the final result and the subtlety of the colours together!

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