Please help me duplicate this scarf
December 28, 2018 10:20 AM   Subscribe

I love this scarf (pics below the fold). However, it is very old. I don't want to embrace the "this teacup is already broken" philosophy. I want (a version of) this scarf to be with me forever. Do you have a matter replicator I can borrow? Do you think I could commission a near duplicate for a reasonable price?
posted by dancing leaves to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
This would be a pretty easy weaving commission -- matching the colors would probably be the hardest part. If you can post or MeMail me some idea of your geographical location I can try to figure out your local weaving guild for you.

(Easy does not imply cheap, just that it wouldn't be technically challenging).
posted by janell at 10:28 AM on December 28, 2018 [6 favorites]

Is it polyester, acrylic, silk, rayon? Acrylic feels scratchier than poly to me, and I can identify silk and rayon by feel. See if you an identify the fabric as that will help. A scarf will be a fine weave, not typical for handwoven craft work. Size?
posted by theora55 at 10:31 AM on December 28, 2018

It will not be cheap but you can definitely do this. Matching the colors may not even be that hard, depending on how closely you want to match them. Your scarf is a bit like what weavers call a color gamp, and color gamp kits are pretty easy to come by in several different weights and fiber contents. 10/2 or 20/2 is almost certainly fine enough yarn to approximate the weight of the scarf you have (your weaver will be able to figure out what's the right weight, and will probably tell you that finer yarn means a higher price point because it takes more time).

This is an example of a finished piece that might be comparable. It's a much more complex weave structure than what you want, but has fewer colors, and as far as I (very amateur weaver) can tell the weight is similar and the work looks good.
posted by clavicle at 11:12 AM on December 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Would you accept a close substitute? Search terms are "keffiyeh scarf rainbow". There are several other color options I found on a brief google image search, but this one was the closest.
posted by ananci at 3:18 PM on December 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Lunatic Fringe Yarns offers a 20-color gamp kit that looks very similar to your colors.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:54 PM on December 28, 2018

Y'all are so knowledgeable, and I'm pleased to learn more about weaving. Thanks for all the info so far. "Color gamps" - such a cool thing! Now I want to become a weaver... lol

To answer questions asked so far...
• I live in the Twin Cities, Minnesota.
• Could the material be cotton? I'm pretty sure it's not silk, though it feels wonderfully soft and warm. I'll see a friend on Tuesday who will probably be able to tell me with more certainty.
• The scarf's about 31 inches square, not counting the fringe.
• The yarn is very thin, almost like a thick/heavy thread, really.
• Close substitutes are acceptable. It's the bright, clear and attractive mix of colors that make it such a joy to have in the winter. I'll do some additional searching as well.

For a commission, roughly how much might I be looking at, cost-wise?
posted by dancing leaves at 6:19 PM on December 29, 2018

Looks like mercerized cotton, maybe rayon? I'd guess that it is size 10/2 (if its cotton) based on the pictures but would need another object for scale.

An experienced weaver could replicate the pattern pretty easily, as noted above. I'd expect the commission to cost more than a comparably sized handwoven scarf you'd find on Etsy or similar for a few reasons:

1. Setup of the loom is sort of a "fixed cost," and is time consuming. Professional weavers will setup the loom once to weave dozens of yards of fabric, but they can't cut down the setup time just to weave one/two yards of fabric for your scarf. I'd expect to pay for at least 8-10 hours of that person's time at whatever rate they charge to get all the weaving done. Minimum wage where I live is $13, hopefully a weaver will at least charge you minimum wage.

The finer the yarn, the longer loom setup takes.

2. Material cost will be higher for a one-off piece. Weaving yarn is sold on cones, the smallest size I can find is be 1.5oz for $6.00. Looks like there are 8 colors? So $60.00 of yarn when you count shipping and tax and so forth.

I don't often weave on commission because it's hard to get folks to value my time at even minimum wage (we are used to textiles being priced based on costs of automation or exploited labor) but if I were doing the commission I'd do estimated time to weave + materials + 15% padding for the labor of coordinating with you, planning the weave, figuring out the right yarn to get, etc.

I imagine the low end of a quote being $175 for labor + materials + padding, but potentially much more if the weaver you talk to values their time and expertise. You can try asking around via email at art schools or weaving schools, since students tend to value their time less, but you risk getting something low quality or a poor reproduction.
posted by ProtoStar at 9:00 PM on December 29, 2018

There is a huge and very active guild in your area. I would suggest you contact them about a fabric analysis and commissioned weaving. Worst case you sign up for instruction and weave it yourself.
posted by janell at 12:46 AM on December 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

The Minnesota Weavers Guild is housed at the Textile Center on University Ave in Minneapolis (as Janelle noted). You can also talk to them about your plans--someone there can probably tell you fiber content, etc. It looks like cotton/cotton blend in your photos. The Center has a gift shop where members sell their art--you might want to visit to see what is on offer now.

I don't know what you consider a 'reasonable cost,' but weaving/knitting/fiber arts are not inexpensive, even if not custom made. Signing up for instruction at the Guild could be close to $300+materials+studio time after class, depending on the type of weaving you want to learn.

And because I love the Textile Center & its classes, how about taking this Intro to Acid Dyes class where you could dye your own unique colorful silk or wool scarf (buy the blank in the size you want from Dharma Trading (other silk or wool/silk). Candy is an expert & fun teacher. Your scarf won't be plaid, but this is low entry costs for a new hobby & unique accessories! Plus the dye lab is cool, too. I love dyeing things! I mostly dye silk velvet which makes a lovely scarf.

What is it about the scarf that you love? The size & shape? The color? The fiber? I fully understand the need for colorful winter wear in Minnesota!! If it is color, in the ready-made realm, here is a similar scarf, not as open/airy weave, but colorful. Another that is not square.
posted by Nosey Mrs. Rat at 5:03 PM on December 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oh hell yeah, you really should take a weaving class at the Textile Center! I live here too, and I've taken three weekend weaving classes there, all of which were good.

One more thing about the weave structure of your scarf: it's some kind of lace weave. There's probably a more specific name for it but I can't ID it by sight, there are lots of these. Examples here (among other kinds of color gamps) and here.
posted by clavicle at 6:34 PM on January 1

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