Sunday, February 22, 2015

from handspun to handwoven - a quechuemitl

quechquemitl from hanspun suri alpaca

I posted this project photo on my keepsakefiber facebook page and shared to Fiber Artists and Yarn Spinners group.  It received such a favorable response and engaged some questions that I thought I would share it in more detail here.

 I choose a quechquemitl for its simple construction and opportunity to show off a bubble crepe handspun that I made.  I only had a small amount of this yarn and alot of the 2ply handspun suri alpaca, in black. 
multicolor bubble crepe, wool with suri alpaca

So dream I did... I designed the striping on the warp board, knowing that I wanted the black section to be around the neck. 

 I used a 20/2 mercerized cotton for the weft.  I wanted a fabric that would drape, not a suit of armor.
The 2-ply suri alpaca was sticking together in the I beat lightly before and after throwing the shuttle. I did have a warp thread of the suri break.  I fixed this and wove on.

I planned the project to weave a 26 x 84 piece.  I ended up with a longer and narrower piece of fabric, 24 x 88.


Before wet finishing the fabric, I twisted my fringe.  I bundled the fringe with pony tail holders to prevent them from tangling during the finishing process.

I wet finished the fabric with a shampoo in warm water, spun it the washing machine to remove the water and draped it over a rack to dry, ensuring that the weight was evenly distributed so that the fabric wouldn't distort.

I marked the yardage in half lengthwise.  Used a zig zag stich on my sewing machine to secure the ends before cutting the fabric on the mark.  I made narrow hems on the cut edges and machine sewed the hemmed edges to the selvedge of each piece matching the ends.  The first seam makes an "L" shape.  The second seam will make the poncho shape.

Since, my finished fabric was not the same dimensions as planned it was large for me around the neck.  I decided to make box pleats at the shoulders to take this in.  Instead of starting with half my fabric length, I could have cut away 4 inches to make the neck smaller.  Anyway, the result is a garment that fits me the way I like it. 

How long did this take?  I spent 10 1/2 hours on the weaving and construction.  I'm not sure how long I spent on spinning the yarn.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you! This reminds me that I should wear this now... we are entering spring here and it is just the right weight.