Schubert’s Serenade Shawl

I finally finished what was the most challenging weaving project yet. Hooray! Here’s how the finished fabric looks.


I followed the instructions from Handwoven Magazine, March/April 2003 (page 58). The shawl is called “Schubert’s Serenade Shawl” and is based on a stripe sequence using note time values from his song. No idea what the article was talking about… as soon as I saw numbers my eyes kind of glazed over. However, I looked at the picture they had in the magazine and thought, hey, that looks pretty! I wanna make that! Here’s the photo they had.


Wow, now that I look at it, it actually did turn out pretty similar! That’s pretty amazing since I changed the colors:

  • 10/2 Cottons (purchased from Webs) used for warp
    • Pacific Blue — I used Nautical Blue
    • Deep Turquoise — used Mediterranean Blue
    • Red Purpose — used Magenta
    • Purple — used Deep Periwinkle
  • 18/2 cotton used for weft — Dark Purple

So why was it so challenging? Well, it didn’t start out that way. It started out like a normal project, using the cotton yarns to wind the warp (the long part of the fabric).



My warping board (where I wind up the yarn for the warp) is actually the bottom of our rigid heddle loom. First I wound up the strings in the order on the draft (instructions).



You can see how the warp threads are wound in a particular number of threads, according to the draft.



It is very important to maintain a criss-cross at the top of the threads. This is used to keep the threads separate and in order.



Then my nightmares began. I put the yarn on the loom. However, I forgot my loom was only 27″ wide and wound 30″ of yarn. That means I had to leave out a bunch of yarn, wasted. Wahhh… I hate wasting stuff.



Then I realized I had only bought 26″ warping sticks, so they were not long enough. I had to cut out little pieces of cardboard to make it long enough.

Then I realized my reed (the metal vertical thing that the threads pass through) was too small, only 26″, so I had to leave off another inch of yarn.

Then I ran out of heddles (the white stringy things at the top of the previous photo), so I had to buy some more.

The heddles finally came and then I realized I ordered the wrong length. But I had already snipped some apart. More money wasted. Wahhh… Had to return those and order the correct heddles.

The correct heddles came so I strung up the top of the loom. But I strung it incorrectly so I had to redo it. Also the yarn got all tangled up so I had to redo it. Also I lost my cross so the threads got all tangled so I had to redo it again.

Then it was time to string the treadles (foot pedals) and I realized I didn’t have enough teksolv cords (the white strings hanging from the wooden sticks on the bottom) so I had to order more.

Finally the cords came so I strung up the treadles and lamms ( the sticks hanging down above the treadles). But I did them all wrong because by this time it had been so many months that I forgot how to tie up my loom and I had to start over three times.

But once it was all tied up, finally I was able to weave. However, because my reed was 26 inches long but there were wooden dowels in the way, the yarn kept rubbing together and breaking as I was weaving.

However, it only took a couple days total to weave, compared to the months of just setting up my loom!

This is a close-up of the weaving. You can see the vertical threads (the warp), and the dark purple weft (horizontal) threads that go over and under the warp threads to make a pattern.




The wooden horizontal bars are called shafts — my loom has eight. The stringy heddles each have one thread of the yarn going through. The treadles lift the loom up and down so that the shuttle (the blue thing on the bottom) that holds the thread can be passed through the threads. The reed is like a metal grate that the threads pass through to keep them orderly and even.



What I love about weaving is that I really don’t know what the pattern will look like until I start weaving. I see all these plain threads coming out and then when I am done weaving, there is a beautiful pattern that appears!



Here is the finished product, hanging from the railing along with my other yarn projects.



Here’s a closeup of what the pattern looks like. It is super cool!



This is the beginning of the weaving. I tried small pieces to see how it would work before starting on the real thing.


Hmm… I have a date stamp on the first photo I took of this project and it was March 22nd! That means this project only took a mere seven months to complete.

Since it seems like I have to reinvent the wheel every time I weave (it is so complicated to tie up my loom!) I started a little weaving notebook to take notes!

Finally, this project is finished! I have to finish off the twisted fringe but the weaving part is finally finished. Hooray!

A Yee

Angela Yee is a professional designer (graphic design, stage design, interior design — and teaches leadership skills at

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