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rayon chenille

lovemycottons | Posted in Knitting and Crochet on

Has anyone ever knitted a scarf with rayon chenille yarn?  I have some rayon chenille (1450 yard/lb) left over from weaving a scarf and thought a knitted one might be nice, but I am not sure which stitch would be best. Any suggestions would be helpful.


  1. sueb | | #1

    I've often thought about knitting a scarf with some of my rayon chenille too.  I think that if I was going to do it, I'd knit it with two strands.  Rayon chenille finishes best when it's a firm fabric so you'd want to use a knit pattern that would produce a firm and tight knitted fabric, probably a garter stitch or a stockinette stitch.  I wouldn't use a lace stitch.  An open fabric wouldn't hold up to washing.  It would probably be a good idea to do a couple of test swatches...

    1. lovemycottons | | #3

      I was leaning towards a garter stitch for this project because of the texture of the stitch, and now it even makes more sense especially after reading your reply. I like your suggestion of using 2 strands of chenille. 

      Since you stated an interest in knitting a scarf with chenille, I will post my swatch results. They may be helpful to you.

  2. katina | | #2

    Chenille yarn is not spun - it's cut - and so requires some special handling, as SueB says.  Some chenilles break very easily.  They have a tendency to 'worm', so that you get little loops and curls poking out here and there.  Chenilles weave nicely because they are controlled by the warp threads.  This doesn't mean you can't knit successfully with them though.  Use a smaller needle size than you would normally; swatch different combos of knit and purl stitches; consider knitting the chenille with a second yarn for added support.  This could be a much thinner yarn in a matching color - maybe a fine cotton.  You might need several swatches before you're happy, but that's fun in itself and you learn so much from it. 

    Hope this helps.

    1. lovemycottons | | #4

      I was a bit disappointed in reading your reply. I thought the 'worming' would be less exaggerated in knitting. I had a hard time dressing my loom, especially beaming the warp. The chenille sagged so much that I thought it would have been easier to use it in knitting instead. Oh well.   Now that I have this knitting project in my head, I am going to do a few swatches. Who knows, maybe I will be surprised. By the way, the woven rayon chenille scarf came out beautiful, even after all the curses it received while I wove it.

      1. katina | | #5

        Yes, it often happens that something we got frustrated with turns out great in the end.  Perhaps it's because we just work so much harder at it.  Keep us posted on your knitting experiments!


      2. sueb | | #6

        I just finished off weaving 7 chenille scarves over the last week and I had no problem with sagging or worming so I'm wondering why you had so much trouble with it.  How wide did you beam your scarf?  I usually set mine at 8 inches at 16epi and I warp back to front.  I also keep one of those hair pick combs handy for "combing" out the warp as I'm beaming.  I found that  a quick stabbing motion helps to take out any tangles and lets me get the warp wound on with no trouble at all.

        1. katina | | #7

          Hello Sue B

           There are cotton chenilles and rayon chenilles - cotton is more stable.  Perhaps you used a cotton? 

          1. sueb | | #8

            I only use rayon chenille when I do my scarves.  Cotton chenille just doesn't give me the sheen or the drape that I'm looking for in my scarves. 

          2. katina | | #9

            I agree, rayon drapes beautifully.  It's interesting how different people get different results.  I don't weave, but I love handwoven items.  Do you use only rayon when you weave your scarves?  I recently bought a handwoven scarf, it's gorgeous, and appears to be wool and rayon.

          3. sueb | | #10

            I actually use a lot of different fibers when I weave scarves.  I've used tencel, wool, silk, cotton and other fibers as well.  When I weave a scarf with chenille though I have always used the rayon chenille.  A well woven and wet finished one will have a nice sheen and drape like velvet or silk.  I used a beautiful wool silk blend on a couple of lace scarves I wove not too long ago and they were fantastic (I kept one of those for myself !).   Wool can be tricky to weave with but with the silk blended in it behaved beautifully.   Did you buy your scarf at a show where you got to meet the weaver? 

          4. katina | | #11

            Your scarves sound lovely! I bought mine at a craft market and was told by the stallholder that my weaver is a schoolteacher with a passion for weaving.  I agree completely with you about the importance of good finishing - knitting is so much improved by good blocking and careful seaming, and pressing/ironing is essential when sewing.



        2. lovemycottons | | #12

          Wow! Seven scarves in one week! Did you beam the warp by yourself or did someone assist you by holding the warp while beaming?

          I used a 11 inch loom width, 15 epi warped front to back.  It was my first chenille scarf. I think if I do another I would make it a little narrower.  I was by myself and followed Deborah Chandler's advise from her book "Learning to Weave" by not touching the warp if you don't have to. Maybe I did not use enough choke ties. It's very encouraging to hear that you did not have any sagging problems. Maybe with experience I will have less problems.

          1. sueb | | #13

            I warp all by myself.  That advice she gives on not touching the warp is silly I think.  I think you have to touch the warp and I always wind on with some tension by holding the warp a bit taught.  Especially with a stretchy yarn, I don't see how you could get a warp on evenly with a stretchy yarn without giving it some tension.  Su Butler's Understanding Rayon Chenille is a good book and she gives a lot of helpful advice on working with chenille. 

            In every class I have ever taken the instructor always winds on with tension and whenever I teach I always teach that way too.

          2. lovemycottons | | #14

            Thank you for your advise.  It is very helpful. I learn something new each time I talk to you.

          3. sueb | | #15

            Always glad to help !

          4. User avater
            fashionlizard | | #16

            I haven't woven with chenille, but I also warp using tension. In fact, when I wind on the warp I use jugs of water tied to the warp bundle which is hung from a temporary overhead beam at the front of my loom! I also wind on my warps alone, and the tension comes out just fine. After winding the warp onto the rear beam, I thread the heddles, reed and tie onto the front. The way I was taught, one never combs the warp while winding on, but you slap it while it's under tension and the warp threads behave themselves and straighten up! If the threads aren't combed (causing them to slide differentially) and the choke ties were done well, all of the threads wind on at equal tension and you don't have any tension problems for the entire length of the warp.
            But I know you have been weaving for quite a while, SueB and there are many ways to "skin a cat" as the saying goes. ( and no offense to catlovers... ;))

          5. sueb | | #17

            Well you're right about the more than one way.....  I have found that the best way to do something is usually whatever way works the best !  My experience has been that back to front, using tension and in some instances using the comb works the best for me.  of course each type of yarn usually requires a different technique.  Tencel glides on with no problems at all and it refuses to tangle or knot on itself so it's a dream to warp with.  Chenille is a completely different story.  I find that 5/2 or 3/2 perle cottons are also easy to warp but give me an 8/2 cotton warp and that's a different beast altogether !    I never use choke ties except at the cross (I know, this is a terrible thing to admit to!)  I find that they just get in the way and they usually don't help - for me anyway.

            I actually have only been weaving for about 2 1/2 years but as soon as I threw my first shuttle I felt like it was the thing I should have been doing for the last 40.

          6. User avater
            mlee | | #18

            I took a chenille weaving class from a nationally known instructor who uses plastic baggies for her choke ties. It is wonderful. These ties hold the warp before you take it off the warping board with that touch of elasticity that does not damage the yarns but keeps them in place. With chenille, you do not need to stretch individual strands more than others. This is one thing that causes the worming. I have been weaving for almost 15 years and this is one tip that has been great. Choke ties are not as essential on short warps, but if you put on long warps, they are good to use.At a craft show last weekend, I looked at a friend's handwoven chenille scarves. She had used two sizes of chenille threads. One was much softer and had greater drape than the other. She said she did not notice the size until she took the scarf off the loom and one was much softer. Then she went back to the cones of yarn and discovered the difference in the thread size. Her scarves with Tencel warp and rayon chenille weft were luscious.(plastic choke ties: take a store plastic baggie and cut it into strips. Works great.)

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