I wanted to use a fiber that was soft, warm, and lightweight. Valley Yarns alpaca/silk blend (80% alpaca and 20% silk) worked out really nicely for my purposes. I sleyed the reed at 20 ends per inch and wove at approximately 24 picks per inch. Shrinkage in the width was minimal. Shrinkage in the length was not much - about 10-12%. I tend to have a very light beat, so if you choose to work with yarn, your results might be different.
Here is a photo of the "really red" alpaca/silk on the loom:
I also wove two tartan scarves using the Barclay Hunting traditional design:
The red is the "really red" used in my first scarf. The blue is Valley Yarn's "navy" and the green is "olive." I really like the contrast of the green with the red in the scarf.
I was a little bit nervous about how well the yarn would hold up under tension but I was pleased that I did not have one broken warp thread while working on any of the scarves. Hooray! Finishing the cloth was pretty simple - I handwashed in gentle detergent in cool water. It took several rinses to for the excess dyes to be removed but this is a small price to pay when considering how fabulous the colors are! I hung the scarves to dry and ran the iron over them on the "blend" setting (a medium heat). The resulting cloth is soft, smooth and has a very nice drape. Valley Yarns alpaca/silk became a fast favorite.
Here are some photos of the finished gentleman's scarves: