Don’t ask what has kept me away from my loom for so long. What matters is that I am back, and there’s a warp on my loom.
It’s a scarf named Autumn Joy, and my original design concept was to use three colors of yarn and a pair of dice to create a randomly striped scarf.
Valley Yarns 2/14 Alpaca Silk from WEBS. 80% alpaca/20% silk
Colors: Eggplant, Sienna, Copper
3472 yards per pound, put up on half pound cones.
Sett: 18-20 epi.
As I stood in WEBS, designing in my mind, the warp would be random stripes of Sienna and Copper, and the weft would be solid Eggplant. Or maybe the weft would be mostly Eggplant with a few Sienna stripes.
It’s all well and good to design a scarf in your mind. What happens in the studio is quite another thing.
All the things that have been keeping me away from my loom have left me exhausted, stressed and incoherent. I really needed to get away for renewal, but I was too exhausted to consider a trip to Kripalu or any of the beautiful places that restore my spirit.
I decided to take a two-day retreat in my own studio instead. I stocked the refrigerator with healthy food, put together a playlist of music ranging from new age to trance to Sanskrit chanting. I unrolled the yoga mat, lit some candles, and at the end of my practice, I set my intentions for the retreat. I would keep silence, listen to my inner voice, and take simple pleasure in whatever activities I chose.
I chose to weave the Autumn Joy scarf.
I decided to weave a 10-inch wide fabric at 20 epi. That’s 200 ends. I wanted more Sienna than Copper, so I measured 120 ends of Sienna and 80 ends of Copper. I really did use the dice to determine where to place the colors. I rolled one die for the Copper and two for the Sienna. The number I rolled determined how many pairs of ends to put into the stripe. I wonder if I had randomly sleyed the ends, would I have come up with something similar?
It took the better part of the first day to wind the warp and dress the loom. The Alpaca Silk is just a little bit sticky, but it is soft as a kitten and has a subtle sheen. I am not totally thrilled with the colors. The Copper is pale and insipid. I would if a verdigris green would have brought it to life in a way that the Eggplant cannot?
It doesn’t matter. These are the colors I have and they will tell their own story.
As I go about the familiar steps of dressing the loom, my mind is free to wander. The colors take me to Rhinebeck and memories of so many NY Sheep and Wool festivals. They also take me to Colorado, to memories of the pottery studio in Littleton.
I also ride the thin web of yarn into the future, to the little house with the potting shed and the inviting jumble of woven color. I realize that The Aerie can become that space right here and right now. Why am I waiting?
Somewhere in the midst of these thoughts, I started weaving. First a stripe of Sienna to stabilize the warp, and then I began the Eggplant. How dull. You didn’t think I would weave a plain, smooth striped scarf, did you? I poked through my treasure baskets, and selected these accents.
Fire – I spun this two-ply wool yarn a few years ago. This was the sample skein and I have a lot more of it. As I recall, it was a painted roving from Louet. I will only weave the occasional single strand of this, because it is much heavier than the rest of the yarn.
Hyacinth – This is 2 strands of 2-ply Mongolian Cashmere from Jade Sapphire.
Rhinebeck – This was a custom dyed sock yarn that Seaport Yarn sold at the 2009 NY Sheep and Wool festival. I told you this scarf is the color of Rhinebeck.
Cancer – I love this zodiac yarn from WEBS. Alas, it’s been discontinued for years.