With apologies for this VERY long-delayed blog post…I am pleased to announce that I have a new commission! Everett, who is studying to become a Unitarian minister, has asked me to weave and sew a stole for his ordination and beyond.
Everett and I met last month to sketch out a design. He wanted a lake at sunset, with fish below and stars above. Here’s what the first draft looked like:
(There is a thin red dividing line down the center of the image – barely visible – that shows where the two sides will be divided, left and right halves descending on either side of the neck.)
While this quick sketch wasn’t bad, we needed to refine it. So Everett came over for an hour or two and we worked on the sketch together. I sat down at my computer and sketched the revision with his help and direction. Here’s the revised sketch.
As you can see, it is quite similar, but I made a number of subtle changes. First, the distracting tree in middle right is gone, replaced with a faraway mass suggesting trees or hills. I needed something there to balance the sun, but didn’t want it battling the sun for attention.
We also blurred out the grass and made it greener (sketch 1, drawn somewhat hastily, has very sharp black and white grass), adjusted one fish (which still needs to be blurred out to match the others), and continued the stars at top right further down the right side, closer to the horizon.
The finished stole will look like this when worn:
As you can see, one of the challenges with this design was creating two halves that could be separated and still keep the sense of the design. I’ve been thinking of it as a sort of diptych.
This stole design will be quite challenging to weave. I plan to use a color gradient weft, shading from blue to green to aqua to purple, for the background colors:
I’m planning to use four or five wefts in this piece. The portion below the horizon will need the color gradient warp for the background, a silver weft (for the fish), a lighter green weft for the grass, and possibly a darker green for portions of the lake. The portion above the horizon will need the color gradient warp, gold, orange, light purple, and silver (for the stars). I would like to include a sixth weft in navy blue, to blend with the sky, but may need to settle for blends of the color gradient weft with black.
Not all of these wefts will be needed through the entire piece, so I’m also mentally mulling over which wefts to use where. I will be weaving this on a double weave warp, with the unused wefts carried in the bottom layer, so it is very possible to swap out wefts midstream without making a visible gap.
This stole will be woven on the warp I am currently putting on the loom, which is 14.5″ wide, 120 ends per inch – a total of 1,760 strands of 60/2 silk. This warp is definitely not for the faint of heart, and I expect to spend at least a month threading it. Without going into the dreary details, there is a lot of rearranging the loom required to thread at this density, so it has been hard work just configuring the loom so I can start threading!
And what is going on in feline-land? Great excitement over a brand-new cat toy: Da Bird. Here’s a video taken by our catsitter (while we were away in January) as she played with the cats. Watch Tigress and Fritz body-slam each other trying to get at the bird, and Tigress spinning around and around until she’s dizzy!