Sumer Is Icumen In

Here on Whidbey Island, though we had some unseasonable foretaste of summer a few weeks ago, the summer season doesn’t truly ramp up till about July 9, according to Professor Cliff Mass of the University of Washington Meteorology  Department.  The Independence Day holiday is often cool and cloudy, even rainy.  This is, after all, the Maritime Northwest, and that pattern greatly pleases many of us old hands.  But June is on its way out, temperatures and hours of sunlight are increasing slowly while hours of overcast are diminishing.  It’s coming!

One of the perennially puzzling seasonal patterns I notice is that often my weaving output slows down even as the season heats up.  I’ve never been able to understand why, but it’s quite consistent.  May this year was extremely productive; June has been far less so — though truth be told, I had lots of “daily life” matters to catch up on after the intense work last month.

Following is a look at part of what I finished up then — a series of three sinuous shimmery scarves which began with a hand-dyed yarn from Blazing Shuttles called “Midnight Treasures”.


I added in a solid pearl cotton in a warm coral rose to lighten the overall effect; those threads were distributed randomly through the main textured tencel threads.  This first scarf is woven with a deep purple tencel, which accentuates the lighter tones of the warp threads.


In this up-close-and-personal shot, you can see the individual threads, with an idea of how the colors interact and how the weft (crosswise) threads dance across the warp threads, creating pattern.


The second scarf has a much more complex pattern, this time woven with a greyed  teal tencel.  It wasn’t till I was finished with this series and had taken them off the loom that I realized that, though they were woven on my traditional (mechanical) loom rather than the big computer-assisted one, I was still working with fancy long-repeat patterns.  It’s much more challenging on this loom, but that’s part of the fun for me, and the results are well worth the extra effort.


In this detail shot, you can again see the interlacing of the threads, and get an idea of how I balanced the pattern across the width of the scarf.


The third scarf gave me an opportunity to go lighter with the weft yarn, in this case a medium lavender tencel called “Hummingbird”.  With the very fancy patterning and the softer tones of both warp and weft, this one has a kind of baroque effect.  I love it.


I don’t know about you, but it always fascinates me to see how the threads intersect and — even under tension while still on the loom — shift the spacings, creating tiny curves among themselves.

These scarves are much darker “in the flesh” than they appear in these well-lit photos, with a subtle radiance that plays up the patterns nicely.  I named this series “Dark Magic”; they are indeed magical.

You can see them in person at my Summer Open Studio Day on July 9, along with a considerable cadre of other recent (and older) work.  Or you can order one directly by sending me a message in the comment section below.



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