Friday, April 24, 2009

On Stoles, Part I: Stoles Were Worn

Hey folks! I is back! I took a couple days off this week to recharge my batteries. Felt bad about it at first but then I realized no one's ever commented that I don't weave or post enough whereas some folks have told me to cut back on the ol' intertubes, so hopefully no one will have minded too terribly much. :) Although I haven't been blogging, I have been working away on the stole.

So. This stole. As I mentioned a while back, a friend of the family is being ordained as a priest in a little while - in two weeks, in fact!1 My in-laws wanted to give him a gift to commemorate this major event in his life and my mother in law thought that a handwoven stole to wear with his vestments would be just the thing. Olive and I spent a couple weeks looking for sources of inspiration - she sent me tons of pictures and videos from church events she'd been to at which Stoles Were Worn2 and I trolled the 'net looking for other handwoven stoles to get some specifics re: an appropriate width, length, material, pattern, etc.

By using Google Image Search, I found a handful of web sites that offer handwoven priest stoles for sale, including this one, this one and this one. The first one, Maryweave Studio, is my favourite and the one I kept going back to over and over 'cause I absolutely loved the colours. Really, if I were buying a stole for someone, it's where I'd head.

As a result, I started thinking of something far more colourful that the stoles that Olive had sent me pictures of. I even started wondering if some of the scarves I had woven would work - in different dimensions, of course, but the colour combos might do. To test this theory, I dressed Ron up in a blanket and threw scarves around his neck. Have I mentioned how obliging and supportive my husband is? Add long suffering and pious to the list as well!

I offer you Exhibit A in the "Your Husband is a Saint" category:

Really looks the part, don't he? The whole dress-your-husband-as-a-priest angle is pretty hilarious on its own but it totally cracks me up to see how his facial expression changes as the process went on. The first time I threw the blanket over him and told him where to stand, he thought it was funny. The second time, he understood why it was necessary. The third time? The third time he thought I was nuts. And irritating. But he did it anyway. That qualifies him for sainthood in my book.

Incidentally, when I showed those pictures to Olive her first reaction was: "He looks so holy! You know, I always hoped he'd become a priest..." She was laughing but absolutely serious. How is a daughter in law supposed to respond to that? "Gosh, I'm... sorry?"

So anyway, back to stole development. Olive and Vic (the other half of the dastardly in-law duo) came over one evening to Talk Stoles. They had a look at the scarves and Olive and I talked length, width and weight of the fabric. Olive really wanted to go with a wine red, though she was tempted by one of the blue scarves. In the end, however, they decided to go with a more traditional colour scheme: a white stole with gold edges. Olive was hopeful that I could put a cross or something on it, a la Jackie's beautiful stole, but I really didn't want to get into pick up or finger manipulated weaves.3

So after O&V left, I started playing with Fibreworks to design a draft. I didn't want to do a finger manipulated weave but I was fine with doing something other than plain weave and eventually settled on an 8 shaft 2/2/2/1/1 twill:

Is that a "fancy twill"? Not sure. I came up with it just by slapping in a point threading and treadling and then playing around in the tie up until I liked the alternating diamond blocks. I really liked those horizontal bands on the stoles from Maryweaves, like this one for instance, so I put some of those in and I snuck a little of Olive's wine red in to set off the gold bands at the edges.

I tried to get clever with Fibreworks by repeating the whole stole treadling twice and then fiddling the printed EPI so that the two halves showed up on the page side by side. This made them Very Tiny and distorted the diamonds considerably but it did give me an idea of what the finished beastie will look like:

So! That's covers the first couple weeks of this project: gathering ideas, playing Mr. Dressup with Ron, and finally settling on a draft. At this point I had a plan I was happy with, so I ordered my yarn and waited for it to arrive.

Next up: the yarn arrives, the draft is tweaked and the warp is wound!

1. Two weeks should be plenty of time to break in a new co-op student starting Monday, clean up the yarn room enough to turn it into a guest room, take a 3 day mini-break to Halifax to pick up Mom, start getting the shop arranged and receive dropped off product from consignors, weave the stole fabric, then cut it up and assemble it into the finished, mitred, and lined stole. Right? Right!

2. Yes, believe it or not, she regularly whips out her digital camera and tapes stuff at church, right during the service! Baptisms, ordinations, even Easter Vigil. She gets away with this because she is 80 years old and barely over 5 feet tall, so no one has the heart to take her camera away. ;)

3. See 1.


barbara said...

Beautiful day here in the Maritimes. I am very interested in your stole project - looks like you are on the right track; and anyone would be proud to be wearing your stole. Also, very pleased to see that you took a little break - yes, we miss your postings; though I was delighted to think you had "unplugged" a wee bit. I have worked out side this morning, trying to pace myself. Any quick tips on how to download Weavecast onto an iPod? I am useless with this technology. Or can you steer me in the right direction??? Cheers

Janet said...

Sadly, I am totally clueless where iPods are concerned. Don't think I've ever actually held one in my hot little hands, in fact, so I am no use to you. :(

I listen to WeaveCast right from the website, which leaves a certain something to be desired. Which is to say: I can't listen to one half and then stop, then pick up from where I left off later. I could download the podcast to my drive and listen to it in WinAmp, in which case I could fast forward to the point I wanted to hear, but my hard drive is as full as a very full thing. Trade offs!

barbara said...

Janet, I am just about as clueless when it comes to iPods; but I do own one. My problem with downloads onto my computer ...... my computer is upstairs and my studio is downstairs, and that is where I want to listen to the podcasts. One of my computer friends will be able to lead me through the process, I am sure.
Rigid Heddle Loom - why not go straight to the Ashford site in New Zealand? You are going to pay for the shipping one way or another. A friend just brought me back their catalogue, price list, etc. - it is in at the weaving studio. Their rigid heddle looms look neat!!! Weaverly yours ...
P.S. I love my iPod, now I can take my music to the studio and just let it play and play and play. I got a docking station for it.

barbara said...

I meant to say earlier; Ron must have the patience of a saint .... to be trying on all the scarf/stoles for his "beloved" to take photographs. Well done Ron!!!

Ellie said...

Still chuckling between admiration for your undertaking with the stole and the hilariity of the "man"ikin modeling. I admire the stole draft and design. Can't wait to see color and fiber of the lining as well.
Glad you're back and blogging.
Don't think you weren't missed those 3 days!

jackie said...

I love the "arms up" pose that Ron adopted! I also like the look of your stole. I think that the family will be very happy.