I’ve always wanted to try my hand at liturgical weaving, but since my dad, the preacher, retired long before I started weaving, I never really had a reason to.
A few weeks ago we learned that our Pastor is being transferred to another church. It’s a Methodist thing called “the itinerancy” and, being a preacher’s kid myself, I know it means picking up and moving every few years. I’ve decided to weave a set of liturgical stoles as a special gift for Pastor Walt.
This also gave me a chance to think about the significance of the colors associated with various times of the Christian year and to choose weaving designs that are appropriate to the seasons, as well.
For the ordinary days -
the not-short-enough days of winter and the dragging days of summer,
Green to remember that our Shepherd will provide fresh pastures to nourish us,
and still, cool waters to refresh us.
For the days of wind and of fire –
Red to energize, to sound the alarm –
be ready for the gifts of the Spirit!
For the days of anticipation –
Royal purple - you have been called by the High King
to be His steward, and to lead His people in preparation for His coming.
For the days of exhaltation –
White for the blazing light of the star and the angels at the tomb –
He is with us!
For all the days, the grace to say:
“This is the day that the Lord has made.
I will rejoice and be glad in it!”
I decided to start with the white stole, since the yarn doesn’t need to be dyed for this one. I’m using 20/2 spun silk from Treenway – the last of a 1 lb cone that I bought years ago. I’ve ordered more to complete the other stoles. The pattern I’m using is an 8-shaft “Star of Bethlehem” design from “A Weaver’s Book of 8-Shaft Patterns” by Carol Strickler (Interweave). I thought this would be an appropriate design for the white stole, since white is the one worn at Christmas.
The sett is 28 epi in a 14 dent reed. The great thing about a narrow project like this is that I don’t get bored or tired threading just 168 heddles - and that means no threading mistakes to fix! I’m using the same 20/2 silk in the weft, and, since this pattern also requires a tabby to stabilize it, I’m using some 120/2 silk for that. The 120/2 is finer that sewing thread!
My weave-along music is Handel’s Messiah recorded by the Chicago Symphony. What beautiful and inspiring music to accompany liturgical weaving! I can’t sing along, though, and still keep track of the treadling.
The finished stole needs to be 110 inches and I've got less than 15 - I'd better get back to weaving!