Blessed Are Those That Mourn

The thing about saying to someone “I’ll pray for you,” is you’d better do it right away, lest you get busy and forget.  Also, when the tag line for the worship items you make is “Prayerfully Handwoven,”  you’d better do that too.

Before setting down to the loom this morning, I checked Facebook while drinking my coffee.  A friend was asking for good thoughts - tomorrow is the memorial service for her step-mother.  I said “I’ll pray for you and your family.”  

I am weaving a tallit - a prayer shawl.  My task this morning is to pull new warp threads through the heddles and attach them to the back beam.  Because I am using the same threading for this as for my last project, I have tied the new warp threads to the old.  I pray for my friend and her family as I carefully pull the threads through the heddles.  I pray for comfort and peace, and simply the strength to get through the day.  Lord in your mercy, hear my prayer.  

I think of my friends whose father passed away a few weeks ago.  The memorial service is in a couple of weeks.  His passing was not unexpected, he lived a long and full life.  George was a good man, a Godly man.  May his memory be a blessing.  

I think of my niece Diane.  Yesterday we remembered her on the anniversary of her birth.  We remember her for the life she lead, for the lives she touched in special ways.  Her memory is always a blessing.  

I think of a friend, a fellow weaver, a co-worker of my husband.  Yesterday we learned that she is on hospice care, to pass from this life to the next at home.  I pray for her, her husband, and also her friend Debbie, who has been an absolute brick, in spite of her own grief.  Father, into your hands we commend her spirit.  

I think of my Pastor, who lost her uncle unexpectedly this week, and another member of my church family whose young adult daughter died suddenly a few weeks ago.  I think of the lives lost in the Bahamas, and of those who have lost everything except their lives.  Bless those that mourn, and comfort them.

I find the repetitive tasks of weaving lend themselves to prayer time.  There are 532 warp threads in this tallit, each one a prayer.  Each old thread connected to a new.  Like one of the fates, I snip the old thread away (I’m mixing religious metaphors here - better stop that).  The old threads will return to the earth.  In time their carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen may be taken up into another plant and be a living thing once again.  From dust they came, to dust they will return.  

Not all the prayers that go into this tallit will be prayers of mourning.  There will be prayers for healing - both for individuals and the world.  There will be prayers of gratitude and joy.  There will be prayers for - I don’t know yet.  But for today, my prayers are for those that mourn.  


Something Special

It's always fun to weave something special - especially if I know the person I'm weaving for.  

My friend Kevin asked me to weave a shawl for his wife Margaret for their 30th wedding anniversary.  Thirty years!  I was at their wedding - I couldn't possibly be that old!

Because Kevin is color blind, I conspired with another friend to help me choose the colors.  I sent Carolyn to the hardware store to pick up paint samples of colors she thought Margaret would like.    Carolyn mailed me the paint chips, from there it was a simple case of matching the paint chips to the samples in my dye notebook.

I painted a gradient warp and paired it with a solid blue weft, using Tencel for its sheen and drapeability.  Weaving a gradient warp is fun because you get to see what happens as you weave through the color changes. 

I'm very pleased with the outcome.  It frequently happens that the last thing I've woven is my new "favorite thing" - and that's especially true this time.  

As a bonus, I overestimated the amount of blue weft that I needed, and have enough to weave another shawl.  I will use different colors in the warp, though, so that Margaret's shawl remains truly unique.

What's in a name?


I'm not sure what to call this piece. I'm thinking of Albuquerque, because I got the multicolor mohair in the warp at a yarn store there about ten years ago. Also, the colors are desert colors - shades of taupe, sage and sky blue, with just a hint of lavender. I've filled out the warp with some vintage yarns inherited from my mother's stash and some of my own handspun. The weft is a pale sage silk.

Any better suggestions for a name?