Winter 2020: A Glimmer of Hope

Marcy Petrini

February, 2021


Here is the shawl by that name:


With winter come the holidays and with the holidays come parties, travel and family get together, which led to more Covid-19 cases and more deaths. Unless you stay home and miss it all.

In the middle of this depressing season, came a glimmer of hope: vaccines approved for emergency use, which basically means that they are effective, but there is a lot we don’t know about them, they are mRNA vaccines, they work differently than the usual flu vaccines. mRNA vaccines have been in the making for a long time, notably for the SARS-I, but when that epidemic was averted, funding for the vaccine type decreased and thus it took longer for the SARS-II, aka Covid-19 vaccine to come into being.

Colleagues in the health care field were getting vaccinated; they talked about the few side effects, and the relief that they felt having some protection. Just a few months and we, too, could be vaccinated.

That glimmer of hope translated to green threads to me. Green seems to be a common color for hope. I used 2 threads of 10/2 green silk from RedFish Dyepworks. The fabric is plain weave, so in order to have a solid line of green, I needed two threads. Here is a close-up of the fabric:



And white is associated with winter, I guess because of the snow. Even I think of white for winter, although I didn’t see snow until I was 13 and then it was not love at first sight – my first step into the white stuff resulted in my sliding into the snow with a sore bottom. And I have lived in the South for over 40 years where I can count on my one hand, the number of snow storms we have had, most of which were gone overnight. Ironically, while I was weaving this piece, Mississippi had the worst snow storm that I can remember. The city shot down for a week.

The white warp was easy enough; I have a silk from my stash, close to 20/2. The weft I had to think about. I wanted texture, but not hair yarn, for example. I thought of textured handspun, but I only have a couple of bobbins in reds; I would have to spin some, not a good option. I looked through my shelf that holds black and white yarns and there was my answer: white silk bouclé.

I had bought several skeins of silk bouclé dyed for the colors of the Convergence® in Long Beach, CA by RedFish Dyeworks. I loved the yarn feel and look; I wove this shawl with it:



And here is a close-up:



 At the Convergence® Marketplace, I wanted to buy more silk bouclé from RedFish in different colors, but they only had 5 skeins of white. I bought those, thinking that I would dye them.

The dyeing never occurred, but the white yarn was perfect for this project. I thought of using it for warp and weft as I had done for the colorful shawl above, but 5 skeins wasn’t enough: each has 150 yards for 100 grams. I used nearly 4 for the weft alone.

I opened up the sett for the 10/2 silk warp to 18 epi to accommodate the larger weft. There are 5 two-threads green silk threads dispersed over the width of the shawl, 22” on the loom; that translates to the green every 4th inch, except at the edge which ends with 3” of white.

The final shawl is 19” by 95”. This is one piece out of the Covid-19 series that I will wear, maybe to concerts for the 2021-22 season.


Stay safe and happy weaving!