Winter 2020: MS Covid Vax Tour
Here is the scarf by that name:
The name started as a joke, but it stuck; it came about because to receive all four shots of the covid vaccination, Terry and I travelled the state of Mississippi:
Greenwood, MS (Northwest) 104 miles
Philadelphia, MS (Northeast) 78 miles
Hattiesburg, MS (Southeast) 96 miles
Natchez, MS (Southwest) 108 miles
When the vaccination was suddenly opened to our age group, way ahead of schedule, the database couldn’t easily handle the 100 fold increase in demand, so we scrambled, it took us 8 hours, but we both got our 1st shots scheduled. Our second shots were easier, but the quest did take us far from home.
At first, I thought it was crazy to have to drive all over the state to get a shot, but once we got in our car for Terry’s first shot, I was actually excited to be out and about. Our few outings in the last year have been near home.
So, we were going places! At some point in our travels I told a friend who asked about our vaccinations that we were doing a covid vax tour of Mississippi. The name stack! As we were driving to our various locations, I was looking for inspiration for a possible piece (the usual scarf) by that name. All those Southern pines make quite a spread of green. But what other color? The mighty muddy Mississippi River? Brown picket fences seen in our travels? The colors weren’t working out.
The pattern was easier to think about: as our grey car zig-zagged around the state, I imagined an undulating twill.
As we arrived in Hattiesburg pulling into the facility, the new Mississippi flag jumped out at me. The MS Covid Vax Tour piece could use those glorious colors: red, gold and blue! I could use stripes in the same proportions as those in the flag.
When I finally sat down to design the piece, I found a picture of the flag, a new flag which was just approved in November 2020.
But now I was in trouble – besides the colors, we have stars. And a magnolia.
But first things first. My scarf would be 8” wide. By measuring a picture of the flag and taking the ratios of the colors, I could decide on my color proportions. Using 20/2 silk sett at 24 epi, I could figure out my ends for each color and tweak them to make them more balanced for a total of 192 ends.
|Warp Ends||Adjusted Ends|
Back to the flag. The description said: “The new flag features a magnolia blossom surrounded by 20 stars, signifying Mississippi's status at the 20th state in the union, and a gold five-point star to reflect Mississippi's indigenous Native American tribes.”
I decided that unless I did an in-lay, I couldn’t include the magnolia. And I could design stars with more than four shafts, but that loom was going to be tied-up for a while.
Then I thought: maybe a bird’s eye twill would give me enough of a hint of stars. I played with the drawdown: the blue would have the bird’s eye twill, the red and yellow the undulating twill. I adjusted the warp ends of the colors to match the pattern and I added a gold stripe in the middle of the blue to represent the Native Americans tribes.
Here is the final drawdown, missing the ending red because of space constraints.
The right and left side of the red and yellow are mirror images of each other. The “stars” on either side of the gold “star” in the middle are in two staggered rows, each 5 motifs, for a total of 20 for each repeat, 20 representing Mississippi as the 20th state in the nation.
I started weaving with a grey cotton, to represent our car, but the bright colors of the flag washed out too much. I found an 8/2 white silk from Henry’s Attic on my shelf, which was perfect: it left the colors bright and made the pattern stand out more, and, given that the scale is rather small, that was good, too.
It was only while I was weaving that it dawned on me that the white was from the magnolia – serendipity? Or was my sub consciousness at work?
Here are closes up of the two sides of the scarf:
We are all vaccinated now and the two weeks have lapsed and we hope to go back to a more “normal” life… whatever that is!