Delta: Covid Strikes Back

Marcy Petrini

December, 2021


As I write this, it’s mid-December 2021, and in Mississippi we are in the second wave of the Covid-19 Delta variant, with the variant Omicron on the horizon.

But the scarf that I wove for the Delta was during the first wave, starting in August and continuing through September. Just as we were enjoying our newfound cautious freedom, the pandemic, instead of retreating, was ramping up again.



The virus mutates and the more viruses there are around, the more the chance of mutations.

And with a high percentage of unvaccinated, there are a lot of viruses around.

Sadly, vaccinated people with confounding medical conditions are dying.

But most of the cases and deaths occur in the unvaccinated; they chose “freedom” over their fellow men. The virus has freedom to choose too, and it strikes back with Delta.

The scarf was a way for me to deal with the frustration. Here is a close up:





As I was thinking about the scarf, I knew I would choose red for the Delta; when I saw the first drawing of the virus back in early 2020, it was depicted in red, and since then, when I think of the virus, “I see red.”

Because vaccination is so helpful, I didn’t want the warp to be totally black; breakthrough infections, as they are called, are usually a mild disease. So, I wanted a warp ranging from off white to black, maybe different size stripes.

A more distinct Delta could be obtained with more shafts, but my 4-shaft floor loom was ready for a warp, so the design would have to be on 4 shafts. I always say that limitations enhance creativity. A pointed twill threading was the obvious choice. To make the pointed twill stand out, I would weave bands of the twill in red, alternating with a neutral color, maybe one of the warp yarns.

To make the individual deltas separate, I abbreviated the treadling and separated each row of twill with plain weave. As I was working with the drawdown, this thought occurred to me: “with this pandemic, we don’t know if we are coming or going (coming down or going up in cases)”. So, I decided that the half the Deltas would be up, the other half down. I tried a few combinations, and finally settled on four rows on one direction, and four in the other direction, with plain weave separating the sections as well as the rows.

Here is the final drawdown:




I removed the usual 1 & 2 treadling step to separate the delta motifs; three shots of plain weave separate the 4 rows of pointed twill, nine separate the rows of pointed twill motifs from the 4 rows of reverse pointed twill motifs.

Meanwhile I was working on my yarns. A beautiful hand painted silk, black and greys from Jems Luxe Fibers, approximately 1,000 yards/lb. was perfect for the warp and for the non-red sections weft of the scarf. For the red I found in my stash a Henceforth Yarns 100% silk 4/2 spun, dyed red by Neal Howard.

While the yarns are a bit heavier than may be ideal for a scarf, because it is 100% silk, the scarf does drape well.

As I was finishing the scarf, as the case numbers were finally decreasing again, I read about an interview with Dr. Robert Wachter, the chair of the medicine department at the University of California, San Francisco who suggested that for people with a booster shot, this may be the “new normal”: masks, social distancing from people whom you don’t know are vaccinated, and other similar precautions. I could live with the “new normal”, all of my friends are vaccinated. Maybe my next weaving should be the “new normal”. Of course, experts caution, all bets are off if we get a new variant….

Happy Weaving!