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!



Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

Marcy Petrini

November, 2021


In 2020 Major League Baseball cancelled all Minor League games. But in 2021 our M-Braves were back! The Mississippi Braves are the AA Affiliate of the Atlanta Braves.

Being outdoors, baseball games were an activity approved for controlling the virus. Alone or with friends, we were regulars at Trustmark Park.



Even though the team didn’t play its best early on, it was wonderful being back; after all, the grass is greener, the sun shines brighter and the beer tastes better at the ballpark! But the M-Braves improved through the season and won the AA Southern League Championship.

Going to the ballgames, I would sing to my husband:

Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

Imitating Carly Simon, but not very well.

One day, as we were driving to the ballpark, I thought: I should celebrate by weaving a scarf!

As I talked about in my October blog, I had been thinking about linen weaves in Davison’s book, and I thought that the one in the canvas weave chapter would be the perfect structure to depict a baseball. However, I had to modify the draft because I didn’t want the canvas blocks to be throughout the fabric or even staggered in columns.

Meanwhile I was thinking of colors: green for the grass and white stripes for the ball. I could change the drawdown to get a mixture of plain weave and pseudo-basket weave for texture, as ballparks usually have a variety of grass cuts Here is the drawdown:


Looking at it, I realized that I could use the middle thread on a shaft 2 for a red stripe. Because there is a single thread, the stripe wouldn’t be solid, but alternating warp and weft – perfect for the stitching on the baseball!

But a green fabric with white stripes, even with the red stitching, wasn’t very exciting. I started thinking about the colors of ballpark – infield is brown!

As a baseball field, the scarf didn’t have to be symmetrical. As I was working with the proportions of the colors and the structures, I had an idea of where to place the white stripes:

a foul ball

a bunt

an infield hit

and a line drive!

I used 20/2 silk for the green, brown and red; to make the white stand out more, I used 8/2 silk.

Finally, it was time to weave; using the green of the warp for weft made the fabric somewhat flat. I tried a variety of green yarns, and found that a 10/2 Tencel®, color sage, worked well.

Here is the Take Me Out to the Ball Game scarf and close-up.



By the time the scarf was done, the season was over. But that’s OK, I wouldn’t be wearing a silk scarf to a ballgame with 100 degrees weather!

Happy Weaving!



Azalea Spring (2021)

Marcy Petrini

September, 2021




Finally, after our post-vaccine wait, we felt safe for some outings: small gatherings with our vaccinated friends, meals at our favorite restaurants with outdoor seating, shopping sprees at the local shops, and a haircut! Also, some necessary outings, doctors’ and dentists’ appointments.

One day when we were driving in the older part of town, there they were: azaleas! In all of their feathery gorgeous colors: whites, myriads of pinks, salmon, lavender. We have azaleas in our yarn and our neighborhood, but not as beautiful and ours hadn’t even blossomed yet. But this part of town is known for the older plants that are just spectacular. I had forgotten how much I like them. As one of my friends said about the lock-down: it’s not just the things that I miss, but the things I have forgotten about.

Days later, I was still weaving scarves in memory of R.T. (see August blog) and I wanted to buy more of the yarn Birds of a Feather (by Interlacements, hand-dyed by Tracey Schuh, rayon) in a grey solid color; I was browsing the on-line catalog by Yarn Barn, and there were those azalea colors! The company calls the color scheme African Violets and maybe they are, but to me they were azalea colors.

I decided to weave a shawl to celebrate the azaleas; I could use the Birds of Feather for weft in a false satin, 3/1 broken twill, so I could have a weft-dominant side. Here is drawdown, weft dominant, how I wove it:



And this is the back of the drawdown, warp dominant:



I used a 10/2 Tencel® for warp, lilac color. I usually sett 10/2 Tencel® for twills at 24 epi, but it needed to be a closer sett for an unbalanced twill; however, the sett needed to be more open because the weft was larger than the warp. I decided on 24 epi after all.

Here is the shawl with the two sides showing:


After weaving 6", I decided the shawl needed some variation in this sea of purplish pink, so I wove one repeat of Caterpillar yarn, 100% cotton, color Paua, and repeated every 6” or so; the color reminds me of the greens of the azalea leaves, the blue sky that was framing them and the gold of the sun shining down on them.

Here are the close-ups of the two sides, the weft dominant:




And the warp dominant:



I wondered what the shawl would look like with a darker purple warp….. Next time.

Happy Weaving!



Linen Weave

Marcy Petrini

October, 2021


In the September / October 2021 issue of Handwoven, Judy Steward reviewing Shanta Eri silk for the Yarn Lab article, shows an example of “Linen Weave”. I had not thought about “linen weave” in decades, I remembered it as a textured weave, which Judy’s sample also shows.

I came across linen weave at a time when I didn’t really understand weaving classification of any type, so everything seemed to be a weave of sorts – linen weave, waffle weave, boundweave, etc.

Judy referenced Davison’s book in her article, so I had to look up linen weave. There are four entries for it in Marguerite Porter Davison’s book, A Handweaver’s Pattern Book. Judy’s version of the book is the 1944 edition, mine 1994, so I didn’t know exactly which of the four linen weaves Judy used. Time to explore.

The first linen weave is in the Canvas Weaves chapter, one threading with three treadlings (see drawdown below in the same order as in Davison). If we look at the third treadling, we see why this linen weave is in this chapter, it is a double block canvas weave. I decided it to adapt for a current project I am weaving which will be for a later blog.



The other two treadlings form columns of warp-dominant and weft-dominant stripes, accentuated by the sleying of cramming 4 threads in one dent, and then leaving one empty.

The second reference of linen weave in Davison’s book is by Caroline Halvorsen’s No 180, in the Texture Weaves chapter, Judy may have used this one for her sample, hard to tell from a small photograph. Looking at it, I realized that it is twill blocks, two blocks on four shafts. The threading is similar to the twill blocks I have used before, the entry for which is in the Pictionary©, but the treadling produces more pronounced differences, the blocks are more warp or weft dominant. Below is the drawdown; this, too, is a structure I would like to try. There are relatively long floats, 5-threads, but they contribute to the warp or weft dominant look.




The next two linen weave examples are from the chapter called Thousand Flowers; Davison says that “All of the patterns given in this chapter are four-unit overshot weaves…” Confusing terminology since overshot is not a unit weave.

The first sample, Linen Weave Unit has two treadling options, one with tabby and one without. The drawdown for the one woven with the tabby is below:




The second without a tabby is next:




The final example is called Linen Weave Plaid; it has two blocks, block A is the same threading as the Linen Weave Unit, the second block B is inverted. Block A is repeated 5 times, then to form the “plaid”, there is a block B, block A, block B. The thread on shaft 1 is omitted when the following block is different. The treadling uses a tabby. In the drawdown below I used 3 repeats of block A threading and treadling to make it more easily seen.




Even though Davison says that these structures are overshot weaves, I was intrigued by the Linen Weave Unit. Could it be woven as a unit weave? From the threading, it appeared that it could be classified as a double (2 pattern shafts per block), two tie (1, 2), unpaired (ties not next to each other) with a ratio of 1:4 (1 thread on a tie shaft for every 4 pattern threads). It could be easily expanded to more shafts for more blocks, three on 8 shafts, A, B, and C.

The treadling could be the classical way: the two pattern shafts for each block with each tie-down thread; that is, to weave block A, we would treadle: 1 & 3 & 4 vs. 2 & 3 & 4. Here is the drawdown, the first repeat shows the units, the second repeat shows how it is woven with the alternating tabby:




It can, in fact, be woven as a unit weave. As I looked at the drawdown, it looked awfully familiar. Because I was scheduled to lead a seminar on unit weaves at Convergence 2020 – and now moved to Convergence 2022 – I have been exploring and weaving unit weaves. I went back to my notes and there it was!

Below is the front of double, two unpaired ties with a 1:4 ratio, followed by the back of the sample:




This unit weave is sometimes called 4:1 Beiderwand. However, Donna Sullivan, in her book Summer and Winter A Weave for All Seasons, explains why she does not like the beiderwand designation for unit weaves because true beiderwand is a double weave cloth, with two warps and two wefts. Madelyn van der Hoogt has written a nice explanation of beiderwand in her “Ask Madelyn” column of November 24, 2015 (


Happy Weaving and Exploring!




R.T. Remembered

Marcy Petrini

August, 2021




Our post-vaccination time was to be over on March 8 and the weekend before we were finalizing our ‘re-entering” strategy with excitement. But when on Saturday, March 6, 2021, I went to the mailbox, my excitement turned into sadness: there, by the mailbox, laid the dead little body of our cat R.T., killed by a car. Terry argues that I can’t know what happened, but what I do know is that people drive around our semi-circle as if they are escaping from home.

R.T. was so named because he was the runt of a litter by a feral cat who herself had been a runt. He was beloved and loved everybody, friendly and inquisitive. Here he is supervising Terry’s photoshoot in 2017.


As I did for the other stages of my covid life, I found comfort in weaving. I wove scarves in memory of R.T. for the four people who R.T. loved. My sister Ellie and brother-in-law Jess will pick their favorite scarves first, but not all of the scarves were ready when Ellie and Jess were finally able to visit in April. We sat a date for September. The scarves are ready, but the pandemic is back with the delta strain in Mississippi, so no visit from Ellie and Jess.

The scarves are woven in black, white and grey, R.T.’s coloring. Since I wanted fuzzy scarves both for comfort and because R.T. was fuzzy, they were all woven with textured yarns in plain weave on my rigid heddle.

I wanted to see the interaction of textured yarns with and without variegation and with untextured yarns. I used Birds of a Feather by Interlacements hand-dyed by Tracey Schuh, rayon with a recommended sett of 8-10 epi. I purchased from Yarn Barn the color grey wolf which is variegated and charcoal which is a solid dark grey. For variety I also used Knit and Crochet Confection, 100% polyamide, 155 yards/176 oz. which the company calls dark gray for color but in fact it has a light grey fuzzy core with bits of white fiber caught in the plying.  And finally, Lion Brand Basic Stitch, premium acrylic, 3.5 oz/219 yards, color charcoal. Acrylics have certainly changed since the 70s when I started weaving now that microfibers are in use.

All warps were sett at 8 epi; fringes were braided rather than twisted, as we do for chenille. Here are the combinations I wove:






Birds of a Feather color Grey Wolf, variegated, rayon

Birds of a Feather color Grey Wolf, variegated, rayon


Birds of a Feather color Grey Wolf, variegated, rayon

Knit and Crochet Confection,
grey with white fluffs of fiber, polyamide


Knit and Crochet Confection,
grey with white fluffs of fiber, polyamide

Lion Brand Basic Stitch color charcoal, acrylic


Birds of a Feather color Grey Wolf, variegated, rayon

Birds of a Feather color Charcoal (solid dark grey), rayon


And here are the scarves:




Hug your pets and Happy Weaving!



I thought about little R.T. while weaving and wondered what it would have been like to have him as an old wonderful cat. It was not to be. Life goes on.

Hug your pets and Happy Weaving!

Happy Weaving!