November 18th, 2008 | Link
The Magnolia wrap takes its name from the album Magnolia Electric Co. by Songs: Ohia, which I listened to somewhat obsessively during the wrap’s construction. My coworker and fellow music afficionado Grant hopes that the wrap’s recipient won’t become depressed just wearing it, with that kind of legacy! But I was in love with the slide guitar and violin, the urgency of the lyrics, and the glorious fuzz of the arrangements, and the resulting album is complex enough that it requires a few listens to grasp it all. (In fact, I’m listening to it again as I write this.)
On to the wrap. I used every slot and hole in the 10 dpi reed, so I had about 120 ends (the loom is only 12″ wide). The yarn is Alice Starmore Scottish Campion, a 2-ply sport-weight Shetland yarn. My mother had purchased a bunch of it for a Fair-Isle sweater that she never got around to knitting, and gave it to me when I was home a year or so ago. There were at least 12 colors, and more than 20 skeins—I had one to four balls of each color. These are not so much my colors, although I like the heathery tones in several of them. The yarn is loosely spun and I was able to break it easily by yanking on it, so I worried that it wouldn’t be strong enough for warping, but it held up. The biggest problem I had was that this yarn is prickly: the warp threads kept sticking together, and it was hard to beat. Even after the finishing wash the fabric is still a bit itchy.
I made up the plaid pattern as I was warping the loom, starting in the middle and working toward the sides. I had more of the heathery purple and the dark teal colors than anything else, so I alternated these, the deeper colors, in the larger areas to try to anchor the pattern. There is so much going on with the multiple colors that I wanted some structure to the pattern. So I used 10 ends for each purple section and 6-8 ends for the teal, and separated them with 8 mixed ends chosen from the remaining colors. I tried to limit the amount of what I considered outlier colors, like the pale yellow, to a few highlights, and stick mostly with the mid-range. When I had finished warping, I wove in the same pattern.
Since there were a lot of color changes in this pattern, I wove in the ends in each time I started or ended a color, alternated the sides where the colors started, rather than trying to carry strands along the sides. It worked out pretty well—the extra threads are only an inch or so long—but I wish the piece were wider so there was more middle area. I also wish it were wider because after taking it off the loom and the finishing wash the wrap is only 11″ wide, so it’s really more of a scarf.