I started weaving this shrug/wrap on the 3rd, the day after I joyfully signed my vows and agreements. It was finished 4/6, the day before my first Sunday “as a minister”. It was a fun project with special meaning to me.
Originally I planned to weave the Shrug in Leno from The Weaver’s Idea Book by Jane Patrick. But there is a reason why we ask in affirmative prayer for “this, or something better!” I didn’t get “this” pattern, but I got something much better!
All this is :), is 2 pieces. The back piece is long enough to wrap over my shoulders with the fringe touching my upper arms. It has no sleeves, but the sides of the back act almost like capped sleeves.
The front piece is all leno lace. You set up the rigid heddle loom as you would to weave any tabby or plain weave cloth. But as you weave, you pick up and twist groups of threads, locking the twist in place as the shuttle carries the weft back and forth. This is not complicated! Some would say it’s slow, but I felt it wove up quickly, and I had fun – which explains a lot!
I tell you this is not complicated, and it’s not. But the first day I started weaving, I just could not get my mind or my fingers wrapped around what the cloth “should” look like. I’ve never touched leno until now, so I had no idea what I was actually striving to weave. So I stopped, temporarily, and wove a third of the back in plain weave. Fine.
Next day the leno worked great! I still didn’t know, from previous tactile experience, what I was supposed to weave. But I didn’t care. I kept on with it, which taught me again, that we don’t need to know the “how” or the means by which everything will work out. All we need to know, is that it will work out!
SO the second third of the back is in leno, and I felt a sense of accomplishment weaving it. It’s truly a beautiful texture!
The last third, like the first, is plain weave.
Added to the front piece that is all leno, this shrug is my favorite handwoven piece! I wear many of my handwovens, but this one is extra special.
In deciding how to connect the front and back, I had many ideas. I’m grateful for them all and I know I’ll use them in future projects! Chinese knot buttons, beads, standard buttons, ties, cords, plied, twisted or knotted fringe, netting, crocheting, sewing… There are more ways to join 2 pieces than there are pieces to join! 😀
But the idea that stuck was the most natural thing in the world to me. When I was little I got a necklace for Easter. It had plastic lambs strung with beads between them. A sheep-lover all my life, I adored that necklace! And I cried and cried the day it broke. But something made either my mom or me save the lambs from that necklace.
I found them in my jewelry box the night I finished this piece and actually said out loud, “Wow! That’s it!”
Now, one lamb is sewn on each side of the back piece. They lay on my shoulders when I wear this. The leno creates holes in the front piece, so I just put the lambs through some leno on each side. And there you have it.
All is not lost! Leno does work. My sheep live on. And I have something to wear that makes me smile and laugh – and yes, cry a little too, with amazement at how things do work together for our good.
And if it works in these “little things,” how much more does it work in great things?