A Colorful Scarf Based on a 30-Year-Old Photo

I love seeing how weavers interpret their sources of inspiration, and that was the case for the Shifting Shadows Scarf in the May/June 23 issue.

Susan E. Horton Aug 7, 2023 - 3 min read

A Colorful Scarf Based on a 30-Year-Old Photo Primary Image

The Handwoven May/June 2023 cover project, Shifting Shadows, by Barbara Mitchell. Photos by Matt Graves

I know that it’s the pretty pictures in Handwoven that attract many readers’ eyes, but as the editor, I’m often looking at something else. For instance, I don’t just skip over the source of our project designers’ inspiration because that is where I am often inspired myself. And I always get a kick when the very thing around which someone else designed a project has been in the back of my mind for... I don’t know, maybe 10 or 20 years! This was the case with the cover project for Handwoven May/June, the Shifting Shadows scarf by Barbara Mitchell.

Barbara based her design on a photo in a book that was originally published in 1994 by Margaret B. Windeknecht. The title is Color-and-Weave II. It’s a self-published large paperback printed in black and white. While it’s not a book for the best-seller list, it is a valuable resource for weavers, and like many of its ilk, out of print. The photo Barbara was drawn to combines a plain-weave log-cabin grid with twill color-and-weave windows in what is arguably not a great photo. Easy enough to skip over, but luckily for us, she didn’t.

Three rows of twill squares from the Shifting Shadows scarf.

Using Bamboo 12, a modern fiber from Jane Stafford Textiles, Barbara broke away from the black-and-white design with eight colors: two neutrals that she used in the log-cabin sections and six bright colors that rotate through the gamp-like twill design. She notes in her article that it took 12 rows of color-and-weave patterns before the rotation of twill pattern and colors repeated. We checked, and she was right!

Now I have two sources of inspiration for this idea of log-cabin grids around twill patterns, Margaret and Barbara. I hope you too are inspired by what Barbara did in developing this draft and the scarf she designed around it. And if you can get your hands on Color-and-Weave II, check out the original source on page 75.

Weave well,