Somewhere in Time

Carol Irving wove a beautiful two-sided rug using special yarns and shaft switching.

Carol Irving Oct 13, 2021 - 3 min read

Somewhere in Time Primary Image

Somewhere in Time by Carol Irving. Photo by Michael Olson

Weavers find inspiration in many places including the natural world and their favorite yarns. Here's Carol Irving writing about a beautiful rug she wove using a special-to-her yarn and shaft-switching. - Susan

I am a fiber artist. In my work, I love the materials I use, the processes I employ, and especially the rainbow of yarn that surrounds me. Color-saturated yarns allow me to convey my thoughts or inner visions to the viewer. For my rug Somewhere in Time, I visualized strong waves with a riled subsurface as they move the water and create riptides off a Great Lakes island. I envisioned it as a dynamic piece emoting powerful energy.


A selection of the Learning from Scratch yarns used by Carol. Photo by Carol Irving

To achieve that vision, I used shaft switching on the Harrisville Rug Loom and changed colors many times as I wove. I gradated my colors often, thereby imbuing the piece with color. The resultant rug is reminiscent of an amazing place: Mackinac Island during the lilac blooming season. For my palette, I chose various shades of deep purples, lavenders, and greens. You can almost smell the lovely scent of lilacs in the air and hear the waves of Lake Huron that surround the island. As I wove this piece with lilacs in mind, someone suggested Somewhere in Time as a title, a reference to the Upper Peninsula’s Mackinac Island lilacs and the movie of the same name filmed there in 1979. I thought it was a great fit!

My chosen yarn for weaving this rug is also very special to me. I chose yarns from Learning from Scratch, a nonprofit organization located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Learning from Scratch works with local businesses and industry to identify and repurpose waste and excess materials for use in art and education within the community. For one of its projects, Learning from Scratch is working with another Michigan company, a luxury carpet manufacturer, repurposing natural-fiber yarns such as silk, cashmere, and wool that were unused in the manufacturing process. The carpet company has a sustainable approach to its manufacturing process, so this arrangement suits both parties well. Finding a yarn company in my own state of Michigan so devoted to the community l love was exciting. Using the repurposed yarn in my piece inspired by the beauty of Michigan just made sense.

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