California Quail Scarf

Every spring, I look forward to seeing all the happy quail families in my neighborhood. I love to watch the mamas run around with five or six quail chicks trailing behind. It never fails to bring a smile to my face. Similarly, looking at Donna Wildearth’s California Quail Scarf in Handwoven May/June 2018, I can’t help but grin. Even though the California quail is a different breed from the ones in my backyard, the color and designs in her scarf beautifully evoke these funny little birds.

Happy weaving!
Christina

Donna Wildearth’s California Quail Scarf.

Donna Wildearth’s California Quail Scarf.

Designer Donna Wildearth’s Statement

As a bird-watcher, I’ve often admired the plumage of birds and considered using their colors as the basis for a weaving project. But it wasn’t until I discovered the scientific name of the California quail—Callipepla californica—that I found my inspiration. The genus name Callipepla is com¬posed of two Greek root words: calli, which means beautiful, and pepla, which is translated as woven robe or gown. Beauti¬ful woven robe! I decided to weave a scarf in homage to the California quail.

I drew a schematic of the quail’s colors and patterns on graph paper and determined that the design should alternate between solid and patterned areas. I remembered a project in a back issue of Handwoven (see Resources) that alternated plain weave with shadow weave, and though I hadn’t woven shadow weave before, I decided to try it for this project. After much deliberation with yarn color cards, I settled on seven colors of 10/2 pearl cotton that approximated the colors of the quail in my bird book.

I chose a pattern from Marian Powell’s 1000 (+) Patterns in 4, 6, and 8 Harness Shadow Weave that resembled the feather pattern on the quail. After weaving a small sampler, I chose my favorite treadling and modified it slightly to make it smaller in scale. My scarf designed, I decided to further highlight the bird motif of the scarf by fringing the sides as well as the ends for a “feathery” look.

I learned a new weave structure and created a scarf I’m proud to wear as a tribute to the California quail—the bird with a beautiful woven robe.

RESOURCES
Ahearn, Bren. “Celebrate with Cloth.” Handwoven, March/April 2005, p. 52.
Powell, Marian. 1000 (+) Patterns in 4, 6, and 8 Harness Shadow Weave. McMinnville, Oregon: Robin and Russ Hand¬weavers, 1988.

Project at a Glance

PROJECT TYPE: 4-shaft.

STRUCTURE: Summer and winter.

EQUIPMENT: 4-shaft loom, 9″ weaving width; 15-dent reed; 2 shuttles; 2 bobbins.

YARNS: 10/2 cotton (4,200 yd/lb; UKI).

Featured Image: Donna Wildearth found inspiration from the local California quail for her scarf.


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