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.
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.
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.