Purple Mountain Napkins

As a kid, I thought that the line “purple mountain majesty” from the song “America the Beautiful” was a bit silly. After all, mountains aren’t purple, are they? They were green with maybe a bit of gray or brown, perhaps with some snow on top. Certainly not purple! Then I moved west and got to see the way mountains change color during sunrise and sunset. Suddenly, I understood that line and the phenomenon it described—the moment right at dusk (or dawn) when the mountains turn purple, perhaps with just a hint of alpenglow on their peaks. Our local mountains, for example, change from orange to pink to purple every evening as the sun sets. There really is nothing quite like it. In her Purple Mountains Napkins from the September/October 2018 issue, Susan Porter captures this imagery in a beautiful way. Learn more about her design here:

Purple Mountains Napkins

Susan Porter’s Purple Mountains Napkins.

Susan Porter’s Statement

I wanted my weaving to incorporate the elements that spoke to me in the photograph: the water, the trees, and the purple mountains with the alpenglow on the peaks. By combining two four-shaft twills in an eight-shaft draft, I was able to represent the movement of the water and the clustering of the pines surrounding the purple mountains. Then I added just a touch of Melon to bring in the alpenglow.

Happy Weaving!

Project at a Glance

PROJECT TYPE: 8-shaft.


EQUIPMENT: 8-shaft loom, 21″ weaving width; 12-dent heddle; 1 shuttle; 2 bobbins.

YARNS: 10/2 pearl cotton (4,200 yd/lb; UKI; Yarn Barn of Kansas); 20/2 pearl cotton (8,400 yd/lb; Brassard et Fils).

OTHER SUPPLIES: Matching sewing thread; Synthrapol; Shout Color Catcher dye-catching sheets.

Featured Image: Susan Porter’s dinner napkins evoke images of purple mountaintops with just a hint of alpenglow.

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