It’s in the stars

I saw a gorgeous chenille shawl woven by an artist and it really caught my attention. I found that I kept going back to look at it. A little more research showed it was designed by Bonnie Tarses. The shawl is unique, because the striping is based on her astrological chart. That played in my head for a while, and last year I paid her to create a warp striping pattern based on my chart. I really wanted to know what something based on how the stars aligned when I was born would look. This past weekend, I got around to choosing the fiber and shades to use.

This is a close up of the different color stripes that make up the warp. You can see some color blocks of 5 threads, but there’s more single color changes from stripe to stripe. That just means I need to carefully wind the warp to maintain the pattern.

Bonnie provides the warp striping pattern (vertical) and instructions on how to read it. It’s up the the weaver to choose the weft stripes (horizontal). There are no rules or suggestions. The weaver/artist supplies this vision. I played around with doing the same striping in both directions and it was just too busy. So I simplified my choices. A color is assigned to 12 constellations and also for the Sun, Moon, 7 planets and Pluto. The chart is shown in 12 sections, or houses. I divided the length of the shawl into 12 sections to represent the houses.

If I have anything in a house, then I take the two assigned colors and make a stripe. For houses where I don’t have any planet/constellation assigned, my stripe is black. In my chart, I only have data in half of the houses. So there’s a lot of black in the piece, which I think really shows off the warp stripes. In 5 of the houses, I have only one set of planet and constellation, so that’s two color stripes. In the house where my Sun and moon are, I have 5 pairs of data, for 10 stripes. The 10 stripes will take up the same amount of space as a two color stripe. You can pick this out of the pattern below about 2/3 of the way down where the stripes get thinner.

This is how it will look using the horizontal striping pattern I’ve described. The vertical striping is what came from the chart and is far more intricate. I like that these two methods show off the complexity of the piece whole still feeling like there’s a pattern there. I apparently have a lot going on in Leo/Virgo…giving my shawl a distinctive golden color of late summer. The colors really bring on the feeling of late August in the midwest.

I am going to do this in jewel-tone shades of chenille. It should make a very rich looking fabric. I avoided choosing bright colors because with this much going on it could be garish. The chenille I’ve ordered should be here at the end of the week. It will take a while to get the warp wound because there aren’t many places where there is a solid block of color. The weaving program mock up shows a lot of distinct colors, but the finished product will have a more subtle color shift.

This is the color palette I decided on. The reds are definitely different shades despite the camera’s rendition.

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