Weaving meaning

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What do you do with a scrap of fur from a loved dog that has died? My friend Anni had a beautiful dog called Lambchop.  She was my dog Nina’s best friend.  Lambchop even taught Nina how to pull down packets of biscuits from the higher shelves in the pantry she couldn’t reach herself.  They were a team.

When Lambchop died Anni was distraught.   As I was leaving Anni’s house soon after Lambchop’s death Nina went and sat beside her, staring at me intently.  Nina seemed to realise just how deep Anni’s grief was.  I felt sure she was telling me she had decided to stay with Anni and look after her – and she did for a few days. Maybe they were sharing their mutual loss.

Lambchop had lovely white wiry fur – she was part White Highland Terrier. Knowing Lambchop was not long for this world Anni had kept some small pieces of her fur. These would become a small tangible reminder to touch after she’d gone.  When I found out I suggested I could weave a scarf for Anni with the bits of fur in it.

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It was a long time coming because I felt such a burden of responsibility to design a scarf that would honour such a special pet. But suddenly I had an idea.  Two elements came together in my mind at once: Anni spends part of each year in Greece and she wears blue most of the time.  So I would create a blue and white scarf referencing Greece and it’s weaving heritage of flokati rugs.

Always my first step with these things is going to my yarn stash, and it’s quite a stash.  Some yarns I’ve had for over 30 years.  I store them in boxes, labelled by colour, under the spare bed. I like to pile them up and play with combinations before finalising the design.  Once I have refined the yarn choice then I get weaving.

Yarns for blog post

There are memories for me in these yarns too, leftovers from past projects, gleanings from rubbish tips and factory discards. The vibrant blue cones are favourite, rescued years ago from a rubbish tip, the mid-blue loom ends from a baby rug for my daughter – now 31. For Anni’s scarf the loopy white mohair, a great discovery in Paris last year at Malhia Kent http://www.malhia.fr/html/fr/collection-malhia-kent.html , went perfectly with Lambchop’s fur. I didn’t consult Anni on the design.  I felt confident it would suit her and that she would like and wear the final product.

Once I had decided on the yarns the weaving was fast. Here is Anni’s scarf just off the loom prior to finishing. You can clearly see the little puffs of Lambchop’s fur in the weave against the blue.  They are firmly secured so there is no danger they will be lost.

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Anni loves and wears her scarf!  These little slivers of fur are now part of the future, offering reminders of love, special times, and the happiness of Lambchop. This will happen again and again, each time Anni wears her scarf. What all this means to me is the possibility of creating joy, joy from something that might have stayed in a little paper envelope in a drawer, or continued to gather dust on a shelf.

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