This fall I participated in the Great Competition of Weavers . It was so so so much fun, and a really useful kick in the rear end to sit myself down at the loom! It is a competition of weavers of babywearing wraps from all over the world. If you are interested in such things, or would like to vote the next time around, go join Loom to Wrap on Facebook and keep an eye out for the 2016 competition(s).
The theme this time was "Children's Literature." Honestly, I was a little bit on the fence about whether I wanted to enter this fall. I had only just found out about it, and with the baby on the way, I was debating the wisdom of diving quite so headfirst into such a project. But when the theme was announced, I knew there was no choice. I had to do it. And I had to do "Good Night Moon" by Margaret Wise Brown. I have to admit that I second guessed myself a number of times, most notably perhaps when the yarn showed up at my door. The bright and primary colors used to illustrate "Good Night Moon" are SO not my colors. I almost threw in the towel right then. But I'm so glad I didn't.
I was an English major in college, and as such the word 'literature' has certain connotations for me. I recognize that the genre of "children's literature" contains any story for children that is printed on a page and disseminated in the form of a book. But for me, not any story would do. Literature is somehow something more. And you see, "Good Night Moon" taught me to read. It was therefore the only book I could do.
I don't have any memory of not being able to read. I remember not being able to write. I have memories from an age at which I know that I was not yet reading. But I have no memory of written words as a code that I did not understand. My mother read "Good Night Moon" to me over and over. Hundreds if not a thousand times or more. She tells me that I had it memorized, that I would "read" it to friends and visitors before I had actually acquired reading as a skillset. But between being read other books (lots of them! all the time!) and a constant repetition of "Good Night Moon," I decoded written language and began reading on my own at age 3 or so. So in a very real way, beyond being a great kids book, "Good Night Moon" opened my doors to the vast and wonderful world of literature.
I wanted to honor the words of the story, somehow pay homage to the code of the writing that this book illuminated for me. So in addition to choosing the colors of the book for the pattern of the warp, I decided to weave the story into the weft. The weft alternates between black and white, and by a very happy accident this alternation along with the stripes in the warp combine for a gorgeous tartan effect.
I assigned each letter in the alphabet a number, 1 through 26. I assigned the spaces between letters the value of 2 and the spaces between words the value of 5. And I proceeded to weave the letters in black and the spaces in white, spelling out the text of the story. So if you were to spend the time counting the threads of the wrap or happened to have a scanner with the correct programming, the wrap can be read similarly to a bar code from tail to tail. It begins "In the great green room...."
The colors of the warp are pulled from this page:
They are a stylized representation, perhaps a distillation, of the patterns of color as they move across the page (and across the width of the warp) from left to right. You can see the stripes of green and yellow for the curtains, the little rainbow for the bookshelf on one side, and the blue and white stripes of the bunny's pajamas on the other side.
All in all, I'm very happy with how the design turned out. I hope that someone enjoys the tartan wrap as a staple of an autumn wardrobe, as a Christmas-y accessory, or on a future trip to Scotland! I'll be selling it via draw real soon on the 14 Mile Farm Facebook page.
"Goodnight room, goodnight moon, goodnight cow jumping over the moon."