Snowbirding was initially part of a weaver challenge wherein two weavers go head-to-head designing off of the same inspiration. My dear friend Brianna over at Moth and Moon Fibreworks and I were paired with an image of a tropical beach at sunset.
Neither of us met the deadline and both ended up producing distinctly autumnal warps. After dyeing the yarn, I became inspired by the birch leaves just starting to go yellow in lace patterns in the forest canopy, the crampbark hinting at crimson, and the delightful earthy smell of boreal autumn taking over the woods in September. The geese and cranes both gather for their annual migration away from the cold and the snow that will settle over this land I call home.
It is a common thing in Alaska to flee the winters: Retirees, those with the abundance of luxurious means, those with light pockets and lighter bags who want the freedom of wandering. They seek the sun. We call them Snowbirds. They snowbird (it is a verb as well as a noun). They return for the glory that is an Alaskan summer, called by the majesty of this land and the magic it conjures in even the most mundane soul. And in the winter they go south.
My inlaws are both retired now and in the sunset of their lives, and the last few winters they have made their home in Hawaii. Their apartment opens onto a lanaii with a shared pool and a garden in which my father in law tends coconuts, mangoes, papaya, loofah (like the sponges!), hibiscus, angel trumpets and more. The view is clear to the ocean and the horizon beyond. As I contemplated the inspiration picture my mind kept circling back to sitting on the garden steps next to their lanaii, to watching the sun slip gloriously over the horizon, to the warmth of the night air and the smell of tropical flowers that met us in December when we visited last.
The first baby wrap piece off of this warp featured a butter soft buttery yellow merino weft. Three of the four wrap pieces of this design found homes in Alaska, which absolutely warms my heart.
My jewel-tone loving heart simply adored working with the deep purple eggplant weft on this piece. This piece was a semi-custom; the mama with whom it eventually found a home was able to choose weft color, weave pattern, and length. She was inspired by the monarch butterfly symbolizing new beginnings and its annual migration. She chose to add random weft stripe accents in orange to add to the visual interest and really highlight this homage.
This shorty is the only wrap piece that lives "Outside" (as we Alaskans call the Lower 49 contiguous states of the USA). The delicate pink of the skinny bamboo viscose weft brings out the tones of the horizon at dawn. I'm continually entranced by the way that the weft shifts the overall feel of the piece.
This ring sling piece ended up staying local to me, going to live with a mama just one town over. It was woven with a natty Egyptian cotton weft. This slightly thicker weft lent a smooshy floppy thickness that is ideal for cush and support in a one shouldered ring sling.
I was able to really play around with wefts, weaving off a number of cowls and circle scarves as well as this baby blanket, backed with quilting fabric with a tropical motif. Below, you see a skinny blue mercerized cotton weft, a hand dyed mercerized cotton weft in pinks and golds, and a cream/natural wool knitting yarn.
(P.S. They are currently listed for sale in the shop! )