Thursday, March 7, 2013

Allen Shawl

   I've always been intrigued by the story of my great grandmother, Sarah Catherine Allen McMahan.  She died in 1894 when my grandmother was 8 months old.
  This old photo of her was probably taken after her own mother had died after the birth of her little sister.  Her father, Daniel Allen, married two more times, and had many more children!  Sarah Catherine is the young lady on the right.  The writing, in my grandmother's hand, labels her as Catherine.  I remember the first time I saw this photo....I strongly resemble her!  And, the little girl on the left looks like my little sister!
   It always made my grandmother a little sad that she never really knew her mother.  But, as a small child, she spent a lot of time with her Allen relatives.  And, she remained close to her aunts (who were actually younger than she was) until she died.
  Don't you just love old photos???  The lacing on the boots (and heels, no less!) as well as the little apron on the little sister and the hair ribbon are the little details that are fun to spot.

  So, imagine my delight as I was thumbing through Atwater's Recipe Book, and I caught this pattern.  I had already marked it as a possible shawl pattern, although she has it as a baby blanket pattern.  When I read closely, I saw that she stated that the pattern was contributed by Mrs. Laura Allen.
  I did the drawdown using just two repeats of the threading with the selvedges drawn in so I could get an idea of the look of it.  Using just one color for the warp, and a second color for the weft makes a beautiful design.  When I crunched the numbers, I came up with four repeats of the threading to get my width.

  So, this is what I started putting on Mz. Emily last night!  Navy Harrisville wool set 8 ends to the inch.  I should be able to get back to it this afternoon, and maybe even get it wound on the back beam.
  I haven't decided yet whether I'll be using red or purple for the weft....guess I'll have to do some sampling! 
  Yes, I know....I said I wasn't going to start anything new for awhile....but this just seemed like it was meant to be.  After all, I did cut off six placemats, and tied that warp back on.  And, I did weave two more mug rugs this weekend.  I also started joining five fabric panels together to strip for a new tote bag.  Besides, Mz. Emily looked so sad just sitting there without a warp.  I had to do something!
  Now, I'm off to get errands done.  I'd love to get back to that warp in just a little while...and think about Sarah Catherine.
Happy Weaving!


Tina J said...

A new warp holds such promise! Sarah Catherine would be proud of you I think!

Bonnie said...

That is a great pattern. Red or Purple would look nice.

Maggie said...

Never let your weaving be guilty! No one likes a nekkid loom!
And I love that there's a history to this new warp. You will think of her the whole time you're weaving. And congrats for jumping into weaving with wool!