When I was a child I loved the Narnia books. I’d shut myself up in closets, hoping to find a portal to that magical land, and devoured the stories over and over. Almost half a century later, now a weaver and a spinner, I’m doing my best to weave Narnian-grade fabrics. But what are those, some people might ask?
“…in Narnia your good clothes were never your uncomfortable ones. They knew how to make things that felt beautiful as well as looking beautiful in Narnia; and there was no such thing as starch or flannel or elastic to be found from one end of the country to the other.” “…she…put on the clothes that had been laid out for her—they were the kind that not only felt nice, but looked nice and smelled nice and made nice sounds when you moved as well…”
The books repeatedly make the case that ordinary clothes of this world are ugly and don’t feel good against the skin. (Of course, in post-war England during the years in which these books were written, that was probably the truth.) C.S. Lewis exercised his imagination in envisioning a place in which clothing is not a burden, with tight collars and neckties and braces and constricting undergarments. And now that I am no longer a child but a weaver, I can ask myself the question: how would I go about making a Narnian-style fabric, suitable of being used for clothing?
Such a fabric would have to exhibit lovely ground patterns and feel wonderful. With that in mind, I’ve made two samplers so far that accomplish both of those goals. One is a supple length of bamboo thread in a six-harness pattern, with wonderful drape and a pattern that shimmers before the eyes, worked in gold and light green [above]. The other is an eight-shaft blouse-weight silk of blue and reddish-violet threads, 48 ends per inch, the finest I have yet attempted.
I hope I enjoy the chance to weave more yardage suitable of creating garments that are beautiful to look at and lovely to touch.