I am going to weave a deacon's stole for my son. Has anyone out there in weaving land woven one? or do you have specific knowledge of requirements as to dimensions, placement of design, or just a general discussion of things to know. There isn't much definite information out there and I would sure love to hear from other weavers about this project. Roni
I haven't ever woven a stole (although I am contemplating trying it in the future), but Handwoven magazine has done two issues (that I know of) featuring projects for ecclesiastical stoles: January/February 1989 and November/December 1998. According to an article on liturgical weaving in the 1998 issue stoles are typically 4-5 inches wide and up to 160" long. The author also says that the stole should be joined at about a 60 degree angle so the seam is behind the neck.
I looked at the finished dimensions for all the stole projects and they ranged from 4-6" wide and 54-113" long, I think it depends on what you want in a design and the height/shoulder length of the person who will be wearing it.
From what I can tell design placement is up to the weaver. The 1998 issue features photos of handwoven stoles readers have made and they varied from a small simple design at the bottom to an overshot pattern that covers the entire stole. One stole featured in the 1989 issue was woven in overshot using a name draft with the name being the church, which I thought was quite sweet.
If you want it worn during a specific season or event (i.e., Advent, Lent, weddings) I think there are sometimes certain rules about color and design. For example, in the Roman Catholic Church, Advent and Lent stoles should be predominantly purple. Also, one of the article recommended looking at the architecture of the church and keeping that in mind while designing. That designer was weaving wedding "kneelers" and matching stole for wedding ceremonies in her small English church, so the design was simple, elegant, and predominantly white.
That's all I know, and maybe somebody who's done it before can add more to what I've written. When you finish, I hope you post a photo or send us a letter at Handwoven with a photo and letter.
And what a lucky son!
I can help you; I even have some patterns for two designs I have used. One is a diagonal across the chest from shoulder to hip and then runs to hang vertcally; the other hangs diagonally from shoulder to about the knee. The use of color and the design do depend on the denomination and the formality of the church, as well as liturgical season. Some churches are very strict about color and fiber used; others are very informal. Why don't you contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can talk over the personal details "offline." Don't worry; it's not difficult.
Pam Engberg - www.firewatchweavers.com
I did one for my brother. He sent me the length needed. It was 8"wide. I used 5/2 Halcyon pearl cotton in shades of green, the color for common time. He says it's perfect. I kept it really simple and lined it with a quilt grade batik cotton in the same shades of green. If I did one now I would probably use 10/2 and do a finer weave at 24epi. I just used plain weave and let the colors make the interest. I hope you have fun and make him something wonderful.
If I'm not too late joining this party...
Colors (may vary with denomination, but only slightly):
"Festal" (Christmas, Easter, All Saints, weddings, funerals): White (gold may certainly be added)
"Penitential" (Lent and Advent): Purple (though for Advent some churches also go toward blue) and simple; for Holy Week some churches go for blood red (especially Palm Sunday) with perhaps accents of black
"Common" time (season of Pentecost): Green. As a priest, I beg you: Avoid avocado! :-) It is the color used most during the year, so be sure you (and the deacon and the priest) like it!
Pentecost (the Sunday itself, not the season), feasts of martyrs: Red
Black is now used only twice: All Souls (November 2) and Good Friday
Advice above is correct: The Deacon's stole goes across the chest from right shoulder to left hip (looking from the front); at the hip it may join the back half either by being sewn together (6" or so) or with a clip or hook. Sometimes the stole is simply tied at the hip. A Priest's stole hangs straight down from the shoulders.
Adornment (inlaid crosses, embroidery, gold or other color trim, etc.) are at your discretion and, as someone notes, the worship style of the church.
You might also ask your son if his priest would like a matching stole -- it can be distracting to see the priest in one design and color and the deacon in another. And from there you can make a whole set of altar hangings, lectern hanging, and on and on!!! :-)
You're doing a very nice thing. My favorite vestments are those given to me (commissioned by but not woven by) by my sister - they have special meaning that the already-in-the-church vestments do not. You might also search out a book, Weaving for Worship -- it is very hard to find! (I see Amazon has them for about $40) and *VERY* helpful!