Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Welcome Back Monarchs

Every year around the beginning of October, Monarch butterflies start coming to Santa Cruz for the winter. Well, all of the central coast of California, really.
I happen to live near Santa Cruz. One of the state parks that is within the city limits, Natural Bridges State Beach, has a grove of eucalyptus trees that the butterflies come to each year. Sometimes you can see thousands of them. If it is cold, they cluster in the trees. If it is warm, they can be seen fluttering about.
Several years ago my husband and I went there to check it out.
Observing a Monarch which was on the ground, I realized for the first time, that the underside of the lower wing was yellow. Hmmm...
Who doesn't love the colors and patterns on a Monarch butterfly?
Inspired, I went home and set up my loom for a sash in Monarch colors.
The white glass beads in the center worked just perfectly to imitate white dots on the butterflies' wings. I really like how this turned out.
To read more about these amazing butterflies and their migration check out this website.


  1. What a beautiful butterfly, it must be a great joy to see them flying in. Nice woven band too!

  2. I've got a question about your favourite Schacht inkle loom, is the tension device 100% ? Does it ever slip, and does the peg bend at all? I'm asking because my Ashford loom tensioner slips unless I do it up very tight, and we're having to modify my floor standing inkle loom because the tension peg was skewing sideways when I wound the tension up tight.

  3. Dorothy- I have 3 of these looms and have been using one of them for about 19 years. The pegs don't bend. Is your floor standing a LeClerc? I had one of those and the pegs bent because they were held in by a metal bolt rather than having the peg be inset into the wood. After years of use, sometimes the tension peg slips because the metal washer has cut a groove in the wood. The bolts have stripped and I have replaced them. It is a time-tested winner if you ask me.

  4. I love how you're connecting the natural world to your work, Annie. This one is really special.

  5. Thanks very much for telling me about your favourite little inkle loom. My floor standing loom is made by Mike Crompton (a now retired English tapestry weaver). The pegs don't bend, but they are loose in their holes, and the tensioner was not working well, we're sorting it out. I think it will be a great loom when we get it sorted, I find the shape of the loom very good to sit at.

    The loom I have heard of with a bending peg is a friend's Ashford inkle loom, and it's her front peg. I've had a good look at mine, and if her's is actually bending (rather than loose in the hole) I can only think that the peg must have a flaw in it, as they are strong beech wood.

  6. I once visited Santa Cruz for the express purpose of trying to find those monarchs. Very cool!

    Love the woven band inspired by the monarchs!!


  7. Sue- Was your quest for the Monarchs successful? I have the good fortune to be the buyer for the parkstore at Natural Bridges. I get to pick out all sorts of butterfly merchandise. This season we really have cool stuff!-Annie