more questions on stoles

I look at the stoles my pastor wears as well as the ones in catalogs that can be bought, and almost all are simple weave structures in a solid color with a large design at the bottom, usually embroidered.   I came up with some nice twill block patterns to get a large cross at the bottom, and some day would like to use the Moorman technique, but I really wonder if I'm limiting myself too much by feeling like I have to follow this type of design.  What do the rest of you do?



 I think stoles can be anything but plain. I have used overshot in several stoles and though they might look plain from a distance, the patterns are beautiful up close. They also can be embellished in many ways. I plan to try some pick-up work on my next project.


I have embroidered many sets of stoles and other items but am in the process of weaving my first set. I am inlaying in twill a cross on a plain weave background. The warp is of 70/2 silk used double or trebble two or three diferent colours together set at 32epi. Crosed with the same.  I like simplicity in work as it needs to be read from a long distance.


I'm not a great seamstress and didn't want to contemplate hand embroidery, but then I had a wonderful idea:  get other members of my congregation to help!  Duh!  It should have been obvious.  We have quilters and at least one member who does embroidery so we're doing it as a team.  I weave the cloth, someone else adds the embroider, and a third person sews it into a stole.  It will be a much nicer gift this way with more people involved.  So the first one will be a cross in twill blocks forming a cross at the bottom (  Rather than the dark blue/light blue shown in the project, though, it will be white/gold and some gold mylar added to the cross. 


the sky is the limit.

Seriously. Look for example at some of the medieval patterns - you might have to visit a museum such as the V&A (London), Walters (Baltimore), or Metropolitan (NYC) or similar - look around for books on exhibits of medieval and byzantine "stuff" there'll almost always be an example or two in there as well. There you'll find wild & wonderful embroideries, and pattern ideas.

What I'd say is that if the other vestments (depending on your tradition - chasuble, alb, "preaching gown" etc.) are rather plain - then go for broke on the stole.

To my knowledge there are no "rules" as to "canonical" designs on vestments. Other than the expectation that they be bold, colourful, and heavily symbolic.


 Traditional is fine but it's also good to think outside the box. How about Finnweave. Also I just saw the magazine VAV (March 09). There are some absolutely beautiful garments that could inspire stoles.



sorry i was not pushing a "traditional" route - rather the examples I pointed to were meant to suggest "thinking outside the box". Many of the western style stoles we see on the market today are based on 1960s models - this has become the unofficial "canon" it seems - tame, dull, un-inventive, even cartoon like - it wasn't always that way - so looking at "older" models - for a fresh approach to a new stole idea might just be the ticket.


Thanks for all the ideas.  I don't think I would have ever thought of looking at historic items to come up with new ideas. 


I know this is an old thread, but here goes....  I'm assuming the stoles in question are for the Christian liturgical tradition.  As a wearer of stoles, I have a view. 

I have some with nice embroidered and quilted things at the bottom.  However, for most of the service, I am behind the altar or am standing in the middle of the congregation - those devices on the bottom of the stole are invisible through much of the liturgy.  I really like stoles with interesting yarns and pattern structure (not so much "pictures" as structure), with the interest up high. 

I am not so keen on having symbols on the stoles, as I feel it limits me a bit, depending on the symbols.  If there is a symbol, I want it to conribute directly to the theme of the service or the Gospel lesson or something.  E. g., if there is a shell, I'd expect to wear it at a baptism or when one of the readings is about baptism. 

And, honestly, a lot of cheap stoles - as opposed to inexpensive ones - have poorly executed symbols tacked to sleazy polyester fabric that is stiff and pokey.  Sadly, I think the garish symbols have done a great disservice to congregations needing to manage their budgets very tightly.  Better to have a simple, nice fabric, than a bad fabric gussied up with gew-gaws for the same price.  IMHO :-)

In addition, I hugely prefer the "Byzantine" style of deacon stole, that is much longer.  You position the center point under your right arm, at about waist level.  Wrap one end behind you, across your back up to your left shoulder, then it hangs down the front.  Wrap the other end in front of you, across your chest up to your left shoulder; after it crosses the other end, it hangs down the back.  Front and back hang to knee- to mid-shin length.  Putting a snap where the two ends cross on the left shoulder is an act of true kindness. This style of stole was worn when deacons were a full and equal order, not just an internship period for priests. 

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