Wild Card Prize - Materials woven entirely by entrant in a fascinating representation of the details of the poem, including the words of the spell woven into her girdle.

Ali’s The Lady of Shalott



Ali Crockett Moore, Cat's Cradle Textiles


Outline the story …

She sits in her tower, bound by a curse, weaving tapestries of the view in the mirror. Perhaps we know her best from the Waterhouse painting that illustrates the fourth and final part of the poem, where she is clad in white, having brought about her own demise by looking away from the mirror towards Sir Lancelot. But here and now, in this time before the mirror shatters, she still weaves purposefully: bright and singular moments of the outside world shining loudly in the story she weaves.

I've bound these words by Tennyson into her girdle like the yet unbroken spell: "but in her web she still delights to weave the mirror's magic sights [...] and the silent isle embowers the Lady of Shalott." Chains of mirrors in the border of the band hold the curse steadfast.

The Lady of Shalott, still in her tower, speaks to me as an autistic weaver and artist. I'm destined to indefinitely observe, ever driven to interpret life in my own nonverbal languages of pattern (a particular refraction). There is an indelible separation between myself and the world. I'm compelled to follow the rituals of predetermined rules, to translate the complexity of my environment into cross sections - slices of this roll of the dice into this stretch of cloth.

Outline the construction…

I designed the burgundy fabric of the main dress using the colors most referenced in the poem. I then wove the cloth according to an original algorithmic draft, wherein random input from actual dice during weaving determined the treadling and placement of the main motifs: circles for the Lady's mirror, and waves for the river around Shalott. The handwoven fabric for the underskirt was woven using a similarly dice-driven draft.

The finished overdress is made from two pieces of handwoven fabric - a pleated back skirt panel with an attached girdle, and a longer panel with tapered hems that is draped in place before securing with the girdle. The under dress is a black linen shift with pin on sleeves drafted in the style of a bliaut, based on the Foundations Revealed article "12th Century Dress: the Bliaut."

I wove the girdle and sleeve bands in silk and tencel using Baltic-style pickup and lettering from Anne Dixon's "The Weaver's Inkle Pattern Directory." The ends are finished in a 7-loop Spanish braid dating back to at least the 17th century, with instruction from All bands were attached by hand sewing with silk thread.

The silhouette of the dress is inspired by the time of Lancelot (12th century as per Chretien de Troyes) but is influenced by other eras in the hall of mirrors that color the path from the character to this dress: Waterhouse and myself interpreting Tennyson, interpreting Arthurian legend, interpreting lived history. All through the mirror, of course.




  1. Avatar Heather B. on March 11, 2021 at 9:55 pm

    Absolutely stunning!

  2. Avatar Phanuel Jagna Levinsen on March 11, 2021 at 11:16 pm

    And here i wanting to know where you got the fabric…. It’s so beautiful! love the drape, the colour, the texture, gosh, i’d wish i could have it all

    • Avatar Ali Moore on March 14, 2021 at 6:10 am

      Thanks! I adore the simple luxury of a heap of handwoven yardage and wanted to really let the textile rule

      • Avatar Phanuel Jagna Levinsen on March 20, 2021 at 10:58 pm

        Understandably, and it turned out incredible!

  3. Avatar Sebastian on March 11, 2021 at 11:46 pm

    The thought and time put into this beautiful garment is so impressive, as is the end result. I love the nods to different eras, love the almost pixel graphic fabric, and I love a good bliaut.

    • Avatar Ali Moore on March 14, 2021 at 6:11 am

      Thank you so much, it was time happily spent

    • Avatar devon dancy on March 18, 2021 at 2:24 am

      Oh this is so cool!!

  4. Avatar teresa on March 12, 2021 at 3:18 pm

    Now this is Art!
    Your thoughtful interpretation of Tennyson’s poem brings a depth and beauty to your highly original costume. I love it, down to the very threads!

    • Avatar Ali Moore on March 14, 2021 at 6:12 am

      I’m always aiming for art, even if it’s hard to make it happen at will. I’m pretty proud of this one, though, thank you!

  5. Avatar Anaïs on March 12, 2021 at 3:23 pm

    I am so amazed at the sheer idea you handwove this piece. Just amazing

    • Avatar Ali Moore on March 14, 2021 at 6:15 am

      It’s funny, I’m similarly amazed at what people can sew – I’m fairly new to sewing and coming from (and motivated by) a weaving background. This competition has really opened my eyes to the sheer volume of possibility in the field of sewing!

  6. Avatar Maria Jones on March 12, 2021 at 9:47 pm

    Your interpretation of the poem makes me love it even more. So much thought went into this, it’s like the subject matter was made for you!

    • Avatar Ali Moore on March 14, 2021 at 6:18 am

      Thank you! This piece of text is very special to me, and was begging to be interpreted in a wearable textile. It does feel like it was meant to happen; I just tried my best to follow what it wanted to be

  7. Avatar Niamh on March 12, 2021 at 10:32 pm

    This is incredible.

  8. Avatar Sparrow on March 13, 2021 at 1:04 am

    *happy flapping* Everything about this is AWESOME.

    • Avatar Ali Moore on March 14, 2021 at 6:18 am


  9. Avatar Sarah Helgeson on March 13, 2021 at 4:52 pm

    This is amazing, I can’t decide if I like the hand woven fabric or so the poetry literally woven in more. So good!

    • Avatar Ali Moore on March 14, 2021 at 6:19 am

      Thank you. It was a joy to weave and sew

  10. Avatar JAYE SUDAR on March 14, 2021 at 4:02 am

    This outfit is a fantastic amalgamation of skills and design. So beautiful.

  11. Avatar Camille on March 14, 2021 at 12:44 pm

    at first i was like “oh that fabric’s nice” and then… you weaved the thing yourself ?! that’s so great !
    It has so much texture and personality !

    • Avatar Ali Moore on March 15, 2021 at 5:00 pm

      Thank you! I wish there was a touch equivalent of a photograph – I just love how handwoven fabric in this weight feels and wish I could share it virtually 💗

  12. Avatar Carol Hughey on March 14, 2021 at 5:00 pm

    This is a beautiful concept beautifully created. The fabrics and their combination of color and texture is really lovely.

    • Avatar Ali Moore on March 15, 2021 at 5:02 pm

      Thank you so much! It was a little out of my comfort zone color wise but by now it feels just right

  13. Avatar Sabrina on March 15, 2021 at 5:26 pm

    As always you absolutely stun me. Beautiful work Ali!

  14. Avatar Jade Littlechild on March 17, 2021 at 12:29 pm

    Love the story behind your design!! Amazing!!

  15. Avatar Becky C on March 19, 2021 at 12:57 pm

    You wove your own fabric for this. YOU WOVE YOUR OWN FABRIC FOR THIS. This is stunning and I am in awe. And it makes me miss my grandmother. She was a weaver and an active member of her local guild but passed away about 7 years ago. Thank you for creating this. It’s beautiful and you are so talented.

    • Avatar Ali Moore on March 25, 2021 at 4:55 pm

      Thank you! And thanks for the perspective. Weaving is my comfort zone; for me the impressive part is that I hand sewed most of this project, haha! I forget sometimes that the skills in already practiced in are worth taking pride in as well 😉

  16. Avatar Laura Wemyss on March 21, 2021 at 4:05 pm

    Phenomenal. Years ago in school I was introduced to weaving and found it to be one of the most physically challenging processes of all the textile creation and manipulation techniques we experimented with. I am completely inept in this field, and thereby so incredibly impressed by what you have produced. I love your algorithmic influences and your incorporation of text. Beautiful work.

    • Avatar Ali Moore on March 25, 2021 at 4:57 pm

      Thank you so much!

  17. Avatar Stephanie Murison on March 27, 2021 at 2:23 pm

    Oh I love this! I adore the pattern you wove into the fabric, it really looks like rippling colours in water, and I also love that you wove the words of the poem into the belt, which you have such a personal connection with! Beautiful work!

  18. Avatar Maeri Certo on March 27, 2021 at 6:19 pm

    That’s really cool! What a fascinating way to design and I’m so impressed with your weaving. Great job!!

  19. Avatar Jennifer Bowman on March 29, 2021 at 5:27 am

    EXCEPTIONAL!! Beautiful and stunning! From one weaver to another (Takes off hat and genuflects), Bravo!! I don’t envy your warping work on this, but I bet it was a glorious journey from start to finish because the end result is just outstanding! That is one of my absolute favorite paintings and poems for good reason. I love this interpretation. Well done fellow fiber artist!

  20. Avatar Kikkii von Fustian on March 29, 2021 at 11:43 am

    This is honestly jaw dropping, and absolutely beautiful!! My brain stopped working for a second when I realized you made the fabric yourself haha. Also, very inspiring for me to start weaving myself some fabric one day 😀

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