All on account of the snow…

And in the end, the Morris County courthouse is closed tomorrow because of the blizzard.  Imagine that.  So I don’t have to report for jury duty.  Life has a way of working itself out.  Meanwhile the emails are pouring in with all kinds of new and unusual opportunities that should take up most of my lovely free month of February, because, well life has a sense of humor.  I put one magazine article to bed early in case I was put on a case, and since there is no jury duty tomorrow, I received an opportunity today to write a couple more.  Stay tuned there…

All on account of the airlines…

I’m really not jumping topics here, but I want to give a bit of a back story.  If you have ever taken a class with me, you know I travel with a couple of huge overstuffed binders that have my portfolio, every magazine article I’ve ever written or been featured in, (and there are more than 50 at this point) and a bulging one with my design journal from about 2000 to about 2013.  I ran out of room and had to start a second one.

DesignJournal2Portfolio2

Weight is a huge issue.  If you’ve ever picked me up at the airport when I’m on the road, you know I travel with two carefully packed 50 pound suitcases, to the ounce, and a wheeled carry on, designed to fit with not an 1/8″ of room to spare, in the overhead bin, and a computer bag that barely fits under the seat depending on what knitting project is stuffed in there with the computer equipment.  So that 20 plus pounds of overstuffed binders is problematic.  But I usually have to refer to them during the course of a teaching engagement, so I don’t want to not have them.

All on account of the US Post Office…

Last September, because I was teaching for seven days at Sievers, and doing a half day demo on a different topic, and giving a keynote address, I decided that I’d try to squeeze out a little extra space in my luggage by shipping one of the heaviest of the binders by reliable Priority Mail in a medium flat rate box.  It takes two days to get to the ferry dock at Sievers in Wisconsin, and I sent it off a couple of days ahead, so it would be there when I arrived.  I arrived on a Thursday, and by Saturday, my critical and beloved overstuffed portfolio with tear sheets from every article I’ve ever written, not easily recreated, was traced to Texas, where it seemed to vanish.  Then came the fire at the air traffic controllers tower at O’Hare.  Which halted all sorts of flights around the country.

I went into a bit of a panic mode.  The binder was somewhere, and I tried to think positively that the US Post Office wouldn’t lose it (but Texas?) and that it would eventually surface, but I swore I’d come up with an alternative for the future instead of ever letting these precious binders out of my sight.

Portfolio1

The box finally arrived Monday afternoon, just shy of a week in transit, and I carried on much relieved.

All on account of Verizon Wireless…

Really, this is all related…  Last November, Black Friday to be exact, my husband noticed that there were deals to be had at the Verizon Wireless store, and that it would be a good day to upgrade our phones.  I won’t mention the insanity of upgrading phones on Black Friday and the stress I put myself under when I have to learn new technology, and reload and update something like a new smart phone, but I did, and it is done, but the perk here was that by upgrading a couple of phones, we were entitled to a couple of free tablets.  I don’t own a tablet.  Of any kind, unless you count my Kindle HD, which I only use for reading books.  The deal was, we’d have to pay for monthly data on the two tablets,  but $10 a month each is easily absorbed by my business and it made sense.

Between Thanksgiving break and Christmas break for my daughter, she began the tedious task of scanning and organizing all of my magazine articles into jpeg’s which could easily be loaded into the tablets and viewed whenever I needed to access them.  I was able to easily recreate my portfolio digitally, actually doubling the quantity of works I had archived since images of them already existed in my computer in various files.  That left the design journal, which was a bit of a head scratch.  I could have just scanned in the sheets, but there were a lot of yarn samples, and overlapping items, and text and drafts that just wouldn’t have been as clear and I really had to update many of the pages since some of the yardage had been made into garments, and there was a lot of missing information.  I keep good records.  Not great records…

And so we come back to the beginning and the point of this blog post.  Life has a way of directing you to where it wants you to go, and because I finished up my article early, I started in on recreating a bulging design journal into a digital one, searching out drafts, photographs, and technical information that showed me that I really am a bit of a sloppy record keeper.  But the records are there…

I’m up to 37  pages, most of the entries take up two pages.  I’m only about half finished and one entry takes about an hour to do.  It is a challenging but satisfying task, and now I have a spitting chance of finishing it before I start traveling the end of February.  This is what an entry looked like in the binder…

DesignJournal

And this is what it looks like now with the added images of the finished garment and all the dye formulas which were kept in yet another bulging binder…

Slide1Slide2

So now, when I’m on the road, instead of this…

Binders

I’ll be able to use these…

Tablets

…to present my entire portfolio, including minor works, knitting and sewing projects, my entire design portfolio, every article I’ve ever written, and probably my sewing archives from the ten binders we scanned in last summer.  And yes, all of this is stored in numerous locations in the cloud as well, so I can access it all as long as I have a data connection.

So thanks to the snow, and some hiccups along the way, and some sort of OK record keeping, I’m able to convert much of my archives into a format that will neatly fit in my purse…

Stay tuned…

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Loose Ends…

I’ve been a bit remiss in keeping up my posts.  There have been lots of fibery things happening, and I’ve not had much of a chance to jot them down, since I’ve been soooo preoccupied with the challenge from the last post.  So now we move back over to the weaving part of my fibery life, and a class I taught a couple of weekends ago for the Jockey Hollow Weavers in NJ.  It was great to have my daughter along to help, she did all the prep work for me, and ran around answering questions along with a handful of members of the Jockey Hollow Guild.

I’m happy to announce the class appeared to be wildly successful, there were a lot of happy faces at the end, some lovely samplers, and 14 new handweavers!  It was fun to have a student look up at me and say, “OMG I love this!”  And that was after they’d spent most of the morning and mid afternoon warping.

This is a one day class, and if you missed it and wish you could have been there and live within driving distance of the Princeton area, I’m doing a repeat performance Sunday, February 8th at the West Windsor Arts Council.   I understand there are still spaces available for this one day workshop.

Here are some of the pictures from the day, enjoy!

LearnToWeave6LearnToWeave4LearnToWeave2LearnToWeave1LearnToWeave7LearnToWeave5

And one of Brianna helping a couple of the guys at the back table.

LearnToWeave3

The next day I headed down to central Jersey to play in my first “professional” gig.  Many of you know that a few years ago, I went looking for a hobby.  I know you are all laughing, certainly what I do for a living is embraced by most people as a hobby.  But this is what I do all day long, every day, every weekend, even when I sleep.  And let me explain something about what I do.  It is a solo operation.  Unless my lovely daughter is hanging in the studio, I am completely alone.  I think alone, I make mistakes alone, I create triumphs alone, and I take all the credit and grief alone.  I have complete control over every part of my business and the art works/garment/ products that come from my hands.  If I don’t like how something is turning out, I change course.  If after I’ve worn a garment for a time and decide I don’t like something, I take the scissors to it.  I can even remake things from 30 years ago.  Cloth doesn’t go bad.  Though there are days I want to fire my booking agent (which would be me), I wouldn’t trade what I do and how I do it for the world.

However…

I knew it would ultimately be healthier for me if I went looking for a hobby that involved other people (where I wasn’t the leader), that challenged me heavily in the brain department, and one that I had no or minimal skills.  I like being an anonymous learner, it makes me humble realizing what my students go through, and it is good to have to work with a team, though it is against everything I am use to and rely on.

I chose music.

I picked up an inexpensive soprano plastic recorder, and started messing around with a couple of girlfriends, and we had fun gathering every couple of weeks to play recorders, drink wine and be friends.  I loved that when I play, though I practice on my own, it is all about the team.  If one of us messes up, the team messes up.  And anyone of us can mess up.  Mistakes in live performance are in the moment and then gone.  There is no going back, no stopping and restarting, no fixing and no time to even dwell on that mistake, since you’d lose your place and not be able to continue.  Ask me how I know this…

I eventually joined a consort that plays in Morristown, and we would occasionally play for the service in one of the gorgeous 19th century churches on the green.  The sound is amazing in that space.  Last summer I also joined the Montclair Early Music Society, which meets weekly, and though I was a bit intimidated at first, I’m slowly developing a level of competency.

Which brings me to my first professional gig.  There was a 12th Night Boar’s Head celebration at a church in central NJ, and the Montclair group was asked to gather a few recorder players for a consort.  I was available, and eager for performance opportunities because, and you will laugh, I get the worst case of stage fright you can imagine when I have to perform.  My hands shake, I can’t play the notes, I get distracted and lose my place, and I’m a wreck.  Go figure.  In my real life, I can effortlessly and extemporaneously speak to an audience of 700 people, without a mike, for two hours and not give it a second thought.

I think this is nothing more than just practice.  I think the performance thing you get use to.  I certainly did in my teaching career.  But performing with a group, which one would think would be easier, there is safety in numbers, is much tougher for me than the solo performances I do all the time in my real job.  In a group, we all have to act as one, be acutely aware of each other, and cover for each other.  When one goes down, there is the chance for all to go down as well.  Especially when you are just an amateur.

But I went, nerves and all.  They dressed us in costume, mine of course fell off of me as I performed.  I tried not to focus too much on the poor fit.  And we messed up.  A lot.  It was kind of sad.  I messed up, but so did everyone else.  There is nothing to be done but keep practicing, keep trying, and keep performing.  I would tell that to any of my students, if you want something bad enough, stay with it.  And I love the camaraderie of musicians.  There are egos just like everything in life, but it feels really good for me to just say, “I’m not very good”, and actually mean it.  It is humbling, and OK.  It gives me something to shoot for.

So here we are, that’s me with the vest falling off my shoulder.

12thNight

I came home and started rooting through my vast closet looking for something I could actually put together that would pass as a medieval costume in a pinch, and came up with this.  I have a pretty cool wardrobe.  Just need some sort of headpiece.  That’s an old blouse I made years ago, silk, Issey Miyake pattern from Vogue.  And yes Candiss, that’s the vest you just sent me and one of your old broomstick skirts.  And I think the overskirt was a gift from my husband, hiked up, might have been from Chico’s.  The belt is from a craft fair.

costume

Stay tuned…  Literally and figuratively. :-)

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Lessons Learned…

First, my apologies to those of my loyal readers who do not sew.  This post today is all about sewing.  Sewing garments.  One garment in particular.  One of the most frustrating experiences I have ever had.  And I’m really really good at sewing garments.  I teach people how to sew garments.  I am in some circles considered an expert.

If you are one of my loyal readers who don’t sew, you can skip this post, maybe scroll to the end to see what lesson I learned, but my point in writing this kind of detail is that someone out there who might be about to sew Vogue 1418, might Google errata and find this blog.

First off, let me say that I have enormous respect for Sandra Betzina who designs Today’s Fit patterns for Vogue.  She has worked tirelessly in the home sewing industry through her books and DVD’s to keep the art of garment construction alive.  I have a number of her books, as well as her Today’s Fit patterns and I love the fit, they do not use the industry fit model, rather one that Sandra has developed (that actually works)and I always encourage my students to use them.

I picked this jacket, Vogue 1418, because it is current, and I needed a jacket pattern for an article I’m writing for Sew News magazine, on creating Triangular Bound Buttonholes, based on the class I taught last summer at the ASG conference in St. Louis.  I liked the detail in view A, and thought, with the buttonholes, it would make a great jacket.

Vogue1418A

Because I am so experienced, of course I made a test garment.  I thought though, that I was being clever by using the view B pattern for the fit (the red jacket), it did not have complex yoke detailing, rather the front and the back pattern sections were complete pieces, so it seemed like less work to just make up view B and know if the garment fit was correct.  It was correct,  so I embarked on the long task of cutting out some 23 pattern pieces, out of multiple elements, this suit weight Italian wool jacket would be underlined in silk organza, interfaced with Handler’s Veri-Shape, and lined with a gorgeous hand painted Silk Charmeuse from a trip to Thai Silks in the Bay area of northern California.  For the contrast, I selected a small remnant I purchased a few years ago from the now defunct Waechter’s Silk Shop in Asheville, which was also a tropical weight wool.

This jacket was a bit challenging in the trim details, and I’m really glad I used wool, since the trim is not cut on the bias, but rather the rolled out edge of the facing, which works OK with wool, since you can steam wool into any shape you want,  but I can’t for the life of me see how this could work with the recommended fabric of broadcloth.

None of this though is important.  I’ve made many challenging patterns before and really enjoy a good challenge.  The purpose of this post is to point out the critical mistakes in this pattern and hopefully help those who own the pattern avoid them before it is too late.

Sadly Vogue does not to my knowledge have an errata page on their website that calls attention to pattern errors.  Honestly in this day and age, we all make mistakes, magazine publications print errata, newspapers print errata, book publishers print errata, and with the easy accessibility of the web, there is no reason why Vogue can’t just make errata available to its many loyal users.  I’ve been a Vogue pattern user for 50 years.  I love the designs and the engineering, and the directions.  I found a couple of years ago, a major mistake in one of the direction sheets, and I blogged about it here, and got a lovely note back from Vogue thanking me for pointing it out and assuring me that future printings of the pattern would fix the error.  But those with the first edition of the pattern won’t know about the error because there is no way to find it.  Perhaps the pattern numbers could be listed as V1418.2?

There are pattern review sites like Pattern Review that allow readers to post their experiences, but when I checked this particular pattern number, there was only one post, and they had made view B, with none of the yoke detail, and like me, found it to be fine.

There were minor mistakes in this pattern, all of which I can deal with.  Mostly they were dots and match points in the wrong place.  The lower back panel for View A is actually cut as one full piece, not on the fold, yet when I folded it to maximize the layout, I noticed that the sleeve markings weren’t symmetrical.  A silly mistake, that I easily corrected, but one I can live with.

The direction sheet tells you to attach the pocket to the side panel matching large dots.  A huge head scratch because the dots aren’t even close to each other.  It is as if they used the dots from a different pattern altogether.  Again, I know how to put garments together, and though this was a nuisance mistake, nothing critical would happen to my garment.

Pocket3Pocket4

And the pocket trim detail couldn’t work the way it was designed.  I laid awake all night thinking of how to re-engineer the pocket trim and realized I could taper the trim to end at the large dot, so it would not interfere with side seam.  That solution worked well.

Pocket2Pocket6Pocket5

However…

This was an absolute disaster.

Pocket1

When I went to attach the side panel to the back, I realized that the two sections did not fit together.  So I went back to the pattern and to my complete shock and dismay, the lower back panel for the jacket was drafted too short.  It did not fit the side panel, and did not have enough length to even have much of the inch and a half hem the garment called for.  The first thought was I’d have to shorten the entire jacket the 7/8″ missing from the lower back.  But that wasn’t really possible because of the location and size of the pockets and the front placket detail.

I could have spent a couple of hours carefully undoing all the work I went through to construct the back.  I’d have to reuse the yoke, since I had no more trim fabric.  I had more interfacing, and actually more of the wool outer fabric, but recutting the back would mean I’d no longer have enough of my expensive Italian Wool fabric for a skirt.  And I had no more silk organza and it would take a week or more to have it shipped from Dharma in California.  We won’t talk about that additional expense.

I chose option three, which was to cut a strip on the crosswise grain, which I fortunately could do on the remaining wool fabric, and add it to the hem.  Not my favorite option, but the cheapest and quickest since this garment is for an article that has to be written before I call in for Jury Duty next week.

Back

My sister wrote a snarky reply in an email I sent to her complaining about the fact that the pattern was just plain wrong.  She said, that I probably hadn’t made a muslin first, and of course since I preach the making of a test garment to all who will listen, she just assumed that I took a short cut.  I did make a muslin, but View B was correct.  So note to self, always test the view you will be making, no matter how many pieces.  I would have found this error immediately.

That solution worked, and the seam in the hem is hardly noticeable especially with the lining covering it.  So all is well in the end.

Back2

Except…

The lining pattern was also wrong.

First off, in any tailored jacket I have ever made, or purchased, there is always a release pleat in the center back of the lining.  When you bring your arms forward, it is critical to avoid ripping the sleeves in the lining.  Lining fabrics don’t really give, and because wools can and do, it makes sense, especially for a fitted or semi fitted jacket which this is.  I cut the lining pieces last and didn’t think anything about it when I was cutting, that would be my inattentive error, until I got to the part in the directions that says, there is no back release pleat in the lining because you don’t need it.  WTF?

Lining2

It was too late to add it, and I can’t tell you my disappointment when the lining was installed, and jacket tried on, that in fact I do need it, and that my gorgeous hand painted silk lining will always be too tight across the back with no release.  I know better and yet didn’t catch this until it was to late.  This isn’t an error exactly, just the designer’s choice, and I don’t happen to agree with the designer.

The error actually occurred with the sleeve lining.  Apparently the fact that the sleeve hem facing rolls out into a trim detail, leaving it shorter than the pattern shows, and the sleeve lining was cut to the exact dimensions of the sleeve with full facing in place, means that the sleeve lining is too short.  All sleeve linings should have an extra amount of give, same as for the hem.  This is tailoring 101.  I was surprised there was no ease, and as I was attaching the lining to the sleeve facing, I had a feeling it wouldn’t be correct.

Lining3

And it wasn’t.

Lining1

The sleeve buckles because there is no release in the sleeve lining, and so I had to go back and undo the lining, add an extra strip of charmeuse, which thankfully there was still a scrap left in the correct grain direction big enough to add.

Lining4

I can’t go back and fix the missing back pleat.  So the jacket will always be tight across the back.  And in case there was the thought that maybe the jacket was actually too tight to begin with, the test garment, also of wool, had so much room across the back that my daughter commented that it looked baggy.  Knowing all the elements that would be added, underlining, interfacing, yokes, facings and lining, I thought it would be fine.  It would have been if there had been a release pleat in the lining.  I hate to scrap this gorgeous expensive hand painted lining, but down the road I might have to.  For now, the jacket is nearly finished and I’m working on my article.

I do love the jacket, aside from the intense frustration of some of the errors and poor engineering, I think it is beautiful and would have fit well if the lining had had the release pleat.  My other fixes worked, and I’m pretty happy with the result.

I hope that anyone who finds this post on the internet does embark on making this project, but heeds the warnings above and makes those fixes.

Lesson learned?  In the future, because I can’t trust the infallible Vogue anymore to engineer its patterns correctly, I will do a test garment not only for fit, but to make sure that all pieces are accurate.  I will test lining dimensions, and look for a center back pleat, and really study each piece carefully to make sure it fits with its neighbor.  I will never assume again that patterns are drafted correctly.  I know this adds a frustrating element for anyone who wants to make garments, and I can see it adding hours of extra work in my garment construction intensives, especially when students come in with patterns that have 40-50 pieces (Ginnie I’m talking about you!)  But one incorrectly drafted pattern piece can be critical if there is no more fabric to recut.

And so dear readers, I will put up another post in a day or two about my adventures last weekend, and the 14 new weavers out there, but for now, it has been a frustrating nail biting week, with a lot of head scratching and head shaking.  I’m glad it is over and that I can write my article in peace.

Stay tuned…

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Planning Ahead…

Live for Today.

Stay in the moment.

The future will take care of itself.

Life is what happens when you are planning something else.

I know all of these adages, and in the perfect world, I really do actually believe them.  Sadly though, they mostly don’t work when you do what I do for a living.

I’m really really good at planning.  I occasionally make myself nuts, and give myself major indigestion over it all, but I do know how to prepare for upcoming events.  The trick is balance, and being able to turn off the adrenaline, and sadly, I’m not very good at that.  Wine helps… :-)

On my very lengthy ride to Asheville, NC after Christmas, 20 hours total driving, I was able to finish all the handwork on my handwoven mohair coat.  It is amazingly warm and comfortable, and hooded sweater coats are all over the fashion magazines.  It was a great way to use up all the mohair cones in my stash.  I’m thrilled to get this finished, because now I have to really focus and take care of up coming business.

MohairCoat

First off, tomorrow I am teaching a beginning weaving class for my local guild.  I have 14 Structo looms, and a full class, and I  spent the day packing looms, and handouts, and yarn and pre-wound warps, and shuttles, and tools, and lots of examples of handwoven items.  Once that’s finished, I have another one February 8th at the West Windsor Arts Council near Princeton, but most of the prep is done, and I’m in good shape.

I have an article due for Sew News Magazine, making triangular bound buttonholes.  This requires building a tailored jacket, and of course shooting each of the steps carefully, and then writing the article.  I have time to work on this, however, I have jury duty scheduled at the end of the month.

So…

Most likely that will be a nothing.  I’ll call the night before like I always do and my number won’t get picked, and I’ll carry on.

There is the chance though…

If I do get picked for a case, I could lose all of February and that would be really really tough.  So everything that is due over the next six weeks, has to be completed in the next three.  Just in case.  Staying in the moment would be professional suicide.  Yes, the future will take care of itself, but I still have to have all my ducks in order.  (And please don’t suggest I put in for a postponement.  This is the postponement.  I was originally scheduled for September of last year, when I was on the road.  Being self employed doesn’t get you out of jury duty.)

So I spent the last couple of days prepping fabric, a gorgeous plum brown tropical weight wool, underlined in silk organza, trimmed in another tropical weight wool, with a silk Charmeuse hand painted lining from Thai Silks.  All of which I picked up in my various travels. I spent two whole days just cutting out the pattern after I did all the fit work. Something like 45 pieces once you factor in interfacings and underlinings.  And in between I am photographing step by step the process for the article.  Once the jacket is made, you can’t go back and re-photograph a step you forgot. Vogue 1418 in case you are interested.

Vogue1418AVogue1418B

And looking ahead to my two months on the road in March and April.  I hit North Carolina, Colorado, California, Washington, and then Vancouver,  nine venues in all, and everything that can possibly be prepped, has to be done now.

So I’ve ordered half a dozen bolts of pattern paper.

PatternPaper

Cut dozens of packages of interfacing. (Thank you Brianna!)

Interfacing

I’m also starting to finalize the drafts I’ll be using for the advanced Inkle class I’m teaching at the CNCH Asilomar retreat in April in central California, though it seems like it is months from now, if I loose February, there won’t be time to do this sort of prep, so now is the only option.  I’m trying to come up with simple yet effective examples of techniques that can be quickly warped and woven during class time.  I set up a three shaft turned Krokbragd on one of my little Inklettes.  I didn’t end up liking the pattern, so I’m on to plan B.  The yarns were too close in value.  I worked out a second draft and will try to get that rewarped tonight.  With anything creative, there is always the possibility that it won’t work, or that you might actually make something awful, and there always needs to be time to go back to the drawing board.

KrokbragdSetUp

So my lovely January, is turning out to be busier than my travel season.  I’m really hoping that when I call the night of January 26th to find out if my number is included for jury duty on the 27th, that I’ll find out I have a blissful three week vacation because I’ll have done all my work and my prep before hand.  Secretly, I’ve already started a list of things I’d do if that happened… :-)

But then again, life is what happens when you are planning something else…

Stay tuned…

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Road Trips…

First, let me wish all of you dear readers, a wonderful fiber filled, adventurous, 2015.  As I finish up my sixth year of blogging, I look at all the wonderful and supportive comments, and the more than 600 posts and I’m truly grateful to have been able to embrace the technology to record my own adventures. The technical team that makes this possible, is of course my husband.  Without him this whole thing would have been a disaster long ago.

My dad once said to me, “Grass doesn’t ever grow under your feet…” which was at the time not intended to be a compliment, but I embrace it now, because above all, I am an artist and you can’t create in a vacuum.  There are so many sources of inspiration all around us, and part of the balance in life is going out to find them, and then stopping to actually look, contemplate and absorb.  I have to work on that…

In mid December, because of a voucher and some points with a bit of frequent flyer mileage, my husband and I were able to jump on a plane and fly to the west coast for a weekend, to visit fiber friends in San Diego, attend a concert in LA, and just have a little fun.  Because I travel around the country, and unlike my husband who stays in Marriott’s, I get to stay with real people, in real homes, and I’ve gotten some lifelong friends out of the deal.  Thanks Amy and Bill for putting us up for a couple of nights!

My sister commented on my facebook page, after posting my last blog, something about Why can’t I be like normal people who are completely crazed around Christmas time trying to get it all done, spinning their wheels, (not the fiber kind).  Truth is, I don’t live near any relatives.  If I want to gather together for a holiday, I have to go to them.  Which is great since I don’t cook, bake, clean or otherwise stress myself out over any holiday. One sister hosted Thanksgiving and my other sister hosted Christmas this year.  Which means family drama is at their houses, complex food issues from all the relatives on special diets are all on their watch.  We actually drove to Maryland the day after Christmas, ate leftovers, and missed all the drama. Everyone loved my handwoven towels.  It was lovely and wonderful and I got to see my mom, though she wasn’t able to attend dinner out as planned because she was sick.  But still…  It was lovely.

And my crazy sister followed her long tradition of baking gingerbread houses for everyone to decorate.  It is a fun and beautiful tradition and of course, Brianna decided that this year she would make a Turkraken Gingerbread house, if you don’t know what a Turkraken is, google it…  It has to do with an octopus inside a turkey…  I just can’t…

Turkraken

We left Maryland Saturday morning with my husband and daughter, and drove nine hours south, through Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, and into the Mountains in Western NC to Asheville, to hang with more fiber friends and see the Blue Ridge Fiber Show at the NC Arboretum.  It was a quick trip, but totally worth the drive.

Again, thanks Barb and Bill for hosting us, we had a blast, and though it was cold and rainy in Asheville, we got to see and do everything on our list.

First stop Sunday morning was to another fiber friend, Kathie Roig.  Kathie has a draw loom, very old technology, used for weaving damask, and not often found in this age of digital jacquard looms.  I wanted Brianna to see how a real draw loom works, and Kathie is a pro.  She explained it carefully, and Brianna got to see it in action, and is of course plotting how she can someday acquire one of those in addition to the shaft switching rug loom she saw at Convergence last summer…

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We stopped by the Southern Highlands Craft Guild, both the Folk Art Center, and the new location in the Biltmore Village to look at wonderful crafts, not just fiber, though there was plenty of that.  We stopped in Bellagio, a wearable art gallery.  I’m still  in mourning since Waechter’s Silk Shop closed last year…

We headed over to the NC Arboretum and the Blue Ridge Fiber Show.

It was so great to be able to see this show, there are so many wonderful works from around the country, actually from beyond the borders of this country as this is an international exhibit.  The show was beautifully hung, but the labeling was confusing and it was really hard to know who did what piece.  Still, there was a wide variety of fiber, felting, weaving, hand spinning, tapestry, two and three dimensional work, garments, wall pieces, accessories and household textiles.  And there was a lot of color. You can many of the winning pieces here in a slide show.

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Brianna was excited to see her little Juggling Flock, a turned 3 shaft Krokbragd inkle band cut into little juggling balls, beautifully displayed safely under plexi, with the line up of awards down the front of the case. She received a third place and the HGA award.

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She also found her summer/winter weave structure with pick-up scarf, with the Star Trek symbols on it.  She received a third place for that as well.

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I had four pieces in the show.  My handwoven jacket with the felted collar…

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My little needle felted Chromosome piece, hidden down on the floor…

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And my two garments, the felted one on the left took a first place in Felted Garments and the hand dyed/handwoven one on the right took a second place in Woven Garments.  They looked happy hanging next to each other…  Very conversational…  I don’t remember whose scarf was hanging over my felted coat.

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We had a wonderful dinner with Barb and Bill, and then returned to the Arboretum for their Winter Lights Spectacular.  It was beautiful.  Photos can’t describe how pretty everything was in a spectacular lighting display.  My favorite was the quilt out of lights…

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We spent all day Monday at the Biltmore in Asheville.  I haven’t been in a number of years, and I love seeing these kinds of homes decorated for the holidays.  There were something like 65 decorated Christmas trees around the house, and of course, anyplace with a glass conservatory especially in the winter makes me smile.

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We drove home Tuesday, through seven states in eleven hours.

Saturday morning the plan is for Bri and me to head into Manhattan to see a bunch of fiber exhibits at the MET before they close.  And then on the 11th there is the opening of an international tapestry exhibition curated by Carol Russell at the Hunterdon Art Museum.

Grass does not grow under my feet…  Only fiber…

Stay tuned…

 

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