I think I can, I think I can…

This week I felt like the Little Engine that Could.

I got off the plane Friday a week ago, and promptly cried.  Seems as though it rained the whole time I was gone.  Which meant that all the flowers and all the bushes were lush and glorious and so were the weeds.  Mutant I tell you…

There was nothing to be done but roll up my sleeves, or rather keep them rolled down on account of mosquitoes are just emerging, don some gardening gloves and have at it.  I spent every day since I’ve been home in the garden for a couple of hours and what a difference a couple hours a day makes.  The gardens are looking kept and pruned and fresh and just plain pretty.  And I feel like I made a contribution to my home, and I actually enjoyed it.  There is still much to do in the garden, really it is a job for the whole summer, maintenance is sort of big in this department, but I can sit outside and smell the clean air, watch the birds, and not have an anxiety attack, or weed attack, same thing…

Meanwhile, I had some prepping to do for my next venue, everything had to get shipped ahead on account of the fact that I’m going from Oregon, Fiber in the Forest and Eugene Textile Center back to back, directly to Anchorage Alaska where I’ll meet up with my husband for a cruise.  He booked this cruise a year ago before his cancer diagnosis and it is really important for both of us that we go.  Alaska is one of the few places in the US we have never been.

So, once I got everything in order in the studio, there was a longing to just weave something, we did have a couple rainy afternoons where gardening was cut short.  But alas, the plight of a weaver, seven looms and only one had anything on it and I wasn’t in a mood to weave off the bubble cloth from a workshop I took months ago.

But…  back in 2012, yeah it was that long ago, I checked (stupid blog, it is there in the archives reminding me of my failure to complete some things… )  Back in 2012 I started a very complex 19 thread pickup pattern on one of my inkle looms, I won’t say how many of those I have, probably two dozen, I’m an educator.  John Mullarkey, arch rival and fantastic tablet weaver, was coming to stay with me for a couple days and I had to impress him with something…

So I started this…   Back in 2012.  Where it promptly sat collecting dust in the corner of my studio…

19ThreadPickUp PickupDraft

I really loved this piece, but 19 threads?  What was I thinking…  (for those who are in the dark and don’t get the 19 thread part, the center section with the pretty design is created with 19 pattern threads that are hand manipulated row by row according to the chart. It takes a lot of time.)

Anyway, I’m going to be teaching at Fiber in the Forest in Oregon next weekend, along with my arch rival John Mullarkey.  I’m teaching a garment thing, and presumably he is teaching some tablet weaving thing, but I’m sure meals will be full of snarky comments about whose bands are better, tablet woven vs. inkle woven (mine are of course…)

Last April, 2015, John and I both taught at the CNCH retreat at Asilomar, CA and we performed what looked to be the first annual battle of the bands.  It was great fun, we raced to set up our looms and weave off a small band, all the while sending barbed smack talk back and forth, much to the delight of the audience.

As it turns out, John and I are hosting the Battle of the Bands redux for the weaving guild that meets at the Eugene Textile Center after Fiber in the Forest.  Then I follow with two days of inkle weaving classes for the Eugene Textile Center, first a beginning class where we do discuss pick up, followed by a more advanced techniques class.

So…  I looked at that loom.  I calculated how long one repeat would take, just under four inches, 40 minutes if nothing went wrong…  I figured out how many days until I left, (I get on a plane at 6:30am Wednesday morning) and figured I could realistically weave three repeats a day, and still have time for workshop prep and gardening.


The whole while I kept saying, “I think I can, I think I can…”

I even took the loom outside one afternoon when it was warm and sunny…


And this morning, right on schedule, I pulled this baby off the loom, all three yards of it, and I am just so freakin’ proud of myself.  I thought I could…  And I did.

PickUp2 PickUp3

So there John Mullarkey, top that…  (he probably will)

Stay tuned…


Daryl’s Excellent Northwest Adventure part 2…

Another ferry ride, and I’m on Whidbey Island, beautiful special Whidbey Island, where I taught before many many years ago.  Where eagles soar, water is visible from most of the island, and there are some really really talented weavers, surface designers, and a felter too.

I taught a five day Garment Construction Intensive, the same one I teach at Sievers and at Harrisville, and the fun thing when I do this for a guild, is that most of the people in the class already have a history together, they know each other and each other’s work, and there is usually a lot more helping each other out than relying on me for feedback.  They know they still have each other when the class is over.

That said, I worked my little tail off…

This venue was a huge test for me, of the months I have spent reworking my jacket patterns, handouts and samples.  Other than a few minor errors in the handout, which I fixed in 15 minutes once I got back to my main computer, everything went swimmingly well.  The fit on the reworked jacket samples was spot on, and the collar addition worked perfectly.  There was a lot of excitement for making the long walking vest, and the swing coat version of the jacket as well.  It made me really happy to hear at the end, “…next time I’m making the swing version of the jacket, or the one with the collar, or the walking vest, etc.”  It is always good when a guild starts talking about when are you coming back…

That said, the space was bright and cheery.  We had the workshop at the Art Center in Coupeville.


The students worked their little tails off…

Whidbey12Working Whidbey11Working Whidbey10Working Whidbey9Working Whidbey8Working Whidbey7Working Whidbey5Working Whidbey4Working

They squealed in delight when Jan installed her placket on the tunic perfectly.


They squealed in delight when Jodi made her collar perfectly.


They squealed in delight at the seam finish…


They squealed in delight when they realized that a dated plain cotton fabric, handwoven years ago, could be mitered into an adorable summer top.


They really squealed in delight when they didn’t think they had enough fabric and I showed them how to make it work.


“Can I add sleeves to this vest pattern?”  Answer: “Of course, just overlay your jacket pattern and use the armhole and sleeve from that”.


We had some jackets that still have to be finished, sleeves and such…

Whidbey22Jacket Whidbey28Jacket

We had a tunic…

Whidbey18Jan Whidbey17Tunic

We had a swing coat (still without sleeves)…


We had a jacket with a shawl collar…


And we had the classic Daryl Jacket, all beautifully done.

Whidbey21Jacket Whidbey26Jacket Whidbey25Jacket

We had a couple of walking vests and don’t you just hate it when you go through the photos of the class and realize that somehow you didn’t get a single photo of either of them!  But they are in the class photo below.  I missed one of the jackets as well.

We had some commercial patterns too.  Marnie’s handwoven fabric is gorgeous in this Butterick 5822.  She is doing a beautiful job.


And then there was Janet.  Janet is a felter and she used my template to create panels in felt, some with eco-dying, printing with plant material.  Janet used her dressform and lots of feedback from both me and the class, and created this unbelievable masterpiece.  The base was my jacket pattern.  She presented it almost finished at the guild meeting when the class was over.  I think it still needed some buttonholes and some additional hand sewing, but pretty impressive for five days work. Her top in the first photo is also felted.

Whidbey15Janet Whidbey16Janet

And here is my group of wonderful talented ladies, there are a couple of long walking vests in various stages in the front along with one additional jacket that somehow I failed to photograph.  Which is too bad because the handwoven fabric is gorgeous.  First row, second in from the right.


And now I’m home, prepping for Fiber in the Forest, which is in just a mere week, I can’t believe I’m on a plane back out to the west coast next Wednesday.  I follow that with a two days of inkle weaving classes at Eugene Textile Center, I believe there is still room in all classes…

Stay tuned…


Daryl’s Excellent Northwest Adventure part 1…

I arrived in Seattle.

I found my ride.

We went right to a yarn shop.


As if I hadn’t already done enough damage.

Best yarn shop on Bainbridge Island.

ChurchmouseYarns ChurchmouseYarns2

Churchmouse Yarns and Tea.


And so this followed me out the door and into the suitcase…


It was on sale.


They have Madrone trees in Port Townsend.


They are gorgeous.

The Port Townsend Guild was just wonderful to work with.  There were fourteen eager ladies, for a three day vest class, where we made story vests from their scraps and samples and samplers and treasures.  I love teaching this particular class because each little piece of fabric that we hold on to has a story.  And I heard many of them.  From fabric collected from another part of the world, to swatch and embroidery swaps, to fabric from a child’s garment, to remnants from a bridesmade’s dress, and quite a few repurposed items like a shawl from a Bonnie Tarses Workshop and a bias top from a Virginia West workshop,  all became something fresh and fun and personal.

They worked hard.  There was a lot of gnashing of teeth.  And a lot of rearranging.  And a lot of ripping out.  But every single vest turned out exceptional.  This was a talented and entertaining class.  I loved them all, vests and makers!

Working3 Working2 Working1PortTownsend

Take a look…

Vest13Debra Vest12SueDetail Vest12Sue Vest11Kathleen Vest10 Vest9 Vest8Chrysalis Vest7 Vest6Virginia Vest5 Vest4 Vest3Nora

And dear Kathleen, who brought a panel from handspun, woven on her rigid heddle loom.  Once she decided to run with it, she whipped out her loom and wove a second panel for the other front.


So there you have it.  Mostly I don’t get to see the vests finished, they do the final assembly once they are home.  Though my speedy and focused hostess Rebekah finished hers the morning after class and I got a shot!


And Linda came to the Whidbey Guild meeting a week later and wore hers, completely finished.


And then on the 7th 4th day she rested shopped…

Rebekah my hostess and Nora, one of the students and I toured around Port Townsend.  I fell in love.  Maybe someday in another lifetime…

We looked at cool architecture…


We looked at and had lunch on the Sound…


We shared book recommendations… I loved A Man Called Ove…


We looked in a couple funky boutiques and found this hat…


We looked in a gorgeous shop called Joglo that I actually wanted to live in, and I fell in love with this tile.  I want to redo my bathroom…


On to the next venue, across Puget Sound on the ferry, to Whidbey Island…

Oh, and if you are interested, I’ll be teaching the same class at Fiber in the Forest, May 20-22, 2016 (Yes, that’s in a couple of weeks!), in southwest Oregon. Click here for more information!

Stay tuned…


Look what followed me home…

Last Thursday through Sunday was an annual event that takes place in NJ, called the Wool Walk.  I have not participated in the past.  I don’t know why…

Most of the state’s yarn shops get together and put out promo materials and remain open for four days (many regularly close on Sundays but remained open for this event).  NJ isn’t that big, so it is entirely possible to actually visit all 14 shops on the list.  The furthest shops are only a couple of hours apart.  It is a very cool idea.  I have not participated in the past.  I don’t know why…

Actually, I admit, although reluctantly, that I’ve never been in a single one of the local yarn shops in the state of NJ, except the Woolery in South Jersey, where I taught so many years ago I can’t actually remember, but not since then.  I live about two hours away.

A friend sent me the information and the list of participating local yarn shops.  I looked over the list and put it aside.  I’m too focused on prepping for my trip Sunday to even ponder this…

I was tidying up my inbox and the list came up again.  I looked over the list again, and noted to self that there was a yarn shop, unknown to me, called Trillium, in Morristown, right behind the Century 21 department store, about two blocks from where I practice with my recorder consort every Sunday.  The shop isn’t open on Sunday’s usually, but for this event, it was.  I decided that in the spirit of things, it would take me five minutes to walk over and check it out, and this followed me home.  The shop was completely charming and Beverly was a delight.


Frog Tree Llambrosia Llama

It was 20% off.  And I’ve never knitted with Llama.  And there were nine balls.

Let me just mention here that I don’t know the area yarn shops, not because I’m a yarn snob or a yarn.com Webs junkie.  I travel the country for my job.  And it is not unusual to visit a local yarn shop on the road.  And it isn’t unusual for things to follow me home because the sale bins always call to me.  I always raid the sale shelf at Sievers when I first arrive for teaching, and grab whatever makes sense I know I’ll use.  It is the way I replenish the stash.  I do this with fabric stores as well.  I NEVER shop for a project.  Except once when I was traveling and had finished off what I brought to knit.  I was just getting back into knitting and the shop in Mississippi sold me my first and only sock pattern, the yarn and needles, and I’ve managed 12 pairs of socks since that fateful day.

Instead, when I enter a fabric store or yarn shop, I look at the sale wall.  It narrows down the possibilities for me exponentially.  I get way too overwhelmed looking at thousands of yarns/fabrics, and where does one actually begin.  So it isn’t unusual for me to buy an entire bin of remnants when I’m in a fabric store, I’ll figure out later what I’m going to do with them.  And I do.   Really.  It is the way I like to design, pull something out and figure out what it goes with and what I can make with it.  So the Llama goes into the stash (I have almost no knitting stash to speak of, I’m using the last of the yarn I bought last September at Sievers, well ahead of schedule).  As a matter of fact, I finally finished the Drops First Lady skirt I started the end of last year. Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool.  I’m knitting up the last three skeins of Blue Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool into a summer tank.  Should be finished by the time I arrive in Seattle on Sunday.


Anyway, I digress…

So I remembered that there was a really well known knitting shop, also on the list, about 10 miles east in Madison called The Blue Purl.  It was a lovely day for a drive, and well, it made no sense to not at least look at the place.

And then this happened…


Shibui Heichi Silk in Trail and Brownstone

When  I realized that the yarn from the sale wall was actually nearly 40% off, I went back over and added this.


Shibui Heichi Silk in Spore

And when I got home, I found a freebee  skein in a little package with the Blue Purl label on it, tucked into my shopping bag. J’adore.


Tristan Viscose and Linen

So now I’m merely another 11 miles from a yarn shop in Summit called Wool and Grace.  How could I not?


I loved the shop, a beehive of activity, and then I spotted the baskets by the window seat in the front.  50% off…  There was nothing to be done but pull out my slightly smoking Mastercard…

I bought this…


Rowan Alpaca Colour in Iron

And this…


Rowan Alpaca Colour in Topaz

And then this…


Rowan Fine Art Sock Yarn in Maple

Most likely I’ll end up weaving with that yarn.

I’m sure it is pretty obvious I had a fantastic day, and came scurrying home with my little treasures, and have been dreaming of what to knit with all these beauties.  The silk is already spoken for… I have the C2Knit patterns pulled and I’ll be balling up at least one group shortly because well I’ll be doing a lot of traveling the next ten days, and I expect there will be time to knit.  Summer is coming…

Stay tuned…



I had a plan…

The operative word here is had…

So I’m heading out of town in exactly 10 days.  The pressure is on.  I am reasonably sure I have enough time to accomplish everything I had set out to do, and prep everything I needed to prep by the deadline, which is actually well before the 10 days, since everything for the workshops must get shipped out at least a week in advance.  Travel time to the pacific northwest.  From NJ.

Plus I wanted to finish the run of scarves so I could take a couple with me.

Four down and one more to go!


So if I am able to get everything I need to for the workshops ready to go, and shipped out, and all the stupid computer work I have to do as well, that will give me a week to do something fun.

Everything is printed and bound…


Everything is cut and packaged… (I actually hired someone to help)


So I’m in good shape right?

See there is this exhibit I want to enter.  The deadline is May 1st.  But I’m leaving on the 24th.  So my deadline is much earlier since whatever I want to enter, I actually haven’t made yet.  And so it has to be made and then photographed and then images culled and uploaded, you get the idea…

The exhibit has different categories, of course clothing is one of them.  Since this is an annual exhibit I already sent them for the exhibit last year all the cool stuff I did from two years ago, took a couple of awards, and last year was so god awful busy that I didn’t make any new work I would want to exhibit.  But I have yardage.  I have some pretty cool yardage.  And yardage is also a category.  It isn’t my preference to enter yardage, obviously I like to make garments and to me yardage is just a vehicle.  Not an end product.

But I had a plan.

I have this tartan I wove last December, which I’ve showed in the blog already.


And I have these absolutely gorgeous three caviar leather lambskins, in a plum brown.  The photos from my cell phone can’t nearly do it justice.  I thought they would be splendid together.


I searched through patterns and came up with this idea of creating a trench with leather side panels, welts, collar and underarms.  I did a quick layout and I think it can work.  I had it all planned out.  I even found a yard of gorgeous raw silk that would give me bias and pocket linings, since I hadn’t planned to line the coat.  I cut the pattern out and am ready to test in muslin.


Then my sister came to visit last night.  This sister lives a couple hours away from me, and last visited me for Thanksgiving.  She happened to be in the area for a gardening event.  She is big into gardening and floral design, but knows nothing about weaving, or fibers, can’t knit and doesn’t want to, and knows just enough to run up a hem on the sewing machine.

So I brought her into the studio to show her the current crop of yardage, ending with my pièce de résistance, the tartan and the leather.

First I showed her the yardage that just came off the loom.  This is the handdyed raw silk twill with the bamboo weft.  I have about 5 yards.


Then I showed her the handdyed ikat warp I pulled off the loom a month or two ago.  She loved that one.


Then I showed her the tartan.  She sort of shrugged and said, “Eh, it’s OK”.  I was crushed.


Then I showed her the leather.


She picked up the leather and put it with the ikat and said, “No, it needs to go with that one.”


Damn.  She was right.

I was crushed…

And the raw silk fabric, that was pretty obvious it had to go with the raw silk twill with the bamboo weft.


And so, I had a plan, and my lovely opinionated sister shot it down and she was absolutely right, though now I have no plan as to what I can do with this yardage before I leave on the 24th.

I rooted through my stash a bit more and found a little under a yard of gorgeous camel, the perfect color for the tartan.  Not sure if there is enough to still do the trench.  But I found this gorgeous fabric on the shelf I could possibly use as a lining.


The problem is here that I need more time to mull all this over.  I can just enter the yardage and either it will get in or it won’t.  It isn’t what I had hoped, but I love all three pieces and I love the course correction and now have to let everything age just a bit more…

It will all be good in the end.  You just can’t rush genius…

Stay tuned…