Sage Advice…

One of the tough things about working alone as an artist is the lack of critical feedback on a regular basis.  That’s one of the real advantages of an academic path in the arts, you are exposed to regular critiques, some encouraging, some discouraging, some helpful, some not, but learning to be open to possible new directions is part of that discussion.  It is also difficult as the one who mentors, critiques, and teaches, to find honest feedback of one’s own work.

And so having said that dear readers, I am blessed with a group of followers that are talented and willing to comment in ways that have proved invaluable over the years I’ve been blogging, in fact, many times, work has been redirected because of something I’ve read in a comment.  Know I read every one, and appreciate the effort it took to write them.  It is a blogger’s reward for the countless hours spent processing photos and sharing our creative lives.  Obviously since I accept no advertising, my blog is strictly a labor of love.  And a back handed way of advertising myself.  So comments are always really really appreciated.

Anyway, I’ve been mysteriously silent since my last post, a few of you have emailed me privately to ask, “How’s it going”?  And I’ve told you.  It is grueling, intense, messy, and exhausting but I’ve come up with what I think is a meaningful compromise to my stash of leftovers, spanning thirty years, and now I’ll share those decisions with all of you.  The overwhelming opinions were to just sell off the piles of scraps to quilters, dollmakers and whoever else might be interested.  Well duh…  Sometimes the obvious is just sitting there smacking you in the face and you completely overthink and miss all the signs…  So thank you dear readers for pointing out the obvious solution, even though I failed to see it.

I’ve spent the last half a dozen days, pulling boxes of scraps out of the attic, I’ve focused on only the non mohair scraps, those would be the rayon, cotton, and silk fabrics and carefully sorted, pressed (I’ve used four gallons of water in my steam iron), trimmed, and tossed the really small scraggly bits into a pile which was ceremoniously tossed into the garbage can at the curb Tuesday night.  It was a happy compromise.


The rest was sorted into piles of like fabrics, some of the scraps are small, 4 x 5″ and some are much larger, 36 x 12 or combinations thereof…


I pulled out the largest scraps to make items like tote bags, if the ones I’ve already made here sell at the guild sale.  The fabrics can always be cut smaller for scrap bags for next year.


I pulled long skinny lengths to fringe on all four sides for random size scarves.  A small zig zag around the perimeter and a quarter inch of fringe works well.


I also found about 16 toiletry bags compliments of United Business First International, from my husband’s many trips overseas.  They are really lovely little bags, with two interior zipper pouches, filled with essentials for an overnight flight, which I’ve removed and then I covered the sides with scraps of handwoven fabrics.  I actually adore these little bags and I may save one for me for my own sewing notions kit, since my beloved plastic pencil case that currently holds my notions for travel, just fell apart.


I’ve saved some of my favorites to make hot mats from a technique I describe in my What to do with Leftovers book, wrapping one inch strips of handwoven fabrics around a core and zig zagging into a coiled form.


And I also found enough of this purple to cut another vest.


And now, my biggest dilemma is how to bag the scraps for sale.  I’m aiming for one pound bags, but trying to decide if an assortment is better than one type of fabric, and should I cut the larger scraps down to sizes that would fit in the bag and spread the wealth so to speak.  I’m open to suggestions.  My plan is to offer them at the guild sale and depending on how they sell, and what’s left, then put them up on my website.  There are more scraps in the attic, though the assortment of colors is diminishing, and I haven’t touched the mohairs yet, but I feel better at having made a dent, and having a plan, and making sure that the scraps I care about go to people who want to play with them.

And I’m mulling in my head the whole time, what to make with this handwoven fabric, from the yardage exhibit at Convergence Albuquerque…  There is a coat in there somewhere, just trying to decide what style I want before I start attacking this baby…


Imagine the scraps I’m going to get out of this length of yardage…

Stay tuned…

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leilani bennett
leilani bennett
October 10, 2013 12:15 pm

You asked for it so here again is my nickel’s worth: Bag in same weave and color or complimentary colors. This is from a wearable artist so I don’t know if others would feel differently. AND, still pissed that you aren’t in California!

October 10, 2013 12:21 pm

Dear Daryl,
Thanks for talking us through your process, I find these suggestions really helpful. Not all of us yet have a 30 year handwoven yardage stash, but those days will come for all of us:-)
I would be thankful for some natural fiber yardage scraps. I try to buy some handwoven item from every teacher I’ve had. So please look through and see if you could reserve a bag of such for me. Many thanks.
have fun at your guild sale, when is it by the way?

Mary Ehrlich
October 10, 2013 12:40 pm

Daryl my Dear Teacher, I am having a knee replacement in November so there is no way I can get to your guild sale. Please, please, please, pick one bag out for me, charge me the amount you want for the bag and then the shipping and handling fee. If only I could be there!

Marie Kulchinski
Marie Kulchinski
October 10, 2013 1:25 pm

Don’t over think it. You are packaging scraps. Your buyers know that you are selling scraps. In a perfect world, every thing would be color coordinated but that takes time and more time. The idea is to find a new home for this material. You are not designing the perfect project with your scraps. You are moving them along. The faster the better. It is time to get back to the real world. Package them in one pounds lots. Tie them up and put them into a bin so you don’t revisit the package because you found another scrap that… Read more »

Nann Miller
Nann Miller
October 10, 2013 3:36 pm

Perhaps some of those tiny little scraps you tossed could find homes with paper makers…that’s what I did with years of silk thrums…dyed, natural, any size yarn and any amount…

October 10, 2013 5:30 pm

Good job! I agree with Marie though, don’t put a lot more work in this. Knowing that the scraps are all going to good homes is enough. (And remember that the person who buys from you will end up sharing those pieces that don’t talk to her with friends and fellow guild members.) Good luck with your sales.

Juli Macht
Juli Macht
October 10, 2013 5:33 pm

I would love to have some of your scraps to make another of your famous jackets. I did finally make one of handwoven silk, rayon, cotton scraps and is presently on display at our county fair. It great to have pieces of fabric woven by other hands, somehow they are much different in their appearance and color.

Nancy Weber
Nancy Weber
October 10, 2013 5:38 pm

Marie was spot on for what your original goal was — to find new homes for this old stuff!!! Make up mostly 1 pound bags, put a few at 2 pounds and sell, sell, sell. You can always bring some to your workshops (if you don’t have to fly) and I bet you won’t go home with any. I think it would be good to have different sizes of the scraps and not all the same size. More oppotunities for some very creative whatevers that won’t look like quilt ‘fat quarters?” Not only paper people, but felters could be thrilled… Read more »

October 10, 2013 5:43 pm

I didn’t weigh in earlier, but my vote is/was with scraps. I would leave large pieces large. Just bundle by eye appeal and don’t try to micromanage your sorting. One pound packages sound good. Love the little repurposed bags. (There was quite a stash of those).

And hey…I sold a loom last month and have a buyer for 2 small tables and some chairs….4-6….from my Mom’s estate. Nice antiques, but I have tooo much and need studio space.


Cheryl Reed
October 10, 2013 5:44 pm

Do you describe your painting and warping process for the fabric in that last photo in a previous post? So very lovely. Full of richness and energy. How do you decide on the colors to use?

Do you have a class lined up on the west coast yet? Our guild might be interested, in Central WA if you make it to the Pacific NW.

Alice-Ann Ferderber
Alice-Ann Ferderber
October 10, 2013 6:17 pm

Drooling for one of your bags of scraps!

October 10, 2013 7:30 pm

I agree with Marie. One other thought: Any “large enough to be a jacket” pieces put aside for a sewing class. Have other people in the sewing class sew up a jacket for themselves. Charge them for the weight of the yardage, teach the class, and say good bye to some larger sized pieces.

October 10, 2013 7:49 pm

Yup, Marie has the right of it! Oh I know, I can start to ‘sort/clean’ and 6 days later I’d emerge 🙂
Go for it and sell, sell, sell!

October 11, 2013 5:00 am

I would delightedly make another ‘Daryl Jacket’ or pieced vest with actual ‘Daryl’ handwoven. Can’t wait! Ship in the post office containers that have a set price for the box (“if it fits it ships”) and you can price ahead of time with no fuss!

October 11, 2013 7:48 am

That last one should not be scraps! it’s too beautiful! Can it not be sold or turned into a nice sleeveless dress? I think I saw something like it draped on a dress form with a gather at the cleavage… Please wait on that one!

October 11, 2013 12:59 pm

Remember you can always card tiny fiber scraps with wool on your drum carder for a tweedy handspun : ‘ >

Joan Ahern
Joan Ahern
October 11, 2013 7:40 pm

Great idea to just bag scraps. I agree, don’t over think it or you will never move on. Remember, you’re making room for new ideas! I went on a cleaning binge a little while ago and it was a weight lifted off my shoulders. Don’t forget to make some totes for the sale, I missed them last time you were selling.

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