I am oddly enough having the best time developing new options for my basic patterns, jacket and vest that I offer my students for classes. Each new addition makes me think of something else to offer. My fear is that choices will get so unwieldy that the the handout with directions will be the size of the phone book! If we still had such a thing… There is the jacket, the jacket with darts, the jacket as a swing coat, and maybe you want a shawl color? Or a swing coat with side pockets, or maybe a lining with that? How about princess seams?
Last year I taught a class, it may have been for a PA Guild, I’m having trouble remembering, that was basically the opportunity to trace my patterns. It was a great option for those who already know how to sew, or have taken my classes and just want the additional options. Like the tunic. They traced patterns like crazy people! I don’t know if anyone actually made any of the silhouettes, but one can hope that I’ll eventually get photos. And even at the Midwest a couple of weeks ago, in my garment construction class, many of the students chose to copy patterns instead of trying some of the seam and edge finish techniques I talked about. I went through 60 yards of pattern paper. It makes it tough when you have to set a very specific materials fee that can’t be tweaked once in class!
In the spring, I was urged to apply to Convergence 2018 Reno. That would be in Nevada! I haven’t applied to Convergence, the National weaving conference for the Handweavers Guild of America, in four years. I had taught for more than 12 years of Convergences, starting back in 2000 when it was held in Cincinnati and the rest is history. I’ll always be grateful to the HGA for the exposure I got as an educator from the northeast, and how they helped me break into the national scene. And it was at that Convergence in Cincinnati that introduced me to Madelyn van der Hoogt, the editor then of Handwoven Magazine. Within the year I was their features editor, writing for some 35 issues.
Along the way I became disenchanted with the HGA, not an uncommon occurrence, there are a lot of stories out there and I hear them all too frequently. I stopped applying to all their exhibits, their conference, and even for a period dropped my membership. I’m terrifically happy to report that if you haven’t been following things in the weaving world, there is a new leader at the helm and she is delightful. Liz Williamson is from the non profit world, with tons of experience, and tons of personality, and the ability to listen endlessly to long lists of grievances from former members who have not had the best experience with a very overworked and underfunded organization. I know this because I’ve watched her. She flew in to give a presentation at the Midwest weavers conference, very encouraging about what HGA can offer in its many levels of membership. There is now a professional membership for those who actually make their living in this field.
I’ve spent many hours talking with Liz, and in fact I am on the membership committee, we try to meet once a month through teleconferencing, and it is a pleasure to brainstorm with bright, young and enthusiastic people.
That said, it was with great pleasure that I opened my email from Liz on Saturday, that informed me that I’d been selected to teach for Convergence Reno in 2018. I’m glad to be back. And if I hadn’t been selected to teach, most likely I would have volunteered in some capacity anyway. This is a pretty small community, and I think we all have the opportunity to become a small bit of glue that unites and holds it together, rather than rips it apart. I wish I could say that about other venues in life… Weaving is fast becoming the next big thing, and I’m thrilled to still be around to see the wonder and imagination of new weavers, and then teach them that you can actually cut into the cloth and make something cool to wear that doesn’t involve rectangles…
Anyway, I’m thrilled that Convergence had the foresight to pick my Custom Fit and Fabulous class, which is an opportunity to trace as many patterns as you have time over a two day period. I’m expecting students will be able to trace at least one, with all the fixins’, including fries, and budgeting for at least two. So all of you who have wanted to get your hands on my patterns, especially the swing coat, think about Reno in July of 2018!
In addition, I’m teaching a one day beginning Inkle weaving class, and a lecture on Fit, and then a three hour seminar, hands on, in the more advanced inkle weaving technique of three shaft turned Krokbragd. Which is super fun, once the loom is set up, you just weave cool designs!
So, here is the link for Convergence 2018, and for my schedule, because it isn’t the only place I’ll be teaching in 2018, if Reno isn’t in your plans. Regular venues like Sievers and Harrisville aren’t on the calendar yet, I don’t set them up until late fall after their season ends, and I’ll also be teaching next September at John C Campbell, a folk school in NC, a five day inkle weaving intensive, along with a couple of beginning weaving classes at Peters Valley. It is looking to be a very busy 2018.
If I can encourage any of you to support the HGA, think about it, an organization is only as strong as its members and this is an organization that is once again open to and able to serve its membership for many years to come…