‘Tis the season…

And so it begins…

Dear readers, I haven’t abandoned you, and I can’t even claim I’m so busy I just haven’t had the time to write.  Truth is, my days are busy and full, but I’m not out of my mind insane.  I have help, people for that if you will.  I am ramping up for Reno, ready to ship 160 handouts, 10 inkle looms for rentals, kits are made, and I just spent the whole day working in the yard, puttering around, weeding the vegetable garden, and hanging by the pond, or one of them, while my pond guys rebuilt the waterfall spillway, which was leaking, and restocked the fish and plants.  Everything was holding when I came in for the night, and we will see how things look in the morning.  The weather here this week has been as perfect as weather can be.  This is a hard week, this time two years ago, we brought my husband home to die.  The two year anniversary of his death falls on Father’s Day this year, my kids are both feeling the loss.  We are all just a little off our game, but I have my beautiful gardens, and people to keep them beautiful, the ponds which remind me of him every day, and I just spent the weekend teaching up at Peters Valley, which was a really important part of our lives together.  His presence was definitely felt all weekend, especially for my daughter who accompanied me there and took a five day woodworking class.

Before I show you the photos from the beginning weaving class up at the Valley, I need to go back a month and share the photos from another valley, the Yadkin Valley Fiber Center, in Elkin, NC.  I adored teaching there.  They want me back next year.  I had six lovely students, one of which I’d worked with before.  We had only three days so most chose to make the basic Daryl Jacket with band.  One brave soul, who had a very cool cotton patchwork handwoven fabric, spent a lot of time in the layout, because her goal was a cuddly cotton bathrobe.  We cut the jacket into a duster length, with side pockets, and all she needs are hems and a belt.  

Gaila brought narrow fabric from a Kathrin Weber workshop, and sewed like the wind to create this beautiful vest over the three days.  She finished up the armhole binding as we were packing up the last day.  This is my new vest pattern, great for small pieces and narrow fabrics.

And the rest made the standard jacket pattern with band, it is always remarkable to me how different they all look depending on the sizing and fabric.  I was proud of them all!

And so Friday afternoon, I headed out to Peters Valley, my favorite place in the world, for many many reasons, and I had eight wonderful eager students who wanted to learn to weave.  Peters Valley has 11 full size 8, 10, and 12 shaft looms, in pretty good shape.  I was able to really tweak and fine tune the brakes and other metal odysseys that are common to Macombers.  By the end of the two days they were all just about perfect.  

The sampler/gamp I had the students do, explored two different threadings, and many different treadlings, plain weave, twills, ribs, basket weave, color and weave, and more.  They were all really good sports about threading, patience is a virtue, and a necessary sort of skill when threading the loom for the first time.  They were tired and cross eyed, but there were very few mistakes and all easily correctable.  Here are some of the samplers.  I pre-wound the warps, so they didn’t get to pick the warp colors, but all were amazed at how the weft influenced the cloth.  There was more than one squeal of delight by Sunday afternoon.

And a shout out to Jamie, who is the summer assistant in fibers at the Valley.  She was a terrific sport, jumped in with great patience and really helped me when it seemed that everyone needed me at once.  She even got to set up one of the looms with an extra warp.

I brought examples of a lot of my work, scarves, table linens and dishtowels, and of course clothing, but I also brought one of my small Theo Moorman technique tapestries I did in the early 1980’s.  It helps give a range of what’s possible on the loom.  Jamie and the studio manager Beth quickly rigged up a way to hang the tapestry on the newly painted wall.  Everyone loved it so much I decided to leave it there for the summer.  It was sitting in the bottom of my closet and it looks so happy here.

And that’s two workshops I can cross off my list.  I’ll be teaching another beginning weaving class at Peters Valley the first part of August, though this one is five day and also sold out.  Meanwhile, Reno calls.  I am in final countdown mode, and actually looking forward to the conference, and the Tuesday when I fly home and it will be another one for the books.  

Meanwhile, I found out that my swing coat, which I had submitted to Fiber Celebration 2018 sponsored by the Northern Colorado Weavers Guild won first place in Wearables, along with a general award and the Pikes Peak Award.  I’m pretty psyched about that, and hopefully the coat will be heading back this way shortly since I need to take it to Reno.  I’m starting to think about what I’m going to wear to the fashion show in Reno, since I’m the judge and have to get on stage to present the awards.

Stay tuned…

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