Slow Journey…

We take journeys all through life. It is important to cherish each step of the journey, no matter how long it takes. While that is certainly relevant right now as my fractured shoulder begins to heal yet scream out in retaliation when PT becomes too much, but today, 2/22/22 is actually a really huge mile marker in my lifetime journey. 20 years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Obviously I lived. I had a mastectomy, and six months of chemo, and though I was young, I was determined that this would not be one of those things that defined my children’s journey. My son confirmed that when we went out to dinner to celebrate.

Yes, I actually went out to a restaurant. I needed to do that. To have a Margarita, to be with someone who was there. Who, thankfully doesn’t have haunting memories of that time. He was 12.

And so the journey over the last 20 years has been slow, and often painful, but I always had support along that journey, friends, family, and sometimes people I didn’t even know. We are all on this journey together, as partners on the trip fade into and out of our life, we do not walk alone. So thank you to all of you who walked with me on this journey so far, know how much your support has meant and has kept me going.

I find a shift in my days, now that PT and painful recovery are taking precedent over things I’d rather be doing. I think about what I want to be doing and what I need to do, and sadly they are rarely the same thing. I need to exercise my arm, and I really need to clean my house. I desperately need to sit down and do my least favorite task in the world, taxes. And this past week I did a task that has been at the top of my to-do list for a ridiculous amount of time, partly because I hate doing it and partly because I didn’t know how to do it.

That task was to rewrite all of my class/lecture/workshop prospectuses, to indicate what I’m willing to teach, remotely, and how, and eliminate what I’m not, or can’t see how I can. And since I will take in private students, 1 or 2 at a time, I needed to indicate those workshops, or retreats, and what the expectations would be for a prospective student. Those materials lists were easy. I have most everything here. So each day I tackled more, and edited everything, so if you are a guild, the list is updated and refreshed. See all my class offerings here.

If you are a person interested in studying with me, find all that information here.

And, because I had dismantled my photo set up back in December because I needed the guest room, it had been my plan once Christmas was over to reset the photo equipment and shoot many of the new pieces to add to my website. My fall right before Christmas and subsequent shoulder fracture prevented that, but I was determined to do a photo shoot on Saturday, and so I managed with one and a half functioning arms, to set up all the equipment and do a real shoot of five garments. You can see the three most recent here, getting the positioning of each garment just right, and the lighting, reaching up to ‘zhuzh’ the garment details, was all pretty taxing on my shoulder, but I did it. So that part of the website is updated now. If you want any details on the garments shown here, you can read them on the website. Because it has been updated!

But there are still the taxes… Sigh…

Meanwhile, what I really want to be doing are projects I can sink my teeth into. Projects that will keep me awake at night, since I am anyway. Projects that make me think, steer me in new directions and make me push the envelope.

One of them, which I did manage to spend the rest of the weekend on, was to develop this pile of handdyed skeins into an actual fabric. The skeins were pulled from my stash based on the poster included in a puzzle that I had just finished. I spoke about that in my last blog post.

Because I have a naked 12 shaft loom, which is crying for a warp, I wanted to take my usual 8 shaft yardage draft, and see how many structures I could get using 12 shafts. Turns out a lot. Many of the structures I had used in the 8 shaft could be shifted to existing shafts and I kept having more shafts to work with. I’m really stretching this, heading into uncharted territory, not completely sure this will all work with the yarns I’ve chosen and the sett I am planning to use. But that is the point n’est ce pas?

So I took a small snip from each skein, and sat with software (Fiberworks) and spent hours plugging in colors and structures into a 12 shaft draft, using Fibonacci numbers to determine the width of the stripes of a particular yarn/structure.

I’ll keep you posted on that adventure. There is going to be a lot of cake winding from skeins ahead of me…

Meanwhile, I’m haunted by the possibilities of the Rainbow Double Weave sampler I pulled off the loom last month, after painfully weaving it off with one hand, two shuttles, 40 picks per inch out of 8/2 tencel. Of course my brain only thinks in one direction, all points in a journey lead to clothing. And so I found a remnant of a fabric from a gown I made and wore for two weddings, as matron of honor, which I thought really complemented the sampler.

First though, I couldn’t see myself just randomly chopping up the sampler, I needed a plan. So I scanned the entire 3 1/2 yards, and pieced together all the pages, so I could play around with a paper example of the real cloth.

I cut out all the pieces of a jacket which is a combination of my 800 zippered vest, using the drop shoulder sleeve of the 1700 tunic. I cut them in the wool satin weave fabric from the gown, and for the back side, the wool suiting. I arranged the paper replicas of the sampler all over the pattern sections.

I created a basted border, to allow seaming, and then had a stiff drink and cut out windows for the sampler which would sandwich between the two layers.

Now all I had to do was reverse appliqué both sides, to create a completely reversible garment. ‘Cause you know, the point of double weave is that there are two sides…

Spent most of the last few days hand sewing. The fronts are done, except for removing the basting, which I’m not doing until the rest of the pattern pieces are finished. This one is a really slow journey.

Right now, slow journeys are really appealing. I drop my daughter at the airport Thursday morning, she is off on a Star Trek cruise to points south. There is a lot of anxiety and trepidation on both our parts, we have not really been apart since March of 2020 when we both returned from our travels, her from the cruise in 2020, and me from my last travel adventure, teaching in Oregon. We have not left the dogs, and 10 days without her in the house, will be kind of challenging for not only her dog, but for me.

I have lots to keep my focus, and keep me entertained. The world is changing, and part of my discussion tonight with my son, who is in the military, was about what is happening in parts of the world that seem hauntingly familiar if you have studied history at all. I needed that Margarita.

Stay tuned dear readers, hopefully the journey will continue for another 20 years, and that many of you will continue to walk it with me. There are lots of looms to dress, lots of fabric to be sewn, lots of yarn to be dyed, and lots of ideas to be explored. I love you all!

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LaDonn J
LaDonn J
February 23, 2022 7:53 am

Good morning Daryl! What a journey you’ve been on! I read your post and just feel so amazed at all you do, your level of energy, even though… you know… the PT and all. I especially love your vest, and the red plaid jacket. And, the amazing design using your double-weave – I have several friends that have taken the double weave class too, I’m sure they will not have considered a garment from their class sampler. So enjoy your posts! Oh… and your words from a prior post, “Act as if…” have stuck with me and I now use… Read more »

February 23, 2022 8:03 am

Beautiful idea for a garment once again with your double weave! For the reverse applique did you turn the edge and hand stitch each edge? Any special tip for handling the corners?

Joan Westhoff
Joan Westhoff
February 23, 2022 11:07 am

Your blog left me exhilarated and exhausted! And pouring bourbon in my morning tea. You go girl .

February 23, 2022 1:15 pm

Hi Daryl
Great idea to scan your samples in order to use them in a garment!
I also love the seaming of your vertical stripes in the sleeveless top.

February 23, 2022 2:55 pm

Congratulations on your 20 years cancer free!! I am so inspired when I read you blog and see the gorgeous clothes you make! The samples coat is magnificent! I love your perspective on life and always look forward to reading what comes next for you. Keep on keeping on!

Sharon Allworth
Sharon Allworth
February 23, 2022 3:05 pm

You’re such an inspiration. I hope your shoulder heals soon and the time and pain spent with PT ends. The finished vest at the beginning of your post is especially interesting to me.

Meg Wilson
February 24, 2022 11:36 pm

Daryl, thanks for the tip about Aleen’s Tacky Glue! I have some material I wove 25-30 years ago (double weave) that I started sewing into one of those beautiful (not!) bog shirts that were popular way back in pre-history (ancient or 70-80’s, your choice). I figured I could do a pieced, garment with it instead and you just solved one of our bigger conundrums! Your double weave idea is awesome! and Beautiful. And thanks for the update on your classes. You might be hearing from the Austin guild. We have been zooming all through the past two+ years and have… Read more »

Karen Selk
March 14, 2022 4:45 pm

Always an inspiration! Not just your amazing work and sense of style, but your thoughtful prose and gratitude. We are grateful for you as well. Take good care of that shoulder.

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