Works well under pressure…

Truth be told, deadlines are my friend. I am focused, organized, and have been doing this long enough to expect roadblocks, detours, and the myriad of things life throws at you when you are planning something else.

Like a fractured shoulder the end of December.

Like another flood in my sewing room last week.

My shoulder is progressing. Chris, my PT, is confident that I will gain back most of my rotation, and he doggedly pursues a course of action that is helping slowly but surely. He knows what he is doing, that is pretty obvious, and I trust the professional. I’m about 75% there, but that obviously doesn’t stop me. I’m always a woman on a mission, and figuring out how to meet deadlines in spite of what the universe throws at me, is my specialty.

Tuesday morning I had the plumber in, because once again, I took water in the basement sewing room. It was a bad storm, on top of an already ridiculous water table in NJ, much of the town flooded, but I should not have taken water under the wall in the corner where the sump pump lives. Turns out the hose of the dehumidifier was laying on the float, probably causing it to work improperly. You can’t make this crap up. So plumber installed a completely new sump pump, because why not, I don’t want to take a chance with a unit that is probably 25 years old, now that NJ is slowly sinking into the Atlantic, and the dehumidifier hose is properly mounted so it doesn’t interfere. Meanwhile, scrubbing the concrete floors and mats with heavy duty cleaner, on my hands and knees with a fractured shoulder that is still healing wasn’t my idea of a fun and entertaining couple of days…

But I persevered…

And was hugely rewarded. I will be honest and say I’m so freakin’ proud of myself, in spite of the tears these last couple of months. I had a deadline and I had to meet it. Three years ago I was asked to be an invited artist at the Convergence Fashion Show in 2020 in Knoxville, TN. I of course agreed, and started thinking about what I would send. We all know the curve ball Covid threw into the works, not only was the conference postponed for two years, but I retired from teaching on the road, and spent those two years developing content for my YouTube channel, The Weaver Sews. I’m not planning to be at the conference.

And so, back in January with one arm in a sling, I looked at the loom with the narrowest warp, which happened to have two shuttles, and I wove slowly, 6 inches a day, with one hand. Just clearing that 4 yard warp was a feat that I still marvel that I accomplished. I had no idea what I was going to do with a 9″ wide 8/2 tencel warp, about 3 1/2 yards long, but then I saw this piece from Urban Outfitters. I have not been able to find the piece on their website.) It was part of an article on sustainability with fashion designers, trying to use what they have. (Shacket is the term for shirt/jacket, apparently)

The shacket is not my taste, but it inspired me to do this.

My jacket is constructed almost entirely by hand and is completely reversible. The most challenging part was finding a reversible separating zipper. Though the piece doesn’t fit with my regular body of work, the response to everyone who has seen photos of it has been really wonderful, Jennifer Moore, whose workshop I wove the double weave fabric in, was really hoping to see it at Convergence.

The pattern for the jacket is from my pattern collection, a combination of the #800 vest and the armholes and sleeves from the #1700 tunic.

Meanwhile, if you have been reading my past posts over the last couple of months, you know I’ve managed to design, set up, and weave off yardage, hand dyed yarns, mixed structures on 12 shafts, inspired by a puzzle we were fixing. All with a fractured shoulder. I was able to get this walking vest out of the fabric I had, and I’m so freakin’ thrilled with this.

I used scraps of a caviar leather I had to make epaulettes, since there was no way I could match the shoulders, and there is leather piping down the front and armhole bands. I finished up the handwork yesterday. The pattern is from my collection, the #600 Walking Vest. It has pockets!

And because this fabric, woven a couple of years ago, kept calling me from the shelf, (it sat on the shelf for the last couple of years because I couldn’t think of what to make with it) asking me to make a dress. For the runway. Something that celebrated the stripes. Bias… I listen carefully to my materials.

I’m not certain how the dress will ultimately perform, it fits like a dream, being bias and all, but how will it hold up on exhibit in a fashion show? Normally I would have the dress folded on the shelf. I’m still up in the air whether I should send it. But I love the look of the dress, the way it chevrons on the side. The yarns are a combination of a bunch of stuff that was on my shelf, including a hand dyed warp from Blazing Shuttles, that’s the aqua tones large stripe. Again, a combination of structures, plain weave, twills, and some supplementals. And it has pockets! I modified my #900 bias top pattern.

So I’m sitting back and smiling at myself and all of my hardwork these last couple of months, mentally, physically, and all because of a postponed deadline from two years ago. I am my happiest when I meet a personal challenge head on and win. And I won this one.

Stay tuned…

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Bette Nordberg
Bette Nordberg
April 16, 2022 5:06 pm

You should be so, so proud. Honestly, your work is stunning. I’ve seen so many handwoven garments that neither flatter nor fit. They rarely even nod at contemporary fashion. But yours excel in all categories. I’m honored to see them.

Joan Westhoff
Joan Westhoff
April 16, 2022 10:38 pm

INSPIRATION! IVE been collecting pieces of my weaving experiments ….. you put pieces together with artistic abandon! I shall try. ?

Juliana Bendandi
Juliana Bendandi
April 17, 2022 2:19 am

Congratulations! Those pieces are wonderful! That bias dress is so beautiful it made my head spin – but in a good way!

Lynne Macco
April 17, 2022 6:04 am

These are amazing pieces and show no sweat or tears. The dress is stunning! You rock!

April 17, 2022 9:20 am

Stunningly beautiful! So wearable too. Congratulations!

April 17, 2022 10:04 am

Oh my gosh, your reversible jacket is 100% better than the shacket that inspired it. Your walking vest is to die for and the bias dress is sheer perfection. You have made me think it’s time for me to get back to sewing and I’m thinking I may need to challenge myself with the walking vest. Thanks for sharing all of this!

Mimi Anderson
Mimi Anderson
April 17, 2022 10:41 am

Amazing! Wish you could put a few of your – brain cells? – on your website. You’d make a fortune! Your intuition is sparkling! Results are the proof! Look forward to seeing them at Convergence.

Joanie Stevens
Joanie Stevens
April 17, 2022 11:28 am

WOW – just wow! Those garments and all the fabrics are spectacular

Rose Sires
Rose Sires
April 17, 2022 12:06 pm

I absolutely adore all of the pieces but the walking vest most of all! As always you are a star!

April 17, 2022 1:39 pm

Beautiful!! Love the dress & Jacket especially!

April 17, 2022 5:04 pm

Love, love, love the weaving, colors and patterns. And, of course, the garments are spectacular.

April 17, 2022 8:28 pm

LOVE the dress! And the walking shawl.

April 18, 2022 1:18 am

You have worked very hard and deserve to be happy with yourself. You have worked tenaciously in all things and deserve the rewards.

Meg Wilson
April 18, 2022 5:33 pm

Ohh! I am going to Convergence and am so excited that I will get to see these in person! The swingy walking pattern would be perfect for a color gradation I have on the loom and need to sew up for CW’s Garments Study Group! I will send pics when I get done.
If any of you are thinking of going but are worried about the cost of CW and Convergence (and Tapestry), holler. Fred and I have a VRBO with room for 1 or 2 more folks, so you can see Daryl’s awesome creations too!

Jennie Dickinson
April 19, 2022 4:43 am

Love, love, love the bias dress!

April 19, 2022 11:48 am

Thanks for sharing the colors and patterns are deliciously inspiring. Thank you!

Sherron Pampalone
Sherron Pampalone
April 20, 2022 8:32 pm

Jobs well done!

Peg Cherre
April 24, 2022 7:40 am

You are SUCH a talented artist!!! All 3 pieces are beautiful, but I LOVE both the shacket and the dress!

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