My work here is done…

Yesterday my latest issue of Handwoven Magazine came in the mail. I had quickly previewed it earlier in the week when the digital version came in, but this morning, I sat at the dining table, with my tea, and started to really look at what was in the issue.

The entire issue was devoted to Cutting and Sewing your handwoven fabric, and of course when I heard the theme last winter, I knew I had to contribute something. I wrote for Handwoven magazine as a regular features editor, back in the day, some 35 issues straight, so I’m no stranger to having my work in print. I knocked out an outline, and sent it off, and was pleased when they accepted it, not as a project though, which was a relief since the materials I had used for this piece were now discontinued, but they wanted it as a feature, much more in keeping with the way I write. I’ve written more than 100 articles and digital content at this point in my career, not including my blog (give or take 900 posts) and the YouTube channel, (80 videos there, not to mention 9 videos for Threads Magazine Insider). I feel like I had a lot to say, and I’m so very very lucky that there are mediums that make that content available on a regular basis.

So of course the first thing I look at when I’m in a magazine, is my article, I’ve proofed it prior to print, but that doesn’t mean things can’t go awry! Handwoven Magazine is usually pretty good, and gets things right.

But this morning, I started from the beginning, read the editor’s opening essay, about learning to sew, and becoming a weaver, and being hopeful that this issue will spark some kind of desire and skill set to combine the two. And then I turned to the letters to the editor. And there, on page 6, is a letter from a reader referring to an article I wrote for Handwoven back in 2011, and how it inspired her to create a scarf based on her trip to the southwest. The scarf was beautiful, shown with a photo from the trip, and a page from my article. There is something very life affirming when you know that you have inspired at least one person to celebrate what comes from their hands.

My article started on page 27, and of course listed my patterns and YouTube channel, The Weaver Sews in the resources. I’m hoping they are helpful for someone reading the article. (There has been a considerable uptick in orders for my 100 jacket, so I’m guessing that’s an affirmative).

I continued to look through the projects, most of them garments. I didn’t recognize most of the contributors, which means there is a new crop of handweavers sewing their clothing and writing about it and I’m so incredibly overjoyed to see this, and all of the wonderful garments they produced. As a writer, it is challenging to make something, and then explain how you did it, including the construction details, all within just a couple of pages.

I came to a project called Stormy Days Jacket, by Annette Swan Schipf. The jacket pattern looked oddly familiar, but it is a basic zip up jacket, so it could have been anyone’s pattern. There is a call out box, where Annette describes sewing tips, and there, the first bulleted item, it says that Annette recommends watching Daryl Lancaster’s videos before sewing your jacket. I started to cry. There is a reference to one of my videos specifically, the one about what to do when you don’t have enough fabric, and then, at the end, in the resources, is the listing for my 1800 jacket pattern. That was my pattern. I cried some more…

Towards the end of the magazine, on page 50, there is a project, a skirt, called Rustic Elements from Peg Mathews. It is a basic A-line skirt, reminds me of one I wore in the 70’s, with very fond memories, and there, at the end of the article, under Resources, is a reference to a PDF available for free on my website, on options to Clean Finish an Edge.

It isn’t that I enjoyed seeing my name in print. I’m long past that. I don’t get that rush anymore when an issue comes out that I’ve contributed to… But seeing others reference the work I’ve spent a lifetime developing, practicing, teaching, sharing and contributing, makes me know it was all worth it. I feel like I inspired others to do what I love most and to do it well. And seeing so many references to the legacy I have left, brings fresh tears. All of it, was worth it.

Which means, my work here is done. I feel like I picked a dandelion, well past the flowering stage, and I blew on it and a thousand seeds took flight in the wind and planted themselves for another generation of weavers! (Remember dandelion leaves are probably the most healthy green you can eat, and dandelions make a mighty fine wine…)

But I’m far from finished. I’ve discovered the joy of handweaving as a hobby and like I’ve said in previous blogs, I want to learn all the things. I want to understand structure and just make stuff. I just finished mohair blanket number 4, and there is still plenty of warp on the loom.

Meanwhile, because I don’t ever focus on just one thing, unless I’m under deadline… (see reference above to the more than 100 articles I’ve written…) I went to my daughter, who will begin her vet tech externship on the 8th, and so won’t be part of my daily weaving adventures, and I asked her to please try to organize the wood shed, before she starts work, which at the moment is impassible. There are some basic wood working tools out there, and right now, you can’t get past the door. She came back at me and said, “Well mom, I can’t really get in there to organize because all the basketry materials you harvested last fall, with the intent of making foraged baskets, are hanging all over the place…”

Well… So for me, them’s fighting words… Meaning that’s the kind of thing that forces me into action.

So I set up one of the empty 4 shaft floor looms with a cotton/linen warp, sett at 10epi. I had seen an article by Rita Buchanan in a Handwoven Magazine, May/June 2009 called Weft from your Yard. It talks about harvesting Siberian Iris leaves, and drying them over the winter. I have an abundance of water Irises in my yard, and the leaves on those babies are often close to 40″ tall. So I filled the wood shed with them last fall, and didn’t do anything, because, well the broken shoulder derailed me from any basketry plans, and actually, I forgot about them.

I laid out a bundle on newspapers, spritzed them with a lot of water, rolled them up and left them overnight in a long plastic bag I saved from a fabric roll.

Once the leaves were soft enough to work, I draped the roll of dampened leaves, still in the plastic, across a couple of adjacent looms, and started to pull them out, one at a time, and wove with them in a 1/3 twill.

For a header, I found a ball of handspun hemp from Nepal, which probably came from a weaver’s estate sale. I don’t really know how half this stuff gets in my studio.

And so, I’m having a blast, making mats from yard waste. I have to decide if I should save this year’s crop or if making a half dozen mats is enough.

Meanwhile, I’m starting to set up another loom with a turned overshot, something I’ve been meaning to play with… Because, having an empty loom makes me stressed… And since I’m up to something like 43 looms, there is always someone needing a warp…

Stay tuned dear readers, there is always a new adventure happening in my neck of the woods…

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August 1, 2022 7:37 am

Brava!!!! If the handweaving world had a Queen she would have made you a Dame long ago. This issue of Handwoven just cements your legacy.

Nann Miller
Nann Miller
August 1, 2022 12:16 pm

I was so worried when I read the title of this post…and finally I reached the last part where you assured us that you weren’t really retiring! I add my own credits to those in the magazine articles. You inspire me to try things I wouldn’t otherwise, help me with my sewing skills, and admire the extent of your knowledge. Thank you isn’t enough.

August 1, 2022 12:42 pm

I read my Handwoven a couple of days ago and smiled throughout my reading ( I could hear your voice explaining it all), noting all of the references to you, I am overwhelmed that I personally know and have had time with you in a workshop! You are a very special and talented person in oh so many ways and deserve all of the allocates that are raining down on you

Sharon Allworth
Sharon Allworth
August 1, 2022 12:50 pm

Everyone who’s met you, loves you. I’ve taken a few workshops, read your blogs, referenced your videos. You’ve made handweaving fun; handwringing necessary; and have inspired hundreds, make that thousands, of us. I’ve already read the latest Handwoven too. Congratulations, once again. Oh, and, I hope you get the shed cleared out and your daughter loves her new job. Nice work on the mats. I l can do that too with all the stuff growing on our property that has dried naturally in the Oregon heat wave.

August 1, 2022 1:25 pm

Loved the article and the jacket. Although I haven’t had your class you spent a lot of time with a friend & me at Sievers many years ago. We still talk about it. Thank you! Always love reading your articles and seeing your beautiful creations.

Pat Sole
Pat Sole
August 1, 2022 6:52 pm

You never cease to amaze!

Cindy Conner
August 2, 2022 6:29 am

Love this post!

August 2, 2022 4:32 pm

You are an inspiration! You inspire me. Your weaving is always so interesting and I love that you are always trying new things. I am inspired to try sewing some clothes from my own hand woven. I have some experience in sewing some basic clothes but just need the courage to be confident that I will not mess it up and waste precious cloth. Nothing ventured, nothing gained however. Because of your adventurous spirit I know I have to bite the bullet soon and just get started. I hope you will always keep this blog going as it comforting, reassuring… Read more »

Meg Wilson
August 2, 2022 5:10 pm

Well, I have a goal of getting something in each Convergence fashion show for the next decade, so of course I am starting with a Daryl Lancaster swing coat. Seeing your swing coat at Convergence was so exciting and I just hope I can get mine to turn out as well as it is in my head! Your ears must have been burning during the Complex Weaver’s Garment Study Group meeting…! Love the yard-yarn mats!

August 9, 2022 7:28 am

It is always a source of satisfaction to know that what you have done has impacted others, set an example, guided others – in short – has mattered!

August 15, 2022 12:59 pm

There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of weavers whom you have inspired. Among your many talents as a fiber artis you are a great teacher. Thank you

Kelly Boyne O'Connor
Kelly Boyne O'Connor
August 19, 2022 7:41 pm

I follow several weaving groups on facebook. I’ve watched all your videos. Anytime anyone in the facebook groups starts talking about wanting to make garments from handwoven, I point them to your videos. I haven’t yet had the opportunity to create enough fabric to sew with it, but someday I will and I’ve learned so much from your videos.

Here’s a big hug from me. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with all of us.

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