I made great progress today, and still was able to watch the entire inauguration, a brilliantly inspiring sequence of events, the invocations, the music, the speeches, and of course, listening to Obama and the hope and change he represents, and the uniting of a peoples that have been divided way too long.

layout1feltcelebration-bag-detail-72One of the joys of the computer is being able to stream an event like this, and work while it is on in the background, looking up when the scene requires.  And it made me stay put in the studio, so I really got to concentrate on the layout for Project Three.  It took me most of the day, constantly rearranging, repositioning, piecing, and fudging.  I had very little scrap left when all was said and done.  Once I had the layout to where I wanted it, I found a million excuses to keep me from actually making the first cut.

Some of my favorite parts of making a garment like this, are to poke around in the stash, and see what can work with this piece.  I really didn’t have quite the right amount of fabric, but one of the things I did find in the stash, was the leftover dark teal felt from a bag I made where I felted a Corriedale wool cross and bombyx silk.  I’m including a photo of the bag, it has an inkle woven band over Ultrasuede for the handle.  I actually had just enough felt to do the two piece belt in the back of the coat, and the inside of the collar.

I went through my huge stash of buttons, and couldn’t find five that would work together.  Black was too strong, but I had enough felt left to do covered buttons, and I think the size and color will be great.  And I found a scrap of plum Ultrasuede to make the lips of the bound buttonholes. (The scraps are left from the bag as well).

I played around with making a twist ply rope to couch some of the topstitching details.  I like the rope I came up with, but I won’t know how I’ll like the couched effect until I actually have the coat together and can try it out.  I was having so much fun stalling for time.  Finally I just grabbed the scissors, and made that first cut.  The rest went like butter.  So, now I have this huge pile of cut fabric pieces, and all the pulled embellishments.  I found a wine red sari in the stash, which might work really well for the lining, and the best, I found two decorative zippers, the perfect size, for the zipper pockets in the fronts, except that one was black, and one was gray.  The teeth were the same color, so I just grabbed a Sharpie marker, and colored in the gray one, and no one, except those reading this blog, will ever know the difference.

Bri made progress too, on the placemat exchange warp.  I helped her beam the 12 yards of 10/2 cotton, and we are all ready to tie onto the front and start weaving.  The warp went on easily, and I’m hoping it will weave easily too.

The Mistake

First, I wanted to mention to anyone who is in the northern NJ, NY City area, that I will be teaching a basic jacket making class at the Newark Museum for their arts workshop, March 20-23.  The information is listed under upcoming events, and the brochure has just been sent, and can be accessed online.  The Newark Museum has a number of great classes, and it is a terrific place to learn to weave.  They have a beautiful fiber studio with a number of Baby Wolf Looms.  If you have taken a jacket class with me in the past, you are welcome to bring your own pattern.

takeoutMy daughter took advantage today, of the holiday.  She slept in, as any teen would do, but once she was up and fed, she wandered into my studio where she only had about 1/3 left of the placemat exchange warp to thread through the heddles.  She decided she’d finish this off today, so we could beam the warp and start weaving.  So she sat down and every so often would call out, “Another repeat done!”  She got to about an inch from the end, and called me over trying to understand why she ran out of heddles on shaft two.  She had carefully counted before she started, and using the software heddle counts, thought she put on plenty plus extra.  She started to examine the warp, the threading, the draft (which she memorized right up front for quicker threading, keep in mind this is an overshot threading and quite complex for a beginner), and suddenly put her head in her hands and tearfully exclaimed that she had memorized it incorrectly.  So the entire 384 warp ends were threaded wrong.  She sat very still for a long time.  This is one of those times when you want to jump in and make it better as a teacher and as a parent, but if she was ever going to be a weaver, this was one of those moments when you understand, that there is nothing to be done but to take it all out and redo it, and that it is about the process, and it is about learning, and doing it correctly.  It is about perserverence, and climbing that mountain…

She asked if she brought in her iPod, would it bother me?  I appreciated the consideration, and though I like to work in silence, I thought it best to let her do whatever she needed to do to get her through the re-threading.  The photograph shows her taking out the warps from the heddles, and starting over.  In less than an hour and a half, she had the whole warp rethreaded.  I was very very proud of her, and she did it without complaining once.  I gave her a few hugs and lots of encouragement, and then just left her alone.  She climbed that mountain and reached the top all by herself.

Meanwhile, I played around with layouts for the coat pattern I talked about in the Project Three update.  I think I’ll be able to squeeze the pattern out of the coat, with some creative selvedge piecing, and before I actually make the first cut, I want to duplicate the pattern pieces so I can really see if what I think will work will actually work.  It’s gonna be close…

Detour Sunday

What a perfect Sunday.  My daughter and I had some terrific kitchen adventures that went something like this…

It all started with the Sunday morning grocery shopping , and when I asked her to put away all the frozen foods in the freezer, she commented on the abysmal organization in my freezer, and proceeded to take everything out of my freezer and reorganize it.  All the meats are now on one shelf, the frozen veggies are on another…

That led to actually cleaning the bottom of the freezer where crumbs accumulate.  Which led to dumping and scrubbing the inside of the icemaker.  Well while I was at it…

The she hooked up her iPod to a set of speakers and we started cooking.  I was having a couple girlfriends over later on in the afternoon, and I decided to make some sushi rolls for appetizers, and along with it a crab, spinach and sun-dried tomato quiche for dinner.  She in turn decided to make some key lime pie for dessert with the mini graham cracker pie crusts we had in the kitchen.  Which led to 6 extra egg whites since you only use egg yolks for the pie…

Which led to an internet search for what to do with egg whites, which led to a delicious cake recipe which called for cake flour, which I didn’t have.  Bri didn’t know the difference between cake flour and all purpose flour, so another internet search and she found out that if you minused two tablespoons of all purpose flour for each cup and substituted corn starch, you would have something that would work for cake flour, so she dove into that and then another internet search for a frosting with the three remaining egg whites, which called for whipping them up, and then boiling sugar/water into a syrup, which we over cooked not knowing what we were doing, and almost burned the house down.  Another batch, which still wasn’t quite right, but a little food coloring, and it was delicious.

My girlfriends came over, enjoyed sushi, wine, chocolate, quiche, dessert,  some terrific music, we played baroque recorders, sat in front of the fire while the snow gently fell, life doesn’t get any better than this.  It was the perfect Sunday.

Project Three Update

Last night I went to the theater.  My husband and I have had subscription seats to the Papermill Playhouse, a wonderful theater in Millburn, NJ, for more than 25 years.  We have seen an amazing variety of shows, all first rate, some even better than when we saw the show on Broadway.  I cannot tell you how much I look forward to going to the theater six times a year at the Papermill, and then there is the requisite high school production, and since my son is a Musical Theater major at County College of Morris, we enjoy shows there as well.  He had one of the male leads in this fall’s production of Hair.

Anyway, last night was the perfect January production, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, starring Lynn Redgrave.  It was a wonderful production, the timeless and hilarity of an Oscar Wilde production is welcome anytime, but especially in a cold snowy January. The costumes and sets were exquisite.  Like a good book, theatre can take you away and make you laugh and sing, and teach you something, an make you take a different look at the world around you.  There was a wonderful quote from Oscar Wilde written in the Playbill,

“No great artist ever sees things as they really are.  If he did, he would cease to be an artist.”

And now for an update on Project Three. I know I skipped over project two.  If you go way back to the archives for this blog (you don’t have to go that far back, I only started this in December) you will see the description for the fabric I called Leaves and Berries, in Project Three.  I have a deadline to meet, this one for entry in the fashion show for the Surface Design Conference in May in Kansas City.  I had two garments in the show in 2007, and I’d love to have another one or two in this year’s fashion show.  The deadline is February 1st.  There is nothing like a deadline to kick you into overdrive, and make you focus on the task at hand.  It is when I am at my best, and can really hyperfocus.  I will do a photoshoot right before the deadline, and photograph the dress from project one, which is almost finished except for some thread loops for the hooks at the center back.  And I am hoping to get another “wow” piece that will photograph well as you can enter up to three garments.



So I looked at the projects I’ve lined up, and picked the Leaves and Berries Fabric.  Since this is a Surface Design Conference, I wanted to use the fabric that had the most  surface interest, and this one fit the bill.  I want a simple coat, one that doesn’t have a lot going on as far as design, this is a very busy fabric, and very linear, and I wanted to show that off.  I found a Burda pattern that roughly had some of the lines I liked when I draped the fabric on the dressform, and an interesting sleeve treatment with a gusset under the arm.  There is topstitching called for, and I have some of the leftover dyed warps I want to play with, making a twist ply rope to potentially couch down the areas that call for topstitching.

coatillustrationlrpatternI played around with draping the fabric on my form.  I tried a shawl collar, and I liked the stand up collar better, and the unbroken front, with large black buttons, or dark green, depending on what I can find at Acme Fabrics.  Because the fabric is wider than I normally weave, I have a chance of getting a full front or a full back out of a width of cloth, maybe piecing at the selvedges to squeak out a bit more width for the sleeve.  I drew what I thought it would look like, and then made up the pattern.  I sewed the half pattern  together with machine basting, and tried it on.  The coat looked good to me, now to make a quick muslin with both halves.

My husband left tonight for another trip to Mumbai.  He will be gone for about two weeks, so I’ll be able to really hunker down and focus on this coat.  Stay tuned…

The Newark Museum Arts Workshop, NJ

compdaryljacketSewing 101: Garment Construction – Making a Simple
Unlined Jacket
with Daryl Lancaster

This is the perfect class for anyone who feels “sewing challenged.” Participants make a well-fitted jacket using an instructor-provided pattern and store bought, handwoven, or felted fabric. Making the jacket is an easy way to learn the basics of sewing and garment construction.
Students who have taken the class before may bring their own pattern. Sewing machines provided.

All Levels
Four Days, Friday through Monday, March 20 – 23,
10 am to 5 pm
Members $290; Non-members $320; Materials $30