photoshootI converted my weaving studio into a photo studio for the afternoon yesterday.  That means I have to move all the looms into the spare room/hallway, except the big one, which won’t really fit through the door.  That one gets pushed as far away as possible.  The background paper goes up against the wall, hanging with skirt clips from a shelf above (how convenient is that, not really, I planned it that way!)

I set up my umbrellas, the strobe lights, and covered my dressform with a matte jersey fabric, that is a pretty neutral gray.  And then the fun began….

evolutionfrontevolutionbackevolutiondetailFirst I shot an older piece, from around 2002, that had originally been shot in slide form, and I was never happy with the results.  This piece is called Evolution.  It is an 8 shaft shadow weave, with bands woven separately on an inkle loom.  The vest is a variation on the jacket pattern I use for my classes.  I like the square armhole, it is easy to alter.



Then I photographed the Arctic Sky Jacket.  This is a twill weave structure, on eight shafts, in wool, cotton, synthetic, just about anything I had on the shelf that would work for the color palette I was trying to create.  The bright lime green piping, in case you weren’t following my blog a couple of months ago, is the natural felt edge cut of off a nuno felted belt I made with Loretta Phipps while we connected for the Design Challenge for Convergence 2008.  The pattern for the jacket is from Burda Magazine.  The bound buttonholes and pocket welts are Ultrasuede, and the top stitching is actually couching with a lime green embroidery floss.  I backed the entire jacket with a fusible weft interfacing.

splashfrontsplashfrontdetailsplashbackNext I photographed the Splash Dress, and as you can see, I had a lot of fun with the detail shots on this one.

This dress, a modified Vogue pattern, was made from the two remaining hunks of fabric from the Designers’ Challenge for Convergence 2008 in Tampa Bay.  I blogged about this project considerably, so if you want to see the original garments from this handwoven collaboration between me and Loretta Dian Phipps of Texas, click here.  This was another combination twill weave, 8 shafts, in silk, cotton, rayon, and some knitting novelty, all of which were given to us by the HGA.  The challenge was to come up with a runway ensemble.  I love the simplicity of this dress with the wonderful splash of summer colors.

sandstonelayersfrontsandstonelayersbacksandstonelayersdetailI’m really happy with the way this jacket photographed.  The colors are rich, and the angles of the jacket played well against the background.

This is yet another combination twill weave structure on 8 shafts, I dyed the warps to coordinate with a palette I did called Sandstone Layers when I was writing the color forecast column for Handwoven Magazine. The pattern is from Burda Magazine, and the topstitching is couched with a rayon novelty weaving yarn.  The buttonholes are handworked from a 6-ply rayon weaving yarn, and the jacket is unlined.  The seams are all finished with a hong kong seam finish.  The belt and skirt are purchased.  (The belt was a gift from my dearest friend in the whole world, you know who you are, and I have cherished it and worn it to death for many years.  It remains timeless and coordinates with just about everything in my wardrobe.  The signature on the back of the belt is fading, so I can’t read the artist’s name.)

So, now I have to put together a gallery talk for Wednesday and pray my plane via Houston to Des Moines isn’t delayed.  That would be really unfortunate.

Arctic Sky Completed

Yippee!  I finished the jacket.  I am so happy with it.  As a matter of fact, today was a pretty good day, I accomplished a lot.  And this is actually my second blog today.  First the previous blog, with the spinning wheel caper.  While I was in the middle of that, I actually started sorting through all the magazines my textiley friend send the other day, largely because I have a guild meeting on Monday and want to unload all the duplicates, my shelves are starting to bend from the weight!  There weren’t too many, and I did get to put away a whole stack of my own recent acquisitions.  I hadn’t done that in awhile.

jacketclosedSo, I got the lining in.  And it is beautiful.  I love using these sari’s as linings, a gift from my husband’s last couple of trips to India.  I blogged about it in early February.  I sat chatting with a girlfriend yesterday while I started the hours of handwork, a really good friend who is undergoing treatment for breast cancer.  It felt good to just sit and sew and chat, she lives on the west coast, and in this day of 160 character bytes of information, texts, emails, and twitters, an old fashioned hour and a half chat while I sewed in my lining was just the best treat for both of us.

I spent the afternoon (after organizing my magazines and fixing the cracked hub on my spinning wheel) writing an article for Shuttle, Spindle and Dyepot.  Sandra Bowles asked me to do a series of articles for the next three issues of SS&D, publication of the Handweavers Guild of America, on the Challenge Project I’ve been talking about in recent blogs.  So I did a synopsis of Loretta’s and my experience as collaborators and team members, and wrote the article today.  I just have to proof and upload all the images.  Future articles will be about the other two teams.

So after dinner, I chatted simultaneously with my husband in New Hampshire via instant message on my computer, and my girlfriend Dawn via text message on my cell phone, and continued the hand sewing on the jacket.  I will say that was a bit of a juggling act.  I kept having to put the thimble down and answer the two sets of messages, and eventually just gave up in favor of the old fashion chat via speaker phone.  I finished the lining, took some quick photos, and voilá!


Special Delivery

I have a really great weaving buddy friend, who has been known on occasion to go through massive clean-outs of areas of her house, and she will throw everything in a box she doesn’t want and ship it to me.  I always love “care” packages from my friend.  She knows whatever is in the box will get some attention from me, and that I have enough contacts to see that everything finds a good home.

magazinesmagazines2So today my daughter was trying to come in the front door after school, and couldn’t get in because of a huge box, full of magazines, weaving journals, and fiber books.  OMG!

What a treasure box this is, there are magazines dating back to the 40’s.  The highlights include a December 1942 Woman’s Day with a lovely article on weaving in it, back issues of Fiber Arts, SS&D, Handweaver and Craftsman and Craft Horizons.  There is a newsletter series from the 50’s-60’s called the Shuttle, I think published by Maysville.  There are two volumns of Handweaving News from the 1930’s from Nellie Sargent Johnson, Detroit.  And my favorite, a bound volume of 1945-46 issues of Osma Gallinger’s Shuttle Service complete with actual woven samples.  All of this was apparently in the storage unit.  This is my lucky day!  There was also a copy of Ann Sutton’s  Structure of Weaving, you’d think I’d already have that one in my library, oddly enough I didn’t.  And I have a huge textile/periodical library!

After I got through that very welcomed distraction, I got down to business, I finished another couple pages on the new website, actually, looking over what’s left, it seems I only have four more pages to create.  The Extras Page will be ongoing, I’ll move over PDF articles and things from my old site, but I hope to add to it, maybe extracting out the parts of the blog that pertain to specific garments and creating an all- in- one article to make it easy to follow the string.  Stuff like that.  I was trying to do a check on the site tonight, make sure everything I uploaded was working, but the site seems to be down.  I’ll check later.

jacketI managed to get the sleeves into the jacket, and I am soooooo happy with it.  It looks fabulous on, so trim and angular, the lime green felt piping just pops right out of the jacket.  The jacket was a dream to sew, there was enough wool content to remind me why I love tailoring wool, and why my mom would haul us down to 4th street in Philadelphia  when we were growing up, to get the best wools for her suits and coats.  Now I’m down to the lining, which should go together quickly, and then hours of handwork.

Tomorrow I have to spend the day making pantaloons for my son’s costume for Cinderella.  I mentioned this in the last blog, but I have a better idea now of what they want, and I rooted through my stash and found enough stuff to pull this off without having to spend any money.  I found a length of a jacquard white on white decorator fabric, which was too white and clean looking for the age and condition of the dublet they gave me.  So I poured the remaining morning coffee and tea into a pot on the stove and “aged” the jacquard fabric to the correct color.  I took measurements of my son’s trim muscular body, and I’ll see if I can whip out a pair of pantaloons!  Stay tuned…

Focused Friday

So far the feedback has been really positive on the site.  I did, in one of my middle of the night awakenings, think that I really should have the galleries run from most recent to oldest work, so I reversed the 2000-2005 gallery.  I think it is better to click on the gallery link and see the newest work added, rather than scroll way way down and find it at the bottom.  Then I spent most of the day reprocessing images for the artwork gallery.  Some of the older pieces there were originally shot in slides.  Many of my slides were not great to begin with, and I think my scanner isn’t doing the best job anymore.  But I did my best with what I had to work with, and vowed that next time I set up a photoshoot, I’ll reshoot some of the older important work in digital with proper lighting and a better backdrop.    It was interesting to see how far I’ve come as a photographer.

The men made it safely up to Vermont for the last ski trip of the season, I got a text message at 2:15am letting me know they arrived safely. (That’s probably why I woke up last night and re-thought the gallery!)  In spite of the rain yesterday, they had a good day of skiing today, and are looking forward to the weekend.


I worked on the jacket after dinner tonight, and got the upper collar/front facing in, and the backs of the bound buttonholes finished.  So I can actually button the jacket.  I love the narrow trim collar, and the lines on this are really really slimming.  I took an interior shot of the jacket before I started on collar/facing, because I always loved what goes on behind the scenes in a garment like this.jacketfront

There are a couple of blogs that I really enjoy, one of them is Tien’s Blog, the traveling tigress.  Tien is a weaver who makes garments out on the west coast, and blogs about her adventures, like me, but she is a wonderful writer.  I love her musings, and look forward to her latest adventures.  We spent a lot of time emailing this afternoon, I gave her some advice on interfacings, and she gave me some advice on using WordPress and how to get my images to be clickable, but remain rectangular.  Before when I used this feature, the thumbnails in the blog would be square, cutting off important information, like in a long gown, you’d only see the crotch.  Not attractive.  So she advised me on where to click in the settings to change this feature to eliminate the square thumbnails, and we’ll see if this works.  Hopefully my interfacing information works for her.

The other blog I follow is from Susan Hinckley, called Small Works in Wool.  Another fabulous writer, she is absolutely hysterical, and peppers her posts with old magazine images to get the point across.  It is the best laugh of the day when she puts up a new post.  And her work is great, she takes old sweaters and beads, and buttons, and turns them into little works of personally and politically charged art.

Pansies and Piping

pansiesWell it isn’t much.  But I managed to brighten the dreary days of March, eager with anticipation of spring, measuring the bulbs as they poke their heads out of the damp earth.  In anticipation of tomorrow’s rain, I did manage to get the deck boxes and a couple pots planted with pansies, a wonderful gift from my friend and neighbor, in celebration of my husband’s birthday over the weekend.  Thank you Deb!  Everything is so bare and cold, but pansies add a snow1little bright color in mid March, the first color of the spring.

Of course you realize that a week ago, the deck looked like this:

I’m seriously crossing my fingers we are done with the spring snowstorms.

I worked hard on the website today, managing to figure out one of the things that was eluding me.  I knew it was just a stupid click, somewhere, yet I sweated how to do this simple thing for days, and then all of a sudden, Wham!  The proverbial 2 x 4 hit me over the head and you could hear the “DUH!” all the way to Trenton!  Now that I figured out that little detail, I can start on the gallery pages, and get them moving along.  I want to reprocess all the images I used on the original site, make them more uniform, and a little bigger in their thumbnail size.  So lots of photo processing, finding the originals in the archives, oh goody, a treasure hunt of sorts…


I worked for a bit tonight on the jacket, getting the left side of the jacket sewn in.  It fits like a glove.  I’m so glad I added the additional two inches in length.  I’m really loving the lime green piping, and when I looked at it on me in the mirror, I loved the way the belt brings in the jacket in the back.  But I decided, after mulling over some of the comments from the original posting, that a hint of the color someplace else would be a great idea.  I have some DMC floss in the exact color as the felt piping, so I took off the back belt, and couched the floss on, get this, I realized I didn’t have the right color thread, couching only works if you have the same color thread, so I rooted around in a drawer, and voilá, there in the back was a very old wooden spool of poly thread, in the exact color.  Go figure…detail1

So I couched (which means a very narrow zig-zag stitch over a cord or yarn, in this case I used floss, aided by a little foot that has a groove to feed the cord or yarn).  I plan to use this couched floss to topstitch the collar and the top of the sleeve cuffs.

I love the wavy movement of the felt piping, it looks like the aurora borealis in the northern sky, and that’s the effect I was looking for, the jacket is called after all, Arctic Sky.