Simple days, complex world…

The days pass quickly in a routine that is pretty pleasant truth be told.  I’m not missing traveling, not missing even leaving the house.  I see friends and family enough via zoom, and with all the remote lectures I’m giving, I feel as though I’ve just attended the world’s largest weaving conference.  Each day I bounce around to some part of the country, and each lecture there are old friends and familiar faces in those tiny boxes on the screen.  I’ve been corresponding with someone in MO, who was supposed to take a workshop with me in August in Kansas, but appeared in a lecture in western MA.  We weavers get around…

Having my daughter here, working with her, developing new content, shooting a new video every Friday for my YouTube site The Weaver Sews.  It has kept us busy.  The biggest challenges are keeping the animals quiet, and hoping the landscape people don’t come through in the middle of filming the way they did last Wednesday in the middle of a class I was teaching remotely.  Those leaf blowers right outside the garage doors were pretty noisy.

So the election in the US is Tuesday.  I don’t hold hope that things will be resolved by Tuesday night.  I don’t hold hope that things will be resolved for a very long time, no matter who is declared the winner.  I’m sad for the polarization, I’m sad for the divisive language used by both sides, I wish we could all get along and move forward.  We are in the middle of a couple of international crises and I’m a firm supporter of science (having a daughter with a science degree means I can’t even cook without a science perspective thrown into the recipe), and no matter the results, I hope moving forward that we as a nation can come together to solve some of these major issues.  I’ve just heard of another weaver who lost their entire studio to one of the fires in Oregon.  She took a workshop with me just in March of this year, my last stint before the world shut down.  I sent her digital files of everything we could piece together that she lost from my workshop, but that doesn’t replace yarn, samples, looms, weaving equipment, spinning wheels, and a life time of knowledge in physical form.  My friends in California, Oregon, Washington, as well as Louisiana have taken the brunt of this year’s climate disasters.  I wish the world had a plan moving forward.  For me, I voted within 24 hours of receiving my mail in ballot (only mail-in voting in NJ this year because of the pandemic), so on Tuesday night, I’ll be teaching remotely for a guild in Toronto.  I can only do my best to keep moving forward, being kind, paying attention to the science, fighting for equality for all, and embracing my countrymen no matter what and who they are passionate about.

Since  Tuesday night’s lecture is on Doup Leno, a technique I wrote about a couple years ago for Heddlecraft Magazine, (January/February 2019), I needed to have something set up for a live demo.  The warp that I had been using was mostly used up.  So I rewarped this week, with a couple of handdyed skeins of cashmere I had sitting around, one a dark and the other a variegated turquoise.  The goal is a couple of scarves, the leno structure will keep them lacy, but the structure will hold together.

That said, I’ve been rather busy with my simple days.  Simple means I can fill my days up with juggling 40 things at once, because I can’t imagine a day when 40 things aren’t happening simultaneously!  

I’ve been working for the last couple of weeks on a new project.  The last two vests I made both had welt pockets.  It has been on my to do eventually list for a couple of years.  I finally sat down, designed a diagonal entry welt pocket and then once I did a few of them, drew illustrations and wrote up the 12 page directions.

Now you can actually purchase the Welt Pocket Variation as a download.  The download contains the 12 page heavily illustrated directions, the two pattern pieces full size for the welt and pocket, and replacement pages for the 100 jacket, 200 jacket and 800 vest.  By substituting the pages in the pattern digital files, you’ll see where the pocket goes.  So if you’ve purchased the 100, 200 or 800 vest, you might enjoy this variation.  Of course it will work for any jacket or vest you make from anyone’s patterns, you’ll just have to figure out where to position it.

The second vest I finished is the one I’ve been using for demonstrations during my last few YouTube videos.  The fabric was a remnant I bought somewhere, can’t remember, but it was a gorgeous sleezy Chanel type tweed, really challenging to work with, like your worst case handwoven.  My handwoven fabrics aren’t nearly as challenging!  I made up the 200 jacket but left off the sleeves, bringing the lining to the edge of the armhole.  With the shawl collar and welt pockets, it is a much different look than my other vests.  

I realized of course that I haven’t updated my gallery on the website with the last couple of pieces I’ve made, the Summer Rain Top, and of course the leopard trimmed and lined Confetti vest shown above.  It is much more important to be timely in those updates because my daughter references those details and images when she creates the show notes for each video I do.  We took one of our guest rooms, since we aren’t getting a lot of guests (none actually) and turned it into a temporary photo studio.  So I popped the Summer Rain top onto the dressform, and perched it on top of the table to take a quick shot of the top.  The free draft for the fabric for this top, using Silk City Fibers is available here.  The pattern is a combination of my 1000 Swing Dress, very modified to take out the “swing”, and the armhole and sleeve from my 200 Jacket.

Meanwhile, now that all my looms are full, I filled them up for the HGA remote studio tour the beginning of October, I need to start clearing looms because I’m getting more ideas of stuff I want to weave.  So I cleared one of the table looms first.  This one had a test for Silk City Fibers, their Supermerino yarn, sett in an 8 dent reed, plain weave, to simulate what one would experience with a rigid heddle loom set up.  One was a single end in an 8 dent reed, single weft, spaced a little far apart for my taste, but that was the point of the test.  I gave that one to Silk City and kept this one, which is two ends together in an 8 dent reed with a doubled weft (I used a double boat shuttle for that scarf).  Supermerino is a superwash yarn.  It doesn’t say that in the description, but it doesn’t full at all when washed.  The result is actually quite soft and lovely, and I’m glad they let me keep one of the scarves.  I suspect I’ll be venturing outside a bit this winter, if only to walk the property and pick up dog debris, and I think this will be quite warm.

I did a round robin sort of day earlier in the week, I wove a yard of two on each of the other floor looms, just to get them moving forward.  I can probably just sit and weave and finish off a couple of them in a day or two.  To have time to just sit and weave is such a gift.  And that means I’ll have yardage to sew.  And empty looms to rewarp…

There is this one, which has been on the loom for way too long.  The yarn is Noro Taiyo Lace, a pain to work with but really beautiful in its gradient effect as the weft.  4 shaft, warp is vintage Harrisville singles Shetland wool and vintage Maypole Nehalem worsted.  I’ve probably got less than two yards to go…

This is another test for Silk City Fibers, their new Cotton Bambu yarn mixed with their Chenille Tapestry yarn.  I modified an 8 shaft shadow weave draft, it is a bit slow to weave because of the two shuttle complicated repeat but it is moving along nicely.  

And this one is also using Silk City Fibers, their new Nile cotton tape mixed with Skinny Majesty variegated.  The weft is their Wool Crepe.  I can’t wait to weave off this fabric, it is weaving like butter and I want to make swing dress out of it. Over a black turtleneck, this could be fun for winter, something new to wear, even though I don’t go anywhere and only dress for the upper third of my body for remote Zoom meetings.  And for the videos, I get to dress up, put on makeup and look remotely professional, but everything has to be 2-piece to support the remote microphone pack clipped into my waistband.

Days are cooler now, we have finally had frost in NJ.  I cuddle up with the gas stove in the living room, and a 1000 piece puzzle and some wine in the evenings, or watch late night political satire on the TV with my daughter.  We need to keep laughing, we need to surround ourselves with art, humor and good food and drink.  And of course animals, there is a cat asleep on my lap as I type, with one paw draped over my typing hand.  And yarn and good books.  I have all of that, and new flannel sheets coming this week from LLBean.  My daughter stole my other set.  Life is OK for now in my small neck of the world.  I quietly keep making up new stuff, and keep an eye out for important things to know about.  

See you all on the other side of this election, stay safe, wear a mask, and don’t forget to vote…

Shopping In The Attic…

A long time ago, seems like another lifetime, I gave up ten years of craft fairs and production work, because 1) I was so burned out I didn’t want to weave anymore and 2) I was pregnant in my mid 30’s with my first child.  He turns 30 in February.  It was a long time ago.  Talk about an abrupt life style change…  As much as I can’t imagine my life without my children, especially since my husband is gone, those early years were tough.  I had my daughter just about three years after my son.  So most of my 30’s was about raising kids and desperately trying to recreate myself creatively, incredibly challenging.  For many years the looms stayed fallow.  It was just too hard to set up a loom, be uninterrupted without paying someone to watch my kid/kids while puttered away designing and threading.  And without the source of craft fair income, it was had to justify yarn purchases.  

But I had scrap.  Boy did I have scrap.  Handwoven yardage that is.  I was able to recreate myself and make use of lots of those scraps in the years my children were young because it is easier to be interrupted at the sewing machine than at the loom.  I’ve talked about this before, because a few years ago I started looking at all that scrap in the attic and downsized a bit, especially the early fabrics by making one pound packages and selling them off.  Those are all gone, but there is still a lot up there, and more recent work has netted me some pretty fantastic colorful scraps that I can do some pretty fantastic stuff with…


I’m heading to Whidbey Island next Friday with a stop off in Bellingham, WA to give a lecture to the Whatcom Guild.  They chose to have my lecture on what to do with Leftovers.  I haven’t given that one in a year or two, and it was really lovely to go through and pull all the ingredients for the lecture, because when I teach someplace where I have to fly, I have to ship a lot of stuff ahead.  The “ingredients” or samples and examples for the Leftovers lecture won’t fit in the suitcases I need for the five day garment construction retreat on Whidbey Island so they all have to be shipped head as well.  And because this is the Pacific Northwest, and I live in the Northeast, I have to give lots of lead time for stuff to get there.  Which means a lot of preplanning and prepping.  So earlier this week, I focused on cutting and printing and binding and packing everything I need for both the retreat and the Leftovers lecture, which made me go through the content of the Leftovers lecture and remind me why this topic is so much fun.  Everything has been shipped out and I have some time to kill…

The fun part for me is that I already have all the “ingredients” for a lifetime of playing with handwoven pieces that are really just trash.  The garment they came from is finished and somewhere in my closet or sold.  I only have one venue a year where I can sell things I make from scraps, and there isn’t a whole lot of money to be made, once the guild takes its percentage, but still, my Jockey Hollow Weavers Guild show and sale in November is a pretty strong venue if I take the time to actually make stuff.

So I have a week or so before I fly out to Seattle, and the prep work for the workshop is done, and I pulled a large pile of miscellaneous stuff from my attic, and set out to see what I could come up with.

I’m seeing a lot of images of bags and items on social media that use my long ago developed technique for piecing.  All you have to do is show a person or two the technique, in a class or lecture and social media spreads it like wild fire…  I’ve already made two bags and sold them immediately at the guild sale last year, and this last one used the remaining bits.  The technique uses a tricot backing, scraps are fused to the backing with cut edges butting together, and the joins are covered by bias tubes using a duct tie as a press bar.  I’ve documented the process along with the rest of the technique suggestions in my “What to Do with Leftovers” monograph. 

I also found a very large hunk of a woven piece I did years ago featured in a Handwoven Magazine article, using a Theo Moorman inlay technique with Pendleton Woolen Mill “worms” or blanket selvedges (I shipped home a couple of bales from the mill during a tour after the Pendleton Oregon ANWG conference back in 2005 I think).  I wove them in using tie down threads on a wool background using up stuff on my shelves.  This made for a great two sided fabric and it was a perfect candidate and just the right size to squeak out a vest from my collared vest pattern.  No need for a yoke since the “worms” changed color midway up the scrap. Here is the link to the original coat, long ago sold to my favorite customer.

And I made another padded zipper pouch last night, with a leftover piece from last year’s dishtowel run.  The piece wasn’t enough for a full dishtowel, and not really the right size for a napkin. I showed the first one I made a couple blog posts ago I think.  There are a boat load of YouTube videos from quilters on making zippered pouches, though I’m having issues with my serger, this still came out quite lovely.  (Note to self: figure out what’s wrong with the serger, changing needles didn’t help…)

And I got the idea of making greeting cards out of the smaller scraps, from some I got from a guild or conference tote or something.  I ordered a bunch of Strathmore blanks with envelopes and cello sleeves  and my daughter immediately stole all of them and made them into cards so she could sell them at the sale.  Her scraps are infinitely more interesting than mine, but I’ll have competition at the guild this year for greeting cards.  Hoping people still send snail mail greetings…

And of course there is nothing like a deadline.  

Additional sidebar…

I am a huge fan of the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, their productions are incredible, and I always try to attend their annual gala fundraisers whenever I’m actually in town.  This October they are hosting another fund raiser, with requisite tricky tray, called “A Bard’s Barbeque“.  I’ve donated my handwoven scarves to their tricky tray in the past, but the BBQ theme needed something different.  I spoke with one of their development directors about donating a couple of handwoven dishtowels, you know, the Lady Macbeth “Out damned spot” kind of thing.  They loved it but it means I have to clear the loom of the 14 dishtowels to get two for them before I leave for WA next Friday.  No pressure. 

I think I just finished number nine…

And while I had my morning tea, I leafed through the new Shuttle, Spindle and Dyepot that has been sitting on the table for a week now.  It has the conference registration for next year’s Convergence in Knoxville, TN, and I’m not on the roster by choice.  I didn’t apply to the conference because, well if you have been following my blog you know that I’m not interested in doing conferences anymore.  That said, I was surprised as I leafed through the magazine, to find myself on page 25, or rather my coat, which I had forgotten had won the coveted HGA award back in 2018 and was featured in a spread in the magazine that featured all the HGA award winners from last year.

I read on, and was surprised again to see me, like a picture of me, on page 7 of the conference registration book, because I’m one of the invited fashion show artists.  There are three of us invited, I was the juror for the fashion show in Reno in 2018, and now, I’ll be sending five pieces of work, so my work will be there, just not me.  Talk about a serious deadline…

And then I really was surprised when I turned to page 44, almost at the end, and saw a lovely ad featuring my dress, it was an HGA ad for Professional Membership.  I have this vague recollection of the editor asking permission to use my piece in something…  The ad is beautiful.  And of course I’m a professional member…

Nice to be featured prominently in a magazine without actually having to write anything!

Stay tuned…

Daryl’s excellent Reno adventure…

Well, if you read my last blog, you’d know what a horrific week I had prior to flying to Reno for the Handweaver’s Guild of America biennial conference Convergence.  I had hoped that all the drama I encountered would be an indicator of how the conference would be, my experience is the more drama, the more successful the event.  I was not disappointed. I arrived uneventfully and the director of HGA Liz Williamson snapped a photo of me dragging my 150 pounds of luggage through the airport.  

Convergence was an amazing event, full of eager weavers and fiber enthusiasts, in a sparkling city full of lights, gambling, cigarette smoke (yeah I know) terrific food, and enough inspiration to last until the next conference in 2020 in Knoxville.  I was hopeful that this conference would represent a real turning point for the weaving community, after years of decline, weavers retiring, dying, or moving on to less physical forms of fiber exploration, weaving is back in full regalia, it is the next big thing, which amuses all of us who have been hanging around for a quarter century or more.  I couldn’t be happier.  I will say that the weaving and textile surfaces I saw this past week have never been stronger, more complex and diverse and truly pushing the envelope.  It was an intense week, I’ve never worked so hard.  Someone asked me if I was having fun, that actually didn’t even occur to me.  I had a job to do and this is my life.  The logistics of each new class kept me awake at night, but I am thrilled to say that everything involving me went off flawlessly.  Huge sigh of relief when it was all done.  

I took no photos at all until the last day, when I was finished and just hanging around Reno waiting for my flight home.  I was that busy.  I didn’t get a single photo of the 50 people in my Friday morning lecture, nor the gorgeous turned Krokbragd on the inkle loom my 20 students learned Friday afternoon.  I didn’t get a single photo of the fashion show, even though I sat through two of them.  I was the judge and had to wait for my cue to come up on stage at the end of each and give out the awards which I had selected the day before.  I did not get a photo of me in my new handdyed handwoven duster I made for the occasion.  I’m hoping someone did and will send it to me.

I did not get a single photo of my beginning inkle weaving class on Saturday, they all did great work and were doing Baltic pick up on five threads at the end.  I did not get a single photo of my two day class Sunday and Monday while they went through 140 yards of pattern paper tracing everything I brought, including the new bias top, that was many participants first choice!

I did not get a single photo of my juror’s talk, both of them, Sunday and Monday nights, as I dragged 35 interested but exhausted participants around the gallery.  My roommate and dearest friend and felter (she calls herself a lapsed weaver) Amy Morris did manage to get a photo of me having breakfast, thank God for a Trader Joe’s and a refrigerator in the room.  We stocked up on breakfast and lunch things because there was absolutely no time to wait at the fabulous restaurants at the Peppermill Resort where all this occurred.  I brought my swimsuit thinking there would be time…  Hahahahahah…..


I made up for it on Tuesday.  I spent the day looking at all the exhibits with Amy in tow, we took a cab to the downtown area and started with Complexity: Innovations in Weaving produced by Complex Weavers at the Reno City Hall Metro Gallery.  I took photos of my most favorite pieces.

Fireflies and Jellyfish by Molly McLaughlin
Do NOT use images of flowers for assessment by Suzy Furness
Ruby, Ruby by Mimi Anderson
Gravity of Reality by Robin Haller
No Secrets by Lynn Smetko

We left the Metro Gallery and walked a couple blocks and I got my first and only look of the landscape of Reno and the Truckee River.

We found the Sierra Arts Foundation Gallery and saw a gorgeous exhibit by four artists, an East-West Conversation in Fiber.  I did not get a full gallery shot, but I was drawn to the work of one of the artists, Mirka Knaster, born in Italy to parents from Poland, who came to the US as a child.  She creates 2-D and 3-D fiber pieces in a studio on the Sonoma Coast.  You can see more of her work at .  I particularly loved the small units, each a treasure, that fit together as a whole covering one whole wall.  

Assemblage by Mirka Knaster
Assemblage detail by Mirka Knaster
Assemblage detail by Mirka Knaster
Assemblage by Mirka Knaster

We headed back to view all the exhibits at Convergence and hopefully take a few photos.

The exhibits were one behind the other in an expansive narrow ballroom off the vendor hall which was closed by Tuesday.  My only opportunity at the vendor hall was Saturday night in the Shop ’till you Drop.  I managed to get to three booths.  

The carpet in the ballroom that housed the exhibits was quite the textile in itself. 


I started with the leader’s exhibit, where I found lots to love and my coat was the first piece on display.

Here are some of my favorites.  Descriptions are embedded in the images.

Red Letter Night by Molly Elkind
DaVinci Revisited: La Mona Lisa by Louise Berube
DaVinci Revisited: La Mona Lisa detail by Louise Berube
Adam & Eve by Susan Marsh
Stained Glass Diamonds Scarf by Constance Collins
Shimmer & Shadow by Dottie Weir
Paisley by Laura Viada
Unfurled by Barbara Setsu Pickett

We moved on to the Truckee River Yardage Exhibit, and there were some really beautiful works.  The first one is by my friend John Mullarkey, and it is card woven  using 160 cards, each with four threads, in an unbelievable feat of complex weaving.  John won the Complex Weaver’s Award, as he should have!

Tablet Woven Triptych by John Mullarkey
Water is Life by Nancy Peterson
Playing with Blocks by Sarah Fortin
Kartoffel 1 by Nancy Weber
Kartoffel 1 detail by Nancy Weber
River Meditation by Jennifer Angelo
Silk Boxes and Lines by Joan Namkoong
Silk Boxes and Lines detail by Joan Namkoong

This last piece didn’t look like much from a distance, but up close, I realized that those little boxes were formed by supplemental warps and wefts.  It was so subtle and inspirational.

In the center of the room was the Great Basin Basketry Exhibit.  I’m not particularly drawn to baskets, but there were two standouts for me.

Square Teapot by Kathey Ervin
Made It by Nancy Loorem-Adams

The next area housed The Playa Mixed Media Exhibit.  This is a mixed bag of techniques, everything fiber that doesn’t fit in with the other exhibits is fair game.  There were a lot of standouts here.

2340 Mile Mississippi by Laura Strand
Kachina I by Adriane Nicolaisen
LAVAfolds #1 by Cameron Taylor-Brown
Speckled Digits by Al Canner
Wildings by Molly McLaughlin
Wildings detail by Molly McLaughlin
Mountain for the Buddha: Chroma by Mary Zicafoose
Under Construction by Jayne Gaskins

And finally, the last gallery housed the Fashion Show.  Since I was the judge, I had really studied each of these pieces, and I will tell you it was the hardest fashion show I’ve ever judged, there were so many prize contenders and I had only a handful to give away.  There were many I was drawn to including a delightful student piece woven on a rigid heddle loom…

Handwoven Grad Dress by Sandra Micovic
Midnight Highway by Adriana Gorea
Cinnabar Mountain Jacket by Mary Mortenson
Echo & Flow by Jannie Taylor
Verdigris Jacket by Joan Near
Blue Majesty by Ruth Ronan

And the winners.  These three all received honorable mentions from me.  I chose the winners because of the layers of thoughtful engineering, and complexity of design.  Each time I revisited them, I found more to love.  Sadly what you can’t see is the energy that happened on the runway, Reno showgirls modeled the hell out of these garments and sold every single one to the audience.  The best fashion show of handwoven and other fiber technique wearables I’ve ever seen.

1920’s Going to the Opera by Wendy Dolan with Wandering Vine Weavers
Blue Skies by Fine Gelfand
Las Vestiduras para Milta by Eileen Driscoll
Las Vestiduras para Milta detail by Eileen Driscoll

I gave third place to this gorgeous jacket from Lillian Whipple.

Red to Blue and Green All Over Jacket by Lillian Whipple with Sharon Bell

I gave second place to this outstanding jacket by Canadian Inge Dam, the purple stripes are actually card woven simultaneously with the regular hand painted warps.  And for the non weavers reading this, know that card weaving is pretty challenging, not my drug of choice in textile techniques.

Band of Northern Lights by Inge Dam with Manon Pelletier

And my first place winner was a complete delight both on and off the runway.  Congratulations Mimi Anderson.

Friday Night Fever by Mimi Anderson

If anyone does not want their piece shown here, please let me know and I’ll remove it. 

We left Reno in style, first the limousine ride to the airport, thanks HGA and Peppermill for a wonderful experience.  Too bad the ride to the airport was only 15 minutes…  I was upgraded to first class in both legs of the flight home, a nice ending to a fabulous week.

Now that I’m home from my exhausting yet wonderful and inspiring week away, all the drama I left and then some has come back to haunt me.  There are a couple of technology issues that will cost me months of work to redo every file associated with my name, through a series of unfortunate events, my business phone number is no longer available, and though I’m fighting to get it back, the thousands of handouts and monographs that have 973 628-0185 are no longer accurate.  My phone number, should you wish to reach me by that antiquated method is 973 706-7745, but email is much better, trust me, and it will take me probably the rest of the year to update all the prospectuses and all the downloads on my website.  And I spent last night, until 2am with my beloved brat Ranger at the emergency vet hospital, it appears he has a nasty case of cDiff or Giardia, and you don’t even want to contemplate the visuals of that infection.  I brought him home and had to sleep outside the rest of the night because I couldn’t risk my brand new carpets, and yeah, well…

And so this horoscope greeted me this morning.  I’m not even sure what to do with this…

Stay tuned…


Just chugging along, singing a song…

I am making progress, or else I’m completely delusional…  It is hard to stay focused, but maybe that’s not a bad thing.  Having severe ADD can come in handy when you are trying to take care of 20 tasks at once.  They eventually all get completed, and sometimes all at the same time, and that’s cause for celebration.

mugmatsmugmat_backingreworked_mugmatI took a little detour, because I had these little things sitting on my sewing machine, and they were just calling to me saying, “Fix me, fix me…”  So of course, I got knocked off course temporarily.  I blogged about my guild mug mat exchange last December (you have to scroll way down to find that part of the blog to see my mug mats).  I never showed the mats that I got.  Let me say that I love the fabric, and the colors, and the pattern of the mug mats I received at the exchange.  And I love the gorgeous wool backing my guild mate used to make the mats.  What I didn’t like, I’ll be honest, was the way they were constructed.  It was a sewing thing.  And I’m a sewer.  And I own a pair of shears and I’m not afraid to take something apart when I don’t like how it is constructed…  🙂

So I spent about an hour, I had already taken the six mats apart, and trimmed them and fringed them, and added a piece of interfacing to the back.  I re-pinned the wool, and did a fine zig zag around the perimeter of each mat.  Now they lay flat, and don’t have the lumpy uneven corners that could cause a wine glass to tip…  🙂

I’ve been working steadily on updating all the of the presentations/lectures/workshops I’m going to be giving on my southwest tour in February.  Since I’ve started the blog, I’ve spent hours documenting all of my projects, step by step photos, working out new techniques, and generally having a good time of it all, but I realized looking back over some of my lectures/workshops/monographs, that they could use a bit of updating, with some of the newer techniques/photos/projects.  The Leftovers Monograph needed a major overhaul, with all the new totes I did earlier on in the year.  I have much better step by step photos now, many of the ones I originally used were scanned from slides from storyboard techniques I used for demo purposes.  I finished reworking all the lecture/workshops for the trip, just proofing them now, but while I was working on updating the step by step PowerPoint slides, I had one of those slap yourself upside the head and yell, “Duh…” moments.  I had made a couple of placemats from leftover scraps, and developed a half day workshop out of it, I’ll be giving it this summer at the American Sewing Guild Conference in Atlanta in August, but I never resolved the edge binding.  I tried binding them a couple of different ways, and both attempts were too time consuming and clumsy for a four hour class.  Speed and ease in a class like this is so critical.  Just because I can do it, doesn’t mean a class of 25 students, sharing machines, in four hours, of mixed skill levels can do it.

cut_lining_apply_bindingstitch_bindingWell, suddenly it hit me.  So simple.  No need for a separate bias binding here.  Just cut the lining for the mat bigger, and fold around the front and stitch.  It worked.  So easy.  I undid all the binding on both of the mats, and tried out this method, I was so excited, and loved the finish.  I gave the mats a final pressing and…

This would not be a good time to mention that I failed to follow the most basic of all sewing rules.  That would be preshrinking the fabric.  I of course would never take such a short cut as to not preshrink the lining used as the backing for my lovely mats.  So I don’t need to mention here what happens when you iron something that hasn’t been pre-shrunk.  Lets just say I wanted to kill another couple of hours and remove all the stitching again so I could prove how important it is to pre-shrink fabrics before you make stuff.  🙂

rayon_boucleIn the middle of that escapade, I got one of Webs emails, you know the one with all the cool knitting yarns on sale.  Since I don’t as a rule buy knitting yarns, I’m not so inclined to check it out, but I lie…  If you search, there is always something in the weaving yarn mill end clearance that just has to come live with me, and I always groan audibly whenever the Webs sale ad comes into my inbox.  I can’t not check…  And of course Webs is too quick to ship…  yarnSo I got a little additional diversion, a back order I forgot I had from Halcyon, and my cheap yarn from Webs both arrived the same day, I unpacked everything and was sort of surprised at this huge cone of rayon bouclé in a lovely soft variegated color.  I thought I had ordered something else, but this is pretty cool, and I think the whole two pound plus cone was something like $15.  Works for me…

And finally, I finished a piece I’ve had on the loom since last fall.  This is one of my Personal Post Series artworks, small woven images in a Theo Moorman inlay technique, I’ve blogged about this technique numerous times, just do a search for “Big Sister” and there are all kinds of how to’s out there in my archives.  I was doing a pair of images, that I wanted to somehow use to create a diptych, images that play off of each other, bound in a way to make them book like, which I have done, but I don’t want to show the final images just yet.  I am hoping to enter this piece in the Small Expressions exhibit for HGA, but there is a query going around the blog-o-sphere about the definition of “published work”.

HGA (that would be the Handweavers Guild of America), who sponsors Convergence which will be in Albuquerque this July, is sponsoring four exhibits, one of which is the yardage exhibit I just applied to with work from my last blog.  The requirements are that the work cannot have been published.  Two years ago when I asked for more specific information about this subject, I was told that website content didn’t count, that they were mostly concerned with magazine publishing, or books/catalogs with the work, that would have a national RestInPeaceexposure before being exhibited at a Convergence.  I understand that policy, and respect it.  The piece I had done for the fashion show, earlier in the year, I stupidly let Threads publish, and now I can’t enter it in Convergence, because of this policy.  No matter, I have other work to enter.  But the question has come up, do blogs count as publishing?  I hadn’t given that much thought, because website content was safe and I think of my blog as an extension of my website.  But blogs are a form of publishing.  So I have a query out to HGA, and hopefully will get a response in a timely fashion because the next three deadlines are lurking around the corner…  Meanwhile, here is the piece just before I cut it off the loom.

Eventually I’ll show the finished piece and the story behind it.  I think it is a pretty powerful piece, because it is about something important to me.  And that is what art is.  A form of communication.  Whether it gets accepted to the exhibition is a whole separate issue, and that will be what it is.  But for now, I am proud of this piece, and will eventually show it to you when I find out if blogging is actually publishing.

Busy Days

The days are just getting away from me, and my to-do list is starting to get a bit out of control.  And I feel like I am moving through Jello, going through the motions but not accomplishing much.  There are lots of things on the calendar taking me away from a good solid day’s worth of work, plus I am procrastinating big time, starting the new presentation on Website Success.  Once I’m into it, I know I’ll get lost in it, and not come up for air for about six weeks, so I’m hesitant to jump in.

Meanwhile, I have an article to write for Shuttle, Spindle and Dyepot, and a book review as well.  I have to finish the remaining two placemats for the exchange, I have to write up and get out the contracts for my guild, and get the information to the newsletter editor, and I have to review 5 scholarship applications for the Music Parents Scholarship for this year.  Those are probably due first.

And, big news, I have to finalize my contracts for Convergence 2010.  Yep, I finally have contracts in hand.  It took longer than usual because there was a lot of back and forth as to what I would actually teach for them.  This is an unusual situation, and kind of complicated, and partly what triggered my bout of whining a couple weeks back, about being a ‘has been’…

Convergence is an international conference for not only handweaving, but many other disciplines in the fiber arts, and one that can keep you visible and open other opportunities.  I have taught at every Convergence since 2000 in Cincinnati.  Therein lies the problem.  First off, I am known in handweaving circles for my garment construction classes for handweavers, I have those classes down to a well oiled machine, there are only so many ways to teach garment construction, and I’d like to think I have streamlined the process to work for conference and guild situations of mixed skill levels and all body types.  I’m good at what I do.  But trying to reinvent oneself each time for Convergence, where cutting edge and up and coming teachers and topics get first priority, is pretty darn impossible.  I try to come up with new workshops and seminars yearly, but it isn’t enough.  So, I am grateful to the HGA for giving me a full plate at the next Convergence, but I know that after 10 years, there are others out there that are developing newer and more cutting edge kinds of workshops, and I’ve been told by many that mostly I am thought of as the ‘Go To Girl for Sewing’.  Even my ‘Photographing your Work” seminar, though extremely well received when I give it, many have opted to hire a ‘professional photographer’  instead to do the seminar.  Most don’t know my original degree was in textiles and photography.  But I digress….

So, I’ve spent a lot of time this week thinking about where I’m going with all this, I’m not “washed up” so much as having to look down the line to what’s next for me and where can I take my skill set and stay personally challenged and still make a living.  No answers are coming, but I’m more comfortable with the idea of just seeing where life takes me for the moment….

So, I am teaching at Convergence in Albuquerque, see the full list of what I’m teaching on my website Schedule.

So, with all this stuff on my plate, what did I actually do today?  Not any of the above…

burda_jacketI started a new project!  Unless you have a fantastic memory, have been reading this blog since back in December, and have actually been keeping track of the six projects I outlined back then, you don’t remember  Sandstone Layers or  Project Two!  The yardage for this was woven back in 2007, and it is one of my favorites.  I’d like to make a jacket out of it, but I am longing for a different kind of jacket look than my last couple, and I found a great jacket in the January 2008 issue of Burda World of Fashion.  drawingIt is sort of slouchy, and has a big belt, and a great big flowing collar.  Some of the engineering still has to be worked out, but I spent all afternoon yesterday and this morning tracing the pattern, and then fitting it onto the dressform.  It took much longer than normal, because there were so many pattern pieces and because the jacket was actually designed for plus sizing and I had to regrade the smallest size in the pattern down another three sizes.

I tried it on the form, and liked what I got, except for a couple  of areas,view1 one being the asymmetrical hem.  I thought the angle and pitch of the right side was too much.  So I pinned up what I thought was more appropriate.



Once I added the belt to the jacket pattern, it was pretty clear I would have the same problem as the last Burda jacket I made, the waist was too high for me.  I am really long waisted.  So I knew I would need to chop all the body pieces above the waist and lower the whole waistline, carrying the belt loops with it.

Of course as I puttered with the pattern, I got sidetracked here and there, wondering what sort of buttons I had in my stash that would work with this.  I have bins of buttons, some in order, but most not…

Recently a friend who was cleaning out her deceased aunt’s house, gave me a cookie tin of buttons, lots of Bakelite, and some pretty interesting shell buttons, sadly with a coating of powdery mildew, and I rooted through there and found some I thought worthy of cleaning and set out with a tooth brush and some Softscrub.  buttons

After a couple hours of trying to find three buttons that I liked with the fabric that were the right size, I took a couple of the whitish abalone buttons and turned them over, and voila!  The perfect color buttons were hiding on the back!

fabricThe flash is making them look a little too white, but they are beautiful and creamy pink/green on the back, and perfect for the fabric.  And my favorite belt works as well.  So, now for the layout…

layout1This is going to be another one of those layouts that when I’m finished cutting, I’ll just have dust left.  I love when this all works out.  I won’t line this jacket, but will figure out what if anything I’ll interface with since I want the collar pieces to drape well.  Stay tuned…