The morning after…

It was a productive Monday, I did my laundry from the week away, and started to “find” my house.  All of the members of my family are quite comfortable in their clutter, sadly I’m completely opposite, I find I can’t concentrate when there is clutter everywhere, and I can usually keep the clutter monster at bay while I’m home on a daily basis, but when I leave for a trip, the clutter monster comes out from hiding and well, lets just say I always expect to spend a couple days “finding” my house, once I return.

I got all the banking done, made a deposit, did my bookkeeping, and got all the bills in order to be paid.  I dusted the upstairs, and tidied the kitchen.  I stayed busy, answering emails, updating my website, and I proofed my article for Shuttle, Spindle and Dyepot on the Challenge project from 2008.  Look for that in the next issue.

crockLook what’s cooking on the floor in the corner of my studio.  I grabbed a handful of fleece from the garage, and stuffed it into the crock pot this morning, threw in some water and sprinkled in some Cushing dye, a burgandy color, it was the first color I pulled out when I reached into the box.  I poured in some white vinegar, and turned the crock pot on to ‘low’.  It cooked all day, and I turned the pot off this evening.  I’ll look at it tomorrow morning, and rinse the wool before I head into NYC to catch some fiber shows with my daughter.

I had a number of conference attendees tell me how much my gallery talk at the Small Expressions Exhibit meant to them, and others tell me they were so disappointed to have missed it.  Since I had actually written up the talk and put it onto PowerPoint and emailed it ahead in case I didn’t arrive in time last Wednesday night to actually give the talk in person, I decided to just convert the whole file to a PDF, and post it in the “extras” section of my website.  The gallery talk was titled “Parallel Threads that Parallel Life“.  Anyway, enjoy the presentation, mostly I’m known for my garments, but there is an artist in there, who has something to say, and I really appreciated all those who listened to my talk and said such kind and supportive things to me afterwards.

I’m off to NYC tomorrow, and I’ll report back tomorrow night with some more fiber overload!

The Party’s Over

And what a party it was!  But sadly, all good things must come to an end, and reality takes over!  So now I have a studio full of stuff to make, lots of wonderful ideas, and no time to actually sit and make stuff.  Sound familiar?

I leave in two weeks for the first of a half dozen teaching commitments, which will take up most of my summer.  In between I’ll be working on an article on the Designers Challenge from 2008 for SS&D, and a book review, revamping my keynote address for New England Weavers Seminar, and building the newest seminar on Website Success.  This last one is a killer, and has been haunting me, lurking in the back of my mind since I agreed to do it last fall.

The more I research, the more I get overwhelmed.  And all that stuff lurking around me, just calling me to come and play with it…

But I got up early, dusted my downstairs, fed the snake (don’t ask), put in the next load of laundry, cleared away all the clutter, made some breakfast, tackled some of the emails I didn’t get to answer yesterday, filled a book order, and finally sat down to work on the website seminar.  Surprisingly it went well.  I’m moving along on it, I have a number of resources to pull from, largely it is deciding what is important  to cover, and what is “Way Too Much Information” for a 2  1/2  hour seminar.

rockerSo, I won’t be any fun until this seminar is put to bed, you’ll just have to entertain yourselves for awhile, but meanwhile, I did promise photos of the fabric I bought at the Fabric Depot in Portland, OR. for $5./yd, for my poor fading rocker.  My mother in law gave this rocker to my husband and me for our wedding, we reupholstered it when she gave it to us, and we have been married now for more than 30 years.  The fabric is worn to shreds, and it is on the list, the very long list of things to do around the house, but finding a fabric that I think looks great moved the reupholstering job up on the list, just slightly.  Maybe in September.  No wait, I promised my guild I’d redesign their website.  October?  No, I promised my other guild I’d redesign their website.  Well, for now, I’ll just leave the fabric sitting on the rocker. rockerfabricrockerseat

I darted out to my car this morning during a massive thunder storm, to gather up the silk scarves that were curing in black plastic, still on the floor where I had left them.  I rinsed them thoroughly, like Kerr told us, and hung them to dry.

I’m so loving this technique.  The lack of planning, the instant gratification, and the possibilities are making me really want to just dive into getting some screens, a padded cover for my work table and running amok!  Alas, I have things to take care of first…


But they are pretty, and I have lots to look forward to.  I’m hoping to spend a couple of days this summer, mixing dyes for some warps, and getting a bunch of warps painted to work on through next year, I’ve run out of handwoven fabric to sew, and am really itching to get my big loom up and running again.  It has been naked waaaay too long…  Of course, whatever dyes are left from that escapade can be thickened and screened on whatever is laying around.   Too many techniques, not enough hours in the day….

Stay tuned…

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…

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…