Monday, December 31, 2012

Thoughts for a New Year

As editor of my weaving guild's newsletter, I write a letter every month to our members. Several members have suggested I share January's letter here. For those of you who are not weavers or spinners, remember that you 'make music' in your own special way.

Dear Weavers and Spinners,

"It was a year of storms, of raging winds and rising water, but also broader turbulence that strained our moorings." So read Wednesday's paper in an article recapping the top ten news stories of 2012. Most recent, and certainly most raw, is the incomprehensible horror in Connecticut that shattered our hearts earlier this month. Two weeks later officials in Newtown have asked people to stop sending gifts to the town, saying they're deeply grateful but unable to process the overwhelming volume of items.

I understand the response of those who have sent something to the residents of Newtown, and I'm heartened by their care and concern. In the face of immeasurable tragedy, our hearts aching, our minds straining for answers to the unfathomable, we feel helpless to turn the tide of grief that we know threatens to overwhelm those directly involved. How can we help? Is there anything we can do that will truly matter? Our love and our prayers are meaningful, enduring gifts, and yet, we long for tangible offerings.

One answer, an antidote for our sorrow and sense of helplessness, came in the days following the shooting. Someone posted, on Facebook, this quote by American composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, champion of peace and humanity; “Let this be our reaction to violence — to make music more intensely, more beautifully and more devotedly than ever before.”  As that concept resonated within me, I realized that, as weavers and spinners, our looms and wheels are our instruments; we make music with thread. The harmonies, the melodies, and compositions we weave and spin are joy to create and share with our families, our friends, and our community. Let us resolve to tip the balance between despair and hope by "intensely and devotedly" making handwoven music …and sharing it with our world.

May you find peace in creating. May your creations be songs of love. May your special music uplift and encourage those you share it with. And, as you ply your craft, "…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

Sarah H. Jackson, editor

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dogwood Lace Tunic

Finished! The label is sewn in and it's ready to wear. Well, actually... ...ready to wrap and mail to Handwoven. The wearing will have to wait. 
Someone in the publishing business once told me that greens and blues are the most difficult colors to photograph accurately. I believe it! The true color is somewhere between these first two.

Making the Chinese ball buttons and frog closures was an experience in itself! Definitely a challenging project, but I'm happy with the final result.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dogwood Lace Tunic

I've been working for several weeks on a lace project using Silk City's Bambu 12 from Cotton Clouds; sett at 30 ends per inch and woven at 30 picks per inch, 36" in the reed. Definitely not a quick project, ...but interesting to weave and satisfying to watch develop on the loom. I love the finished fabric; it looks and feels remarkably like silk.
The color is a soft, muted green, most accurately seen in the photo below:
This project is for the March/April issue of Handwoven magazine featuring designs that recreate or are inspired by heirloom linens. My inspirations were a vintage lace bodice from Paris and a 1930's quilt; each tells a story of one of my grandmothers  ...but I'm saving that for the magazine.
An Oriental-style tunic, Vogue 8830, seemed a good fit for the fabric. I shortened the sleeves to 3/4 length, omitted the cuff, and lined it with a printed rayon. The final stitches will go in tomorrow. Yea!
(photos of the finished tunic in my next post)