Alpaca Reflective Walking Coat

I’ve been working on this coat, in some form or another, for almost a year. I’ve been planning it for even longer. I think my New Year’s resolutions for two years ago included something about “sew a garment with my handwoven fabric.” And now I finally have!

The fabric for this jacket was hand woven on my 54″ 8-shaft macomber loom. In fact, this fabric is the only thing I ended up weaving on that loom before reselling it. There was nothing wrong with the loom, but it was simply too monstrously large for my needs. It worked great for this one project though.

I used a simple tabby draft, and counted on the fun colors of the yarn to make the fabric work. And the reflective strips of course! After weaving, I wet-finished the fabric to encourage a bit of felting. It “blurred” the colors of the yarn together, but I’m still quite satisfied with the results. The reflective bits show up nicely, and don’t affect the drape of the heavy fabric.

This coat is very imperfect. I ended up rushing a bit at the end, because I decided at the last moment that I wanted to enter this piece in a textile art show at a local gallery! Which is super cool, and which hopefully I will mention again if the coat gets accepted, or even if not! But yes, I had a hard deadline for photos to submit, so I was definitely trying to get some of the bits done at the very last minute.

I’m still incredibly happy with how it turned out. The lining fabric is Spoonflower’s satin, in a fun patchwork-like design I was excited to find just for this project. The pattern is McCall’s M6800, it had good instructions and a decent fit, though as mentioned I was moving fast and not paying a whole lot of attention.

Weaving Wainbow

This scarf was an exploration into a classic weaving pattern called a “color gamp.” The idea is that you do equal strips of many colors along the warp and the weft, that way you can see how each yarn interacts with every other yarn in the set. Most people do them in ROYGBIV order, for obvious reasons, but that’s not required. Its another one of those moments where I really appreciate how weaving and math interact.

Color gamps are great for really seeing color theory in action. Color is one of the most illusive, complex and difficult things to explain or control. Sure, red is red, that’s simple right? But how red is red? What does it mean to be a redder red? Sure, red plus yellow equals orange…. When you’re playing with paint, maybe, less so when you’re playing with light.

How colors interact when they’re next to each other is also very difficult to explain, or predict. So much depends on the weight and hand of the yarn, its fiber content, how reflective it is, how saturated the colors in question are. Thats why something like a color gamp is a good idea. It lets you literally see how each yarn interacts with the other yarns, over and under, shadow and highlight, contrast and complimentary.

Plus it just looks cool.

I’m sorry for the title, I couldn’t help it.

 

A New Space

In the last few months I’ve lost two roommates, and gained another one. This has meant lots of shlepping furniture, rearranging and cleaning, and not a whole lot of time or space for any sort of sewing or reading. Now, however, that’s all changed…

The end result is a spare bedroom, which I have now claimed as a hoity toity fiber studio. Ooooo, Ahhh. I’m so excited, I’ve never yet had my very own space dedicated to crafting etc.

Its a smallish bedroom, but I’ve still managed to fit both looms, a boxy shelf/drawer/thing, a book shelf, an ironing table, a large warping board, and a large glass-top desk. Any any sort of room is better than stealing and cluttering up the downstairs dining room.

Oh, wait, “both looms”? Yes…. I bought another one. I already knew I’d have a spare bedroom, and then this LOVELY 45″ Nilus Leclerc was at the local weavers fall sale for $100?!?! How could I say no? Of course, the reason it was so cheap was because its currently in pieces. It even comes with its own bench though! And underneath the dust the loom is in good shape! I’m so excited. It’ll be a learning exercise to put all the pieces back together.

I already feel good in this space. The back wall has two windows, hidden by the sliding panel style ikea curtains. I can’t wait to play with various fabrics layered on each other, or weave my own intricate curtain panels (I’ve already got some great ideas there). I also managed to hide a desktop computer, and a monitor that can move back and forth between the desk, and an out of the way shelf corner. That way this is also my computer/gaming room, and I can binge watch netflix while crafting things, or rock out to music. The shelf above the desk was a “picture ledge” according to ikea. I took one look at it and thought that’ll be perfect for thread!. And it is! It fits perfectly, and is organized and close at hand, and even looks good! We also took the door off the closet in the back corner so that it still works as storage, without giving up square footage for the door to open.

Having the space be comfortable and highly functional really contributed to a ton of excellent christmas presents I’ll show off soon.