My senior year of high school, I used some beautiful wool suit fabric to make my prom dress.  I love the fabric.  The pattern woven into the fabric is a series of squares and rectangles that together give the impression of a circle or sphere.  I recently found a similar pattern in Strickler's 8-shaft Patterns on page 55 so, I had to try it out.  Working through the pattern and design process helped me to gain more familiarity with both block designs and 1/3 twills.  It is amazing to me that such a seemingly complex pattern is truly very simple to create on an 8-shaft loom.

I bought the weft yarn for this project at the Earth Guild in Asheville, NC earlier this summer.  I don't usually buy yarn when I don't have a specific purpose in mind for it... but this was beautifully hand-dyed yarn in colors I love.  I had been interested in working with hand dyed yarn, so, I couldn't resist it.  This ended up being another limiting factor in the design process though.  It is fairly thick yarn compared to what I have been working with lately (4/2) which meant that the design wouldn't be as fine as I was first conceptualizing.  It also meant that I would weave up a lot faster than the other things I have been working on lately - which was a nice change.  I also only had 4 oz. of this yarn, so that also limited how large a piece I could weave.  What I ended up with is most likely to be a wall hanging for my dining room.

I really love this weave structure/pattern.  I think I will be weaving more of it in a finer yarn - perhaps to use to make a jacket.  Stay tuned for more.  In the meantime, check out more pictures of this project here.

Finished GiraffeLast Christmas, my mom and I took on our first weaving/sewing collaborative project: Giraffes from Weaving a Zoo by Amy D. Preckshot.  I wove the yardage using Preckshot's directions and then my mom did a great job of figuring out how to follow Preckshot's pattern for constructing the stuffed giraffes.  We both working on sewing a total of 5 of these up just in time to give them away to the nieces/nephews/grandkids for Christmas.  It took some time to figure out how to work with handwoven cloth.  I probably should have beat the fabric more to get a firmer fabric - but in the end, we used a fusable lining to reinforce the fabric.  This made us both more comfortable turning the pieces inside out and stuffing them without ruining the fabric.  This also made it easier to get the giraffes to stand up properly.  I was brand-new to making stuffed animals, but my mom has had a lot of experience making a number of different sized stuffed bears.  If I had listened to her better about how much stuffing really needs to be forced into them, the first one would have stood up better!  All in all, it was a great project.  The kids really seem to like them.

I had woven about 8 yards of fabric with the anticipation of making a total of 8 giraffes - some with tall necks and some with bent necks.  We still have some fabric left - and my mom was kind enough to sew one up for me recently.  Most of these pictures are of this 6th giraffe.

Our next joint project will be the elephants from the same book - but this time, we are going to start a lot sooner so that we have more time to sew them, stuff, them and finish them up!

Click here for more pictures!

I finally finished the linen lace project (my first project on my 8-shaft loom).  The goal was to have them finished for last Christmas, but a year late is better than not at all.  I am pleased with the way these have turned out.  I think linen is a beautiful fiber and I was thrilled with the way the dogwood blossoms popped out of the fabric when I wet finished it.   While it was stretched under tension on the loom, the blossoms didn't look as organic.  Take a look at more photos here.

I met a number of very talented artists at Penland last week and several of them have webpages with their work.  I wanted to share those links and some of their images here.

by Suzanne GernandtSuzanne Gernandt was one of the two instructors for the class I took, Weaving off the Grid.  Suzanne & her husband own and run Textures, a beautiful gallery in Waynesville, NC.  Suzanne's work can be seen both in her gallery and online at her website.  This image is an example of her work from her website.  Suzanne works with bold color, double-weave structure as well as stitching and further manipulations off the loom to create much of her work.

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