The work and studio of Lenore Tawney.

Lenore Tawney was a pivotal figure in the fibre arts movement. John Micheal Kohler Arts Center (www.jmkac.org) had an extensive collection of her work and studio furniture on exhibit. From her large scale weavings to her small mixed media collage, her work continues to be impactful pieces to experience first hand. Lenore was known for her large scale open work weavings, that she made looms to accommodate to fit inside of her studio spaces. I revisited some photos I had taken from my viewing of the exhibit. Her studio furniture and reflections of her work were as, if not more, of a show stopper as her weavings.

I met a collector of string, a shepherd of slow forms.

My mission became the salvation of minnows

I stretched like a board, almost a tree.

Even thread had a speech.

–Theodore Roetheke, Unfold! Unfold! 1951

Thrifted Quilt Top = Two New Handmade Garments

Beginning the year with a few from Grandma’s Rose Garden. Wrapping up the hexie quilt top that I had purchased for $3.99 with a collared jacket is my last large project I made from this. Fitting in a vest and a jacket, I’m left with a few little scraps to squeeze into a little something else. Given the warmth’s fit and wearability, these two have quickly become a go to for me.

Going into planning my cuts from the quilt top, I knew I wanted to use the most from this and not have any massive remnants. I laid out the for the jacket first, then saw where I could make room for the vest. With this in mind I knew I would be very limited to where exactly these motifs would lie in my pieces. Yet oddly the roses lined up pretty well between both the motif placement and color ways. The jacket also ended up with an almost ombre transition from blue at the shoulders down to white/pink towards the bottom. I will rightfully give credit to the seamstress that hand pieced these motifs together, my priority was making the most out of the quilt itself.

Both interiors were quilted with 100% cotton batting. On the vest I made first, I used a single layer batting but felt it wasn’t lofty enough. Yet suitable for it being a vest itself. As a mid layer type of garment. Though when it generally comes to quilting, I like a full lofty look. So I added another layer from the cotton batting for the jacket I already had and added more warmth that I think is needed more as a jacket as well. The jacket and vest are layers that I already quickly reach for when I’m cold and are extremely comfortable to wear.

Bindings for both were made by me as well. The vest was from a white cotton I had on hand. The jacket I wanted a slightly different look so I found this thrifted golden cotton sateen at 3.99$ for 3-4 yards. The cotton sateen ended up finishing so wonderfully. It didn’t add much extra bulk to the seams what so ever. Getting reacquainted with my Simplicity Bias Tape Maker Machine has really prompted this want to bind every seam. I also really enjoy that this is such a great way to use up prints that would not fit into apparel sewing. I find that many prints though translate really nicely into a binding. It is completely an unnecessary tool but saves time when you are already making your dang binding too. I’m not one to be all about having the best tools or all the tools. Though sometimes there are those few tools that make you forget how you were struggling to fiddle it together before.

2020 Me Made Favorites

I had thought back to everything I made this past year, I must say I made a pretty well rounded selection. Many things I didn’t even get photos of. A few things were given away. From jackets, swimwear, jeans, button downs, bags and knitwear… I got a lot in this year. Many firsts. Hong Kong seams. Collared button downs. Making hundreds of masks.

Like anyone else, this was a year was nothing but obstacles and sharp corners with a few tears. And the one thing that I have always turned to has been apparel sewing when I haven’t felt myself. I mean yes its what I do day to day but when I get a new garment sewn up, its always been something that has made me feel a little better. The process, the experimenting and the learning. It all contributes to that feeling of finishing a garment. Apparel sewing has always been my go to when I have felt disenfranchised; whether emotionally, financially or even physically when I needed a break from other forms of making.

Of all the projects that I accomplished in 2020; my first swimsuits, collared jackets and boiler suit. I really do love all those makes too. But I think it was all my quilting projects I enjoyed making the most. I really honed in on my illegitimate fear of bindings. I have really always been intimidated by a mitered corner of all things. Seems so silly now. Especially since I have also always longed to attempt a garment of Hong Kong seams. Now I’m also reacquainted with my bias tape maker and can’t stop making printed bias tape and bindings. Aside from the finished project, actually quilting fabric is very soothing. Like handling a big squishy blanket through the process. Comforting.

Here is a wrap up of my favorite me mades from this very chaotic year.

My denim hand quilted jacket was maybe my happiest me made garment I finished this year. I had started this a year or two ago as a road trip project. I used all textiles I had already on hand when I cut this out. Denim was from my moms stash from when I was a kid, flannel lining and wool batting interior. I had initially planned on no hardware for an open closure. But being someone that is always cold, I’m glad I did. I also think the snaps helped finish this jacket.

Hand dyed shibori quilted dopp bag. I made this to test out making and sewing in bindings again. Ive been utilizing all of this 20 inch wide stark white duck cloth for shibori dying experimenting. Just one of a hand full of bags I had made with this fabric. All materials, batting remnants, leather and rivets were items I had on hand already.

I had found this hexie hand pieced quilt top in a thrift store for 3$. A complete score for the price and I had been on a hunt for an already pieced vintage quilt top for so long. Wanting to utilize each inch of this, I laid my entire plans for these projects before cutting. And unfortunately didn’t always get the patterning to line up just how I wanted but made that compromise to be able to make a few garments. So this vest with tie closures was my first make using all cotton batting on the interior with a light blue cotton backing from the stash. I quilted along the center and outer hexie motifs. Finished with visible bound seams. One of my very favorite makes from this year.

Hand dyed shibori quilted duffle bag. Another shibori dyed and quilted bag. I’m a bag lady! I love to make them. I also love using up my less favorable printed cottons this way or for pocket bags. They look good in this contex. When I wouldn’t really know how else to use them as a printed cotton than tucking them in a lining somewhere and brightening up a little corner. Every print can look great given the correct place?!

A lot of shibori & quilting this year! I did a little bit piecing too. I have yet to finish this one. But the natural duck cloth complimented the shibori really beautifully in this sawtooth. I can’t wait to expand on this one much further!

Onward to year filled with more making and learning. And probably more shibori and quilted bags. Cheers!

Favorite Knit Sock Pattern for DK/Light Worsted Weight Yarn

I’m always in search of adding more texture and color to my clothes. Upon finding the Auni Sock pattern by Nupu Nupu (Marie Kostamovaara), I instantly knew I would be knitting multiple versions on it. I love the edge bobbles that are perfect for peaking out of the tops of boots. Yet goes wonderfully as well even with a sneaker. Along with the added bit of texture with juxtaposing rows of 1X1 ribbing. I felt as though this is a very easy pattern to follow. Right now I’m on my third pair and had the pattern memorized by the second set. It was my first attempt at bobbles as well. I also really enjoy the fit of this. Its chunky, slightly slouchy yet does not ever feel like it slinks completely down to your ankles.

The Auni sock is available in DK or Fingering weight patterns. I used the DK pattern for these, using up my endless stash of worsted weight yarns with a 2.75 MM knitting needle. Im all about a reason to use up the yarns that I have. Finding this pattern touched every aspect of what I look for in what I achieve to knit for my wardrobe. Here is the pattern to knit a pair for yourself https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/auni-socks-dk

Quilted Shibori Dyed Knitting Bag

I recently have been diving into piecing and quilting. Really going down a rabbit hole about it. Its a bit relaxing in a different way than apparel sewing. Maybe its all the layers of material like a new blanket in your hands as you work.

Bag pieces cut and basted for quilting.

My latest quilted bag is this black shibori hand dyed canvas knitting bag. I love the shape and the dye turned out really well. Instead of using batting rems for this one, I unearthed a decent amount of felt yardage I got from somewhere. I really have no idea where. Since I also am not sure on how to use all of this either, I experimented with using the felt in place of batting. It has some challenges though not completely impossible. I was concerned with the density of the felt and that is exactly where I ran into a little bit of problem. As the layers added up with the side seams and binding got a little tougher. I switched to a microtex needle and that fixed it very quickly.

Interior lining & self made bias tape.

My prior quilted bags had stitching patterns planned out with just using my rotary ruler. I did a 45 degree angle at three inches separated to create a diamond pattern for the quilted stitches. I am not one to be a spectacular visionary artist with a pencil but I figured a simple daisy silhouette would be doable with my skillset. I drew one on cardstock then took it to my basted fabrics to outline with tailor’s chalk.

Daisy quilting stitch pattern chalked out.

For the inside I combined a few gingham remnant pieces with a printed binding I made from a random fat quarter. The fat quarter was made of vintage looking notion labels, so I thought it would be perfect for a little knitting bag interior. I actually ended up once again loving the inside of the quilted bag just as much as the exterior. And if I had any reversible zippers on hand for one of these, it sure would get some use.

Interior of the bag with self made bias tape.

So all in all. The felt worked out well! I can’t think of a more useful way of me working with felt than covering it up with cute prints and holding yarn with it.

Finished bag with future knitting projects.

Metallic Wrap Top Refashion

I bought this sparkly metallic shirt in hopes of turning it into a new puffy shouldered wrap top. Planning the fabric around the garment to make instead of vice versa always tapes into a little critical thinking, fussy cutting and quick improv. But it’s not impossible. I think this method strengthens staying on your toes and agility. Its mostly how I have been sewing now for years to work through all the fabrics that I already have in my stash.

Pictured above is the thrifted before shirt.

I planned a bit of my pieces out to see where I can get the most from the before shirt. Measure twice and cut once. Figuring out n my sleeves was the hardest part. I originally envisioned a full puffy shoulder but just simply did not have enough fabric to work that out. I compromised to add a ruffle to the shoulders. Which I think I ended up liking better. I haven’t sewn much with ruffles before and I haven’t stopped since. Changing my plan slightly, I kept the sleeves in tack as they were with the addition of a ruffle.

Scraps left from cutting out pieces to be sewn.

Making the most out of the top that I could, I made bias tape to finish the neckline. Adding extra length to the wrap ties as well. I always try to utilize the most from scraps as well. I kept these larger pieces with an idea in mind to try out. I also held onto the buttons from the front placket. My grandma always cut out zippers from old clothes. I thought as a kid how ridiculous she was for that. I have so many of her zips that look much like these buttons, still attached to a bit of the old garment waiting to be reused on the next one.

Hey!

A hand weaver and fibre spinner in the Midwest, hey! I’m Shannon. A self taught fibre and textile maker in a never ending pursuit of textile exploration. Having found sewing and fibre crafts as a kid, like many at the heel of my mom and grandma. Though still far from a perfect seamstress, I haven’t been able to walk away from it yet.

I’m in a handmade black long sleeve turtle neck & jeans (left.)

To the right I’m in a handmade blouse & jeans.

Since my early days of sewing alien dolls by hand, I’ve progressed to making my own clothes. Taking on a mission to bust my fabric and notion stash. I am working towards a closet of well worn, natural fibre and/or handmade clothes. Working with the materials I have, natural fibre and second hand whenever possible. As well as mending whenever needed to make them last beyond the season. Fabric stash to clothing rack.

As I’ve progressed through fibre and textiles, weaving has been where I have truly felt my place. I don’t just make a garment but the textile itself. I have even been able to make the thread and yarn I weave by spinning fibres. A balance of having control but embracing the mishaps, coincidences and imperfections. Weaving has allowed me to transform my mind about textiles and how to use the variables that create them. Along with spinning fibres to have more textured yarns to weave with. I also raise angora rabbits. Where I source all my angora fibre from as well as a ton of snuggles.

I have worked the last few years building up a modest handmade wardrobe so far. Though recently have been working hard tackling that fabric pile. Embracing color and texture in both sewing and weaving whenever the opportunity arises. I plan to share and experiment with handmade outfits. Sewing and fibre projects. Share photos of plants I’m growing. Definitely my cute angora rabbits and their beautiful wool they grow.

This is my convergence of land & loom.

Dudley an English Angora (left.) Mertle a French Angora (right.)