Random thoughts of a fiber enthusiast - mostly fiber related, sometimes coherent

Month: July 2005


I had forgotten how much I enjoy sewing until this past weekend, and now my juices are flowing again. Why? I took a kimono workshop from Linda Cannefax. She talked us through some history of the kimonos, how to wear them, the different parts of the kimono and variations on these parts, and how to create a kimono pattern that fits. Wow.

Since Linda is a weaver, and this is a weaving guild sponsored workshop, she spent quite a bit of the time discussing how to use your handwoven for creating kimonos. Kitty and Cyrena showed off their handwoven kimonos that they made. I am in awe.

Kitty wore the kimono vest (kimono sans sleeves) that she wove out of hand spun and natural dyed silk weft (commercial warp). It was gorgeous. Subtle shading from gold to red-orange. The entire vest coat was then hand stitched. Wow.

Cyrena had a full length kimono that was made from monoprint on rice paper (that she printed herself), then cut into strips before it was woven. Cyrena even threaded beads into her warp so that the beads were woven into the fabric, instead of sewn in after the fact. The woven fabric was then made into this beautiful kimono, lined with silk organza. Again, the piece was hand stitched. Sewing machines never came into contact with these kimonos. Double and triple wow.

I won’t bother to show you the kimono that I made over the weekend. It was classwork, made out of muslin. I figured out what sleeve style won’t work for me. At least not in muslin. The drape is all wrong. I might take a snap or two of the ones I will make out of the fabric I bought at Thai Silk though.

There was a prevailing sentiment that after all the work into creating the fabric, they don’t want any machine stitching to show, hence the emphasis on hand stitching. The 2 examples above were the extreme, but I completely understand it. It’s the creative journey that counts here.

Me? Since I’m not a weaver (still fighting it, kicking and screaming), I don’t have as much invested in the fabric, so I’ll be using my Bernina to piece, thank you very much. I will be doing all the hemming and tacking down the lining by hand.

Sorry, I’m not much of a picture taker during class. I’m too busy taking notes or drooling over the finished pieces to bother with the camera.

London and Santa Monica

I woke up to news about the London bombings and had a sense of deja vu. News of these horrible events shouldn’t be so routine.

Yesterday, our family took an outing to Santa Monica for dimsum and a movie. Well, Iris and Mark went to the Aero theatre to see Oliver while I checked out the stores. I noticed something different about Montana avenue. I didn’t realize what was different until I got home. The westside (of LA) has a huge british expat population and I didn’t hear any english accents on the street.

I hung out at L’Atelier on 12th and Montana for a while and knitted. The owner, Leslie, was very nice to knitter’s both seasoned and new. In fact, Leslie let a new knitter take home a pair of needles and a ball of yarn (Stacy Charles, no less!) to get started and then didn’t make her pay for the stuff until she came back the next day for additional knitting lessons! Sadly, there were alot of people hanging out at L’Atelier but not enough people buying. So, if anyone actually reads this blog, go out there and change this!

I bought 5 balls of yarn, 4 of which will become a Mobius shoulder wrap. I will use the remaining ball to trim a plummy wool sweater, part of my haul from the Yarn Lady bag sale.

Wash Day

Wash Day

I’ve been spinning, but never seem to find the time nor the energy to set the twist of the finished skeins. As you can see, they’ve sort of reproduced. I didn’t realize that I had so many skeins spun up. I have no idea what I will be doing with them, except several skeins are designated sock yarn.

There’s a lovely blend of mohair/silk/wool dubbed Silk Barefoot from Paradise Fibers that I spun up as a 2 ply sock weight yarn. It was an absolute joy to spin. I can’t wait to see how it will knit up and wear. I’ve toyed with the idea of handpaint the skeins before I knit it up, but I think I will leave them white. (There’s a skein of lace weight chinchilla/silk/wool blend in there from Kate too. Luscious doesn’t begin to describe it.)

Then there is the beautiful wool/silk handpaint that I navajo plied into a sock weight yarn. I’ve been told that wool/silk blend is the ultimate sock yarn. We’ll see.

I was stuck in a non-spinning mode for a while. Why? I picked up a whole stack of Spin-Off back issues (ranging from late 80s through early 2000s). As I flipped through these back issues, many of them talked about how you shouldn’t spin without a final product in mind. Well, that did it. I nearly never have an idea of the final product before I start the spinning process. I spin because I enjoy it. And nearly 99% of the time, the project I had in mind when I started to spin the yarn is never the finished yarn wants to be.

Oh well. I got over it. I realized that I would never spin because I can’t plan that far in advance. After all, I don’t even clue of the final project when I buy yarn, why should I have an idea before I spin? So I’m back to spinning for the sheer enjoyment of the process. Finished product be damned. One of these days, I’ll figure out what to do with all that yarn.

What about you?

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