Same but different

There’s no reason why you’d remember a post of mine from February 2019. Instead of sending you back there, I’ll just re-post one of the photos from that post. I had just finished this open-front cardigan. Dyed the tencel, wove it, sewed it.

handwoven coral & turquoise open front cardigan

Well, I still have that piece. I’ve had it at shows and it always attracts attention, but never sold. And I’m sort of glad, because it didn’t make me proud. I liked the dye job a lot, and was pleased with the weaving, so what’s the problem?

It’s that rolled hem on the front edge. Because the drape shows you both sides of that edge, you see both the right and wrong sides of the hem. It’s been cringe-worthy to me for almost an entire year. I’d purchased some bias tape at Joann Fabrics, but I knew if I used it I wouldn’t be happy with that, either. It would be far too stiff.

Then last month I got some private instruction from a seamstress about how I could fix it. She advised that I buy some dupioni silk and make my own bias tape. I did. Wish I’d taken some process photos of that.

I can’t tell you how much time I spent making that tape! I got the bias measured, but for the life of me couldn’t manage to fold the fabric correctly to make continuous strip bias. Eventually I cut the strips and individually pieced them.

I had one yard of 45″-wide silk. I wanted to make double-fold tape, so knew I needed to make each strip 2″ wide. Without using any strips shorter than about two feet, I was totally amazed at the amount of tape I got. Want to guess? No? I’ll just tell you – 20 yards! That was a lot of piecing and pressing!

Then I basted it by hand all the way around the edge of the open-front cardigan. I’d estimated that it was 4-5 yards, so was surprised when it turned out to be roughly 7 yards. (Still, I have roughly 13 yards of silk bias tape left for another project.) After that, I stitched it on my machine and then removed the basting.

black silk bias tape on open front cardigan

The bias taped edge is still a bit stiffer than the rolled hem, but I’m definitely happier with the piece than I was before. We’ll see if it sells this year.

Tangentially related, I did finally go to the doctor for the tendonitis in my thumb. “Yep,” she confirmed, “that’s what you’ve got.” What to do about it? She gave me a few options, none of which had guarantees of success. So I chose the least invasive option. Rest it, treat it well. I knew that both knitting and weaving could aggravate my thumb, and haven’t done either since finishing the Christmas weaving on December 18. (I’ll be able to show you soon.)

I didn’t think the rest had made much of an improvement and was disappointed. However after doing all that basting and then removing the basting, some of which had been machine stitched over, I realized that the rest had, in fact, been a good thing, because now my thumb reminded me of what it feels like when it aches.

So what does this mean going forward? I’m not sure. But I do know I’ll have to take it easy, easier than I’d thought. 🙁

Moving on…

I November I used similar colors as above – coral & turquoise – to dye some 20/2 silk for a few shawls. The colors are far less intense than the tencel, which is what I wanted. I threaded the loom for huck lace and used a salmon/coral 20/2 silk to weave the first piece. The silk is so light and airy, it’s easy to wear the piece in different ways.

handwoven fringed silk warp in coral & turquoise

handwoven silk wrap in coral & turquoise, worn as scarf

I planned to make a mobius wrap for the second piece, so didn’t make fringe for it. For weft, I used a pale brown very fine silk. I’d thought it was 60/2, but it turned out to be much finer than that – I needed to use 3 strands to make a decent weight. Didn’t put it on my McMorran balance to get a weight for it.

Anyway, after it came off the loom I did make it into a mobi, but sort of hated it. The fabric is wide, and that made the point in the back WAY too long. So I took it apart and the fabric sat there for a while as I waited for it to speak to me and tell me what to make with it. It never did. So I just hemmed it for an unfringed shawl.

handwoven silk wrap with taupe

With the lighter weft, this piece is even more airy than the fringed shawl. Light as a feather.

handwoven silk wrap, coral, turquoise and brown

After another good pressing, I’m planning to send this one to the Copper Shop Gallery on the Roycroft campus, along with a few other things, before the end of the month. They sold several of my pieces in December, and they’ll continue to have visitors throughout the season. I’m hoping Valentine’s Day will be a good time for me there.

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