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  • 24 May 2020 9:17 AM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    Time slipped away and I am writing the blog this Sunday afternoon remembering our previous Friday get-together.  I apologize if this picture was taken after you dropped out.  You know what to do! Send me a pic!

    We welcomed a new hand worker to our session, Sebette Hamil.  Sebette is actually a near neighbor of mine in Leicester!  The best part of our virtual handwork circle is that we get to meet and find out about more artists in our area.  We are lucky to live in WNC in Asheville and its surround.  Local Cloth takes in a radius of 100 miles as its fiber shed.  I found out yesterday attending the studio tour of Marcia Kummerlie that there are 500 fiber farmers in this watershed!!!  Plenty of folks to meet!

    In the process of everyone showing what they were working on, we touched on several topics, including

    • how to reinforce hand knitted socks with nylon.  Purls in town might carry it, but in searching the internet, I found a very informative article summarizing many aspects of how to and materials to use.  The internet is flooded with helpful advice! 
    • pros and cons of Noro Silk Garden yarns and where to find them (Judi it nuts about them)
    • Yummy Yarns up in Burnsville and the great yarn selection.  Susette's Hand Dyed Art (that's me) will have a pop-up shop there June 20, 2020 if the creek and the coronavirus doesn't rise!!

    Some of the folks hadn't heard the complete story of Nancy Gamon's project (see May 15, 2020 blog) and so Nancy explained more about the project she is hand stitching.  A year or two ago she and the poet Wendy McVicker were community artists-in-residence where the theme was Common Threads. Ms. McVicker is currently the poet laureate in Anthens, Ohio. Together, they focussed on  the following question with participants:  "What would you like to invite into your lives?" Those at the workshop wrote these short words/phrases down on cloth, used a colored piece of cloth as a backing/frame, and pinned them to a blank garment (mumu like dress).  Now, Nancy is painstakingly sewing each of these pieces to the garment.  We are all curious as to the final results and what words will populate this dress!  Here is an in-progress picture of the garment with the words.

    The rest of us hand workers are still working on things begun previously: a 1 piece knitted bolaro, sweater, and socks.  And this led us to consider our project bags. I mean the bags themselves!  Judi has one for every project and showed us one that a friend gave her. I would like to solicit everyone to send me a picture of one or more of their project bags or baskets!  I would like a montage of knit project bags/baskets/boxes.  Your favorites.  Why they are your favorites (susetteshanddyedart at Here is Katya's current project bag (!):

    Somehow we started discussing how to edit Zoom recordings, because who wants to listen to the extra hums and haws? This is especially relevant when recordings are to become a permanent record or to be shared publicly. Judi Jetson mentioned Camtasia (upfront software purchase, free trial period, easy to use--I concur since I used it for some training and to prepare for an article on methods with videos.).  Filmora, iMovie (on Mac) were also mentioned, but of course are not the only choices out there. 

    Judi Jetson has been shoring up on many aspects of leadership and skills to promote Local Cloth as well as the company that she still works at part-time by attending a class on social media marketing given by Sarah Benoir at JB Media.  JB Media is a local Asheville social media marketing firm.  Sarah Benoir's specialty is training crafters and artists on social media.  In addition, the JB Media (JB standing for Justin Bellamy) provides classes on how to teach on line. Great insights such as 1) don't speak for longer than 20 min at a time, and 2) have breakout Zoom groups for participants were included.  

    Another amazing thing Judi witnessed was "graphic facilitation".  The graphic artist attends a conference or meeting, converting everything (things, people, and concepts) into graphic art, with arrows and such to connect concepts.  This talented person would be something to behold in action!!!!  

    The weavers in our group found that the CONVERGENCE in Nashville is cancelled this year, rescheduled to 2022.  This led to a recollection of the fashion show part of that gathering. The most memorable was when Nick Cave presented a show showcasing his Soundsuits.  This was maybe sometime in the 1980's...  You have to see it to appreciate it!!!! We all watched together!  He is amazing, and apparently a very nice man.  The youngest of an unbelievable number of brothers who learned to sew to personalize his hand-me-down hand-me-downs.  

    I apologize for any mistakes, omissions of interesting tidbits etc! Email me with additions and pictures and corrections!

  • 16 May 2020 5:25 PM | Caroline Williford (Administrator)

    About May Artist-of-the-Month, Ann Hord-Heatherly, in her own words:

    I am a life-long lover of textiles.  I learned to sew on my grandmother’s treadle machine when I was about six years old.  She would stand by nervously, just sure I was going to sew through my finger.  (So far, thankfully, I haven’t.)  I sewed for myself, then later for my children.  When my children outgrew my sewing skills, I became interested in art quilting and appliqué.  About twenty years ago I discovered art dolls, and I have been hooked ever since.  I have had opportunities to learn from some highly accomplished doll artists... Akita Blount, Dede Triplett,  Lisa Lichtenfels, Charlie Patricolo,  Barbara Willis, Leslie Keeble, and Deborah Pope to name a few.  I belong to Go Figure, a figurative art guild, where we are always learning from each other.  

    My studio is in the basement of the farmhouse I share with my wife and a menagerie of animals including cats, dogs, goats, and chickens.  We live on what was her family farm in in the Jupiter township of North Buncombe County.  We spent most of our adult lives in Charlotte, but had dreams of moving to the mountains and renovating the old house. That turned out to be the creative endeavor of a lifetime, but we love being here and having the opportunity to bring the farm back to life.

    We introduced goats to the property in 2014, shortly after we moved here full time. That is when I became involved with Local Cloth.  I have always been interested in fiber and textiles, so raising my own animals and producing my own fiber was irresistible.  I learned quickly that farming is best accomplished with a community of supportive friends.  While I have learned a great deal from reading, that can’t take the place of an experienced friend when you need advice or help with medicating an uncooperative goat.  

    I admit to having more ideas than time and energy.  There are several dolls in various stages of completion in my studio. My loom is warped and the heddles are threaded, but I still need to sley the reed.  I have a sweater mostly knitted and pair of socks that only lack one toe.  I have eleven raw fleeces waiting to be skirted and washed, and the garden still needs to be readied for spring planting.  But the materials I ordered to try out block printing came this weekend, so there’s that.  I’ll need to live to be 130 to finish what I’ve started, but my favorite project is always the next one.  I’ve loved the variety of classes I’ve taken through Local Cloth and the people I’ve met along the way.  I feel fortunate to live in an area with such a rich heritage and vibrant creative community.

  • 16 May 2020 4:36 PM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    We experienced another easy going session and two new faces (Paula Entin and Nancy Gamon) plus regulars.  Paula is a quilter and has lived in Asheville for some time. Just before the pan-you-know-what, Paula had an art quilt show at the NC Arboretum.  We started to discuss various ways that one can make cords from yarn including using a double point needle and we recalled the mushroom things that we as children used to make a tubular knitted rope. 

    Nancy was working on a project sewing small pieces of cloth to a mumu type of garment.  The pieces of cloth had been created by various people, and here I get a little fuzzy and hope to ask Nancy to explain it again, but I believe workshop participants were expressing feelings using a word or two that they printed on the cloth.  This one garment will hold them all.  We thought back to the previous week to Judi Jetson's Virtual Studio tour where we saw her kimono that she made by printing reproductions of get well cards onto fabric and then sewing onto a background of red kimono fabric (see the previous blog!)

    Later in the session, after we had lost one or two to dinnertime obligations, we started talking about beads and we had some fun with show and tell, one of our favorite highlights during the meetings.  Leigh was able to pop out of the room and grab a beautiful beaded, knit kimono that she had made.  Here are some pictures! She did a wonderful impromptu modeling of the sweater.  

    Fun facts (for some maybe!!):

    • Paula and Susette went to the same high  school in Wayland, MA.
    • Nancy Gamon and Leigh Stewart just moved to the Asheville area

    We talked what folks are doing in the rest of their lives, how their textile projects are coming along, and more that I am sure I cannot remember.  See ya'll next week! 

    For those interested in the construction and more detailed pictures I include them below.

  • 09 May 2020 6:21 PM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    Judi Jetson of Weaverville led us (virtually) through her house to show of some of her pieces and then downstairs to her studio where she houses lots of fiber and tools with which to process and dye them.  

    Judi has taught at John C. Campbell Folk School  and of course at Local Cloth here in Asheville.  You can read more about her here.

    Fun fact: Her favorite spinning wheel is a Wee Peggy, but unfortunately it is no longer being manufactured. However, a Google search shows pictures of them and informs us that one can get them second hand.  Newer models based on it are being made as well.  

    Judi was kind enough to share some images of her work and to demonstrate some of her favorite tools.  

    This first piece is a memory coat.  Get well cards Judi received during an illness were scanned and transferred to fabric to remember all her friends and their sympathy.


    Like some of us, Judi designed and started a quilt years ago, then moved from place to place carrying it with her.  Finally, the quilt is complete!


    Here are some more of her pieces.




    Downstairs, Judi's color and idea inspiration wall is a collection of various tests and workshop pieces. These next two images are full of technique and color ideas.



    You might have guessed that Judi has a stash (ahem, a STASH)!



    Now for her favorite tools!  These relate to processing wool prior to spinning it (first two photos) and a handy spinner (to speed the efficiency of hand washing wool and yarn).  



    And a finished or nearly finished batting that she demonstrated during the tour.  Ta da!  You will have to quiz her later on felt balls, beehives, and specialty yarn.


  • 08 May 2020 6:53 PM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    We had a lovely visit together earlier today and a guest, Ellen Knoefel from Weaverville, told us about Project Linus and a little of its history.  We thank her for joining us!

    Originally, Project Linus was founded in 1985 to provide a pediatric hospital with security blankets for their young cancer patients.  Nearly 8 million blankets have been donated since then!    

    Project Linus of Western North Carolina is our local branch (12 counties currently participate) and it has its own history.   Project Linus WNC has provided 80,000 blankets made by 500 volunteer blanket makers. You can find the recipient organizations that hand out the blankets under history.

    There are multiple drop off areas for volunteers to bring their blankets for donation (in the Asheville area there are two, one in Weaverville and one at Joann's).  

    There is an extensive process that the volunteers carry out monthly in a work-together setting to process the blankets which includes labeling them and packaging in plastic bags.  The label that cites Project Linus contains a poem and also the maker's name!  

    Volunteers make blankets that are:

    1. new
    2. washable
    3. child friendly!

    And they can be:

    1. knitted
    2. crocheted
    3. sewn or made from fleece

    Once made, they are dropped off at specific collection locations which other volunteers collect from weekly.  Finally, they are delivered to the organization that have "ordered/requested" them to be given to the children.  

    The biggest requests are for medium (40" X 50" and up) and large (50" X 60" and up) sizes and fleece ones (single layer) are very popular.  

    Project Linus is an amazing organization that has grown out of need of the children for comfort and from the willingness and enjoyment volunteers receive for their participation.  

  • 07 May 2020 12:21 PM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    localclothinc posted and I re-posted on Instagram and Facebook!  Are you on either?  it is a great way to share with others some of your projects and to spread the word on the Local Cloth community.  

    Our Virtual Handwork Circle tomorrow will feature Ellen Knoefel at about 5 pm in the midst of our chatting and making get-together who will describe the Project Linus.  Since we are all makers, this is one way that provides an outlet for our creative outlets and provides value to children.

    Ellen Knoefel of Project Linus is going to share how 500+ blanket makers help children in need all over WNC. For more info check out their website: and sign up for Friday’s circle at #localclothinc #localcloth #localclothavl #localclothwnc #fiberart

  • 01 May 2020 3:20 PM | Mamie Fain

    4.24.2020 Friday 4-6 pm by Susette Shiver

    Today we talked about using this blog as a means of collecting and seeing (at higher resolution than the Zoom meeting) some of the items we are working on or items that we are interested in.  Just send them to me and I will include them; remember to describe them a bit for us.

    Now all you have to do is sign up when you receive the Local Cloth Announcement for the Virtual Handwork Circle (or go to  You will automatically get the Zoom meeting link just before the Zoom meetup.  However, if you forget or change your mind, just email me.  If you don’t know my email address, contact me via Members can invite one guest. For non-members, we ask $5.00 in this time of ‘how are we going to pay the rent?’.

    I as a matter of habit (collector of stuff) write down little tidbits that come up in our far-ranging conversations so that I can remember!  Good habit/bad habit.  Lots of pieces of paper sitting about.  Sometimes I even write a page in a notebook if I can find it. Well, some fabric dyers get a variety of tannins at in Canada.  Joyce Tromba was mentioned as one. I wish I could remember the person who actually brought it up! I hadn’t heard about this site! We continue to support Earth Guild in Asheville which still has order-on-line service for the basics.

    Most of us were knitting, but Susan was pulling out locks from fluff (gosh, I wish I could remember whether that was sheep wool and what kind).  She was describing how every few weeks her now deceased, massively long-haired, furry, angora bunny needed to be not matt up.  A very productive bunny!

    Denise experienced her first Zoom meeting and Leigh was joining us from Florida where she got stuck during the pandemic when she was meant to be moving to Asheville from Illinois.  Katya, Judi and I have been the “regulars”.  

    We talked about gardening and where to get plants.  Apparently, there is an hour plus wait at Painter’s Greenhouse in Old Fort to be able to get in and grab plants. We talked about iron dyeing and iron acetate + heat.  We talked about many things, but we ended up mentioning Ted Talks.  Susan had not heard about them. I found the Ted Talk given by Margaret Wertheim on mathematics and crocheting a 3D reef and we watched part of it leaving everyone with a cliffhanger! The crocheted reef shapes model “hyperbolic geometries” in 3D . Here is the link:  Margaret Wertheim She is a very interesting person, science writer and artist

    Now for the best part:  what participants at the Virtual Handwork Circle have been working on:

    By: Lynne Noble

    This shawl is made of mitered squares from yarn spun on Iona.

    The yellow shawl is made from yarn I dyed with saffron brought back from Morocco.

    This needlepoint design will be a pocket and, I’m working on my button making skills. Looking forward to seeing ya’ll next Friday!”

    Judi Jetson and her year-long shawl project that she picked up and finished!!!

    Katya Hoke

    “The knitting I'm doing during the meetings is pretty shapeless and doesn't lend itself to photographing, but here are a couple of pictures of the quilt blocks I'm also making.

    These blocks are based on Paula Nadelstern's principles of cutting out bits of different patterned fabrics to create new patterns in a quilt block.  Each of these 12" blocks has 60 pieces from at least six different fabrics in them.  With the stay at home situation I decided to dig through my fabric stash, so these are all fabrics I already had.  Some of them I've had for a very long time and it feels good to put them to use!”

  • 13 Apr 2020 1:35 PM | Caroline Williford (Administrator)

    Meet April Artist-of-the-Month:  Sandy Hartmannsgruber

    Sandy loves fiber arts: to weave, knit, spin and play with natural dyes. Her thirst for a fiber community is being quenched by Local Cloth. She studied German and Art at Earlham College, later getting her master's degree in teaching at Bank Street College of Education in New York City. She spent a year in the Andes of Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, learning with artisan families. Sandy moved to Asheville in 2018, after visiting her Grandma here for 24 years. Currently, Sandy has a rug on the loom, a shawl in progress, and two sweaters from the early 2000s waiting to be finished.  Sandy is currently serving on the Local Cloth Board of Directors as Treasurer. 

    Our Interview with Sandy:

    How did you connect with Local Cloth?

    I heard about the Asheville Refinery building during a class at Penland School of Craft. Jessica Green showed me a photo of the bird mural and I thought "I want to go there!" So, before I had even moved to Asheville, I visited and wandered into the Local Cloth studio and got hooked; I became a member that evening. I didn't know whether I'd be able to take or teach any classes, but it felt right so I listened to my gut.

    It's been incredibly nourishing to be part of the Local Cloth community, meet folks with similar passions, and experience being an active member of a fiber-focused non-profit. Thanks to Judi Jetson, who called because I checked off the "I'd like to volunteer" box on my membership application, we ended up starting a knitting group in the fall of 2018. The group made items for Helpmate, a local shelter for survivors of intimate-partner violence. Since then, it's been fun selling at winter Local Cloth maker markets, and now I've landed on the board; my first! And we are always looking for more folks to get involved -- you all have so many skills!

    Where is your studio located?  And how did you come to be in this location?

    I live in the East End neighborhood of Asheville NC. I moved here the summer of 2018 for two reasons: my grandmother is here, and my life had the flexibility for a big move.

    My studio is in the dining room of the duplex apartment I share with a housemate and two cats. I also keep boxes of wool and fleece upstairs in my bedroom. It's a constant Tetrus game of fitting my craft supplies in small rooms, with enough space left to fold out my loom for weaving, or have dinner, or play a string game with my kitten. I consider myself a collector; of yarn and fiber, of drawing and office supplies, of projects I plan to finish one day. When I travel, I always bring knitting and journal-writing materials with me, and somehow manage to acquire more along the way. When I returned from a 3-month Ecuador stay in 2018, I brought home with me a small bag of pottery shards and obsidian from the slopes of a volcano. I treasure broken bits special only to me. Thus, my home is a place filled with color and random artifacts. Despite constantly being on the lookout for how to clear space and winnow down my belongings, I like it that way!

    Tell me about a project you are currently making.

    My llama project has been limping along for the past three years. It's a labor of love and exchange. I love the folks I'm spinning and eventually weaving for, and in exchange for the shawl and blanket I will make with the fleece from their llamas, they traded me a sweet 26-inch Schacht 8-harness floor loom. The llamas they owned in Bloomington Indiana have gorgeous silver, dark brown, fawn, and reddish roving that I have been spinning into two-ply weft thread. Soon, I will weave the shawl using white wool and alpaca for the warp, and mix these with the hand-spun llama yarn in the weft in a twill pattern. I daydream about finding willing spinners to help me process the rest of the fleece into yarn -- are you out there? Would you like to help, in exchange for a meal or friendship, or something as of yet undetermined?

    How long have you been working in this medium? 

    Weaving has been part of my life since 2002, when I first stepped into the 4th floor studio at Earlham College and fell head over heels in love. My teacher and friend Nancy Taylor nourished and expanded my textile-affinity over the next 4 years, helping me to secure a Watson Fellowship based on ancient and modern Andean textiles for the year after graduation. I lived and worked with families in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. This year of learning and the relationships I formed accompany me to this day. Thanks to the internet, I continue to be in contact with beloved artisan friends in South America. 

    In 2004, I had the great honor of a 5-week apprenticeship with weaver, knitter, dyer, spinner extraordinaire Susanne Grosjean in Maine. I had no interest in natural dyes or spinning... She quickly changed that, saying "All of my apprentices learn to spin," and involving me in her madder dye process so I had no choice but to get absolutely obsessed with both. That summer I spun enough on Susanne's drop-spindle to knit my first sweater, which I was working on when Martha Stewart dropped by our craft booth at a fair near Bar Harbor! A year later, Susanne sold me my spinning wheel, a Louet I still treasure. 

    Who are some of the people who mentored/taught you along the way?

    There are so many women who have taught and mentored me along the way!! I've mentioned Nancy Taylor, my professor at Earlham, and Susanne Grosjean, weaver in Hogbay Maine. My host mother in Quito Ecuador, Susana Velasco, inspires me with her multiple talents: sculptural tapestries, shoes and boots, embroidery; to name a few. My hosts in Peru, Ruperta and Silvano Huatta Yucra taught me their knitting patterns (Silvano) and helped me weave on a stake loom the Taquile way (Ruperta).

    I'm eternally grateful to my family and friends, who ooh and ahh appreciatively when I show them a finished project, and often support me by buying a piece when I get my act together to post it for sale.

    What inspires you in your work?

    When I look around at my collection of wool, I choose colors that match a certain mood, or a texture that would make a great cowl, or yarn I want to use up, and then I come up with a project to use them. Looking through pattern books helps me imagine the possibilities. Then I usually make up my own pattern because I'd rather be flexible enough to make a "mistake" into a design feature rather than locked into a set of instructions. The desire for cozy and warm really inspires my work. Natural colors from indigo, madder, goldenrod, and cochineal inspire me: I want to spread these colors through the world because they bring me such joy. I love simplicity: knits, purls, and plain-weave. I love keeping my hands busy.

    Artists who inspire me today include Anni Albers, Ruth Asawa, Katharine Cobey, Adrienne Sloane, Gunta Stolzl, and Rowland Rickett

  • 21 Aug 2018 2:53 PM | Karen Donde

    I saw an image circulated on Facebook recently. It showed a receipt being printed from a credit card machine. It said something to the effect of…”Transaction Denied.  You have enough yarn.” Almost fell off my chair laughing.

    Looking around my cluttered studio at the boxes from Jaggerspun and Webs I recently unpacked, I realize I have broken my New Year’s resolution to weave throughout 2018 only using the yarn I already have. But things happen. Exhibitions come up. A collaborator for one exhibit says, “Let’s do a coat, in teal!” Sure, I exclaim! 

    Now, a gorgeous winter coat is going to require wool or alpaca, neither of which I keep in great supply, especially not in teal. (The fact that I am weaving the wool yardage now, in the dog days of August is a story for another blog post.) So despite how true the credit card warning above is, I ordered more yarn.

    However, I have resolved (re-resolved?) that the other three entries in this exhibit will be woven from yarn in my stash: cottons, Tencel, bamboo, silk, and the usual cast of characters. But first I have to figure out how much I will need of each and how much I have on hand, just in case I need a little more or a slightly different size or color.

    So for this blog, I thought I’d offer a short tutorial on figuring out whether you have enough yarn on a given cone (or skein) to complete a project.

    How Much Yarn Do I Need for Warp?

    Step 1: Figure how long each warp end needs to be by adding together the desired finished length of each piece on the warp, fringe or hem allowances for each piece, take-up and shrinkage (about 20% is average), and loom waste based on your loom and warping techniques. Divide by 36 to convert inches to yards.

    Step 2: Figure how many warp ends you will need by adding together desired finished width, an allowance for draw-in (which you will work to minimize) and shrinkage (say 10%). Multiply the resulting width at the reed by the sett (ends per inch) you will use based on yarn size and structure. Add floating selvages to this total if needed.

    Step 3: Find total yardage needed for warp by multiplying total warp ends by total length of each warp end.

    Step 4: If using multiple yarns or colors in warp, repeat step 3 for the number of warp ends for each yarn.

    See example below:

    How Much Yarn Do I Need for Weft?

    Step 1: Figure how many inches of weft will be needed to weave 1” of cloth by multiplying width at the reed by desired picks per inch (same as epi if balanced weave).

    Step 2: Figure how many inches of weft will be needed by multiplying result of step 1 by total woven inches in warp, which will be the finished length of all pieces, plus hems, plus take-up and shrinkage. (No weft will be needed for fringe.)

    Step 3: Divide what is usually a really big number by 36 to convert to yards.

    Step 4: If using multiple wefts, figure this for each yarn according to number of woven inches for each.

    Shortcut: You will usually need a little less yarn for weft than warp. So if you allow the same amount needed for warp for weft, you’ll have enough, with a little left over.

    Note that you may need to adjust your take-up and shrinkage percentages for different fibers, i.e.: up for wool or down for linen or silk. You can obtain more accurate estimates for yards needed by weaving samples in your chosen yarn, structure and parameters. Keeping careful records of measurements on-loom and after wet finishing for each project will prove valuable if you want to repeat it, or even weave something similar in that same yarn.

    How Much Yarn Do I Have?

    Step 1: Determine the yards per pound for your yarn(s). Find this info in descriptions from your yarn supplier, reference books, or Handwoven Magazine’s Master Yarn Chart, a free download from If you can’t find it there or don’t know exactly what the yarn is, look for something close in the Master Yarn Chart OR use a McMorran Yarn Balance*.

    Step 2: Divide yards per pound by 16 to find out yards per ounce.

    Step 3: Weigh your cone(s) or skein(s) of yarn, deducting the weight of the cone. (1 or 2 ounces depending on type and size of cone. I keep some empties of various kinds on hand to zero out the scale before weighing.)

    Step 4: Multiply total ounces (or pounds) by yards per ounce (or yards per pound) to determine total estimated yards for each yarn.

    It is always a good idea to err on the side of having a little more yarn than you need. The alternative is maddening if you run out of either warp or weft yarn close to the finish line. Ask me how I know.

    What To Do If You Do Not Have Enough?

    Well, if you are committed to not ordering more yarn, you have to get creative. That will be the subject of my next blog post.

    Want to hear all that again, in slow motion? Purchase a few hours (or package) of Shaft-Loom Weaving on my Resident Artist page and schedule some one-on-one time with me in the Local Cloth studio. 

    *McMorran Yarn Balance (right) has become a little hard to find, but is a great addition to any weaver’s toolbox. Instructions are included in package or easy to find online.

  • 13 Jul 2018 1:38 PM | Joan Berner

    For the last four years, I have participated in the Asheville Community Theater's fund raising fashion show.  Categories are chosen every year and your garment must be made in the media/theme.  The category that I chose and was accepted into this year was HARDWARE.  (yes you can laugh now).  I entered with my husband Keith to help with the metal fabrication and components.  

    Other year's projects/themes included:  nature - yards and yards of ecoprinted materials when I had never ecoprinted before, artist inspired - Monet - skirt out of yards and yards of of fishing line crocheted with colored beads to give the impression of color, and paper - taking patterned tissue pattern, cutting it up and then weaving the design into yardage.

    There are many similarities within this odd group of projects:

    1. I always hit a horrid snag in execution of each of these designs, something I was sure would work but doesn't.

    2.  I loose my vision and how to make it work within the category (I am often too narrow in thinking of my options).

    3. I panic in trying to figure out the path forward - a little crying and stepping back to take time to explore options.

    4.  And finally it comes to me and it works out.  I look at magazines, the internet, image galleries until something just sparks.  

    Despite all of the angst involved with this - I love this show.  I am so interested in how other designers see the category.  Personally it causes me to think in very different ways and pushes me to be both creative in the interpretation of the topic and to deliver solutions for working with materials I have never worked with before.  The technical challenges in working with materials that I have never used are often built from what I do know and adapt to these unusual starting materials.  It is amazing how much it has opened my mind to alternative solutions with uncommon tools, equipment and techniques.

    This year's project was to be made from items to be purchased in a hardware store.  It starts like any other project - surveying the store to see what is available.  You begin to think what pattern will I use, how will the materials be fastened together, will it be too thick, too heavy, how will I "sew" them together.  We used duct tape , rivets, eyelets, wire jump rings, wire, sheet metal and washers and parts from strainers.  

    Photo by Grace Puffer, Model Sarah Johns

    Sarah really sold the garment on the runway and did a terrific job.  It won first place in the category and is hanging  in the Bellagio Every Day window in downtown Asheville until the 21st.


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