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Archive for August, 2009

Vintage Textiles at . . . Goodwill???!!!

I think it’s natural when you’re a fiber artist to be a huge fan of textiles of all types . . . especially vintage textiles.  It seems no matter where I go, I natural migrate in the direction of textiles.  I find the details inspiring . . . and envision scenarios that went into the making of many items.

One of my favorite sources of vintage textiles is my local Goodwill.  It’s not too far from my home and I occasionally drop in to see what they may have in store . . . and more often than not, I find a treasure that readily follows me home.  The majority of the textiles cost $4-$6 and they are frequentlydirty and stained.  I suppose many people with these textiles don’t have the time or want to bother with the washing and pressing of these treasures.  One of my favorite finds was a brilliant white heavy damask tablecloth . . . the fabric was beautiful . . . and shortly after I got it home I noticed the “Waterford” label sewn into the hem on the underside.  Not bad for $5.99!

As soon as I get them home, I immediately start to work on restoring it to its original beauty.  I usually start off tackling spots and stains with mild solutions in order to avoid damaging the textile further.  Bleach is a last resort.  One product that I have found especially useful is “Folex”.  It’s advertised as an “instant carpet spot remover” and sold in many grocery stores.  Another weaver, Bonnie Tarses, got me turned on to this product nearly 10 years ago . . . and boy, does it work well!

Even if I can’t get all of the stains out or if the textile has a damaged area or two and the holes are not worth fixing, I can still use the textile in a future piece of wearable art as a panel or accent fabric.  No matter how badly the textile has been damaged or stained, I can always envision a use for it.

Here are some pictures of two of my recent finds . . . Yes, they appeared stained beyond rescue . . . but, I’m tenacious and I was able to breathe life back into these textiles . . . I only wish there was a way of letting the person that created these items that the craftsmanship is appreciated and the beauty is being shared with anyone that comes into my home.

Check out your local Goodwill or other thrift store . . . There may be a treasure just waiting to follow you home!

Keeping an Eye Out for Signs

The other day, I had the honor of being one of the judges for the Island County Fair that is held in Langley, WA.  Once again, I was treated to a day of delving deep into stunning handwoven items.  As part of my day, I came across some signs that brought smiles to my face.

First, just up the street from the fair grounds is Velveteen Dr.  I have a growing collection of ‘fiber’ signs and I had to pull off to the side of the road to get the photograph.  It was about 7:30 am and the air had the most heavenly fresh air smell.

Velveteen Dr

After I arrived at the Island County Fairgrounds, I parked near the Fiber Arts building, which is clearly marked on the side of the building.


Fiber Arts Bldg

I’ve been to the Island County Fairgrounds a couple of times in the past . . . however, there were new signs near the entrance.  At first glance they were expected . . . and then I noticed one of them stood out . . . “Beer and Wine”.  Every time I went in and out of the building that day, I cracked up . . . and I’m still smiling thinking of it.

Fiber arts . . . and beer and wine???!!!  Mama, I'm home!

Fiber arts . . . and beer and wine???!!! Mama, I'm home!

Thistle a Happy Tune!

I recently posted a lavender swivel pattern that was inspired by my recent trip to the annual Lavender Festival in Sequim, WA.  That pattern was the impetus to someone asking me if I could come up with a thistle swivel pattern.  It seemed like a reasonable request since I’m so passionate about anything Scottish . . . especially Celtic patterns . . . and thistles seem to go hand-in-hand.  So . . . here it is.

Thistle a happy tune in swivel on an eight-shaft point twill threading!

Thistle a happy tune in swivel on an eight-shaft point twill threading!

I think it looks like a thistle.  The draft above shows only the pattern picks, so you still need to add the complementary picks that follow each pattern pick.  However, the drafts looks rather unattractive with both the pattern and complementary picks.  Sometime next year, I would love to publish a collection of swivel treadlings for a handful of versatile threadings (e.g., 8-shaft point twill, 8-shaft straight draw twill, 16-shaft straight draw, etc.).  I think they’re a lot of fun to weave.  I just need to find the time.  <insert big sigh>  Too many ideas, too little time.

Weaving Haiku

This past Saturday evening, I had the honor and pleasure of delivering the keynote address for the Michigan League of Handweavers conference at Hope College in Holland, MI.  MLH was celebrating their 50th anniversary, which influenced me to title the presentation Celebrating 50:  Golden Moments in Warp and Weft.  Without going into details, I was able to share the intersections of general history with the signficiant and invaluable contributions to handweaving by Michigan weavers . . . and how my own story shows numerous ways that Michigan has touched my life . . . plus, participating in a 50-year celebration when one is 49 years old and about to turn 50 is a pretty great thing. 

While I was developing the keynote address, I repeatedly found affirmation of how weaving creeps into my life.  One way was using weaving as inspiration for an English composition assignment when I was a sophomore in high school well over thirty years ago.  The assignment was to write a poem about an ongoing challenge in our life.  I chose to use a haiku style  . . . this is where the first line has five syllables, the second line has seven syllables, and the third line also has five syllables.  Below is what I wrote . . . and it got me into a bit of trouble with my teacher who thought I had not taken the assignment seriously.  However, if you  are a weaver, you may identify with the ongoing challenge.

Happy 50th anniversary to MLH!  May you have many golden years ahead!

It was as true over 30 years ago as it is today!

It was as true over 30 years ago as it is today!

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