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Archive for March, 2011

Florida – Weaving amidst the sunrises, beaches, and more

Every time I go to Florida, I’m reminded how different the United States can be in different parts of the country . . . Besides the tropical weather, palm trees, etc., the sun rises over the ocean!  Now that may not seem unusual to many . . . but, when you’ve grown up in the Pacific Northwest and the sun sets behind the ocean, the sunrise can be quite captivating.

I recently had the honor to teach at the Florida Tropical Weavers Guild conference in Orlando, FL.  What a joy!  For me, there are few things in life as good as teaching weaving . . . but, to do it in the company of such a great group with warm and sunny weather . . . while it’s gray, wet, and cold back home . . . is especially great!  I was having such a great time teaching that I forgot to take any pictures of my workshop There’s Two Sides to Every Cloth . . . but, I did get one of the sunrise on Lake Yale on the morning of the last day.  Trust me . . . the picture doesn’t do justice to what Mother Nature shared with us that morning.

While I was in Florida, I spent a few extra days in southern Florida to visit The Tassel Depot, one of the last remaining passementerie-related companies still in operation in the USA for a future article.  While there, I got to take in lunch at the beach . . . pretty fabulous . . . although, I’m sure my fair skin gave me away as someone definitely NOT from Florida.

Before heading back to the gray and wet Pacific Northwest, I had the fortunate opportunity to visit the Boca Raton Museum (http://bocamuseum.org/index.php?src) to see the exhibit CUT! Costume and the Cinema. The exhibit was wonderful.  I expected the garments to be displayed behind glass . . . but, there they were . . . out in the open and close enough to get a good, close look.  In addition to stunning costumes from recent period movies, the exhibit also provided displays of the design process and what would have been required UNDER the garment.  Fascinating, to say the least!  Below are a couple of images.  The exhibit is up until April 17th if you’re in the area.

A gown worn by Keira Knightley in The Duchess

Johnny Depp wore this as Captain Jack Sparrow

As an aside to my textile adventures in Florida, there was a sign that made me laugh . . . and it also made me wonder what the story was behind it.  I may never know, but it was entertaining enough to take a picture to share.  Why only Lexus?



Jewelry monographs are now available!

Recently, I was extremely fortunate to have the folks at Handwoven write a brief review of my monograph Jewelry from Your Yarn Stash.  This monograph was published in July 2010 . . . just in time for Convergence.  Last fall, I was asked by the folks with the Sewing & Stitchery Expo (aka SewExpo . . . the largest sewing-related conference in the country) if I would morph two classes together . . Jewelry from Your Yarn Stash and Jewelry from Your Fabric Stash.  After I thought about it for a few minutes, I realized it was a good idea and decided to morph the jewelry from yarn monograph published last year with the one on jewelry from fabric monograph that was in-progress.  This produced the new monograph Jewelry Making for Fiber Enthusiasts, which was published in early March 2011.  It costs a little more . . . but, it includes everything the previous monograph covers . . . plus, it adds techniques for using fabric.   Both are available . . . and so is my first monograph Handwoven Decorative Trim – An introduction to weaving passementerie trim.

  • Jewelry Making for Fiber Enthusiasts – $20 (this includes everything covered in Jewelry from Your Yarn Stash, but also include some techniques for using fabric)
  • Jewelry from Your Yarn Stash – $15
  • Handwoven Decorative Trim – $18.95

Postage in the United States is $2 for each one.  Postage to Canada is $4 for each one.  You can pay me via PayPal.  My id is robyn@spadystudios.com.  Or you can pay me via check by mailing it to the address below.

Spady Studios
P.O. Box 3178
Bremerton, WA  98310

Below are images of the monograph covers.



Idaho weavers – Another state gem!

I’m a native of the Pacific Northwest.  I was born in Portland, OR and lived there for nearly 29 years.  I have lived in the Seattle, WA area for over 22 years.  While living in Oregon and Washington, I’ve always considered Idaho completion of the Pacific Northwest trilogy.  As a result, I’ve learned some odd things about Idaho:

  • The term “Famous Potatoes” has appeared on their license plates since 1957
  • Idaho is the nation’s largest producer of potatoes . . . what I didn’t know is that they are also the largest producers of trout, Austrian winter peas, and lentils.
  • The Appaloosa horse is the official horse of Idaho state (Okay, I admit . . . I LOVE horses!)
  • It’s a larger state than many realize.  It’s the 14th largest state in the USA and larger than Washington state (by approximately 17%)
  • Idaho is The Gem State and produces over 70 types of precious and semi-precious stones
  • The deepest river gorge in the North American Continent is Idaho’s Hells Canyon.  At 7,900 feet deep, it’s deeper than the Grand Canyon!
  • It is against the law to be seen in public without a smile on your face in Pocatello, ID.  (I suppose they just grin and bear it!)
  • In Idaho, its against the law for anyone over the age of 88 to ride a motorcycle or ride a merry-go-round on Sundays
  • In Boise, Idaho’s state capital, it’s illegal to fish from a giraffe’s back

I recently had the honor to do my workshop, Extreme Warp Makeover, for the Handweavers Guild of Boise Valley.  It was the first time I’ve ever had everyone finish all of the treadling variations during the workshop.  A remarkable accomplishment.  It’s a lot of weaving and I was extremely impressed!  I also had the chance to spend some time with other recipients of HGA’s Certificate of Excellence (COE).  It was a lot of fun . . . and I stayed out of trouble since I didn’t ride a merry-go-round on Sunday . . . plus, I didn’t see any giraffes.  Idaho may be The Gem State, but the most precious gems of all in Idaho are its weavers!

Marveling at the warp

You might be surprised how often we dress to match our warps!

An informal gathering of COE recipients

SewExpo 2011- So exciting! So fun!

The 2011 Sewing & Stitchery Expo (aka “SewExpo) was held March 3-6, 2011 at the Puyallup Fairgrounds in Puyallup, WA . . . and what a blast!  This is the largest sewing-related conference in the USA . . . It’s a tradition here . . . and has become an iconic event over the years.  People come from all over the USA and even outside the USA to attend this event.

I’ve attended many times in the past.  I’ve always felt fortunate that SewExpo happens in my very own backyard.  However, this year was different . . . This year I was one of the teachers.  All of my classes were related to my latest monograph, Jewelry Making for Fiber Enthusiasts.  This is the sequel to my monograph Jewelry from Your Yarn Stash . . . but, this includes techniques for both yarn and fabric.

In order to teach at SewExpo, one has to be associated with a vendor booth.  I was fortunate to be able to work with my friend Cheri, who owns Ah! Kimono . . . a company that specializes in vintage Japanese fabrics.  You can learn more about them at http://www.ahkimono.com/.  Not only did this make it possible for me to teach at SewExpo, but I got to spend a lot of time surrounded by some really great people and a lot of stunning silk fabric!

I was so busy teaching and working in the booth, that I forgot to take pictures . . . and I hope many images will be available at http://www.sewexpo.com/in the very near future.  I did get a couple of pictures of the banquet hosted by the Greater Seattle Chapter of the American Sewing Guild (ASG).  Cecelia Podolak was the keynote speaker and was thoroughly enjoyable . . . and her husband, Peter, is a real charmer!  Cecelia shared with us her background and how pressing became such an important topic.   http://www.ceceliapodolak.com/.  It was a lot of fun . . . and I was so surprised how many people in attendance did not live in the area . . . many were from out-of-state . . . and some were even from outside the USA.  A really great gathering!

Ceclia Podolak addresses the ASG banquet

In addition to the official unveiling of my new monograph, I had a couple of pleasant surprises . . . First, was providing some audio-visual support for both Marcy Tilton and Katherine Tilton (Yes, two of the people that design patterns for Vogue).  I had my own projector with me, but the projector in one of the rooms started acting up.  There’s nothing like a bonding experience over AV equipment . . . and in hindsight it made for a more memorable SewExpo experience . . . and I was thrilled when they came by the Ah! Kimono booth on the morning of the last day to say”Thank you.”

Me with the infamous Tilton sisters

Another pleasant surprise was meeting Connie James.  She owns Fiber Goddess and has some of the most beautiful supplies for making cord http://fibergoddess.net/ . . . home of the Diva Cord Maker . . . and if you can make a cord, you’re on the fast track for making some really great jewelry.  This was a match made in Heaven (if you consider SewExpo Heaven).  It looks like this could be the beginning of a meaningful relationship.

I was sorry to see SewExpo come to an end . . . but, my feet were grateful.  I’m already looking forward to next year!

Holy Sheep!!! Albuquerque – Returning to the Scene

When I was invited to do a program and teach a workshop for the Las Arañas Weavers and Spinners Guild in Albuquerque, NM, I was thrilled!  I had such a marvelous time teaching at Convergence 2010 last summer that it was an exciting honor to return.  It was wonderful to see some sun and feel temperatures that were well above freezing.  It made me believe that spring really must be just around the corner.

Workshops can be so much fun!  Weaving and laughter seem to go hand-in-hand . . . especially when someone shows up wearing the following button . . .

The workshop was held at Village Wools . . . a wonderful and very large store with something for everyone and anyone interested in fiber.  Definitely worth a stop if you’re in the area!  The images below show a portion of the store.

One of the attractions at Village Wools are the walls in the restroom.  When someone tells you you have to visit the restroom, it may sound odd . . . but, you really must see the walls covered with everything sheep . . . postcards, greeting cards, newspaper clippings, and more.  It will easily bring a smile to one’s face even on a dark day.

I hated to see the workshop come to an end and leave Albuquerue . . . but, I’m looking forward to seeing many of the members of the Las Arañas Weavers and Spinners Guild at the Intermountain Weavers Conference in Durango, CO in July!

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