Welcome to Sew! Let’s Get Dressed, a weekly blog that encourages you to sew successfully.
Sewists and Weavers are both in love with wonderful fabrics and fibers. This became clear to me in 2004 when I first taught at the Creative Strands Conference. I was delighted to share my philosophy on mixed fabric creations, garment supports and surface design. To my delight, I connected with some new friends that would expand my horizons in teaching, designing and sewing.
One such connection was with The Mannings, a handweaving and knitting studio nestled in the farmland of Southern PA. Carol and Ron, the owners and Tom, the master weaver, invited me to come and teach some garment sewing classes. The goal was to encourage their weavers to stitch up garments with handwoven fabric. I taught at the Mannings annually from 2005 until they retired and closed the business a few years ago.
While I was teaching there, I began a collaboration with Tom Knisley, their weaving teacher. We wanted to work together as weaver and stitcher to create some handwoven jackets that were lovely and comfortably well fit. We were testing a pattern that was a pre-curser to the Tabula Rasa Jacket. The collaboration was supported in part by a Margaret M Conent grant from the Potomac Fiber Arts Guild.
It was a fun adventure. Tom and his daughter Sara wove 16 yards of 5/2 perle cotton toweling 20” wide. It was really special cloth and I set out to create 2 coats with it, one for Sara’s mother and one for me. Because they had varied the patterns and colors every couple of yards, there were wonderful texture and color changes to design with.
Fast forward to today and the rural handweaving center Sara has opened called Red Stone Glen. She offers a wide array of classes and supplies to tempt fiber artists plus a lovely old building and grounds that spark creativity energy in a restful setting. Of course, her dad Tom teaches there too.
They are sponsoring a Tabula Rasa Jacket class November 3-4 and this is a great opportunity to work with me in a truly unique setting. While it is a basic construction class, I will most certainly be bringing my handwoven jackets for inspection and we will discuss special techniques and tips for working with handwovens.
I am thrilled to have this opportunity and hope you will join me. If you need to fly, Red Stone Glen is convenient to the Harrisburg Airport and local housing is available. What a perfect spot for a creative fall retreat.
If you cannot make it, our Tips for Handwoven and Handcrafted Fabrics booklet is chock full of information on working with handwovens and offers creative cutting layouts for narrow yardage.
Have you made a TRJ with handwoven fabric? They have a special beauty. I can proudly state that my 10-year-old jacket from this collaboration still looks brand new. It is one of my favorite fall jackets.
Happy Sewing, RAE
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