Friday, May 10, 2013

It sure is GREEN

We have had some soaking rains lately to feed the parched Georgia earth and subsequently the tidal pine forest behind our condo is full of luscious greens. I have noticed over the years that I am inspired by the colors around me, usually without even realizing it.  So green it is...
I had accumulated several balls of handspun yarns in greens the past year in all kinds of fibers... blue greens with angelina sparkle, yellow greens in wool and bamboo,  greens and violets in wool and silk, some narrow strips of synthetic pashima shawls that I had gotten in Dubai and cut up, some wonderful dyed locks that Jazz Turtle had given me, etc., etc., etc.  I'm sure there is mohair and cotton and all sorts of other fibers in this luscious handspun.  SO... how to use it!

I set my loom up threaded to a simple 8 shaft crepe and interlocking twill from page 15 of Carol Strickler's A Weaver's Book of 8-Shaft Patterns.  The warp was a combination of some thin charcoal wool and some soft and yummy black alpaca/silk blend yarn I got from Webs.  I made a very long warp so that I could make a wide, long scarf/shawl in blues, teals and violet handspun for my brother who lives in Berlin, Germany to wrap up during the cold damp winters AND the remainder became the warp for my coat. 

detail of the handspun handwoven fabric for my brother's shawl from the same warp
Then I started to play... SAORI... I love it.  I followed some of the treadlings from Strickler's book, but also made up some of my own combinations.  I changed from one handspun bobbin to another randomly and wove to the end of the warp.  It was fun to experiment with different yarns and fibers and patterns.

When finished I fulled the fabric by washing it in the bathroom sink with Pantene shampoo and cream rinse.  It dried to a lovely soft fabric but I had lost about 5 inches in the width.  

The fabric and my ideas of how to create a coat from it percolated for a few weeks until I felt brave enough to cut into it I had an idea that I wanted to have a coat that featured large lapels that drape and that allow the fringes of the warp to cascade down the front.  I wanted an assymetrical closure at the top for when we are in New York State to visit the kids over Christmas.  (Its never really cold enough in Savannah to warrant a top neck closure.)  This was an excellent place to feature some of the handmade ceramic buttons I made at the Clay Spot.   I roughly decided on the shape and what colors, etc would be on the front... took a deep breath and cut... and then multistitch zigzagged each of the raw edges.
on display at our Fiber Guild of the Savannahs Show at Blick in Savannah
The coat came together beautifully but the sleeves were not wide enough and there wasn't enough for pockets.  The trusty knitting needles came out and I knit squares on the diagonal for gussets under the arms and sewed them in.   I also knit pockets to add to the size seams which a more like thumbless mittens I can slip my hands into to keep them warm when we are up North... and store keys, etc in them.   I had to add gussets at either side of the neck opening so that the coat fit nicely on my shoulders.  Then I crocheted around all the raw edges that showed.  And... voila... it was done! 

I'm quite pleased with the results.  I think it will serve me well and is a fine example of my spinning and weaving.  It will replace the black brushed wool Daryl coat I made several years ago.  No one realizes its handmade... which, I guess, is a good thing.  But THIS Wearing of the Green Coat shouts unique and created by hand  -- also a good thing
The back of my coat looking at the Fiber Guild of the Savannahs Show at Blick

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