sampling with layers of cloth and sashiko

I dyed my beginning woven samples in a ferrous indigo vat (photograph), so the color has a grey/blue cast.  I liked using the natural indigo, but decided to use fiber reactive dye for the project because of the crocking (color rubbing off)  that can occur with Indigo and I planned to use white thread for the stitching. Imagine the coat getting wet and blue color bleeding into the white, no, no!

For the coat,  I planned to use a layer of 3/16″ thickness natural cotton quilt batting behind the fabric and finally a layer of fine navy blue cotton lawn for the lining.  I serged the edges of the fabric samples to prevent fraying, assembled the four squares,  and hand-basted them together.   I had previously purchased a sampling package of sashiko style needles and packages of 40m white embroidery thread from Japan (

Backing up a bit, I had taken a free-form embroidery class (no hoop) a couple of years ago, and  thought it would be a great technique to apply embellishment to my handwoven projects.  It was a weekend class and I am quite the novice, but I never let that stop me from thinking I could do it on this project.  I bought “The Ultimate Sashiko sourcebook”, patterns, projects and inspirations by Susan Briscoe (on  It’s a wonderful how-to book, lots of photographs, detailed instructions, and lots of historical information as well. I like books with lots of photos!  Hmm, I also spend a lot of time on Pinterest and ($$ money) on

I read through the book, got more than a little overwhelmed (what am I doing?) and then decided, what the heck, time is wasting, thread the needle and give it a go!   I didn’t really know how best to transfer patterns onto the cloth, the book gave lots of instructions, but in the end I used a purple disappearing fabric marker and a ruler to draw out a few ideas.

First, I discovered that embroidery on a single layer of cloth is very than stitching through three layers.  The effect of going through three layers creates a ‘quilted’ appearance, and getting stitches even takes practice and a lot of patience.  I’m still working on both. But, I really enjoyed the process and even if it’s not perfect, it will be cool and it will be my creation and in the end that is all that really matters to me.    I love this learning process and I would never want to take a short cut to perfecting it (if I live long enough).

The photograph shows the initial samples I created.  I then tried sewing them all together to create a panel, like I originally planned to do for the coat project.   I learned that sewing together three fairly thick pieces of cloth to other pieces of fairly thick pieces of cloth creates a rather lumpy , uneven surface, which just would not work for me.

Oh, I probably haven’t mentioned that last Summer I took an eight week sewing (with handwoven fabric) class (required for the degree). That was my first encounter with a sewing machine, but that is another story.  Anyway, I absolutely was overwhelmed  for the eight weeks, but in the end I made a bag, a vest and a shirt with fabric all woven by me. I still have to finish up a few things on the vest and the shirt (hey it’s not Summer yet), but I learned lots, most of it I quickly forgot, but what I remember I’ve been putting to good use on this project.

I hope you’re enjoying reading about my adventures creating a grad show project.  Next entry I will fill you in about designing and creating the ‘muslin'(s) for the coat.


ACC Atlanta Craft Show 17-19 March 2017.

I’m excited and honored to have my work featured in the show program as part of the ‘school to market’ program. My work is the photo in the upper right of the page. An orange, brown and green cowl  created using a linen/rayon yarn.

Haywood Community College is invited to participate each year and as students we are given the opportunity to have our work juried and included for sale in the Haywood Studios Booth.  I will not be attending the show, but six of my cowl creations will be available for sale during the show.  If you’re in the area, please stop by the booth and check out my work and the work of my fellow students too.

inspiration, sketch, sampling

  1. The graduating students of Professional Crafts at Haywood Community College are fortunate to participate in a gallery show which is intended to introduce our work to the public.  This year’s opening reception is May 27th and the work remains on display for public viewing, till the end of September at the  Folk Art Center,  home to the Southern Highland Craft Guild.  The center is located at  milepost 382, on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

I have enjoyed seeing the shows of the last two graduating classes and been impressed by their accomplishments.  With that in mind, I have spent many hours contemplating the “thing(s)” I want to create for the upcoming grad show. Over the Christmas break, we were tasked to come up with a detailed grad show project plan to include, drawings, materials list, processes required and timeline. Mine ended up being about 12 pages!

I’ll back up a bit and explain how I came up with the project idea.  I’d been pretty confident for months that i was going to make a coat and it was inspired by the Japanese fisherman’s coats I found on Pinterest, and of course the Sashiko embroidery/quilting.  Thinking back now, I did not have a clue of the level of detail and time that would be involved, I just knew that the project sounded challenging enough and I would learn lots along the way. Well as is often said, the devil is in the details!

Nearing the end of the Fall semester, I had wound some extra 40/2 linen warp on my loom (more than I needed for the class assignment),  in anticipation of having opportunity to do some sampling for the coat fabric. I love working with linen and it seems to like me okay too!   I created a couple of sample weaving drafts on the computer with weave maker software.  Using a 10/2 natural cotton for the weft, I wove about a yard of cloth. Ultimately, I was happy with the consistency of the weave, and the pattern. Decision made,  I had settled on the fabric content and the pattern for the yardage.

I knew that I wanted the coat to be a deep indigo color, but I was concerned about getting consistent color across the large amount of yardage I would need using natural indigo.  I set up a Ferrous (iron) indigo vat and did a sample dye with the test yardage. The fabric sample dyed okay, but dyeing the eight plus yards of cloth I planned to weave, in a five gallon bucket would be unwieldy and a non-starter for me and my mental health. As was the thought of making a much larger vat in a 35 gallon trash can to accommodate the yardage, heck no!  Long story, made short, I decided for my sanity that I would use a much more reliable, fiber-reactive dye in an indigo color. Decision made, I had determined the dye color and chemical method.

So at this point I had done enough experimenting to  build my initial project plan, I just needed to sketch out some ideas for the coat. Merry Christmas!

To no ones surprise, the process continued beyond my initial sketches that I turned in with the initial project plan at the beginning of January!  I’ve included some photos of the inspiration and the sketch that finally felt right to me.   In my next post, I’ll share  some details of the initial quilting and sashiko sampling.  Thanks for reading and please feel free to write comments or questions.



creating cloth with purpose

Late last Fall I started thinking (seriously) about what I would like to create for the graduate show which would  represent the culmination of two years of my life in fiber.  Not one to ever take the easy pathway, I knew whatever I decided to do would need to both inspire and challenge me to greater achievement or it wasn’t worth doing.

I spend a lot of time on Pinterest, it’s been a great resource over the years, looking for inspiration: wedding ideas, craft projects, home remodeling, and recipes to name a few. A couple of years ago I took an embroidery class and while searching Pinterest for stichery ideas, I went down a rabbit hole and discovered a Japanese embroidery technique called “Sashiko”.  I was immediately intrigued and “pinned” much for future exploration.  I came across photos of historical Japanese textiles, farmer’s and fisherman’s coats.  In short, the garments were indigo dyed and constructed and repaired using Sashiko.

After much more research, sketching and rumination, I decided creating a garment inspired by the Japanese Fisherman’s coat would be my “thing” for the grad show.  I began the process of bringing my ideas to fruition in early January 2017, and have been taking lots of process photos along the way.  I will be sharing photos and blogging about the process over the next few months, I hope you will follow along and leave your comments, as well.


Artist Statement


Since my earliest memories, I have always felt most alive when I’m walking in the sand at water’s edge on a beach; observing the patterns made by the waves, and beach combing for shells of interesting shapes and colors. Similarly,  I feel one with nature, when walking down a path in the mountains, stopping to take in all the intricate designs and textures found in the landscape.  The concept of my work is most represented in classic, small repetitive patterns, woven using the natural materials, cotton, linen, wool and alpaca; in their original colors, or enhanced using natural dyes.  It is my desire as a maker to provide a product, which is classically inspired, thoughtfully designed, and expertly crafted for the buyer with discriminating taste.

First blog post


I decided to start this blog to give me a place to share  thoughts, inspirations, challenges and successes on my journey as a student,  textile artist and designer. I plan to include photos of my current projects, the processes I go through to create them, and what I learn along the way as things may or not go as planned!

Currently, I am in the second year of a professional crafts program specializing in Fiber.  So basically I’m a weaver of cloth.  I will be graduating in May 2017.  It has been an interesting, enlightening and challenging program.   I am sure I will greatly miss being in the classroom/studio, but I am excited about this next step in my post-retirement venture.

This photo was taken last weekend at one of my favorite local spots along the Broad river in Chimney Rock, NC.  It’s about 20 minutes from my home, and it’s a place I enjoy visiting often to soak up the beauty and energy I find there. As a point of reference, the movie “Dirty Dancing” was partially filmed just down the road at Lake Lure.

In the photo I am wearing one of my recent creations, the Mandana “Hug” cowl. The bandana was the inspiration for my original concept.   I designed it with the hope it would appeal to men, but of course it is not a gender specific design.  My intention as a designer is to produce products which will appeal to everyone, and not be labeled specifically to either gender, in color, or style.  This cowl is woven using silk and the natural colors of Alpaca.   The “Hug” is having its public debut this weekend at a local craft guild show, the Southern Highland Craft Guild show.   The school program is supported by the guild, so we have a booth and can sell to the public and get valuable feedback on our products.

Thank you for reading my first post, and I hope you will decide to follow me along on this journey!  I plan to post at least once a week.