• Sue McDowell

Summer lovin'


I have always struggled to find clothes with pockets. I need pockets because I don't carry purses but I do carry pens and my cell phone and scraps of paper, or kleenex or...well, you know why you use pockets, right? I just never seem to have enough of them. So when I saw Maria Magdalena Ma's Cotton and Linen Spring Tunic I was smitten.


Ma's pattern called for a cotton/linen blend of yarn carried by GIST. I've heard a lot of angst from weavers about linen and how it can be somewhat "fussy" to weave. Despite knowing how light and cool linen tops were, I always thought of linen as constantly wrinkling and a pain for my busy work-a-day life. But linen (and other bast fiber yarns - bamboo, lyocell, etc.) is perceived as eco-friendly (or less environmentally damaging) than cotton (that uses a ton of water to produce and process). And I have been meditating on how to enjoy my new skill while also maintaining an environmentally-aware practice.


I realize that ordering a fiber that comes from Italy is not the ideal way to lower my carbon footprint, but it did align with two other goals - learning more about a fiber by weaving it and weaving fabric from which I can make things that I would, in a former life, have bought. So I ordered the pattern and the yarn, and started weaving with the personal promise that I'd find local linen next time. This past weekend I was able to wet finish the yardage and start sewing the smock. Less than a full day of sewing later, I grabbed my photographer and headed out into the yard for these photos. I will likely do a second piece, to continue to use up the fiber but emphasizing the wine color and making some adjustments to length and shape. What a thrill to take the trip from fiber to fabric!!


I realize that I'm only part-way there...the questions still far outweigh the experience. Can I find locally sourced linen? Do I really want to learn to spin and dye fiber I acquire so I can ensure that dyes are safe and fiber is well-sourced? And what, really, do I *need* to make rather than just *wanting* to do so? A recent post on Sarah Swett's blog (a fieldguide to needlework) keeps running through my head. I'm inspired by her honesty about the voices in her (and my) head. And I need to be more diligent in reminding myself that I don't want to make things faster to make money to acquire more stuff or to be part of the 'attention economy' incessantly watching youtube videos on how to do something "right" and, of course, how to buy that thing that will make it so. Instead, as she best states it,

"...it is immersion that I crave and adore,

passion that has proved to improve everything,

slowing down, opening up

and falling in love with the materials and work

that leads to the making of magical objects

that I'm thrilled and proud

to sell/share with other people."

Sarah Swett, 8/4/20 blogpost


Back to the loom!

-Nameste



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