The weather has been unusually cold in the northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia for the last two weeks. We live in a 1905 farmhouse with a woodstove for our primary heat, and while we have done many things to help our house heat more efficiently in the winter months, when it gets down into the single digits we spend much of our time at home in the living room near our beloved Vermont Castings Vigilant. Idgy is demonstrating her preferred nap location.
Today, the temperature will finally get above freezing and the sun is shining again. I went to my closet and chose an orange corduroy dress to wear, and then I had a look at my vests. I pulled out a vest to go with my dress that I have never worn before - I inherited it from my mother-in-law, Beryl Smith Dunning, after she passed away last year.
Beryl's friend Marjorie Manilow made this yo-yo appliqued vest for Beryl as a gift many years ago. I got to meet Marjorie at my in-law's 50th wedding anniversary in 1990 and we began an occasional correspondence as we both like to make things with thread and cloth. Marjorie lives in Wales and is a wonderfully creative fiber artist. Over the years she has sent me photos of her Twelve Days of Christmas Hat Series and the quilted pieces she has made using scraps of woven Welsh Wool coats. I haven't heard from her in many years now but we are sending out an Annual Letter this year after a lapse of ten years so I am hoping to hear from some old friends soon, including Marjorie.
When I got to the coat closet on my way out the door to work, I grabbed my most recent thrift store acquisition - a beautiful, bright Harris Tweed women's coat that is a perfect match for the dress.
I started documenting the cloth in my coat collection a few years ago: photographing the tailoring details and the cloth itself and writing up weaving drafts for the color & weave twill patterns. The color selections are simply brilliant and the sequence of colored yarns along with the twill weave structure creates a stunning fabric. I have learned most of what I know about traditional tweed from examining the fabric of many, many coats and sport jackets, and this cloth continues to fascinate me.
Next week: studying Aran sweater design!
p.s. I cut my hair.