Sleeveless in Seattle

By the time you read this, I will be headed over the river (the Columbia) and through the woods of Oregon and western Washington, to have Thanksgiving with my family in the Seattle area. Over the long holiday weekend, we'll bundle up and walk around the town where I grew up, enjoying the holiday lights, sights, and sounds, and holiday shopping at our wonderful local fair trade store. There will be coffee, and knitting, and gossiping with my sisters-in-law and friends. Perhaps this year I'll take along my little rigid-heddle loom and weave a scarf or two for gifts.The family will gather in the evenings to play games and drink more coffee and "vi-ssit," as Grandma Osterhaug used to say. (Where there are Norwegians, there are coffee and butter cookies. It is a law of the universe.)

Handwoven, hand-dyed fair trade fabrics  

Handwoven, hand-dyed fabrics
from East Africa.

Handwoven fair trade fabric with traditional patterns  
Fabulous fair trade fabrics are on my
holiday shopping list.

It will be a happy, busy weekend, but this year I also have to make big plans: what to weave for the 2012 Handwoven garment challenge: "Look, Ma, No Sleeves!" There's no time to waste because I've seen the results of the 2011 garment challenge in the September/October issue, and I know how creative and resourceful you all are. I can only imagine what you'll come up with for next year.


  Handwoven mantas, ruanas, and shawls
  Ruanas, and mantas, and shawls, oh my!

Waistcoats are sleeveless, as are tabards and quechquemitls. Vests, long or short, fitted or draped, retro or rugged. Ruanas, and mantas, and shawls, oh my!  Slipovers, sleeveless banyans, and fiery boleros! The possibilities are endless, and I know the competition will be fierce.


Now, in the interests of full disclosure, I will not be eligible for any of the fabulous prizes with which our sponsors will likely tempt you. I'm just in it for the fun. But some of you clever, talented weavers will win prizes and a place of honor in next year's September/October issue of Handwoven. I hope you will put on your thinking caps right now and begin planning your entries for next year's garment challenge. Your Handwoven staff and celebrity judges will be looking for creativity, quality, and originality. The details will be posted soon at

So that's it, folks. It's unlikely that anyone will really be sleeveless in Seattle this November. But this year, while zoning out on tryptophan from the Thanksgiving turkey, I'll be in a sleeveless state of mind. I hope you will, too. And whether or not Thanksgiving is part of your tradition, may you, too, have much to be thankful for.


Weave happy,



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