Weaving for the Fun of It

  Jessica Madsen's Diamond Vest
  Jessica Madsen's dapper Diamond Vest

"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great."—Tom Hanks as Jimmy Dugan in A League of Their Own


When I tell folks that I weave, I often get hit with a barage of questions. Some want to know about the process of making cloth, others want to know about the mechanics of the loom. Almost all of them, if they don't craft themselves, ask me the same question: “Isn’t it easier to just buy something rather than weave it?”

Well, yes, but really it’s a bit of an unfair question. Just because something is easier doesn’t make it somehow better. I weave so I can have textiles that suit my tastes perfectly. I weave because it gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment when I finish. I weave because every new project is a new challenge and a new adventure. The challenge is part of what makes it fun, and to quote Jerry Greenfield (the Jerry in Ben and Jerry's), “If it’s not fun, why do it?”

My love of a challenge is also the reason I’m learning how to sew more than just flat squares and rectangles. My favorite local fabric shop offers classes for sewers of all levels, and I’ve been slowly building my skills. I can read a pattern, install a hidden zipper, and I’m currently working on making buttonholes.

Now that I feel more comfortable with my sewing machine, I’m looking forward to making clothing from my own handwoven fabric. While working on the September/October 2012 issue I fell head over heels in love with the Diamond Vest by Jessica Madsen. This vest features both diversified plain weave and crackle. It is simple, elegant, and would look fabulous on my husband.

I still have a lot of room for improvement in my weaving (selvedges!) and sewing (patience!), but I do love a challenge, and so it’s my goal to have this vest woven and sewn by the time next year’s garment issue of Handwoven comes out.

Wouldn’t it be easier to just buy him a similar vest? Certainly, but it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.


Christina Garton


PS: Speaking of challenges, if you haven't entered our Handwoven Haiku Challenge there's still time. The grand prize is four beautiful skeins of yak and yak blend yarns from Bijou Basin Ranch. Find out more information on entering the contest here

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