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Y-shaped vest

The fabric for this vest is quite thick and heavy. The weft is 3-4 strands of wool wound together on a bobbin and I used lots of colour blending.

The warp was 10 thin threads of wool per dent and heddle (yes all put together to be like one thicker thread) and then 2 individual thin grey threads in the next two dents and heddles (more or less) so there are ridges in the warp.

I had this fabric for a while before I decided on it’s final form. I put two panels together sewn at the back and left the front open. Then I sewed the sides, but not at the edges as in the Y vest in the Beginners book. With these seams it makes the vest more form fitting, but loose at the same time if that makes sense.

 

Cozy and warm for a cool day.

SAORI Weaving and Clothing Design
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Triangle Blouse Variation

When I first looked at this cloth, I thought I would make it into a simple top or vest with the white bands down the front. I cut the cloth in half and pinned it, and didn’t like it after all. Now what?

I browsed through the pattern books to get a new idea and saw the Triangle Blouse and so just turned the pieces on an angle – and I liked it so much better. So, I made the triangle blouse (SAORI Beginners Clothing design book – pattern 4).

SAORI Weaving and Clothing Design

My cloth was not the dimensions given in the book, but I just worked around that. The front is a little longer, the back a little shorter, but in truth it can be worn either way. Easy to make – just 4 seams – shoulders and sides, but a whole different look with the cloth at an angle.

SAORI Weaving and Clothing Design

I had a bit of cloth still from this warp and I made it into a simple vest with straps.

SAORI Weaving and Clothing Design

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Placemat Vest Variation

I want to share some of the things I’ve made based on some patterns in the SAORI books. I say “based on” as nothing I make follows the pattern exactly. Each cloth, each person and so each piece of clothing is different.

My variation here is using 1 1/2 widths of the cloth I had on hand. I did this so that it would fit without being a short crop top. I put the extra half on the top on the front of the vest and the half width on the bottom at the back (scroll through photos to see). On the neckline, instead of a straight boat neck, I cut the fabric in half again and overlapped it a bit to make a simple open v-neck.

I have no specific measurements for this. It is based on the cloth on hand and on the person.

Easy to make. Colourful. Fun to wear.

I remember being in Hawaii with Kenzo-san as the Beginners book was being considered and his thought of how to encourage people to make their cloth into clothing. And to make it simple. He said “pick your placemats up off the table and sew them together at the shoulders and sides – a Placemat Vest!” So this became the first “pattern” in the book.

Based on SAORI Beginner’s Clothing Design book, pattern 1 with variation

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Artist-in-Residence (March 2018)

I had been to Terri’s SAORI studio in the woods on three separate occasions before this trip and I thought this would just be a longer version of those experiences. I didn’t realize that this Artist In Residency was going to be different in so many ways. It turned out to be not only the creative experience I was craving, but also an emotional and spiritual experience as well.

Studio in the woods

I promised myself that I would not have any goals or pre-meditated outcomes and that I would just “go with the flow”. I was committed to just living in the moment, and allowing myself to weave what was inspiring me, which ended up being about weaving the landscape of the island.

Artist in Residence, Salt Spring weaving

Terri and I usually met in the studio in the mornings – and I would ask for guidance with different techniques I was interested in learning as well as feeling more comfortable with Kenzo’s table top warping technique.

Judy Sysak, Kenzo's warping method

Terri is so wonderful at just allowing things to bubble to the surface and she was there to help with whatever I asked. I ended up weaving the landscape of the island, working in colours that I generally am not drawn to in shades of the sky/trees/rocky beaches; greens/blues/steel greys and brown hues.

Salt Spring Landscape

I napped and walked in the afternoon, or I went to town and strolled through the shops and art galleries. In the evenings I wove on a loom Terri had put in my room – that had a a white warp with large gaps in the threading. Some evenings, I would pad over to the studio and weave or I would flip through her pattern books until I was ready for bed. I found myself re-reading the Self Innovation Through Free Weaving (The Purple Book) and specifically the parts about Misao Jo’s journey into SAORI weaving and how she intuitively just let her weaving unfold. It reminded me that SAORI is about weaving to find our true selves and we end up with a unique and personal piece of weaving as a bonus at the end. With the passing of Misao Jo in January – these words felt even more poignant and profound.

Like many women I know, I have struggled with perfectionism and the need to be “striving”. If I’m not working towards a goal, then what is the point? These thoughts still end up being front and centre when I am starting my weaving. I think “what is this going to be?”, “will I ever even wear this colour?”, “what if it’s ugly and I’ve wasted all those materials?”. These thoughts can paralyze my creative spirit. This week was all about accepting that I didn’t need to have any answers to those questions – and that I could just let go and weave what I was feeling without worrying about the end product. This proved to be surprisingly uncomfortable at times, but in the end I was able to find a flow and joy in my weaving and I ended up loving, and feeling connected to the finished cloth.

SAORI Weaving

Another gift of the week was Lynn Jones coming to spend the day with us on Monday. She has been SAORI weaving for almost a decade and she loves the process of sewing her woven pieces into clothing, and helping others “see” their cloth in the light of “what does it want to be”? She brought a suitcase stuffed full of her SAORI woven clothing pieces and I excitedly tried on each one, loving each one even more than the one before. It was so inspirational! We spent the afternoon draping samples of woven cloth I had brought with me in ways I had never thought of or envisioned. Terri & Lynn together are a force! All of a sudden, I just wanted to sew, and for anyone who knows me, I never thought I would ever say those words! I made a short top and two vests while I was there and I love them all. I even wore one to a meeting in downtown Calgary last week which was a huge leap for me! I have a new confidence as well as an exciting and fresh perspective regarding my woven cloth.

copper patina

We closed up my week with a SAORI Kai at Poppet Creative, Terri’s satellite studio in Victoria. I was able to meet all the lovely SAORI weavers that make up this community, and it was such a treat to not only share my work, but to see what other people have been weaving and making with their cloth as well. I loved being a part of such a welcoming group, even if it was just for the day.

clothing design at Poppet Creative, Victoria

In closing, the Artist in Residence experience was about a lot of things. It was about embracing alone time, sipping almond milk chai lattes on the beach,

Fernwood Dock, Salt Spring Island

discovering coconut milk yogurt (so yummy!) and having long uninterrupted naps without laundry, grocery lists or voicemails that needed to be returned. But it also opened up my creative spirit to the question “what if”?. What if I added locks? What if I left a big space on this row? What if I added a completely different colour than I’m currently using? What if I let the edges go loose and create loops?

Lorries Locks

Going into the AIR, I still had so much fear of making a mistake. Then something shifted and I came away with the realization that so many possibilities open up when I just allow myself to ask “what if”? And not just in weaving!

A sincere thank you to Terri, who opens up her studio and her heart to make these retreats possible. I feel so grateful that she and her SAORI teachings have made their way into my life and my heart.

Judy Sysak
Artist in Residence, SAORI Salt Spring
March 3-11, 2018

Fulford Harbour

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Exploring 3D SAORI weaving

Well, it has been a while since I’ve written. Many things have been happening over this summer and there are pictures on my Facebook page and also on Instagram if you haven’t been following along.

We recently finished 10 full and fantastic days with Loom Dancer Weaving Odysseys (watch the great video at this link for a view of the trip) here on Salt Spring Island…

Loom Dancer 2016

A great group of enthusiastic women. I always come away from these events with ideas popping! So, after getting much of my studio set up again it was time to try one of them out. I chose bobbins that were left from the retreat – so there is a feeling of that gathering in this piece.

At the retreat, some people were exploring the cool cross and weaving a circle, and I had an idea to try a loop weaving and so I started my exploration into this 3D method that I was imagining…

loop-top 3D weaving

Front…

loop-top 3D weaving

Back…

loop-top 3D weaving

Looks kind of crazy, but it worked as I had hoped and imagined it would. Two panels of weaving joined with loops.

loop-top 3D weaving

It has become a no-sew top! Some of the loops go over the shoulder as straps and others are the sides. The weaving itself is the front and the back of the top. So fun!

loop-top 3D weaving

loop-top 3D weaving

loop-top 3D weaving

Always something new to try when there is so much inspiration.

Happy Weaving,
Terri

My website: www.saorisaltspring.com

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SAORI Clothing Design – A vest conversion

Two years ago I made a long, simple vest out of some fabric that I had woven. The vest was 3 strips of fabric sewn together with spaces left for the armholes and slits left in the bottom section. It could be worn two ways and I wrote about it here.

Here it is flat:

construct

And here was the finished piece:

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I liked it a lot … BUT I didn’t wear it.

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One day a couple of weeks ago, I had an idea. Inspired by Lynn’s Squid family, it occurred to me that the fabric could easily be made into a squid tunic / dress. All I had to do was sew up the seams completely, where I had left them open. Fold it, with one corner at the top – sew it up and cut a couple of new armholes.

And, ta da, it became a squid 🙂 that can be worn either way – the cowl at the front and it looks like a dress…

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The cowl at the back, which becomes a collar and then it looks more like a tunic…

Details…

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AND now I’ve been wearing it a LOT!

It’s good to listen to the cloth…

Happy Weaving,
Terri

My website: www.saorisaltspring.com

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PS…I’m posting much more often on my Facebook page and Instagram account, so you can keep up with happenings there. Or you can join my mailing list here.