Art + Coat = Fashion?

I think I may have crossed some dark and terrible line lately. I’m totally consumed with making yarn couching jackets. I have made 6 or 7 and I have LITERALLY 12 or more “blank” coats on a rack waiting for the right combination of inspiration and time. I do enjoy wearing them, but it is more only when off to do something arty. Like teach or lecture or go to a quilt show. There are definitely a lot of specific challenges that come with working on a three dimensional piece, not the least of which is that I have less than zero interest in learning to actually sew a garment. I just continue to depend on happenstance to put these treasures in my path. I just scored 5 cool coats at goodwill just this week as a matter of fact. It is kind of hard when they are only $7 each to say no.

Taken at the Allentown Alternative Gallery

I have become increasingly aware of just good opportunity too. My son found the Alternative Gallery in Allentown and made a date to take me to see it. He set this image up and I can’t get over how cool it is, with the snake quite literally flowing into the chain and shape of the chain mask on the face. I would like to get this actually printed….but where am I going to put it??

Yarn couching consumes my imagination these days, and doing more and more projects makes me a better artist with each one. As I encounter problems, I have to learn to solve them…which makes me a much better teacher. It is exciting to be one of the only, if not the only person taking yarn couching to such a level of realism. I have been working a long time on a class to be able to teach others what I have learned. Hopefully it will be done and available as a DVD and digital class by the end of February. I have had so many issues with the production company who filmed the class…(they are SO fired)…but it is finally in a shape Im willing to put my name on. “Yarn Couching: Free Motion to Fine Art” is going to be a content rich 4 hours that is for sure.

One of the hardest parts for me is when to say “stop”. I could go on and on. a Tsunami of information. 50 projects! Let me hand roll all your yarn for you too!! LOL. That is just me. So, as a compromise to myself, I’ve started filming 100% of my couching work. I plan to put each project, plus a pattern up on my website/teachable online teaching platform. That way if you like…say a Chameleon, three dragonflies and two orchids….you could buy the pattern and watch me sew them to your heart’s content for some small fee. Im excited about the class project … which Im busy putting on a wall hanging, a purse, a jacket…etc… I think it is a fun way to show how versatile any one image/pattern is. I like the idea of a live sewing, so that anyone interested in yarn couching can really see all the small decisions, revisions, color choices I am making as I go. This defiantly isn’t a paint by number kind of craft.

yarn couching jacket
Golden Meadowalk Jacket

One thing always does seem to lead to another. That is the way inspiration works I suppose. I completed a commission pink jacket with goldfinch but I couldn’t NOT have goldfinch for myself…so the green jacket quickly followed. And, just like I can’t have just a dvd/class I suppose a book may follow. Im considering working with an outside publisher for what could be my seventh book. I think that yarn couching could be really appealing to the wider world of sewing and a publisher may be the right venue to reach them. For the first time Im going to have to cool my jets though…there are SO MANY layers in a formal publishing situation that just don’t exist when it is just me!

Quilt show season is nearly here…and for the first time anywhere, you can find yarn couching at one! My first gig of the year is at Mid Atlantic quilt festival and they are sponsoring me to offer a small fashion show and talk! Which is pretty exciting. I will then be off to Canada and then to AQS Paducah this spring!

I hope everyone’s winter is warm and the quilting is inspiring.