Anna Hergert, Art & Design

Some Linen, Lots of Silk & a Touch of Indigo…

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…that sums up my July 1st weekend! I am feeling pretty satisfied when I look back at last weekend’s accomplishments.

The first seven images are of the silk and linen shirt for our future son-in-law. The wedding takes place in late August but those who know me are keenly aware that I do not like to leave things to the last minute. On my urging Colin wove the fabric during the winter months. I am sure he was beginning to wonder when I would tackle the actual sewing.

In all honesty, I was a little worried about cutting into the material. It drapes beautifully and with that I anticipated that it might be difficult to stabilize and sew… Colin had selected a fine natural linen and an even finer 80/2 Bombyx mori silk. Doubling the silk brought it close to the weight of the linen. The warp was prepared in a Fibonacci sequence with both, the linen and silk creating the subtle contrast. Weaving was executed with the silk alone, resulting in a rich fabric that feels soft and buttery.

Greg had chosen a sewing pattern when we met up last Christmas. I used Burda Young Fashion Pattern # 8461 as my base. I had to make several adjustments to the pattern at first and sewed up a practice shirt that fit perfectly when I delivered it to Toronto in May.

With the preliminary work in place it was time to make the first cut last Friday. The fabric frayed with little handling, so serging the edges was the proper solution to avoid later frustration. I also had to piece the front and the back. The material had shrunk 4 ” in width after it came off the loom, was washed and pressed. This concerned me at first, but once I simply placed the seams exactly in the center front and back of the shirt the Fibonacci sequences continued as mirror images, adding interest to the overall design.

I used French seams for setting in the sleeves to ensure durability and prolonged use. Saturday afternoon the final stitches were completed. I pressed the shirt and placed it on my make shift dress form for photography. This morning I sent the images to Greg and received an instant approval email.

A second email went to Nicole with images for the silk shawl I completed for her. This shawl has been in the making since last November. It is made from silk that was in Colin’s weaving stash. He had acquired several bags of yarn at an estate sale. One of the bags contained a partially finished pale pink silk knitted top which was not something that interested me. I decided to unravel the knitted pieces and use the silk in a shawl. My plan was to knit the shawl, then discharge the color resulting in a white wedding shawl. I had made some progress before Christmas, inspired by a Summer Mystery Shawlette pattern by Wendy D. Johnson, downloaded from Ravelry. I had knit the pattern with some handspun/hand-dyed Cashgora yarn during the fall and loved the way the pattern worked out. A shawlette is rather small and my goal was to create a larger version by multiplying the basic repeats. I started with about 1,200 stitches… I won’t pretend – the shawl became a bit of an Albatros and I had put it aside with travel and other studio work and actually decided not to finish it.

While in Toronto Nicole and I went dress shopping. With five minutes to spare before I left for the airport she found a wedding dress she loved. I was released from the commitment to sew her dress and expressed a little disappointment. Nicole quickly responded that it was fine as I was making her a shawl… Wow – so much for escaping the knitted shawl. The silk yarn turned out to be less than pleasant to work with and the expanded shawlette pattern had become quite repetitive. Upon my return home in early June I pulled out my project bag and resumed knitting. I had about 2/3 left to completion. Every night I spent time knitting and Sunday, July 1st at noon I cast off the last stitch!

Nicole’s wedding dress is a creamy off white and she was not interested in a white shawl. She has an affinity for blue. Her request for an indigo dyed shawl was not difficult to fulfill. I pre-soaked the shawl in water and Synthrapol to prepare it for the dye vat. It was a sweltering hot day and the dipping into the indigo went very well. A final rinse in vinegar water restored the Ph level to the silk and I was ready to block the shawl on my design wall. It was dry in less than an hour. The completed shawl measures 96″ wide and 50″ deep at the triangle. I think I might be borrowing this shawl in the future… It drapes beautifully and feels like a dream, if I may say so myself!

Reflecting on the long weekend brings feelings of deep satisfaction. I didn’t just work in the studio. We hosted a potluck with friends Saturday evening, yesterday attended a weavers guild meeting in Saskatoon and took down my exhibition that came to an end at 5 pm. I also finished the binding on a queen-sized anniversary quilt for friends. I cannot post images till later this summer. It’s a surprise…

This week I have time to prepare for my time at Emma Lake – time flies when you have fun! Hope your July has started with events that memories are made of!



This entry was published on July 3, 2012 at 9:55 am. It’s filed under Creativity Update and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

22 thoughts on “Some Linen, Lots of Silk & a Touch of Indigo…

  1. Dianne Firth on said:

    I have a chance to peek in on your blog every now and then. Always so interesting.I especially enjoyed this entry. You always do great works.


  2. Shelley Hamilton on said:

    Anna, what a spectacular pair of wedding gifts you and Colin have given your daughter and son- in law.. You certainly put heart and soul into these pieces. As others have said, I am in awe at what you accomplish!


  3. Anna both the shawl and the shirt are simply magnificent !!! All the love that went in to every stitch will mean so much to the bride and groom. I hope they will store them carefully for your grandchildren!


    • Hi Karen, first they will wear them at the wedding and neither of them are into storing things. I know the shawl and shirt will be worn regularly after the wedding on special occasions.


  4. Ditte on said:

    From one MOB AKA Mother of the Bride to another, Anna, a daughter’s marriage is indeed a very wonderful family event, and Nicole’s will be even more so with the exquisite shawl.
    What colour is your Winnipeg outfit?


    • Hello, fellow MOB… the dress with duster coat I found in Winnipeg is primarily black with intense color splashes. I fell in love with it right away and will be wearing it to other occasions for years to come!


  5. Linda Dirkson on said:

    The shirt and shawl are absolutely beautiful Anna. What a personal and loving touch you have both provided for Nicole’s wedding.


  6. Judy Morningstar on said:

    Wow!!! Your family will really appreciate the work that both of you have done to make their wedding very personal. I can assure you from experience that not sewing the wedding gown was likely a good decision! Although you put a lot more time into the shawl…. which is absolutely gorgeous now that it is dyed indigo. Now get sewing on your dress. I can also tell you from experience that you want to make it before the weekend before the wedding…..


    • Thanks, Judy! I am all set in terms of sewing. Colin bought a nice silk shirt and I found the perfect outfit when I was judging and teaching in Winnipeg back in April. I am breathing easier already – despite the intense heat here. Looking forward to some time at Emma Lake soon.


  7. ginger scott on said:

    You are amazing! The shirt and shawl are lovely works of art and the heart!


  8. Margaret Guest on said:

    Oh Anna, both the shirt and shawl are beautiful. You inspire me to be better every day.


  9. Donna on said:

    Beautiful work.


  10. Kathy Strawson on said:

    beautiful! A wonderful event is going to be made ever so much more personal through your’s and Colin’s contributions and love.


    • Thanks, Kathy! The wedding is a community building event – with Nicole’s background in Social Work and a focus on Social Development and Greg’s study of Theology everyone invited is contributing personally. Stay tuned – there will be pictures later in August!


  11. Gorgeous work, though I would have expected nothing less!!!!! you are so productive, always, how do yo do it?!?!?!?


    • Thank you, Alice!As you know – my motto is to do something creative each day. I have not done much toward my growing body of work but family comes first this year! Enjoy QBL – I will be with everyone in thought!


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