DianeHamillFiberArt

An Adventure in Design

I love, love, love cashmere! It is absolutely the softest, lightest weight and warmest fiber. What could be better than to curl up under a cashmere throw with a good book?

When you consider where cashmere comes from, and then think of the final product, it is wonderful to see the transformation.  Who would think the hair from this guy would be transformed into your favorite sweater?

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Even the finest of cashmere sweaters may not last a lifetime.  Accidents happen….we spill something, moths find their way into our closets, the sweater gets thrown into the laundry and is felted beyond wearing.  I just love it when this happens because you cannot bear to throw your once beautiful cashmere sweater into the trash, so you donate it to the Goodwill or the Salvation Army store.  Finding your unusable sweater is like finding treasure to me!  I can transform it to something beautiful and useful again!

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This 100% cashmere throw was once about nine cashmere sweaters.  They have been machine washed and dried, cut apart, arranged and sewn back together.  Even some of the structural details, like a neckline, have been retained.

 

Great care has been taken to keep the wonderful soft hand of the sweater, so snuggling up under this throw is  especially comfortable.

It’s fun and very satisfying to make art from something that might otherwise be thrown away.  This cashmere throw and other designs in cashmere and wool are available on my Etsy site at: https://www.etsy.com/shop/DianeHamillFiberArt

Thanks for reading my story!!

 

While it’s been to terribly cold in most of the country, I’ve been having a little adventure in the Bahamas!  I wish I was literally in the Bahamas, but since that’s not possible, this will have to do.

I visited the Daughters of the American Revolution chapter in the Bahamas a year ago.  As the DAR National Chair of the Units Overseas Committee, I assist our chapters located outside of the United States.  There are twenty chapters in eleven countries and the U.S. Territory of Guam.  Through this chairmanship, I’ve had the privilege to meet Daughters all over the world!  While visiting their chapter, the members of the Bahamas Chapter gifted me with a copy of the book, “Wind from the Carolinas” by Robert Wilder. This book is a sprawling epic, telling a family history that stretches from the Revolutionary War to WW I and from Charleston South Carolina to the Bahamas and back. Although it’s not a true story, it is true that British subjects did move to the Bahamas in the failed hope that they could recreate the plantation lifestyle. The book is full of detailed descriptions of island life.  The visit and the book put me in the mood to weave something reminiscent of the beautiful colors of the islands.

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I already had this beautiful hand-dyed rayon yarn to use in the warp.  I paired it with a soft pink cotton.  I completed the shawl with six-inch,  hand twisted fringe.  The colors are subtle, like a soft island breeze!

 

Creating this shawl was so much fun!  It’s just right for a cool, Spring evening and while we may think that’s a long way off, it will be here before we know it!  This piece is destined for sale on my Etsy site. https://www.etsy.com/shop/DianeHamillFiberArt  Please visit and enjoy this and my other fiber art creations.

Thanks Bahamas Chapter and author Robert Wilder for a Little Adventure in the Bahamas!

 

I don’t know about you, but I don’t do as well when it’s cold and gray outside.  I’m much happier when there is sunshine and the house is full of natural light.  I think most people are this way.  We tend to gravitate to the light.

One of the nice things about being a fiber artist (it’s hard for me to type those words, but that is a different post), is working with color.  Playing in yarn, cashmere sweaters and wool of all types is one of my favorite things.  It brings me joy to dump a big bag of different yarns on the table and pick a combination to put on the loom.  Mixing and matching the colors and textures, feeling the yarn or fabric next to my skin, imagining the drape of the finished piece, are all enjoyable.

This piece wasn’t the easiest to weave.  The warp is a wonderful hand dyed wool and was probably too delicate for the loom.  It took great care to keep the yarn from pulling apart, but as you can see, it worked out.  The weft is a sturdy cotton and lets the beautiful variations of color shine through.

This piece adds to any blouse, shirt or turtleneck, but I love it over a winter coat.  It makes a statement of hope with it’s bright color….spring is just around the corner!  We need more color, more sunshine, and more light in our lives!

Thanks for reading!!!

 

If you are like me, it’s time to evaluate and plan.  Time to take a look at what worked or didn’t in 2018 and get set for 2019.  What does that have to do with fiber art???  Well, I’ll get to that in a minute.

Like most people, improving health and fitness are high on my list for 2019.  I want to live the best life I can for as long as I can, so making healthy choices is important to me. One of my goals for 2019 is to move more.  I would like to accomplish this by being outside, rather than walking on a treadmill in the house or walking at the local mall.  Being outside is not only good for the body, it is good for the soul.  I usually walk in our neighborhood, so I see people I know, watch the subtle changes taking place in nature and keep track of the animals and birds I see along the way.  It’s good to feel my legs carrying me along, breathe deeply and think on all the many things for which I’m grateful.

I am so very grateful for the four persons in the photo!  They all bring joy and happiness to my life, and they are great models!!  Each one chose a headband, and we all enjoyed being outside.  The headbands are the latest addition to my Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/DianeHamillFiberArt    I knitted one of these several years ago for myself, and I love wearing it when it’s cold outside.  It is just enough coverage to keep my head warm, but doesn’t mess up my hair like a stocking cap.  It keeps my ears warm without covering my entire head.  As you can see from the photos, they are adjustable to fit almost anyone.  So, grab a headband, get outside and have a Happy, Healthy 2019!!

 

A “Heritage” blanket is a very special work of art!  This one was created from the cashmere sweaters worn by a client’s father.  When she contacted me asking if I would make some scarves for her, I hesitated, knowing that my vision and a client’s vision is sometimes very different, but we agreed to talk about possibilities.

We texted and I explained there were a number of factors to consider: How many sweaters, how many scarves, how quickly you need them, if there are enough sweaters or would we need to add some, etc.

We visited by phone and agreed there were enough sweaters to make a large blanket.  She put them in the mail right away, as she wished to have the blanket before Christmas. She also mentioned that she occasionally wore her father’s sweaters around the house.  I was beginning to realize this wasn’t going to be just another blanket.

Because this was going to be created from a particular person’s sweaters, I wanted to know more about him. I wanted to be able to think about him and his life as I worked. His daughter shared that he was 73 when he passed away in 2013.  He and his wife were married almost 50 years and that he lost a son in the towers on 9/11.  He had a very successful dental practice for 50 years.  Apparently he had a huge personality, loved people, golf, food and travel.  She sent a photo of a man with a huge smile wearing a bright orange sport coat!

The minute I opened the package of sweaters, I could tell they would become a bright, cheerful blanket!  Such wonderful colors!!  I hope this blanket will do justice to the memory of this beloved husband, father and friend.

I love the clean look of minimalism. The clean lines, simple clothing wardrobes, open spaces…I love it, but realistically I know I’ll never be able to achieve it. I have been making an effort to sort through things and clean out spaces. One of those spaces was filled with yarn…yarn I bought, yarn I was given…yarn and more yarn.

If you like any type of fiber work, you will understand the urge to purchase fabric, thread, yarn, etc. It can take over your house, so I cleaned….at least a little bit! I gathered several trash bags full of yarn and hauled them out to the garage. That’s as far as I got. My intention was to find a home for the bags of yarn…either to give them to some other person who loves yarn or to take them to the Goodwill store. The bags of yarn sat there for several months. I even called someone I thought might use them but we never connected.

One evening I was project-less with several free hours, so I brought the yarn back in the house, sorted it and started crocheting small blankets.  There are lots of places that will accept donations of small blankets or lap robes, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find a home for these.  I feel much better now about that bag of yarn!!

 

 

Last year I went on a trip to France.  The tour was with the Daughters of the American Revolution and focused on the anniversary of the end of WWI.  We visited several of the American military cemeteries and monuments in France maintained by the American Battle Monument Commission.  These cemeteries are beautifully cared for, peaceful resting places commemorating the service and sacrifice of American military in WWI and WWII.

During one of the cemetery visits, we were given the opportunity to place a flower at the tombstone of our choice.  If I had thought about this before I left home, I would have looked up someone from our hometown to remember.  Since I didn’t know anyone buried in this cemetery, I chose to place my tribute at the grave of an unknown soldier. As I placed the single flower, I wondered if anyone had ever placed a flower for this young man?  How long had it been since someone knelt to remember him?  He was some mother’s son and she must have been left heartbroken and wondering where he was for the rest of her life.

This experience inspired the cashmere blanket I recently completed.  Blankets are big projects and I have decided to start naming each one.  This one will be “Remembrance.”  The poppies are for remembrance and were inspired by the poem, “In Flanders Fields.”  The colors lead your eye from the darkest black through shades of gray and finally into a burst of glorious, vibrant red.  This blanket will be for sale on my Etsy site: https://www.etsy.com/shop/DianeHamillFiberArt

I see this blanket inspiring hope through remembrance.  Even though the soldier I sought to honor is unknown, he is not forgotten and because someone remembers him, he lives on.  I hope you will be inspired to remember someone you hold dear.

 

 

 

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