An Adventure in Design



You can see why I titled this blog Ying and Yang!  We recently became the forever family to the Ying and Yang of pugs….Buster and Emma Lou.  We are not the first family to rescue these babies.  Buster and Emma Lou came to us in a very special and unique way. Their first rescuer was a hospice patient where my husband Joe is the medical director. She knew we were “pug” people and her family asked if we would become the parents to these two cuties. The owner passed away and Emma Lou and Buster came to live with us about two months ago.

Emma Lou has taken to the fiber arts.  She enjoyed getting into the pictures as I tried to photograph a recent cashmere blanket.  She is also a snuggle bug and loves to sit next to you or curl up in her bed.  She is a little shy and wants to take her time to get to know you.

Buster is friendly and outgoing.  He likes to bark at any activity going on outside.  He is quick to greet everyone and loves attention.

Pugs just make me smile.  You can’t help but laugh at their cute faces and be uplifted by their sweet nature.

As you can see, the whole family has fallen in love with these two. We are glad to share our home and family with Buster and Emma Lou!

This summer I added another chapter to the story of the friendship of Aly and Diane, as we celebrated 50 years of friendship.
It all started in the summer of 1969 when I was a guest in the Vinke home in Harderwijk, The Netherlands. I participated in an exchange program through International 4-H Clubs Teen Caravan. I met a girl very much like myself, Aly Vinke!
Among the memorable events of that summer was getting up in the middle of the night in The Netherlands to watch the first men walk on the moon. The Vinke family stood with me to sing “The Star Spangled Banner”!
Fifty years have passed, but our friendship has stood the test of time. We both married, had children and raised families. We have visited in each others homes many times, bringing parents, husbands, children and grandchildren along to share in the fun. We have celebrated wedding anniversaries and weddings together. We have lost beloved family members.

Aly has begun the process of downsizing.  She is moving next door into a much smaller house.  She has already given away or repurposed most of her possessions.  While I’m not ready to do what Aly has done, I admire her courage and tenacity!  Aly has a set of two blue leather chairs that will move with her to the new house.  I picture her sitting in one of these chairs, enjoying her new space!  It’s cold in The Netherlands in the winter, so I thought Aly might enjoy a cashmere sweater blanket as a housewarming gift.  You can see the initial layout of sweater pieces below.

Until I can visit Aly in her new home, I will see her in my mind sitting in her blue chair wrapped in blue cashmere.  Thank you to the fates that brought us together so many years ago—-there is no greater joy than a true friend!!



Several days of cold rain have been great for the yard, but after awhile, my soul needs some sun! This is fall in Oklahoma…..90 degrees one day and 30 the next!  Some years we have beautiful color, others, winter seems to come overnight.

While waiting for the sun to come out, I decided to make another cashmere throw.  Not only would the colors be warm and sunny, but the cashmere is so soft and comforting, I feel better just working with this wonderful fabric.

On the left, I’ve arranged pieces of cashmere cut from four sweaters.  You will notice I’ve included the sweater construction details, such as necklines and pockets.  I think this makes for a more interesting finished product.  An “away” Saturday for my favorite college football team (Oklahoma State) is the perfect time to sew.  I can listen to the game, stop for exciting plays, yell at the television and accomplish a lot of sewing!

So, here is the finished product….sunshine and warmth in a cozy, comfy cover-up!  Emma Lou wanted to get in on the action while I was trying to photograph and the teddy bear had to substitute for someone taking a nap.  What do you know….the sun came out just in time for pictures!!  This blanket will soon make it’s way to an Etsy listing where I hope it will find a person that will love the softness and appreciate the environmentally friendly process of up-cycled cashmere.


How do I know someone is going to get the blues? I made them for her! Sometimes I write about something I’m weaving and someone will contact me saying…”Oh, I love what you made, but can you do it in (fill in a different color)? This time I have a request from a very special friend. I know her lifestyle often leans toward wearing jeans and denim, so she will be getting this shawl in shades of blue with a touch of soft gray and a tiny bit of blue and silver sparkle. I hope it will be a perfect addition for her wardrobe!



I love the way this piece can go from casual to very dressy.  It would be perfect over a little black dress, or with leggings and a tunic top.  It’s large enough for a shawl, but could go at the neckline of a coat and will fold up and tuck into a tote for travel.

If you would like something that is one of a kind and custom made just for you, contact me and will collaborate on a special project!  Wouldn’t that be fun?

Thanks for reading my post!  I hope you enjoy seeing what’s on my loom and my finished projects.  If so, please invite your friends to come along on this creative journey with me by subscribing to this blog.

Why does today seem so much colder than the past few days?  The temperature is about the same.  I was outside doing intervals yesterday, and it didn’t feel as cold as today.  Maybe it’s the cloudy, rainy weather….it’s the type of day that just feels cold down to the bone!

This day is ideal for a recycled wool sweater blanket!  As you can tell, I did not take these photos on a cold, cloudy, rainy day.  Actually using the blanket is much more appropriate today!  There is just something so cozy about a sweater.  Imagine an entire blanket made of soft, warm sweaters….perfect!!


This blanket is made from 100% wool sweaters that have been washed, felted and cut apart.  The pieces (sleeves, backs, fronts, details like buttons and pockets) were cut into uniform pieces and I worked on the design.  Sometimes it takes several times of laying the pieces out, moving them around and generally playing with where the colors and textures fit to create a harmonious design.  I love this part….moving pieces….making sure no two like pieces are next to each other.  I photograph the design as it is placed.


Then comes the sewing.  I usually sew in blocks or strips, then sew them together, rather like piecing a quilt.  Taking care not to stretch the pieces, and pressing with lots of steam, helps to transform the sweaters into a beautiful new creation.

I chose to add a crocheted border to this blanket.  It adds to the rustic, casual feel of the piece.


Finally, the completed work!  Sweaters with holes, sweaters that had once been loved and were no longer useful, sweaters that were outgrown or just no longer thought to be pretty, are now beautiful again.  It’s the perfect day for a sweater blanket!!  This one of a kind artwork is available on my Etsy site at:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/DianeHamillFiberArt

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?


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!


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.

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