Last week I got to spend a day with the lovely Jill Nickolene Sanders of SAORI Santa Cruz making myself an amazing SAORI style jacket.
When I knew I was going to California, I checked to see if there were any SAORI studios in the state - there are three. I was most excited when I found that Jill's studio was in California. You see, I already knew that Jill was a SAORI garment genius. If you've ever looked at on-line pictures of SAORI garments, you've probably drooled over some that were made by Jill. I know I have.
Some of my favourites include her "Parrots of Telegraph Hill" jacket (my own jacket is based on this design):
her SAORI sun umbrellas (I'm pretty thrilled that Jill saved a bit of my left over cloth to use in a future umbrella)
There are so many others, that I could go on all day about how much I love the clothing and accessories she designs and makes. I was so excited when I realized that I might be able to visit her studio and see some of her gorgeous creations in person. I had no idea that I'd even get to try some on:
Here I am trying on Jill's Portals tunic. It coordinates so nicely with what I was wearing that day:
Well, this trip almost didn't happen. You see, Jill's studio is not right in Santa Cruz, it is in a town called Felton, in an area called Zayante. I thought I would have to fly to San Francisco and then rent a car to get to the studio - that would have been much too expensive. I could have gone to one of the other California studios where I'm sure I would have been able to make a nice SAORI garment, or perhaps do a bit of weaving, but I knew that I would be abe to make something really incredible with Jill.
When I told Jill my problem, she generously offered to arrange a much more affordable ride to and from the San Jose airport. After being a passenger on Hwy 17 in the dark, I'm so very glad that I didn't have to match wits with the crazy maniacs on that road. I also got to know Jill's wonderful husband, who not only shuttled me to and from the airport, he also made sure I got to and from the studio and took me to pick up food for my supper after my day of weaving. Jill included a delicious lunch and snacks for me during the day. This lovely couple just took care of me so well.
A couple of weeks ago, I posted some pictures of the cloth I was weaving to take with me. Here's a close-up of one section. You can see that I was thinking of sunny California weather!
Jill had asked for 10 yards! That was a lot of weaving, that almost ended in another disaster. I was supposed to "soak" the cloth, and I thought I'd cheat and do it in the washing machine. My machine has a "soak" setting, but I somehow set the dial to the setting that was directly opposite. Oops! When I realized what I had done and rescued it, some of the fibres I had used had shrunk and felted. The cloth was no longer the full length and the sides were all wavy. There was some interesting texture, but I wasn't sure if I would be able to make anything. Since this was the day before I left for the trip, I did not have time to weave any more.
I shoved the cloth into my backpack where it got a liberal sprinkling of the coconut snack I also tossed in the bag, and set off for the airport.
In a very SAORI way (remember "there are no mistakes"), Jill and I managed to make a stunning jacket with the almost failed fabric that I wove. Here are some photos of the process. You can see more of the pictures that Jill took during the day over on her blog:
The finished fabric complete with bubbles, waves and puckers caused by the shrinking and "fulling" of some of the fibres:
Pinning and cutting - I've done this before with my handwoven fabric, so I wasn't as freaked out as I was the first time.
Sewing outside in February! It was such a lovely warm SUNNY afternoon.
The finished jacket - I'm calling it Santa Cruz (for obvious reasons)