Friday, Nov. 4, I got the news that I had passed the examination for the Handweavers [sic] Guild of America’s Certificate of Excellence Level II– Master Weaver. I got the first level certification in 2012, after 4 years of hard work. This time it took me 2 years of full-time research and weaving. The Level II is an individual research project, and mine was Weaving Clothing for Plus Size Women. I read everything I could find on clothing design for sizes 14+, wove lots of samples to explore different weave structures I hadn’t previously tried, and evaluated them for suitability. Some, like waffle weave, I hoped would provide stretchiness, and it did, but with too much bulk. The motifs in crepe weaves were too small. The final part of the research was to weave 3-5 “master works.” I chose to do traditional weaverly garments: a bog jacket in handspun merino/tencel and silk (green), a vest in twill diagonals with insets at the sides (purple/blue/green), a kimono (the one shown was an earlier version in silk), a wrap with clasped weft inlay around the neck (gold/pink, shown below), and one non-traditional garment, a tunic in twill sewn on the bias (gold/white/brown stripes).
Each garment was designed for a member of my guild who had one of five body types: A (hips wider), E (every body– the wrap), H (straight body), O (tummy bigger), and X ( hour glass shape). Design elements were not meant to “slim” the look, but to create ease so the garment hangs well and fits properly.
It was a challenging project, and I thank all my friends, my partner Margaret, and even my cats for supporting me. I hope to develop publications and workshops based on this research.