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New Mexico Inspired Design-

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Just back from New Mexico for the Sept retreat there in Taos…..I am still feeling the change of seasons, hint of sage in the air and cool crisp mornings. Listening to native flute music and unpacking I want to hold onto those places that become part of us with more history and time there. It is one of the most inspiring landscapes that always influences my work. 

The 2023 dates for Taos retreats are June 18-23rd  and Sept. 17-22nd. Updated info for those sessions will be posted in the coming month if you'd like to join us.

Ladders have been a strong metaphor image for me over the years…and more deeply after my fire experience. Variations on Kiva ladders stand tall all over New Mexico…and they are part of my current MAKING stories. 

                     Making a Fabric Ladder-

A French-Fold Shrug, made from a beautiful hand woven cotton from the Common Thread Store in Taos, New Mexico, was calling for some unique detail when ladders crossed my mind. 

Needing a bit more room across the back, I pieces my fabric in 2 directions then left it open down the back where the opening was the perfect place for a ladder!

 To make the poles of the ladder, I bound the open back edges first. Wanting the ladder to be more organic than ‘slick’…..I used a crinkled linen  and made the vertical pole fabric wider at the base then narrower at the top. Hand tacked on the inside  finished these first pieces. Your ladder could be made with ribbon or cording, seamed and turned with no raw edges showing for as more refined look. Cross pieces can finish on the inside or outside. 

To make the crosspieces, my strips were topstitched in wavey lines and the ends cut and not finished to mimic rough wood. I smiled, adding a ‘branch ‘ coming out of one pieces as I sewed the pieces together. 

The handwoven is a bit stiff, so when the back was overlapped, the shape of the ladder changed. Although I the look of the open ladder was appealing on the back…it also needed some fabric to stabilize the shape.


Looking for ways to repeat a theme, the short bits of ‘branches’ seem just right on the front of this French Fold Shrug. So much of unique design is about the details.

Here is a link to another ladder variation in a post this past year. Such a good metaphor for that climb to the top we all seem to make in our own way as life calls us out.

                     An O'Keefe Jacket Update- 

I'm wearing my fall, linen version of the O'Keefe Pattern as the days are cooler. This one feels like the perfect layer for a thin T or a warmer turtleneck. Here is a link to a video clip about making this design with some of the details you'll want to consider.    

Find your theme and play with how it can unfold in your new work. Diane



1 comment

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