Process Review: Tiers of Joy!

Would you believe me if I told you I had the exact length of fabric needed to cut out the three tiers for this skirt, with not a millimeter to spare? It’s true. Despite a profusion of fitting conundrums, detail studies, do-overs, ripping outs, mind-bending problem solving, and to-the-thread close calls, I never considered giving up. That’s not true. I did think of throwing in the towel. But, thankfully, my cheerleader husband won’t let me take that option.

Handwoven skirt in the making.
Measure thrice, cut once. When I changed the skirt pattern, my original measurements no longer applied. I made paper patterns for the tiers. That’s when I discovered just how close the length of fabric was to the length needed.

I have a deeper respect now for my friends whose sweet spot is garment design and construction. This Tiers of Joy experience has reminded me that handweaving is my sweet spot. It’s the thing I do that makes me say, “I was made for this.” When I’m at the loom I am soaring. What is your sweet spot? Let the breath of God make you soar.

Tiers of Joy handwoven skirt! designed and woven by Karen Isenhower.

Happily, I have a memorable handwoven skirt to wear on my date with Steve to the Symphony of the Hills Christmas concert next week.

Here’s a short slideshow video of this thread-to-garment story:

I am giving thanks for you! I’m glad you and I get to walk through this weaving (and sewing) journey together.

May your heart soar with thanksgiving.

Happy Giving Thanks,

18 thoughts on “Process Review: Tiers of Joy!

  1. Wow!! The skirt is exquisite and you look radiant wearing it! I’m so glad Steve encouraged you to persevere.

  2. How pretty. The attention to detail in your weaving transferred to your construction. Well done.

    I soar in problem solving. How do I turn a challenge to success.

    This weekend our children celebrated Thanksgiving with us. They are celebrating on Thanksgiving day with their significant other’s family. Solution 1.

    As our daughter was organizing and packing for their drive home we pulled out Christmas tree ornaments. The three preschool children decorated the tree. Solution 2.

    The only casualty was 1 glass ball. Even the 20 month old carefully hung a pipe cleaner ornament on the tree. Sooo carefully.

    When they headed down the driveway, the bottom 4 feet of the tree was loaded with ornaments. Just the lights grandpa put on for the top 3 feet. Perfect.

    It will stay that way for this holiday. We have a reminder of this happy weekend. Solution 3

    This blessing was not planned by me. Praise God!


    1. Hi Nannette, It’s wonderful that you recognize where you soar! And it’s marvelous that your family benefits from the gifts you’ve been given.


  3. The skirt turned out beautiful! And delivering exquisite work, as you alway do, doesn’t necessarily mean it is within our sweet spot. I think it is important to listen to that, even if it is “trendy” to constantly “force” ourselves to do things outside what we are made for. And that’s the clue for me, when it is forced, what happens to joy?

    Like Nannette, I’m a problem solver. My sweet spot is to find solutions that work well, in addition, I enjoy making a variety of things that get a lot of use.

    So please let me share this idea because it has become a problem for so many.
    Thinking about Christmas and cell phone use with 14 people staying at our house, 6 of them are children (3-14), I asked all the grandchildren (not the adults!) about this (none have I-pads, and we don’t turn on the TV when we meet).

    And the answer was loud and clear:
    8, 10, 12 year olds: no cellphones! The 8 year old wanted to hide them.
    13 and 14 year old: No cell phones in common rooms or around other people. The 13 year old suggested 1/2 an hour twice a day to show pictures and share ideas, but when the time is up the cell phone goes away.
    And the 3 year old’s answer: “I’m eating a bean burrito over here.” I guess that means there are more important things to do 🙂

    Cell phone problem solved!

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    1. Hi Elisabeth, I like it that you and I continue to have discussions about this very thing – where is your sweet spot? We sharpen each other.

      Your family, too, benefits from your creative way of seeing solutions. Bravo!


  4. Thank you for this post. Your skirt is so beautiful and even more so because it came from your creativity and perseverance….

    I was known as The “salad lady” at our church functions.

    My husband and i smiled when i related the time a family member remarked during a dinner that my cooking had improved!!! Perseverance and cookbooks are my not-so-secret weapon!

  5. Fabulous and not what I expected. I love that you have tiers and they are “open”
    I was expecting gathered tiers as that’s the fashion again.
    And I am very glad you have completed it as I have been wondering if we would see it.

    1. Hi Tobie, My original plan was to have gathered tiers as you describe. I changed the skirt design after I took the fabric off the loom. The design is really a better fit for this fabric.

      Thanks so much,

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