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'Cuz Anything Can Be Homemade, Even Mayonnaise, and Even... Fabric!

Years ago, I turned a corner when I realised that really anything could be homemade. A family member taught me how to make mayonnaise, which I had never really took much time to think about before, far less make. The method is tricky, and the first few times I ended up with vinaigrette rather than mayonnaise, but that first time my mayonnaise turned out right was a jubilation. After that I realised that anything, whether it was ketchup, a button, cabinetry, or makeup could be homemade and customised.

I got to put this notion into practice making cloth, rather than just quilting with it. Last week I took a hand-weaving workshop right here in my home village of Oingt, at Christine Poirier's boutique. I thought that learning how to make cloth would help me understand fabric in general, its complexities and ins-and-outs.

Me with the fabric I wove myself

Me with my finished handwoven fabric

We used Leclerc looms from Quebec and Anne Dixon's wonderful reference, Handweaver's Pattern Book: An Illustrated Reference of Over 600 Fabric Weaves.

Along with the history of the historic silk and fabric industry here in Lyon, I learned about looms, threads, Jacquard cloth and got to set up and weave a pre-Jacquard motif, called Chevrefeuille.

My pre-Jacquard "Chevrefeuille" motif in silver polyester wool

This is my fabric, in the "chevrefeuille" pattern. I chose the colours, blue and silver, my favourites.

As a bonus I also learned about small artisanal businesses here in Oingt, which is a major tourist draw since it's on the list of France's "200 Most Beautiful Villages". I'll raise a glass (of local Beaujolais) to that!