Did you know?

A "Pandula" is a flower which blooms only in one's imagination.


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Once again, I got over confident!

Silly me!  I thought if I could do one little band that I could move on to a MUCH LARGER PROJECT.  Silly me!  I also thought I could use unmercerized cotton, think rough finish, not SMOOTH.  Smooth is what warpface weave structure absolutely demands.  Especially from a newbie such as myself.

I spent the entire Sunday trying to warp up the big tapestry loom for warpface about 5 ft. long and 5 in. wide.  STUPID me!

I am so frustrated with the entire sticky mess that I got up this morning at 5:30 a.m. because I couldn't sleep for the aches and pains of the process that it caused my old lady body.  AND the fact that I was obsessing over it and even dreaming about it.  My ONE  great satisfaction (even though I detest waste) was cutting that Bi--- off of my loom.  I cannot tell you the frustration level. :o{  

It is now in the trash and I will be sticking to smaller projects for a while.  SILLY ME, I learn it ALL the hard way.  

Back to the drawing board.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Today is Sunday!

Here are pics start to finish on my new "Baby loom"!  I am very pleased to have finally figured out warp face floats.

This may not look like much but I am very proud.  This took me months and may failed attempts to figure out!  I am the "  PROUD MAMA"   again. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Today is my birthday!

I am 50 freaking 2 today....HOW DID THAT HAPPEN, I was just 28?

As you already know my new friend Dana gave me new boards to make a smaaaaallllllllll loom.  She thinks they wee just pieces of scrap lumber that she had laying around.  Me, I think they are the bomb.  I disassembled my smaller tapestry loom, which was really larger than I wanted, and made this...

Then I warped...I USED A WARP BOARD!  I finally got it right!!!!  Oops, forgot to take pics till after the warping board episode.  I attached it to two sticks, in backstrap fashion, then I warped the warp around this 'baby loom' and lashed the two sticks to one another.  Then I raised the top board with the nuts you see just under it....and waalaa warp board warp on frame loom, twice the length of the loom and rotateable just like a continuous warp with a warp bar.  I finally figured it out!  I also figured out how to do it the next time in a way where I can leave excess warp chained up behind the two sticks and add even more.  I had seen pics of this technique many times and I FINALLY FIGURED OUT HOW THEY DO IT!

Again I am the proud mama!

Theeeennnnnn.....I stared a horizontal stripe pattern.  Warpface.  Pictures here...

Then I went to Laverne Waddington's backstrap blog and tried to see if I could now do the "warp float" technique...LOOK WHAT I DID!

And now the close up!

Now I even have pics for the completed Rigid Heddle washcloths.  Remember these were just for practice out of scrap.  In other words the design was my last thought so the stripes are not even.  But they will still wash my face the same.  LOL

And that my friends is the update from my totally woven birthday.  The only other things I did, was talk/chat with friends and family.  Thank all of the who knows how many facebook fans for wishing me Happy Birthday, eat and of course have a couple of glasses of wine.

Last but certainly not least, Carol after getting my favorite of Fried chicken, (I hardly ever eat fried food), fried okra and pole beans, (don't forget the wine) then ordered me a killer book on Inkle Weaving!

Happy freaking 52nd birthday to me!

I love each and every one of you.  Max says I am even to watch for a box in the mail...a 17 lb box, what the heck could weight 17 lbs?  Can't wait.  So stayed tuned and I will keep you updated.

Same bat time same bat channel.  TTYL>!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Thursdays is Weave Workshop!

I just got home from my weave workshop and I got a couple of nice surprises.

My student brought me cotton plants...roots and all.  I am going to do a weaving with the part that the cotton boll comes out of.  It leaves a kewl star looking piece that I have used in a weaving before years back.  The piece was made of homespun ginned only cotton with the plant heads woven right in.  It hung over my bed for years.  On either side of it hung a candle stick made from a boat shuttle.  Ms. Carol (think roommate) found those for me quite by accident at a garage sale.  I still have them, and they are 2 of my most prized possessions.

I will post pictures of them soon...I need to clean them up first.  We have very old plaster walls here that are like concrete so I haven't hunt up any of my wonderful handcrafted items.  I even have a blanket holder that doubles as a small shelf that my ex handmade me out of oak that I would love to hang in my room....such is life.  I will not always live in one room.

Then as if that were not enough, she also took out new beam boards that she shaped and sanded herself so that I could use them to down-size my smallest loom to an even smaller size.  Perfect for the bracelets I have been weaving.  Now I have my very large 32 in loom, a 24 in and the smallest will be one foot.  Turned out that the 2 foot one was overkill...if I am going to lug it around I might as well take the 23 in.  Besides, I haven't been taking one to class as I spend my time watching and helping her.  I want her to have my undivided attention.  She works, I don't, I have lots of time to weave at home.

We also adjusted the supports on the stand for my Rigid Heddle.  We added holes to them so that I can make that loom more vertical than horizontal.  I took a bad fall a few years back and looking down really bothers my neck and shoulders.  This was also one of the reasons backstrap weaving was hard on me.  If I used the backstrap while it was tied to something on an uphill slant it was fine.  Unfortunately, in my small confines at home I didn't have that option.  The new little loom will actually even sit in my lap!

Happy Birthday to me!  I have really enjoyed helping Dana with her endeavors to weave to the point that I should probably be paying HER!  LOL

Oh yeah!  I almost forgot, I took her some handspun white cotton from the punis, some periwinkle cotton and two small skeins of wool that I scoured, dyed with kool aid and spun when I first got my spinning wheel.  I thought she might like to play with something besides store bought yarns.  I think she was pleased.  I hope so anyway.

Then my daughter called and I may even be going to North Carolina for a few days next week to visit her.  I hope so I miss her terrible.

So that folks, brings us up to date with what is going on in my small corner of the world.  Let me know how yours is going!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Carding Cotton!

Ok so I decided that instead of knitting socks I would warp up my Rigid Heddle Loom, (made for drapeable fabric, not for tapestry/boardy fabric) and make myself a shawl or wrap or some sort.  Now to choose colors and fiber content.  Since I am in the south I thought cotton, of course.

You have already seen pictures of the spinning wheel and the periwinkle cotton roving I have been spinning.  Well, roving is commercially prepared.  I have an entire trunk of white GINNED local cotton.  What this means is that while it has been processed to some degree, it is still lumpy and has some debri in it.  Now I can indeed spin it like this, and it makes for great textural effects in tapestry weaving's.  Not so good if you want to wear it against the skin.  This means that it needs to be 'carded'.  

Carding is a process whereby you must sort of 'brush' the cotton/fiber/wool/alpaca etc...to line up the fibers more or less (hopefully more) in the same direction.  This makes for easier spinning and smoother yarn with less debris.

Now carding is something I have never seen done in person.  Only on a DVD by a lady named Joan Ruane called "Cotton Spinning made Easy", that I ordered when I first bought my spinning wheel years ago.  I re-watched it when I decided to offer a spinning workshop at the Art Center.  I had decided to supply the spindles and cotton (since I had so much of it and we are in cotton country), and I wanted to refresh my memory.

Anyway, I would HIGHLY suggest this DVD to anyone who wants to spin yarn...of any kind.  Most of the information is basic and simply applies to any kind of spinning.  So much so that after many attempts failed at carding in the past, this time it worked!

Again I am the proud mama.  I have punis to spin.  

Now I won't say that they are perfect.  I don't have $250.00 carders, I am using dog slicker brushes.  This means that the teeth are not quite as close together and they are smaller in size also, so I probably have to work at it a little harder.  But they LOOK like punis and even though they are a bit smaller than the commercially prepared ones I have, they are indeed punis.  And they spin much easier than they did before I carded them.  Mission accomplished.

I have no students for tonight's yarn spinning workshop, but I go in to the art center anyway.  Just in case someone comes in or has questions.  So tonight I will be sitting there with my dog brushes, making miniature punis.  Thank you so much Ms. Joan Ruane, because you did indeed make spinning cotton easy!

Pictures of course.

 Puni's and tools!


Friday, September 24, 2010

Warped up my Kromski Rigid Heddle!

I decided before I sell my 32 inch Rigid Heddle, or even try to make a shawl on it, I should do a practice piece.  

Soooo....I gathered up all of the parts and decided to warp up for a small project (approximately 3 1/2 ft.).  I decided to do a couple of wash cloths out of some cotton I had around the house.  The warp is purple...and I think I will put a couple of sunshine yellow horizontal stripes on the first one.  I will probably use this warp for more than one cloth.

It has been a few years since I used this loom, so I went on line and googled Krompski Harp, Rigid Heddle loom.  New Voyager distributor came up and there were step by step video's on how to assemble, warp and weave on the loom.  Brilliant!  It was much easier to watch and do my warping step by step with him, than going back and forth to one of my books!

I took some pictures, and so far so good ( did forget to take pictures of the actual direct warping process :-(  ).

Threading through the slots and holes.

 All tied on!

The header all set up for the spacing.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I came to my senses!

O. K. The Yarn Harlot just about lured me into the knitting vortex.  I have a weakness and it is almost like she knows it...damn her!  LOL! 

Admittedly I am not as much of a yarn harlot as she is, but I would be if I had the resources.  But ahhhhh, what is the weakness you may ask?  I love hand knitted socks.  There I said it, think ADMITTED it.  I actually went on a sock knitting binge of almost 2 years a while back.  Yup I sure did, and I learned a multitude of things. 

I learned people in Florida don't have a clue about hand knit socks.
I learned that finding sock yarn in the south sucks!
I learned that you never get the money out of them that you deserve.
I learned that the books lie, at least for me, SOCK KNITTING IS NOT EASY!
I learned that there are, who even knows how many different types of toes and heels.
I learned that knitting is an emotional subjective art (as are many art forms).  Everyone has a different  method.
Finally I learned the most important less of all...I love hand knitted socks, I HATE knitting them.  I LOVE hand knitted socks, the end result.  I HATE the process.  Tooooooo much math, and I wanted to take out an oozie and go postal when I would complete a pair and they won't fit me...sometimes not even anyone else I could gift them too.
But when someone asked my daughter where she got those cool yellow and pink socks, and she said "MY MOM MADE THEM FOR ME!"   I thought I would wet my pants.

Weaving is rarely frustrating to me, at least tapestry anyway.  I am good at it, enjoy the creativity of it, think freedom!

But mostly you don't WEAR my kind of weaving :-(. 

So I got out the knitting basket...again...then I took out the last pair I knit and took a good look.  I have several beautiful, artsy, knit myself for myself socks.  But that last pair...I dropped a stitch....even wore them, often and never noticed.  Until the last time I took out the sock knitting basket.  Then all of the frustration came/comes rushing back at me...and I put that silly basket away again.

I did stitch the loop of the dropped stitch down with a needle and thread.  It is on the bottom of the foot where no one else will ever see it.  BUT I KNOW IT IS THERE...and it bugs me that it is in a simple plain stockinette stitch...how the heck did I do that?

I am including some pictures of my socks...lots of them were gifted of course...some are on display at the Art Center.  I even thought about a workshop for sock knitting.  SILLY ME!

I think I will warp up my rigid heddle, maybe make myself some sort of wrap....


These are the ones with the dropped stitch.  The brown ones I handspun the yarn.  I made my deceased father a pair that were exact opposites.  Dark where mine were light and light where mine were dark. 

I especially love the pink/red opposites.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Kind of burn out on weaving! Believe it or not!

It seems that once again I have woven myself into boredom.  I have immersed myself in it for about 3 months now (if not longer).  I warped and re-warped on Sunday and cut it off just to re-warped again.  Good thing it doesn't take much yarn to warp up my tapestry loom.  Anyway I seem to be totally uninspired.  Sooooo...

I started spinning up some cotton on my spinning wheel.  When I dug out all of my stash it turns out that, by my standards at least, I have plenty to spin and play with.  The real shame of it is that when I wove the piece for my periwinkle handbag it had to be smaller than I wanted because I THOUGHT I ran out of periwinkle yarn.  Technically I did run out of the yarn, but I had a huge bag of more of the roving that I could have spun up.  I just kept procrastinating on bringing the spinning wheel down out of the attic.  Anyway in the pictures that follow you will see that I do indeed have alot more of it.  The spool that you see spun is probably less than 1/2 of the roving.  YEAH!

The I decided to practice on some ginned, but not combed, cotton fiber.  I did a whole lot of it when I got the wheel, but it seems I have lost my knack for it.  I even 'teased' up a basket of it and it was still a pain.  More practice needed.

My friend KraftyMax sent me some beautiful semi precious donut's to make myself some new spindles.  Unfortunately for the moment I am without proper dowels to fit the whole.  Carol, think roommate, is very sick so Home Depot is still a few days away.  I thought I would really enjoy the beauty when I spin on them...I really want one that isn't homemade for some reason, and those stones will make it look custom made for me!  I love spindle spinning and since I am hoping for some spin workshops in the future they will no doubt come in handy.

Then I rediscovered a blogger that I love to read.  She is the Yarn Harlot and if you are at all fiber oriented and have a sense of humor you must go and check her out.  If I am correct she wrote the book called Stitch-n-bitch.  Great lady!  She has just about convinced me that I need to pick up my knitting...remember weave un-inspired.  Maybe not socks though, maybe a shawl of some sort.  Maybe even cotton.  We are in the south after all.  Maybe even donate it to the "Prayer Shawl" group at Carol's church.  If I even have the courage to pick up the needles.  We all know that knitting is not my best thing.

I did take some pictures though so here they are!

This is the Kromski spinning wheel called the "  Minstrel"  .

This part of the spinning wheel is called the "  Mother of All"  . 

Perwinkle and white cotton yarn!

Spinning wheel up close.

Proverbial Knitting basket!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

More of What Not to Do!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Update! Saturday is supposed to be Bead day!

Saturday is supposed to be bead day...all I need now is students!  However I had a great time anyway.

See my Tapestry workshop student still had to do a little tweaking to her loom and since she was in town anyway buying supplies from Home Depot I told her to stop in.

She actually came in to borrow a book from me, but I suggested that since we had the time we should put the second warp on her loom after we re-vamped it.  The first warp she did was wonderful, but we chose a not so awesome color/fiber and I really think it helps stay excited if you LOVE the yarn.  Plus practice makes perfect.

So we worked on the loom, and then as I had nothing to do but watch, she warped her own loom all by herself.  She made the sheds, wove the header, added her stabilizing half hitch row and wove about one inch of the same weft as the warp.  (This is generally done in case you want to turn it under and hem it, thus eliminating the  fringe.)

Then we sat and discussed strategy and design and fiber content to decide what her first piece will be like.  She chose red's and I suggested Acrylic yarn (I know).  Acrylic is more elastic, easy to obtain, and makes for more likelihood of even edges.  Cotton would be more likely to draw in causing a triangular weaving.  Not what we are ever after and definitely disheartening to the first time weaver.

When she left, we were both very pleased and excited.  Her because of her success and a game plan for the rest of the week.  Me because I finally have someone I can share my favorite art with in person.  I can't wait to see what she has done by Thursday's class.  I feel like I should be paying her!  LOL (Almost)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Newest Handwoven Cuff bracelet!

Copper metallic's and several different combination's of browns make this a KILLER cuff bracelet!  It is exactly 7 1/2 inches when fastened...and 2 1/2 inches wide!  It has a very firm feel because the bulk of it is hemp.  There is also embroidery floss and cotton threads.  The button is wood and it was definitely the inspiration for this piece!  

Again, I feel like a proud mama.  This one will be listed on my Artfire as soon as I can get it up there.  Probably some time tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

Tapestry workshop!

Had workshop last night!  I am so excited every time I go.

My one lady student not only had gone out and bought all of the parts she needed to build her loom like mine, she already had it most of the way put together.  Of course we had to do some tweaking, this is common with all new looms I think.  I also think it is a continual process, you adjust things with every new woven project.

I had her warp it herself, place her sheds, weave a header, half hitches and then she was up and functional to practice for later on this week.  I wish the class had been longer as I enjoy not only what we are doing but I enjoy her company as well.

She is the first person I have met that will be weaving the same way on the same kind of loom that I do.  Keep in mind I know no other weavers at all...this is why I am self taught.  I had to learn alot of it the hard way, trial and error.

I am flattered beyond belief that she has the kind of faith in me to allow me to teach her my process.  Especially since she is a college educated professional that has far surpassed me in the work fields.  Finally I have made a new acquaintance here in Moultrie GA.

Can't wait for workshop next week!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

WOW! I did it!!!

I finally got a bracelet I like and can wear!  Both as pleasure and as an advertisement for my weaving workshops!  I am soooo excited.  

Why, oh why, didn't I just do a tapestry bracelet to start with?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

New project!

I have been kind of out of touch lately...mostly because I have been very busy.

I have been trying to develop a new project as well as deal with my new responsibilities at the Art Center.  You see, I saw these bracelets made out of handwoven fabric.  Mostly they are done like wide cuffs in even weave fabric.  (Where you see both warp and weft.)  Well this is easy to do on the correct kind of loom.  But a tapestry loom does not lend itself to this type of project.  Nor for that matter, does it lend itself to warpface fabric as we have discussed in recent postings.

I have indeed done a few bracelets to this point.  

One was warpface, done during the backstrap learning learning curve, though I did do it on my tapestry frame loom.  Then I did one that had some warpface, and some even weave, both out of hemp on my tapestry loom.  These were not satisfactory because of certain structural features.  I had to get the length right and then off course develop a closure.  I really wanted this to be as near complete as possible when it came off of the loom .  In other words, I wanted to use its excess warp for closure or something easy along those lines.  

The first one was a complete wash, the second one is around my little dog Wiggles throat simply tied with a knot as a collar.  This last one actually fits and uses buttons and button wholes for a closure.  It is 2 1/2 in wide....too wide for my liking, I will stick closer to 2 in or less from now on.  It also fits a little snugger to my wrist than I like.  I wanted it a little bit looser.  Because it was too wide I had to use 2 button wholes (very difficult on a small piece such as this) because I didn't want it to curl around the button.  Tapestry weave is stiffer and I believe I will not have this problem on the next ones.

Following are pictures of the latest completed one.  But the one on the loom looks as though it is going to be the greatest success yet.  It is indeed tapestry weave (weftface) and already I am finding it beautiful, even though it is only 1 in wide ( a little more narrow than I want). 

Here are the pictures of the best one so far.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Just an update!

Things have been moving so rapidly for me.  Today is Friday.  Tuesday was my first Beginner Spindle yarn spinning class, no students yet.  Wednesday all day at the Art Center getting things cleaned and in order.  Thursday brought in my next workshop, Beginner tapestry, I had my first student in that one.  As soon as the class was over I went out to look into the Annual Quilt show that the Art center has each year.  Oh yeah, can Carol and I went to Albany yesterday before class to cruise the nearest art stores.  You basically have to travel an hour to get to any of them.  It was a very ART filled day.

I did a big display of my fiber arts items in a huge glass case so people from the Quilt show could see them. A very lot of time has just gone into getting my room ready, at least 6 hrs a day.  Keep in mind I even have to go up to the attic and look through my myriad of boxes for supplies.   I did get a ph call on my way home from a woman interested in my classes.  She found the info while she was at the Quilt show.  Potential there!

I also spent time this week scouring and cleaning up some wool for spinning.  Still lots more wool to do though.  Also looking for local cotton gins and preparing the cotton for spinning.

I have also been doing as much research as possible to make things easily accessible for my workshops.  Lots of info printed and put on my huge bulletin board in the weave room. 

Just trying really hard to be organized and productive for the students.  I am not a formally educated instructor so I have really had to think hard on things like cirriculum.  I really want to reach my fellow fiber artists in a way that effects their day to day life and more importantly their creativity.  I want them to be so enthusiastic that we keep in touch and develop other workshops....or maybe just get to know some people will interests similar to mine and make new friends in this little tine town.  It truely isn't JUST about the money.

I will be taking some pictures on Saturday when I go to the center for my Beginner Peyote Bead Weaving workshop. I will then post them so that you get to see what goes on.  I go even if there are no students, just in case someone walks in and asks.  I need to make my presence known.  It also gets me out of the house and some art time of my own.  Having been a self-employed person for years as a Nail Technicial I know that you just HAVE TO BE THERE.

Today I get to stay home and actually do some of my own art.  I am doing some cotton on the spinning wheel, weaving Wiggles (the little brown dog) a new rug, and designing a new woven bracelet in my head.

I have to keep at least one loom empty so that I can teach Dana how to warp it when the time comes.  But my next project on the large loom will be a tapestry done with a cartoon.  The cartoon is a drawing that hangs behind your warp threads (remember those are the vertical threads) and you weave by the picture/cartoon.  That means I will have a pre-determined tapestry in mind.  Kind of like when I tried to do the Gecko by the grid...only I believe this will be somewhat easier to follow and it will be MY own design.  Hope it goes better than the gecko did.

So, that is what is going on in my little corner of the art world.  What goes on with you?
I am spinning uncombed Cotton. So I thought I would just give you a little history.
I took a day trip a few years ago (while still living in FL) to find a cotton field. Came to GA and stopped an elderly man on a tractor and asked him if he knew where I could find a cotton gin. I had just bought my spinning wheel and wanted to see cotton growing in the fields and see if I could get my hands on some. He said "  I just happen to own one"  ,  and took me over to do a walk through.
Did you know they are huge?  Like BIG BARN huge.  I would never have thought so.  In my mind I thought maybe the size of a tractor trailer.  Never for one moment thought you could park multiple tractor trailers inside. 

He was a wonderful gentleman and after my tour he gave me several huge bags of cotton fiber, enough to actually fill a trunk. As I am now living in GA, i.e. cotton country, I think it behooves me to teach how to spin cotton from the local farms.
There are no spinning wheels at the Art center so I will be instructing with various types of spindles.  Most will be homemade of course.  I did indeed purchase the longest one.  It was my very first spindle and it is a Navajo spindle.
I will be making a few more with some stone whorls - the flat part.  My friend KraftyMax is sending me some semi precious pieces just for that purpose.  Can't wait to see them and to show them to you as well.  For now, these are the ones I will be working with.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

First class - beginner spin class!

Well as fate would have it I didn't have any students tonight.  But alot of great things happened anyway.

I worked for 4 hours on my 'weaving room'.  Cleaning, organizing, more cleaning.  I also found out that the Quilt show that is coming is HUGE!  OF COURSE these are fiber people, so I need to be READY.  This is the largest they have had here and they even have a baby Grand piano set up for the Grand opening!  This will be on Thursday, and guess what - I actually have a student that night.  Only one, but we must crawl before we run.  Besides that means that this woman will have my undivided attention for her class.  Then we will mingle around into the Quilt show.

I also found out that one of the other instructors wants to take my class also.  SOOOOO... 2 students at this point.  KEWL.

I was asked to revamp my weavings that are there hanging outside my room into a larger, showier display.  So I am off to do just that tomorrow.  Hopefully this will also bring me more students.

At this point I am sore and sleepy...with lots of fiber 'stuff' in my head.  Stay tuned my lovely artsy fartsies, same bat time, same bat channel.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

More new weavings! On a BACKSTRAP loom!

These are my first puny attempts at warp face fabric that turned out reasonably nice.  They were done on a BACKSTRAP loom, much as primitive cultures have done for hundreds and hundreds of years.  The fabric that this kind of loom creates is called warpfaced.  This means that all you actually see is the up and down threads.  (The warps for those who don't weave.) 

Usually I do weftfaced fabric, (only the horizontal threads show) called tapestry.  Most of the clothing we wear is called a blance weave.  Meaning you see warp and weft and it has more drape than either of the other two, at least most of the time.  Weftface / tapestry weave is even what is referred to as a 'boardy' fabric.  This means it is somewhat stiff.  Some are VERY stiff.  Often it depends on the yarns thickness or fineness as to how much drape the end product will have. 

One of the reasons I have pushed myself to learn is type of weaving, is that the loom is simply made up of sticks, and a strap that lashes around your body low on your hips.  You can actually create one for NO MONEY! I have even seem them made from tree limbs.  I really feel as though when most people think about weaving they thing 'Large floor loom', BIG money, complicated machinery.  Not many people realize that even the simplest loom and keep the happy and challenged for many years for basically no money.

I was lucky, when I was introduced to weaving, my friend KraftyMax loaned me a state of the art loom.  It was indeed a bead loom.  I found that for myself, I prefer needle and thread bead weaving to loom bead weaving and one day warped it up with yarn.  I was hooked from that day on! 

When the nice fancy loom had to be returned I started reading up on the subject of Tapestry weaving,  You see the fancy loaner loom was a 'Mirrix' Tapestry loom, on the expensive side really.  I discovered that I really liked the way the Navajo Indians wove and kind of figured that if a Navajo can find a way to do this for hundreds of years with just what they could find in the desert, I should certainly be able to do it with the help of the local hardware store. 

Believe me I went through a LOT of wood until I got my loom the way I wanted it.  Drove the guys at my local Home Depot store crazy too.  But eventually I had a PERFECT free standing loom that was a cross between a traditional Navajo loom and a Mirrix loom.  I eventually even came up with a design for a tensioning device.  But I digress.

The point is that if I can find ways to weave for minimal money, my students can be taught to do the same.  Thus passing on this ancient art form.

I have determined though, that backstrap weaving is too hard on my body due to a bad fall a few years back.  After many sleepless nights I have even found a way to do warpface fabric on my tapestry loom.  This loom is predisposed to do weftface fabric so I really had to do alot of thinking and re-thinking to figure out a technique to make my loom conducive to this type of weaving.  After much research, and a very sore back after weaving on the backstrap loom all day, last night I finally had success warping up the tapestry loom for warpface weaving. 

Below you will see the blue and green bands that came off of the backstrap loom, they are complete, it somewhat simplicstic.  Then you will see pictures of my tapestry loom with a piece on it that is indeed warpface.  I am even going to try some supplementary warp patterns on this piece.  It works kind of like inlay or brocade if you are familiar with these terms.

I have had tremendous help along the way from a lady who writes wonderful tutorials!  Her name is Laverne Waddington and she has a blog and is active in Weavolution and Weavezine.  I have no books of my own on backstrap weaving, so EVERYTHING I have learned about it came from this gifted weaver and the sites that we both participate in.  Thank you Laverne.

I hope in some way I have inspired, or a least educated you a little to the fiber art of weaving.  Watch for information on spindle spinning coming soon as well. I built my spindles also and even have an idea for a much prettier one.  Stay tuned!

Here are the pictures I promised.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Class starts tonight at 6:30!

Tonight I start my 1st class.  Beginner spindle spinning.  Wonder if I have any students?

I will be going in early and working in my class room...sorting, cleaning and prepping.

I even got out my spinning wheel...can't quite seem to get the hang of it again, even though the spindle spinning came back to me reasonably easily...

Went through my stash and have lots of fibers.  Most of them raw and unprocessed.  Wool, angora rabbit, llama, dog hair ( Lacy's of course), lamb's wool, raw cotton,....

My friend KraftyMax is even sending me new semi-precious gemstone donut pieces so I can make myself some new aesthetically pleasing small spindles.  This will also help encourage my students to make their own.  We all know I believe in making your art more economical.  There are even Cotton fields here and I am definitely going to encourage cotton spinning.  The one time I went to a Cotton gin I actually came home with a trunk load of  "free" cotton.  This is what I will be using for my students.  We will even experiment with dyeing some of it!!!  Should be loads of fun.  Now all I need is those students!!!

Wish me luck and I will keep you posted.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

What not to do!

Where to start...

Yesterday I  got up around 8:30 or so and immediately sat down to my loom.

As most of you who follow me know, I am about to embark on a new adventure...Instructing weaving workshops at the local Art Center.  My goal in this is not solely to make money.  It is also to get involved in the local art community, to meet new people and to expand my own artistic abilities.  Along with these goals I have developed a philosophy, a mission statement if you will.  That mission is to make people that I come in contact with aware that the fiber arts can be as "INEXPENSIVE OR EXPENSIVE, ELABORATE OR SIMPLE, LARGE OR SMALL, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME BEING VERY INDIVIDUAL AND LIMITLESS IN YOUR EXPRESSIONS AND EXPECTATIONS!"  Knowing this you probably also know that I have been killing myself morning, noon and night with my weaving.  Up till 2:30 AGAIN last night weaving.

I decided that the more weave structures and low cost  loom techniques I knew the more I could offer to my students.  Then with this thought in mind decided to try (again) my pot holder loom which mostly produces even weave, the backstrap loom which produces mostly warpface weave and is only made up of a few sticks...and so on.  AND AS A RESULT I HAVE BEEN MISERABLE.

I don't know why I get these wild hairs and jump in headlong to things to expand my horizons.  I don't know why I can't just be secure in the knowledge that I AM INDEED AN ACCOMPLISHED FIBER ARTIST IN MY OWN RIGHT, and that just because my strength lies in tapestry/weftface weave it is not somehow a short-coming.  That I am not somehow lacking because this is my comfort zone and that I could experiment for the rest of my life with this technique and never ever be bored, and further more continue to be challenged.  I don't know why it bothers me that I don't/can't do pictorial tapestry.  (It simply bores me to tears.)   Or why I can't be happy in that my strength lies in my designs, which are all my own and have been shaped through the need to make what I have on hand into something beautiful and functional, very much as our ancestors had to do in times when you couldn't just run down to the local art store and buy fancy yarns and equipment.

There are many people who need or want the structure of a pre-determined pattern or design.  I am glad for them if this is what satisfies their inner artist, I simply am not one of them.  WHY do I perceive this as a fault?  Alot of people sit down and draw a patter/design, choose their colors and then go buy the materials needed to complete the project.  I AM NOT ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE.  I go into the attic, where my stash of supplies are located, and pick something or other that suits my fancy, then another, and another.  Then I go back to my loom and create, MOST of the time I have no idea when I start what the end product will be, say a rug, or a handbag, or a dresser scarf.  It is always a surprise and all I can think in that moment of completion is....WOW there really is a higher power, because I certainly could not have done that all on my own.  Why can't I just be happy with that?  Live with the fact that this is sheer talent in and of itself?  Why do I feel limited by the fact that I just can't figure out some of these other weaves?  Maybe I could with proper instruction, I tell myself. I certainly am not a stupid woman.  But the questions remains, would I be as satisfied with the process...or just happy with the end result.

Clearly you can tell from this that in my little 3 hrs in bed last night all I could do was lay there and think about how this damned warpfaced weaving is frustrating and pissing me off.  How my back was killing me and my hands were so swollen I couldn't even grasp the doorknob with one hand to go to the ladies room in the night, I had to use both hands.  Yes the warp float, pick up and supplementary weft techniques all defeated me in my endeavors to learn fancy warpface weaving.  I got the basics, did a couple of reasonably nice bands and then fell flat on my face.  I DID NOT ENJOY MYSELF!  AS A MATTER OF FACT I WAS MISERABLE.   BUT I CAN  pass on the simple basics and the resources needed for others to achieve their goals if that is what they want/need.  So I guess I did learn a few things, it was a large learning curve and I have released myself from the stress and pressure of it.

Today I go back to my comfort zone, what I am really good at, what pleases me and gives me a great satisfaction as an artist.  My tapestry/weftface weaving.

All of the pressure to be prepared to instruct on top of the pressure to produce, produce and produce for the site where I try to sell my wares has taken EVERY BIT OF THE FUN OUT OF IT.

Today I weave for the FUN of it.  I put away the other tools of the trade, where I don't have to look at them... or my shortcomings.  Today I make myself feel good about my art again.  I give that gift back to myself.  I hope this is not a disappointment to any of you, because it just simply feels right to me.  No pressure, just the pleasure of creating.

I hope that if you are reading this you come away with some wisdom from it.  Know yourself, your limits and your WONDERFUL TALENTS AND INDIVIDUALITY.  This is what makes YOU the artist that YOU are!  All art is good and all art is subjective.  Don't be as hard on yourself as I have been of late.  Have fun with it.  Don't let it become a chore or a stress-er.

And kick me in the A-- when you see or hear me doing it again.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend and I will be talking to you again soon.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Business Card Holder Complete!

So here is the weaving for the business card holder fresh off the loom!
The fabric strips were already cut and from start to finish I think it only took me about 8 hrs.start to complete.  Keep in mind that the cards I created were printed 4 to a page which means they are 4 1/4 in by 5 1/2 in.  Also the ones for my workshops is done in shades of purples and pinks.  Keep scrolling down and you will also see the completed holder.

And here it is complete.  Basically it's a large pouch.  The cards just slide into it and I tie the braids to keep it shut.  It's a perfect fit.

It is going to suit my needs perfectly!  Now every time I reach for a card I will also be showing off a small weaving!

Homemade cards and a homemade tapestry pouch to keep them in!  Nothing fancy, but I like the point that it makes!