Thursday, June 22, 2017

Carefully Chosen

My youngest granddaughter was over yesterday for her regular weaving time. This is the first warp she's worked on where the colour and all of the yarns in the warp were of her own choosing.

Considering weft choices.

She chose the yarns last week and was a little disappointed that she wouldn't get to weave with them right away. I told her I still had to wind the warp and get it onto the loom. It was all ready to go when she arrived yesterday. 

She's also weaving pink, just like Grandma.

I think she's really enjoying working with a warp full of colour and texture, rather than the plain black prewound she's been using so far, though she's finding that having pompom yarn in the warp is a little troublesome.

It just so happens that her warp is pink, just like the weaving I just finished! We even used some of the same yarns.

The yardage below is my Dogwood  Blossom weaving, now off the loom and ready for its wet finishing.

Off the loom and ready for finishing.

I plumped up the fringe ends by adding in extra yarn before twisting them.

Plumped up the fringe.




Monday, June 19, 2017

Moving Along

This project is moving along at a good pace considering how busy I've been with other commitments!

First 36 rows.

The first 36 rows are complete, and with the yarn being an aran weight a few rows adds up quite quickly. I'm already finished the neckline shaping.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Off On Another Tangent

Never a dull moment around here. I have strong interest in SO many different fibre arts that even if I only occasionally touch on some of my many hobbies I am kept very, very busy. The Crafting Muse has been pushing me in the direction of knitting lately. Haven't done that in a while, especially not at "human scale" as apposed to doll scale.

Swatching and designing.

I've been trying out different needle sizes and stitch patterns in preparation for knitting my youngest granddaughter a cardigan type sweater. I'll knit it big so that it will fit for back-to-school in September. I have to start early since the older granddaughter will want one too.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Where To Store Nine Snowflakes?

I managed to re-tat those snowflakes, so now I have nine nearly perfect ones ready to give away next Christmas. The original ones weren't stiff enough so I re-blocked the whole batch.


Now I have to decide where to store them safely until it's time to send them out. It's not so much the problem of finding a place, but finding one that I will remember come December!

Friday, June 09, 2017

Love That Internet

I have a love/hate relationship with the Internet. Sometimes it seems to be the biggest time thief ever, hours from one's day missing and little to show for it. Let's face it, none of us are getting any younger! Knowing that, I like to make every moment count, and time spent chasing useless Facebook side links is not what I want to see when I look back on the moments of my life!



On the other hand, the Internet can be a wonderful, handy, economical teacher, accessible at any hour of any day, and right when you need it. For instance, when I decided to use circles as design elements on the back of my denim Boro/Sashiko vest, I realized I had barely any experience with applique, and no experience at all with how to get a really nice, smooth edge on a circular applique. 

Enter the Internet wonder world of YouTube instructional videos. Pretty much anything you want to learn can be found on YouTube videos. Not just one instructor or method, but many to choose from. I watched several and finally decided that the one I've embedded here would be the one I used. It seemed to be just the right fit for me. It appealed to the perfectionist in me and yet skipped the tedious hand gathering stitches of some of the other methods.


The loose pile of circles pictured above was a photo taken several days ago. I've now selected the ones I'm going to use, have appliqued them to the centre back panel, and I'm well on my way to stitching the background in a Sashiko inspired manner. More photos of that when that section is complete.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

When Shopping Fails

Sometimes when you can't find what you want in stores you just have to resort to making it yourself. I've looked and looked for tunic length tops which are long enough to cover my butt when I wear leggings. It amazes me that leggings are so popular and yet it's still hard to find long tops to wear with them!


So I took matters into my own hands, and with the help of an excellent pattern, "#3245 Raglan Tee, Racerback Tank and Tunics, by Jalie", I created the sleeveless tunic I was looking for. I made one in solid red as well. I think both turned out great! I love Jalie's method for binding the neckline and armholes. It turns out looking so professional.


The purchase of a single Jalie pattern gives you multiple sizes. In this particular case it provides sizes from 12 month baby all the way up to size 52 ladies. I couldn't resist buying fabric and make a couple up for my granddaughters as well.


Though the binding takes a while , and you are working with knit fabric, the whole shirt is very simple to do. My eight year old granddaughter's was finished the same day that I bought the fabric!


It fits her very well.


I have had a few busy days since and haven't had time to sew, but my older granddaughter will be getting one too. She has requested a shirt length, rather than tunic, and a slightly higher front neckline. Hopefully I can get to that tomorrow.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Snowflakes in June

There has been a flurry of curses!

There has been cursing.

I've been tatting intricate snowflakes for what seems like ages.

I calculated that I would need eight for Christmas gifts for next year. I thought I had all eight of the snowflakes done. I washed them and got them soaked in the stiffening solution. It wasn't until I was actually pinning them out that I discovered two of them have mistakes. ONE of them might be salvageable. It's missing a picot and likely 10 double stitches in one of the outer arches. That one I might be able to fudge through enough to use on my own Christmas tree.

The other one has a mistake that is so bad that it is destined for the trash. I'll have to remake it from scratch. It is so weird that I can't figure out how I did the deformity that I see. I couldn't even really block it since there seems to be an extra chain in there AND a picot connected to the wrong place. Cutting out the mistake and retatting only that section is not an option since the starching material will prevent reworking. 

All this resulted in a few choice curse words. You can't tell me that those Victorian ladies didn't mutter a few at times.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Inspired by Boro

"Boro" is perpetual mending and patching that can extend the life of a garment indefinitely.  The technique originated in rural Japan. "Sashiko" is a form of Japanese folk embroidery that uses a basic running stitch to create a patterned background.

Collar and collar stand

Inspired by examples of boro and sashiko online, I've started a very long term boro/sashiko inspired project. Only "inspired by" because true boro was born of necessity, to extend the life of expensive cotton textiles and sashiko has rules I don't intend to follow strictly and a uniformity I am not yet able to achieve. This is just for fun and to create a comfortable, functional, and one of a kind garment for myself. 

My husband had a denim shirt hanging in his closet that was worn beyond the point of being wearable for anything other than painting and messy household chores. In fact, it has a few paint and spackle stains that I'll eventually cover with patches!


Boro shirt beginning.

I started by removing the sleeves since they were far too long for me anyway. I then used the fabric salvaged from the sleeves to fashion large, functional pockets along the lower edge of the shirt. The narrower pocket, close to the hip, is just the right size to hold my cellphone. Another just like it on the other side of the shirt will be handy for my reading glasses.

Working around the snaps of the Boro vest.

I then started in replacing the very worn areas of the collar stand and front button band with material repurposed from an old dish towel. With the addition of boro embroidery to hold the layers together and add an element of decoration, I quite like the way it looks. 

Of course covering the button bands with material also covered up the snaps, which I wanted to remain functional. It wasn't too difficult to snip tiny holes in the patching material and stretch it over the snaps, tucking the ends into a slim groove in the snap itself. Well -- it worked for both the top and the bottom of the "female" end of the snap anyway.

Working around the snaps of the Boro vest.

Uncovering the "male" portion of the snap was considerably more difficult because there was no groove to hide loose ends in. After some experimenting I ended up snipping a larger hole, turning the ends under, and stitching all around with a blanket stitch. Not as neat, but at least functional. That side won't be visible when the vest is worn anyway.

Working around the snaps of the Boro vest.

You'll be hearing more about this project in the weeks, months, and perhaps years to come. Once I get the initial patching and embroidery done I'll be wearing this vest a lot, perhaps only in the house, but maybe for walking the dog or camping as well. As the vest gets worn out further I'll just keep patching it!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Wha? I thought I - - -

Pardon the confusion. I thought I had already posted an update on this. I guess it was just one of those posts I had taken photos for, thought about, but never actually wrote? The vest I posted about nearly two weeks ago now has a button.

Saori Vest, buttoned

I like it better this way. It bothers me when vest/coat/cardigan edges flop about when I'm walking. Having it buttoned also gives the vest more shape.


Button and button hole

So here's the buttonhole. I ended up ironing fusible interfacing to the backside of the fabric and then I made a machine sewn, corded buttonhole. Against the busy handwoven fabric it seemed to need more ompf so I decided to create a tatted piece to go around it. That looked too much like a second thought so, using the same cotton weaving thread I used in the tatting, I hand embroidered buttonhole stitch over the opening and the tatted edging.

Buttoned

Saori Vest, buttoned

I've really been on a roll with various forms of fibre art these past few weeks. Of course that also means I've spent less time online, which in turn results in less participation on forums and nothing in the way of blog posts. 

Saori Vest, buttoned

I have plenty of blog fodder. I hope to get at least a few posts up in the next few days. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Unusual Construction

I took that weaving I wasn't too happy with and made a vest I actually like!


It's unusual construction started with some notes posted by Sally Gray, a fellow Saori weaver  on a Raverly forum.


My handwoven fabric wasn't of the same dimensions as hers so I had to tweak the idea to work with what I had available.


The fit is good and the vest is very comfortable to wear.


I'll be shopping for a large focal button to close the front though, as I think it will look better that way.


 

Friday, May 12, 2017

So Pleased!

It's so nice when a product ordered online far exceeds your expectations! 

Beautiful little bag!

That's the case with the beautiful drawstring bag I received today from jarck101 on Etsy. 

Beautiful little bag!

The bag is marketed as a travelling jewelry case, but I intend to use it for my tatting supplies when I'm on the go.

Beautiful little bag!

The shop owner, Lisa, did an outstanding job of sewing up this wonderful keepsake in luxurious, quality materials. It is a real treasure.

I'm not affiliated with the shop in anyway, nor do I receive any kickback if you click on the links. I've only provided the links for your convenience. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Wound and Weaving

Kona had to wait a little longer for her morning walk but the Dogwood Blossom warp is on the loom.

  Dogwood Blossom

I'm liking it way more than I had anticipated.


Dogwood Blossom


In fact, it's hard to stop weaving and walk away to get other things done!


Dogwood Blossom

I'd say the colour is most accurate in this final photo.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

From Dog Warp to Dogwood

I finally got to the end of that "dog warp" that was languishing on the loom. 


And now, inspired by the pretty pink dogwood blossons on a tree in our backyard, 


I've wound a lovely new warp.


Thanks in part to a friend's donation as she destashed, I had a wonderful variety of pinks to work with! Thanks Patricia!


Saturday, May 06, 2017

A Child Pushed Me

Happy Weaver

My granddaughters were here for a brief visit today and the youngest "really, really" wanted to weave. I went in with her, as I always do, and she sat at "The Pickle Loom" and I sat at mine. Her companionship was just the push I needed to get moving on a "dog warp" that I have for some reason felt less inspired by.

A child pushed me --

I'm not exactly sure why the warp has been repelling me. I like the colours -- at least individually. I think the problem may be that I just don't like the way they are presenting together in the warp. I find the individual strands of bright yellow to be jarring, disruptive, out of harmony in some way. It's too much of a contrast and the spacing breaks the weaving up into small bits. Whatever! It's finished and I can now move on to something I find more inspiring. 

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Walked the Soles Off

I had to go out to buy a new pair of "Clarks Wave Walks" today. The old pair, my second, was shot.



I walk a lot, 1.5 to 2 hours most days. Today was almost 6 miles. All that walking really wears out a pair of shoes! The ones on the right are now in the trash, the heels showing so much wear that my gait, and feet, were suffering. Still, they have served me well and I have no hesitation paying the price for a new pair.

Wave Walks are great for walking in all kinds of weather. They are waterproof , and that's important when you follow your dog, rain or shine, through dew covered grass, puddles, and the occasional muddy patch. My shoes have often gotten very wet on the outside, but I have never had wet feet while wearing them -- ever.

I'm not affiliated in any way, nor do I get any compensation for this review-of-sorts or if you click on the link I provided. I'm just a happy customer. The link is only there for your convenience.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Practice Makes -- Improvement

I finally found a "folded join" tatting tutorial that I could understand and achieve success with. I've practiced and practiced, 6 whole little motifs in fact, and I feel reasonably confident. I still sometimes struggle, but I'm improving.


I'll test out my newly found skill by trying another small motif of a different style and shape before I return to the Snowflake Georginia that I was having so much trouble with.

The folding join tutorial is from Jon Yusoff's blog, "Tat-a-Renda".

The little bookmark is a line of six joined Jasmine Motifs from page 57 of "New Tatting" by Tomoko Morimoto. I'd link to Amazon but whenever I try it links to my actual account. Anyone know of a workaround to avoid that?

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Further Instruction Needed

I've been working on a tatted snowflake. All was going reasonably well, right up until the end. I then encountered a couple of tricky joins that had me backtracking and retrying, repeatedly, and perhaps shredding my thread to the point of no return.


Those two yellow pin heads are at the locations that need to be joined. I'm now in the process of asking on various tatting forums for help. Are you surprised that there are several? I've been pointed in the direction of several YouTube video tutorials that should be helpful. Not as helpful as having a real life instructor sitting down with me to take me step by step through the process, but a step in the right direction -- I hope.

Friday, April 14, 2017

That's a Fizzle!

I've been doing a bit of experimental tatting over the past few days looking for an edging to add interest and perhaps a bit of length to a cropped, handwoven top. I started by trying out this edging.

10/2 mercerized weaving cotton

It's No. 17 "Shamrock Edging" from "Tatting With Anne Orr" done in 10/2 mercerized weaving cotton. I quite like the look but it was too delicate looking and shallow for the use I had in mind. No loss though as it was only a practice piece and it will be added, along with the pattern, to my collection of edging samples.

I thought maybe if I did it in a heavier thread, this time size 10 Cebelia crochet cotton, it might be large enough to use as an edging, but no, still not the effect I was after.

Well phooey!!

I was wondering at first why my sample looked so lopsided. Looking closer I finally realized that back near the top I made one "shamrock" with only one petal! D'oh. Mistakes in tatting are much, MUCH harder to remove and take considerably more time and skill to back out of than they do in knitting or crochet so this piece is being added to the scrap heap. Oh well, best I noticed at that point anyway because it was then that I discovered that it was not really working for my intended project. 

So Gene, this "squirrel" died before I ever caught it. Not sure what squirrel I'll chase next. Maybe I'll just go soak my sorrows away in the bathtub with a (moderately) good book. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Fiddle Fingers

I give you another Ice Drop photo. It's either that or no blog post at all since my creative time has been taken up with tatting these little things lately.

Another

I'll be back to the weaving soon. Or sewing. Perhaps crochet, knitting, embroidery or spinning? I never really know where the creative muse may be headed next.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Pile of Errors

For those who have been inspired to give tatting a try, and lest you think I've had no trouble learning, I give you this:


It's the pile of scraps and pieces I've been tossing aside when I've made failures I felt I couldn't back out of. Luckily my skills at "retro-tatting", as one Craftree forum member calls it, (that's meticulously picking out mistakes), have grown and that means less and less thread is being sacrificed to the scrap heap. I'm likely making almost as many mistakes, usually the result of a moment's foolish inattention, but now I spend ages picking the errors out rather than tossing the entire piece away in frustration. 

Just thought you should know in case you're giving this a try and judging yourself harshly based on your perception of my progress. Ha!

But for all those errors I do keep persevering. Tatting is challenging, fun, and occasionally there is a worthy end product. 



Sunday, April 02, 2017

First of Many Ice Drops

Ice Drops are a fun little thing to tat!

First Completed Ice Drop

They are formed around a "gem" that you can find in hobby stores or sometimes in the area of the aquariums in a pet store.

Tatted Ice Drop

Pretty little doodads with little purpose, they are sometimes done as Christmas tree ornaments, package decorations, back pack charms and so forth.

First Completed Ice Drop

Did I mention that they are fun to tat? For that reason alone you might be seeing many more of these.