Beaded Kumihimo Necklace

This is a commission I recently completed. One of the services I offer is to complete craft projects. I can do a great many techniques and this one happens to be 8 strand beaded kumihimo in 4 colors. The client sent all the materials and the partially started necklace with the pendant shown. She still has the findings for the clasp. It’s a very nice technique that gives quite a colorful result here. If you have a kit you would like to see completed but don’t want to do the work yourself, send me an email at martelvonc@yahoo.com and we can work together to make this happen for you.

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LOOK OUT! Project coming through!

I tend to go through serious creative swings. I go for a few weeks and nothing new is produced then all of sudden for two weeks straight I make ALL THE THINGS. It’s good for UFO basket as I try to channel these bursts of energy into things that are only 1/2 done. I feel better afterwards, kind of like the end of a scary ride or a big test.

I’m not sure how I came to be like this but it is what it is in my creative life now. I go with the flow. Unfortunately it would be more helpful if I could keep myself on track long enough to get things done AHEAD. I meet deadlines in an appropriate manner but only in a rush. I assure you this is not the way to do things. This kind of careening about from project to project seems to suck my fresh ideas out of my head.

Be kind to your artistic self. Slow down and enjoy the process. Your work will benefit from the freedom.

 

 

 

Creamsicle Scarf Yarn: But That’s Not For Weaving! Is it?

I’m asked pretty regularly –  “What kind of yarn do you like to weave with?”

I reply “It depends on the project”. If the project is a custom commission I will offer my advice for suggested weights, fibers etc. but for the most part I will weave with what ever the client wants. When I weave for my shop I like to try new yarns all the time.  So a lot goes into deciding what type of yarn I’m going to use:

What will the project be used for?

What colors does the client want?

What does the client prefer in garment care?

Does the client have any sensitivities to certain fibers?

What is the client’s project budget?

When weaving for yourself though, you shouldn’t let tradition hold you back from being creative in your weaving. You can use cut up grocery bags, or cut up colored t-shirts, try knitting yarn or traditional weaving yarn. Try sewing thread for warp!  If it looks good, weave with it!

This scarf I made for my daughter, with yarn she purchased, is hand dyed orange & creme variegated superwash wool sock yarn as the warp and a creme wool of the same weight for the weft.

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Practice Makes Perfect.

I have come to weaving late in life. Currently I am sneaking up on 57 years old this June and started seriously weaving a little over 3 years ago. It should be known I did have a leg up by being no stranger to working with fiber and textiles.  Some of the crafts I do are knitting, crochet, embroidery, needlepoint, kumihimo, and sewing. String has been a big part of my life since I was a teenager. Weaving was new to me.

Weaving is a craft that anyone can start at anytime, at any age. Your success depends on the amount of time you are willing to dedicate to it. There is no right or wrong amount of time. What you choose depends on what you want to get out of the weaving.  Are you doing it for fun? Are you doing it for a purpose? Gifts? Personal use? Or, do you wish to try to make a living or pocket money from the sale of the items you make? What your motivation is to produce textiles is your own.

I myself like to make things with my hands. I like to try new techniques, learn new things, and to work with color and texture. Fiber arts has allowed me access to a whole world of design. At some point  there comes a time when you realize there are only so many yards of fabric you can use yourself. You begin to think “I wonder if I someone else would like my work?”. That is when the game changes from being loose and free with quality, and trying to make the best product of the highest quality you can. Higher quality demands higher prices and brings a different audience to your table.

To achieve an increase in your quality and skills you start to read books, take classes, and attend juried craft shows to see how others are doing what you do. You then come home, sit behind your loom, and practice, practice, practice.  Little by little your tension is better, your edges are neater, your width is consistent, and someone says “Hey! Can I buy that?”.  The feeling that your work is appreciated and wanted encourages you to move on.  In the end you find the old adage IS true that “Practice Makes Perfect”.

 

 

Inkle Weaving, Not just for Hippies Anymore.

I got to thinking about inkle weaving. It’s a thing from my childhood in garish colors that decorated all sorts of “cool” people and their clothes. Now a days inkle weaving is back as a great gateway to the world of weaving. Easy to learn and most any yarn or string can me used.  As all things from the time period we have better materials than the 60’s and a new modern appreciation of colors schemes and patterns. There is even a great pattern generator online here at The Carolingian Realm. You can make your own but there are a world of weavers like me who will do the work for you. Great colors that can match any need you have. Check out my gallery above and drop me a line or visit my Etsy Shop.DSC_0001 DSC_0010 12418031_10207387985532143_3647196019444834061_n 12243416_10206994663859347_4984300274305057740_nDSC_0008

Sometimes it’s Just as Good as Magic.

As a fiber artist I have many tools in my collection for sewing, weaving, knitting, crocheting and spinning. One of the niftiest tools is the fringe twister. It allows you twist sections of warp into spirals that twist on to themselves and form decorative ropes. It’s the same technique used to make any type of rope large and small. No matter how many times I do it, it always seems like a small bit of magic.

100% wool belt, 92″ long, $30 in my Etsy shop.

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How to Make a Homemade Niddy Noddy.

When you are a weaver and fiber arts person the tools can add up pretty quickly. Many are very expensive. It’s nice to find a solution for one tool that is inexpensive and easy to make yourself.

This tool is a Niddy Noddy. It’s a rather strange looking offset bar tool to collect yarn that has just been spun into hanks. Once the yarn is in hanks it can be wound into balls by putting the hanks on a swift and then winding it into balls using a hand crank ball winder.

I reclaim yarn from sweaters for weaving, knitting and crocheting. While I unravel the yarn from the garment using a ball winder, I then wind the balls onto a niddy noddy so that I can wash the yarn to straighten it to get the manufacturing kinks out.

If want to make one for yourself visit “AllFreeKnitting.com” for the instructions –

Homemade Niddy Noddy directions

These can be made into a variety of lengths depending on the size of hank you wish to make. The only change I would make is to LEAVE THE CAP OFF OF ONE of the posts so that you can slip the hank off of the NN. The cost making one is about $7.00 though your price may vary depending on where you get your PVC pipe and connectors.

 

What are we doing today Brain? Taking over the color world!

People ask me where I get the ideas for my designs?

As a fiber and textile artist I am constantly looking around me for ideas in the things, colors, shapes, trends that can inspire me. There is no one place I go to for ideas. Everything I see is an opportunity for a new color pallet to recreate in my work.

One way I work through ideas is to cut out images and tape them to a sheet of note book paper. This isolates the image so that I pick out the colors, shapes, and designs on graph paper with colored pencils. Another way is to pull yarn from my collection and wind it around a ruler to see the colors side by side in simple striped patterns. Very rarely is it random or thrown together. Any way that sparks your imagination is one that is good.

I also purchase yarn & fiber color cards from the big mail order houses like Halcyon Yarns or The Woolery. A color card has a sample piece of every color in a particular yarn’s line. It lets me see exactly what a yarn will looks like in my hand. When you don’t live near to a large fiber store color cards let you see it all so that you can choose and not guess.

Inspiration is all around if we only open our eyes and be receptive to the possibilities.

Some links: You can also search for “Weaving Yarn” for a shop local to you.

Halcyon Yarns

The Woolery

2016 It’s a new Year!

Thank you for all your support in 2015. I have new items in my shop and my studio is busy. Stop by to see what’s new or Let me make something custom for you!