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.
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.
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”.
This band was a 2 yd commission for tunic trim. I love these 3 colors together and will be using this colorway in the future. 100% cotton.
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.
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.
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.
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!
All purchases until December 24th from my Etsy Shop will get a free upgrade from First Class to Priority shipping. Do NOT choose Priority Mail as a shipping choice Etsy WILL charge you. Chose and pay for FIRST CLASS. I will do the upgrade myself. Merry Christmas!