Friday, January 8, 2021

Cheat-Warping (Tying on to old warp)

 I decided to make my next weaving the same width as the Leaf Me Alone (full sized) weaving which allows me to tie the new warp directly on to my previous one. I call this cheat-warping because I'm skipping the entire process of re-dressing my loom and pulling each warp thread through the heddles and reed. It still takes a while to put on, the above time-lapse video is about 3.5 hours of tying on each new thread to the old one on one of my 2 warps.  I'm not doing a video for the second warp, I keep setting it down to go do something else or picking at it during a Zoom meeting. Sitting for this long can be hard, there's some getting up, stretching, getting more coffee while I watch House on my tablet (which is why I keep staring at my loom's castle, my tablet is folded over it at about eye level).

Holding my cross.... 319 ends on this grey warp

30 ends of color pops per warp

I first tie on the larger bunch of warp threads and then the smaller warp bunches of spots of color.

Everything tied on and ready to pull through

Knots pulled through the reed.

Clark stalking the hanging ends of my warp.

All tied on!

This weaving (both warps) has 698 ends of warp. I used to think that's a lot, but it's mostly just the time. I've gotten really good at untangling thread over the years. I'm also using floater warps that you can see on the left and right of the main warp (2 threads). I'm hoping to get better at selvedges eventually.  :)

Sunday, January 3, 2021

2020: Quiet, Busy and Full of Good Changes

(Clark and his favorite window yesterday morning)

2020 was a dumpster fire for a lot of people, I'm grateful every day that this year allowed me to go with the flow and the flow has guided me in the direction I needed to go. I just re-read my 2019 recap and I continue to have a similar feeling of hope, gratitude and forward movement. 

I had a conference booked that I was speaking at and it's cancellation was a nice break, Convergence has been moved to 2022. Being the speaker for the Kalamazoo Guild was moved back to 2021 and on to Zoom.  I've had plenty of advanced notice for my 2 seminars with the Michigan League of Handweavers that we are doing a virtual conference this year, so 2 more Zoom seminars this summer. 

I had a job that I liked but I wasn't getting enough hours. When it closed on March 17th I applied to Home Depot that evening. Talbots was only supposed to be closed for 2 weeks but no one truly knew what would happen and I figured THD would be a good temporary job. It's difficult to get in a groove working from home (artworking for me) full time then getting sent back to work and re-adjusting so I just wanted to keep that momentum of having a day job. Instead THD hired me in full time with benefits under a specialist position. It's been fun learning all about doors, windows, moulding. Being around builders inspired me to finally fix my garage roof myself, which is almost done but 95% better than it was before I started!

I was not going to make masks when this pandemic started in March, I didn't want to get sucked in or stuck making them out of guilt. When I did finally make my first few masks, I figured out what my base cost and pattern was that I'd be willing to make masks for who knows how long. Over 350 masks later...I'm still picking away at making some and it helped pay off my last credit card debt (debt free, whoo hoo!)

I didn't know I'd ever sew this much in my life. I'm thankful to have 2 machines and know how to take care of them to keep them going almost daily for 10 months! Getting back into sewing has led me to making some things for us around the house: pillow covers, a lunch bag of my own design, gobs of masks and Nightmare Before Christmas pants.

Knitting! Knitting has always been a comfort thing to keep my hand busy. I've been knitting since elementary school and I always wanted to keep my knitting simple so I never taught myself color change outside of stripes. I decided to buck up and do checkers in a hat to see if I liked color work. With all the knitting I've been doing, color changing came much easier for me than I expected. I guess I can look forward to some more interesting designs in my future. 

I didn't know that I needed it but this year I've taken a break from jewelry-making, or being worried about making jewelry to sell and send to galleries. Since I no longer work in clothing sales, my jewelry-wearing needs have changed completely. I'm no longer wanting new pieces that match curent color trends and outfits. The Evil Eye Earring and Bangle Set (and it's fancy version) was the last big inspired beading I've done.  I like big earrings to go with masks but bangles and necklaces do not bode well moving doors around.  I just moved the beads I keep for jewelry making in the living room back to the studio and out of the way. I can now work on beading leaves for the front panel of the large Leaf Me Alone weaving. I'll make jewelry again...when I feel like it. It always comes back and I have plenty of stock pieces to move and sell.

Like at the beginning of last year I just got a new warp on my loom for 2021. Last year's weaving isn't finished for hanging just yet (and has a second panel I have to work on) but I have a need to always have something going on my loom so I am able to weave whenever I feel like it (usually at around 6 AM/first thing in the morning with my coffee).

As with last year, I am so very thankful for Bryan, he's the best person for me to hunker down for months on end. We've binge watched tons of TV, ordered in from our favorite local resteraunts and made a lot of food too. I'm so thankful that I have someone in my life that is easy to be with, understands my need for space, is kind and respectful and... just gets me (and the cats).

(Christmas Eve no-makeup couch photo)

(Bryan and Liois snuggling)

(Morgan touching the knitting)

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Bryan's Christmas Pants 2020

I spent a lot of time at fabric stores purchasing mask fabric this year.  Every time I had to actually go in to JoAnn's I noticed this Nightmare Before Christmas fuzzy fleece fabric.  I'm not usually a fan of this thick polyester stuff but I just kept thinking about what I could make for Bryan out of this fabric. I eventually realized that his comfy Storm Trooper pants were a little worse for wear and he could probably use another pair of fleece pants for around the house...this is the perfect project for that fabric! 

I picked up this pajama pant pattern from Seams Fabric called the Eastwood Pajamas by Thread Theory.  They have 3 options varying in difficulty for these pants, of course, I did the most complicated pattern knowing that I would learn something about garment making along the way. Bryan is really tall and pants are a hard fit for him, especially in a tall and skinny fit. While making these I added 3 inches to the length of the leg in this pattern so they wouldn't be waders like his other ones.

I usually think I know more than I do when I start making a piece of clothing. I read through the directions a number of times, looked for some videos online, tried to visually prep myself.

All the parts of the fly were really confusing to me.  I know that I need to follow the pattern line by line and that it'll eventually make {more} sense than if I was to try to do it without a pattern. I cut all the pieces I needed but I still wanted a better visual.  Thankfully Thread Theory has a blog and posts their pattern details. This particular post was SO helpful in making these pants:

Now since I was using much heavier fabric than the pattern calls for I had already decided not to create a button-fly, just one where the fly would open/be useful.  It still didn't make sense with all of the pieces but I pushed forward. I turns out I could do one less layer of fabric since I didn't need to hide a button in the fly, which is good because the fabric thickness was building up fast. 

(The really important thing on the above step was to stitch the rectangle panel only to the right edge of the inside hem, not through all the layers because that would close up the fly)

Pinning fly for top-stitching 


I was not going to put in the extra work into making the tie out of the same fabric. After looking at grosgrain ribbon options and other ideas I ultimately decided using the current fabric would be the best thing. I cut a 2-inch wide strip and folded it in on itself, pinned it and zigzag stitched it.

Button-hole stithced around the tie-holes

I still need to finish the bottom hem of the pants but I think they're a hit.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Winding Warp #2 for "Is There a Thing to Which Brings Us Less Joy Yet We Devote More Time"

I figure I'll try to video most of this weaving process in time lapse, just for fun.  Here's another 2+ hours of warp winding. I remember to stop and do some stretchs this time. I do not remember to count at the end of winding the grey so there's some backing up and re-winding on to the ball of thread. 

 The colors for this second warp are grey with pops of citrus colors. There's more information on the first warp winding post for this weaving HERE

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Winding Warp #1 for "Is There a Thing to Which Brings Us Less Joy Yet We Devote More Time"


This piece is probably 2 or more years in to the thought/design process. These start by floating around in my head and in sketchbooks before I finally getting around to drafting the design, printing/taping it and choosing colors to then starting to wind the warp.  2020 seems to be a good time for the culmination of this piece as we have become more dependant than ever on keeping in touch through Zoom, social media and having a general dependance on the internet; yet it also becomes the thing that can mess with our psyche the most.

As far as color I wanted to go dark on this piece, I even thought about black on black but I'm not up for driving myself crazy while weaving in 2021. I decided on a black warp and a grey warp. I also have to admit to myself that there are some little, occasional, bursts on positive things that happen over social media so I picked a few colors to put into each warp.  Just one strand every 10 or so ends. 

The above time lapse video is 2 hours into 3 minutes.  I'm winding the first warp and the strands of color that will go into this warp. You can also tell when I'm counting warp threads that I'm watching TV (Blacklist, so good).  Even with a warping wheel winding the warp is a tedious process. 

I made a small sample wrap to get a color idea before I started winding this warp.  I rarely do this, but I'm not used to working in black and grey with little other color.  The sample shows the color coming in every 7th warp but I decided I want them more spaced-out so it's about double the amount of black between the strands.

Once I have 3-4 solid hours I'll get the next warp wound. 

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Design Process: Putting Together My Cartoon


This is my very first time lapse video! So bear with me as it's not the most flattering view, but it's about an hour of work sped up 30x showing how I put together the cartoon for my next weaving. 

I started by designing this in Photoshop.  Once I have the file layers merged and resized to the width of my warp I'm ready to print.  I could take the file over to Staples and have them print it out on one big sheet, but I've found that cutting and taping the cartoon together helps me get to know what's going on with the image that I'll be looking at under my warp. I can also make any alterations to the design at home on the spot. 

So I guess here's a sneak peek of the design for my next piece.  I have not finished the large Leaf Me Alone piece yet, I needed a break from it, along with a change of color. 

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Angle Color Block Bangle and Earrings

I was quarantined at home last week after spiking a fever and having to get the COVID-19 nose-swab. While I waited to get my results back to get back to work (they were negative) I had some time to flush out this bangle pattern.  I had pulled the brown and white beads aside months ago but I kept having mask orders come in so the beads and the idea were set aside. Between naps and watching all of the Star Wars movies in a row I got this bangle and earring set completed.

It's not perfect, the one end doesn’t quite line up like it should but I wore it one day and never noticed so it's not a huge bother.  This design translated to earrings easily and I am really happy with the set. 

I had decided I didn't want the earrings to be too ridiculously long. So I created the first pair without the brown bottom block.  My curiosity got the best of me and I decided to make a long version too. It turns out that I like the longer version so much that I'm keeping it in my at-home stock so I can wear them whenever I want.  The long earrings ended up being 3.25 inches from tip of earwire to the bottom of the earring. One of the reasons I'm really into long earrings right now is that they still stick out when you're wearing a mask all day. You could still see these despite my mask, beanie and pigtails at work yesterday. 

The bangle and shorter (2.75 inches) set of earrings went over to the Lansing Art Gallery today. You can shop online with the Lansing Art Gallery now and also make an appointment on their website to shop in-person. Make a shopping appointment HEREGallery online shop is HERE. I also dropped of the 70's-inspired rainbow bangle and 2 of the earrings set today. 

Me wearing the extra-long ones, getting ready for work yesterday,

Cheat-Warping (Tying on to old warp)

 I decided to make my next weaving the same width as the Leaf Me Alone (full sized) weaving which allows me to tie the new warp directly on...