Archives for category: fibers and fabric

 “That’s a very good place to start, ” as Maria says, in the “Sound of Music” 

I started with drawings the trees in my back garden, which have beautiful colors in the early fall mornings

When weaving a design with a lot of horizontal lines or shapes, it is easier to weave the design sideways. This way the tree trunks can be woven horizontally. So in this example, my warp is displayed on the left hand  side, and the filling is vertical.

Well said, Maria.

For our upcoming tapestry weaving classes in  January 2018 at the Hirsch Wellness Center, I’m going to start at the very beginning of the process of creating a tapestry:  how to use source material or  inspirational material.  You can use drawings, photographs, illustrations. In this example,  I did drawings of my favorite trees in the back garden and selected one drawing that had the simplest blocks of color and shapes that I thought could translate into a woven tapestry.

I tend to use the drawings as a starting place and refer back to them for guidance but do not  translate the drawing exactly into a tapestry. I try to keep as my goal: simplify, simplify, simplify.

Your source material is like  using a recipe for a cake- you can follow the instructions and get a delicious cake at the end of the process, and be very satisfied with the result. Or you can throw in some of your favorite ingredients, mix them up with some new spices and see what happens.

 

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Our last tapestry session for the year is on  Friday, December 15, 2017 at  1-3pm, the Hirsch Center,  Revolution Mill, Studio 130, Greensboro.


Dara in a ‘sporty, textured’ hat which is a blend of 75% wool and 25% nylon and machine washable

Cora’s hat is a three different textured yarns knitted together, with a big mix of fibers- wool, hand woven silk, acrylic and mohair

Fiona’s hat with star shaped brim

We love this hat! Fiona picked the mint green for the top and somehow I finished knitting the hat in time for her to wear it home, that evening

Recently there’s been a bit of a struggle ( ha ha!) getting the correct sizes for the knitted hats for the various babes and children.

I really should know better- I’ve knitted loads of baby hats and all of them my own designs and until now- no problems with the sizes.

When Dara was born in August, I quickly knitted up a chunky little hat with lots of different yarns and sent it off to Scotland..

oops

Imagine my surprise when I was sent a photo of Dara’s older sister, Cora ( 2 years old) wearing the hat! And she wears it constantly, even to bed.  So it was out with the knitting needles again, this time with finer yarns and finer needles and another hat was sent off.  Cora can get this one on her head too, ( it’s a very stretchy rib) but luckily it fits Dara better!

So, quite puzzled as to how I could have got my sizes so wrong, I started another hat.  It was a small hat in blues and greens, and I was thinking of sending it to another newborn nephew, Oran.

ouch

However, my grand daughter Fiona, ( age 8 nearly 9 years old) saw the knitting ( the hat for a newborn baby) on the circular needles and tried it on her head.  It fitted around her head ! She loved it!  She liked the stretchy ribs and asked me to finish it for her so she could wear it home- that evening

no way

I think I have mentioned before that Fiona can be very persuasive. I told her that I could not possibly knit up the hat by the time she left that evening.  She very calmly went into my studio and picked out some mint green yarn that she liked and brought it to me as I picked up the needles and started to knit the body of the hat.

Ok,  I like a challenge

Seven inches later, I added the mint green and then started to decrease for the crown. We were running 5 minutes late as I stitched up the top.

This is an Oxford punch needle # 10 and officially called a rug hooking needle

My trusty punch needle that has lasted years, broke. When I sent off for a new one, I accidentally ordered the wrong size- a much smaller needle. Rather than re-ordering, I decided to go in the opposite direction by trying a bigger needle, one I had bought 3 years ago- in Colorado.

Then I discovered- my embroidery yarns are too fine for this big boy. Luckily for me, I have a rich stash of silk scarves, silk hankies and fabrics scraps, just waiting for the opportunity to be cut into strips and threaded into the punch needle.

A very different look-it has a much more fragmented image than the embroidery threads, maybe because the strips are not uniform in size, or of the same fiber composition. I’m going to see where this goes.

It all starts with a pack of adhesive foam sheets. There are many different sizes of adhesive foam sheets, I bought a small size with 65 sheets so I could play and not worry about using up all the sheets

One side of the foam sheet has a white paper sheet covering the adhesive surface. If you want, you can draw on the paper sheet, marking the foam underneath

Pull the paper backing from the adhesive sheet. You can see that the adhesive sheet I have drawn on, is yellow.

First create a border by sticking a yarn all around the edges. The adhesive is very sticky and the border helps to keep your fingers off the surface. Then  outline  your sketch with another piece of yarn

Once you have edged your outline in yarn, start to fill in the background with more yarn

Continue to fill the spaces with yarns

Add as much detail as you want

you can pull out and replace any colors and yarns if you want to make changes

Yarn drawings are very forgiving, cheap, fast and simple to create. This is the perfect use for scraps of yarns and threads, even ribbons. For me, it’s a quick way to see how different colors and textures look together and even helps me lay out simple compositions. The different colored adhesive sheets help to jump start different color combos, and because the materials are so cheap and plentiful, it encourages a more playful and adventurous approach. Try it and see! Then send me some photos of your work, I’d love to showcase them on the blog.

On Saturday, October 8, 2017,  at the Hirsch Wellness Silent Auction  my punch needle piece “First Things First” was auctioned, along with 120 other pieces of art to help raise funds for free art classes for cancer survivors and carers.  A lovely evening of great art, music, food and wine.

Way to go, Mona

A few days before the auction, at our September community fiber  drop-in class, Mona completed her first tapestry

Finally finished  my latest punch needle piece called “Open.” I’ve  always liked the idea of a secret place that was full of treasure that you could access  if  you knew the “magic words.”   Maybe we can create our own secret place with treasure and invent our own magic words, that would work, would n’t it?

Not completed in time for the show in July  2017 at the NC Craft Gallery

 

With two long pieces of pieces of wood, and four short pieces, add a couple of nails  and you have an easy tapestry stand for your tapestry loom-great for display purposes too!

We are starting drop-in monthly fiber art classes, starting on May 19, 1-3 pm, at the Historic Revolutionary Mill, suite 1250, in the Hirsch Wellness classroom 130 Revolutionary Mill Drive in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Many of our tapestry students enjoyed weaving alongside their fellow students at our personal tapestry weaving workshops, getting support, encouragement and inspiration from each other . However,we have found that once a year is a long time to wait between tapestry sessions, especially if you have any technical concerns and have no one to ask for help.

The drop-in sessions are designed to bridge the gap between the once a year tapestry workshop, to get friends together again, and to keep everyone motivated to complete projects and start new ones!

I will be available to help with tapestry weaving and knitting and tapestry looms, yarns and knitting needles are all provided by the Hirsch Wellness Network.

I love the idea of the drop-in classes ! It gives me the opportunity to meet up with everyone again, see everyone’s progress and I get to enjoy seeing some of the finished pieces!

 

 

 

blanket-cropped

Piecing it together with pins, making a rectangle of 32″ x 38″ Lots of work still ahead – it needs to be shaped, blocked , steamed and stitched

Piecing it together in my head

I had the idea of knitting a security blanket as a metaphor for American culture so I started by knitting – as an example- my own security blanket.

img_1154

detail of stripe

So as I was knitting the different sections, I was puzzled as to why I was using such a different range of colors in this knitting.  Usually I work with pure color, and never use black. And why did I start knitting with size 15 knitting needles when I have very few bulky yarns?  To create the bulky yarns needed for size 15 knitting needles, I  combined different thickness of yarns together, different colors together and different textures together which gave a much more muted palette. Black and browns, deep blues and textured black yarns made stripes of stocking stitch between ribs of blended colors. Why did I construct the pieces with stripes of stocking stitch and ribs? It was mystifying. I hung up the knitted pieces on a piece of foam core, sat down and started to look at them.

As I was looking at the thick stripes, a memory started to form in my head. The thick textured dark stripes reminded me of some winter cardigans my mother used to have hanging on the back of the bedroom doors, and in the hall, of my childhood home. We lived in a very large and cold, old house and whenever I returned home to visit my parents, one of the first things I would do on my arrival, was to look for a cardigan to wear from my mother’s extensive collection. Most of them were from thrift shops and many were for men (for my father) Mixed in with the charcoals, blacks, navy and dull green stocking stitch cardigans that my father favored, were some jumbo rib stripe cardigans knitted in muted Shetland colors for ladies. I admit that I was more attracted to the colored stripes but was more than happy to wear whatever was available in the stash, depending on how many family members were visiting at the same time. Wrapped in one of those winter cardigans, you finally knew you were home.

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