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10.27.2014

Anatomy of a Loom

Life has been speeding by!
I love working from home because I can bring my dogs to the office and play whatever music I want without bothering coworkers... but it also means that sometimes I take on too much and my office hours last all day long! After my work for Abejas everyday I work on projects for my freelance clients and then try to squeeze in weaving/family time. It hasn't been too hard to adjust to a busy schedule - it's parallel to the work/school/homework juggling that I've been used to from college - it just means that I've had to number my priorities more. Sadly all of the weaving tutorials I planned have been put on the back burner for a while. To make up for that, here's a little visual aid to remind you about the beauty of fiber art!

Anatomy of a Loom
Heddles - Allow multiple warp strings to be lifted at once. Tutorial Here.
Leashes - Attach warp strings to heddles.
Heddle Stands - Hold the heddles in place when they are lifted.
Frame Loom - Simplest loom design involving square shape with pegs to hold the warp strings at each end.
Weaving Needle - My preferred method of weaving the string. Extra long, extra thick needle.
Warp - Strings that run vertically, are attached to the loom.
Weft - Strings that run horizontally.
Tension Rainbows - Method creating 'rainbow' shapes while running the weft strings across. Maintains even tension so that the weave isn't pulled too tight.
Butterflies - An easy way to knot a length of long string to stay in place while working on a different spot of the weave.
Comb - My preferred tool to beat down the tension rainbows.
Scissors - Mandatory

10.02.2014

Weaving How to: Vertical Stripes


The more I weave the more similarities I find between ceramics and fiber art. Ceramics is a close second to my love for the loom - but I feel like I'm learning to mold a tapestry into place just as easily as sculpting clay. 
There are some weaving patterns that eluded me at first. I think we all know which ones I am talking about... the vertical stripe. 
You can't get a solid vertical stripe with a straight border and have it be connected to the weave. If you interlace the stitches the solid border disappears and you end up with a totally different look. (View a fuzzy border example here.
If you can sleep at night knowing you cheated on your weave a little bit, I will show how to achieve the perfect vertical stripe ...and have all of your friends say 'whaaaaat? how did you do that?'.
image via Urban Outfitters
I created this long, skinny design for someone very special in mind: my sister. The amazing curtain above was some major inspiration! I loved the stripes, triangles and graphic black + white color scheme. As I was sketching I kept coming back to flanking my design with two bold vertical stripes and then I would stop myself and think 'don't be crazy, you can't do that'... and then I did.
You can see the problem of creating a vertical stripe above. If you want a solid border, your stripe will end up isolating a chunk of your warp strings. Without a way to connect the stripes, your weave will separate and hang loose - it looks really sloppy if you don't do it intentionally!
The answer:
1. Finish your weave with the impossible vertical stripe design you dreamed up.
2. Grab a 2 ply piece of yarn and your needle. Working from the back of the weave (so that your stitches don't show) thread the needle through three rows on one side of the gap, and then three rows on the other side of the gap.
3. Continue closing the gap by pulling the needle tight so that the stitches are invisible and knot the end.
4. Do the same technique on the other side of the stripe.
When you turn the weave over, the stitches will be completely invisible and the impossible stripe will be attached to your weave! Like magic!
After finishing this guy, I wrapped him up quickly and hopped on a plane before I could take a good picture of him hanging up. All of the photos you see here show the back of the weave... so you'll just have to take my word that the front looks good. Love you Audra!

9.29.2014

Leather Agate Necklace DIY

A few days ago I had to go through my forgotten jewelry stash for a photoshoot. I realized that most of the necklaces I have aren't my style anymore. What's a poor girl to do? Seeing as I have accumulated a stash of jewelry supplies since I was 12 years old (thanks for indulging me all those years, mom!) I decided to make something new.
I have been spending way too much time on Etsy lately and stumbled upon the wealth of jewelry supplies section! Almost everything for this necklace was purchased on Etsy - here's the list so you can check out the shops:
Deer lace: https://www.etsy.com/transaction/221417856
Beading Thread: https://www.etsy.com/transaction/221424161
Pink Shell Beads: https://www.etsy.com/transaction/221424403
Sliced Agate Druzy: https://www.etsy.com/transaction/221429421
Cotton Yarn: As a weaver... I have too much of this lying around.
I wanted a piece that was different and could be used in layering. I have loved wrapping all sorts of jewelry in cotton yarn lately - it makes every piece feel more organic and handmade to me so I tried to incorporate this technique into the necklace.
1. String the length of the necklace in pink shell beads.
2. Slip knot the deer lace through the druzy.
3. Use wire to wrap the deer lace around the pink shell beads and hold together.
4. Cover the wire by wrapping the length of the leather in cotton yarn.

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