Weaving How-To: Outlines

Weaving shapes sans color is a great way to keep a design bold and modern. To me, I like to imagine that the tapestry is a blank piece of paper with black sketches drawn right ontop. Although I chose to use a thicker roving for my outlines, a thin material would also look great. Below I hace included 3 different ways that I outlined my shapes. They may be obvious, well-known (and kindof cheating) but I always think the best stitches are the most simple!

Straight Horizontal
Start with a piece of string that is folded in half. The half that is on the bottom goes behind the next warp string. Then, because the two halves have switched places (so that the one on the bottom is now on the top) the half that is now on the bottom goes behind the next warp string. Repeat until the entire row is completed.

On the Diagonal
This is your basic soumac stitch. The string wraps behind two warp strings and in front of one. Then behind the next two and in front of another. This stitch can also be used for a straight horizontal outline, but it isn't as tight and so it can take the extra stretch of rising on a diagonal.

Straight Vertical
Usually when I want to create a vertical line I do it afterwards as an embroidery stitch. For this weave it had dual purposes, to create an outline and to sew my seam together. I wanted mine vertical stitch to be thicker than the horizontal and diagonal stitches, but it can be skinnier if you prefer.


How to fill out your tassels.

Sometimes I like to add a little something besides fringe to the bottom of my tapestries. Especially if the piece doesn't have any fringe already, like my Arizona sunset weave above. I learned very quickly that the big, beautiful tassels you see don't happen automatically unless you use a loose spun fiber such as roving. 
The key to a great tassel is that most of the volume has to happen under the band. If you use the same amount of yarn in the cap as you do the skirt, chances are your tassel will have an 'athletic build' and be pretty much straight up and down.... but I'll share my secret with you!
1. Wrap yarn around your hand about 20 times, beginning and ending at the top.
2. Cut a 10" piece of yarn and slide it through the top of your tassel (the bottom of your hand).
3. Double knot the yarn to hold your tassel into place and then take it off your hand.
4. Cut another 10" piece of yarn and tie it about half an inch from the top of your tassel so that one end of the knot is much longer than the other. 
 5. Wrap the long end of your yarn around the tassel 5-6 times to create the band. Use a needle to pull the end down through the band to secure.
6. Cut the loops at the bottom and trim the tassel to the desired length.
7. This is a normal tassel. If you like the look, then you're done! If you want to fill it out, keep reading.
8.  Repeat the first two steps of a regular tassel. Begin by wrapping yarn around your fingers 25-30 times.
9. Use a 10" piece of yarn to double knot the top of your tassel together so that both ends are equal.
10. Do not add a band to this tassel. Go straight to cutting the loops at the bottom, but do not cut the 10" piece of yarn that ties the tassel at the top.
11. Grab your first tassel (the one with the band) and flip it upside down to find the center of the strings.

12. Use a needle to guide one end of the 10" piece of yarn from your second tassel through the bottom middle of your first tassel so that it comes out on the left of the knot at the top of the first tassel.
13. Use a needle to guide the other end of the 10" piece of yarn from the second tassel through the bottom middle of your first tassel so that it comes out on the right of the knot at the top of the first tassel.
14. Grab the two piece of yarn that you threaded through to the top of the tassel and pull them tight, to pull the second tassel firmly up against the first tassel. Double knot the two yarns to secure all pieces of your tassel together.
15. Trim the bottom of the tassel so that everything is the same length and looks cohesive.
There you go! A fool proof way to cheat on your tassels so that they are full a voluptuous. I've used this technique on a couple of my weaves, including the one I shared above and the one below. If you use this technique be sure to tag me on Instagram @hellohydrangea so that I can see!


Woven Necklaces

Hoarding beads runs through my veins. I've always loved making jewelry! Even in the midst of filling weaving orders and warping looms, my fingers itch to sift through my bead collection to make some wearable art. 
A couple months ago, I began to expand my search for new textile materials to use in my weaves. I love knowing that the story of my art extends beyond my own designs. It feels amazing to use vintage, world-sourced materials in a new way because they always come with their own history and personality! While sourcing materials and talking to collectors, I found myself picking out small charms and baubles as well.  Without realizing it, I began to combine my love for fiber and jewelry at the same time and now I wear these pieces all the time!
 The greatest thing about these handwoven/handbeaded necklaces is that each one is incredibly unique. I wouldn't be able to recreate one if I tried! The foundation is woven from my collection of favorite yarns. Hand-dyed wool and cotton remnants that I don't have enough of to use in my larger wall hangings. Ontop of each weave I carefully selected a combination of beads, gems, charms and sequins from around the world.
Necklaces include agates and druzies, Native American buffalo bone, Greek ceramics, vintage Venetian glass, Turkmen metals, Moroccan sequins, Ethiopian telsum, Egyptian assuit and Czech copper, among others. Sourcing new pieces has become another one of my favorite hobbies!
The three pieces above are now available in my shop. Each is backed with leather cowhide for durability and tied on a soft suede lace.
 Visit my shop to read the story of each necklace. Whenever I wear one of them I always get questions and enjoy sharing the story of each bead that is featured!