Thursday, March 3, 2011

March Snow

I finally warped the loom with the alpaca yarn I was gifted. I've woven about 12 inches of a scarf using the brown and tan yarns. And then this happened:

To have a month's worth of snow fall in two days is really a pain. I missed a day's work at school because the roads were treacherous. I was working however.... shovelling, shovelling, shovelling!
In case you are wondering, our snow plow truck is a 1953 Dodge M37. We call him Sarge because he was Army surplus.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Shibori Dye Tank

The summer of 2010 was very wet and cool.  It seemed the only sunny days were those on which I was scheduled to work. I was only able to dye on one day. I am working on making my loom controlled shibori scarves more easily marketable. (I wrote about them here and here) As I am making them now, they are too labor intensive to sell for a price I think my customers are willing to pay. I think if I can dye several scarves at a time, I may be able to sell them for less. To that end, I designed a "tank" to dye the scarves in.

It is a simple box made from plywood and 2X3 lumber.

I lined the tank with plastic and filled it with about quart of black Procion MX dye thickened with sodium alginate. Because I was outside, I took some care and leveled the table. I added the scarves, then painted the tops with brown dye.   I folded the plastic on the sides over the top and let the whole thing batch in the sun for several hours.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Simple Cardmaking

My best friend, GG, spent Saturday and Sunday afternoon with me, making cards in my studio. She mentioned that I haven't updated my blog in a  while, so I thought I'd show you what we were doing.

First, I've a confession to make... I am a hoarder of things with possibilty.  This includes all kinds of art supplies, sewing and quilting supplies and fabrics, weaving and knitting yarns, wood and building materials, and garden seeds.  My justification is that I live a long way from any stores where these things are readily available, so I have to be prepared for whenever the creative urge strikes. And I must also save any of those little bits and bobs that can be recycled...waste not.... my studio is chuck full of possibilities.  One of my resolutions is to reduce the hoard.  I had a great time making cards, unfortunately the endeavor used only a small handful of stuff from the pile.

The first picture is of cards we made from scraps of handwoven fabric unraveled a bit,scraps of vintage lace,vintage buttons and recycled images from old calendars and magazines.

These cards are from recycled calendar images and different colored cardstock.

These are from grosgrain ribbon and rickrack scraps, used buttons, a pewter placque, and tiny bits of embroidery floss.

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Surprise Treasure

I purchased a ziplock bag of miscellaneous lace at a yard sale last summer.  It looked like bits and pieces of the cheapest kind of lace available at any fabric store.  I was thinking I could use it in some of my art or sewing projects. was only 50 cents!
When a student needed some lace to trim a pillow project, I brought him the bag to pick through.  "What's this?", he asked me.
When I looked closely, I realized it was tatted lace, hand made of very fine thread that I suspect is linen.  Oh, the painstaking labor that went into this!  The knots are so fine, I can't see them without my glasses. There are six yards wrapped around a scrap piece of cardboard.  Even the bit of cardboard is delightful!  Because this kind of cardboard is not acid free, I have rewound the lace around a roll I made from archival white card stock to preserve it.

I was able to tell the students how tatting is done, and they marveled at how anyone would have the patience to make that much lace.  I take seriously my obligation to teach about fiber arts to as many people as possible.  I love that I have a captive audience of 12 students every week!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Kelp Forest FDC

I create most of my First Day Cover mail art to participate in swaps organized through the Yahoo Groups "Carving Consortium" and "Eraser Cut Exchange". In October, the US Post Office issued the "Kelp Forest" set of stamps. It is part of a series called "Nature of America" with full sheets of stamps depicting different ecosystems of the United States. This was either the ninth or tenth year in this series. I have been participating in this particular swap for several years, and wanted to continue again this year, so I volunteered to "host" the swap.

It's very easy to host FDC swaps. I wrote an email to both Yahoo Group lists calling for participants. When we had a decent size group of people willing to "play", I sent the names and addresses of all the players to every one in the group. We each designed and carved an image related to the Kelp Forest; printed the images; then addressed and stamped an envelope for each person in the group. All of the envelopes were sent to the issuing post office, in this case, Monteray, California. Then we sat back and waited to receive the amazing art in our mailboxes.

Here is the art from the five people who participated:

Jenny H. G.

Stephanie C:

Roberta J:

Dot W:

and mine:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

2009 First Day Covers

One of my hobbies is carving soft vinyl blocks or erasers to make rubber stamps.  I love to carve blocks for mail art, especially First Day Covers.  You can read about some of my previous work here and  here

For the Christmas stamp, I made a version of the reindeer stamp and turned him into Rudolph:

The Love stamp that came out last spring was called "the King and Queen of Love". I immediately thought of the kings and queens in playing cards, and made this stamp:

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Happy New Year! I am looking forward to 2010 being a completely different year than 2009. I haven’t been posting much, as my blog is supposed to be about weaving, and I haven’t done any. My main definition of my self is as a weaver, and in 2009, I only wove 10 yards. I was whining to a friend that I didn’t do anything creative all year, when she gently (such a sweet friend, I really needed a boot in the butt!) pointed out to me all the projects I did get completed, though they weren't woven.
Please be forewarned, Gently Reader, that the following posts will be my 2009 completed project redux, none of which have anything to do with weaving.

I am considering what to put on the loom next. Over the holidays, I was able to sell many scarves and shawls I had in inventory. I was grateful to move old inventory out of the studio, and even more grateful to have the cash. Now I have a dilemma: I am almost completely out of scarves and shawls that are my “bread and butter” products, so I should replace the stock. Or do I treat myself and allow myself to play with new fibers or patterns?

Here is what I’d like to play with…..

My daughter gifted me with this lovely alpaca yarn from Alpacas of Montana, a Bozeman alpaca farm. I have to do some research on weaving with alpaca. I am fairly sure this yarn was spun for knitting, so I will have to do some sampling to get everything right. I know I should sample, but a part of me does not want to waste an inch of precious yarn.