Friday, October 31, 2014

Option, Options and More Options!

I meant to behave,
there were just too many other options.  
~ Darynda Jones

Yay!  I finished weaving my band, pulled it off the backstrap loom and lined it with a silk remnant from the wedding dress:  

Now I want to turn it into a small bag - the question is, how?  

I could fold it in thirds - with the top layer serving as the flap - stitching up the back and middle layer to form the body of the purse - add a row of decorative beads and leave the long fringe there...  Obviously I would also add a strap.  

I could do all of the above, but shorten the fringe somewhat...

Or I could cut off all of the fringe.

I don't have to fold it in thirds - I could fold it like this: 

I'd probably cut off the fringe, so that it doesn't obscure the design..  

Or some other combination - and the beads are optional too.  

What do you think?  How should I assemble this purse?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Monday, October 27, 2014

At the Intersection of Two Worlds

Chance favors the connected mind.  
~ Steven Johnson

Sometimes the most original ideas come when a person makes a connection across two completely separate parts of her life.  

That's how I created my "How Much Fabric?" reference cards - I started with a question from my sewing life and applied methods and tools from my work life - and I ended up with something that no one else had ever done before.  

And I recently discovered someone else who made this type of connection - Dr. Karen Piegorsch.  Her work life is firmly rooted in ergonomics, a field that focuses on designing equipment to suit the human body.  And she has a passion for the visual arts.  

Well, weaving is a visual art and on a trip to Guatemala, she learned that backstrap weavers experience a lot of physical pain from weaving in the traditional, kneeling position.  And so, she set about designing a bench for (and with) them - a bench that would provide the physical support that they need for this particular art.  

She did such a good job, that she and her design won a number of awards!  

More importantly, she went about this in such a way that communities of backstrap weavers have been able to take ownership of the enterprise and to continue building these benches for themselves.  

And the plans are available, free of charge, online (here)!  So, guess who thought it would be cool to have a bench like this for herself...?  

I'll give you a hint - she writes a blog called "In Over My Head"   ;)

You guessed it!  

I went up on a website called ThumbTack and posted a "help wanted" ad for a woodworker to build this bench for me.  

And it turns out that there's even a role for me in this project!  

Yup - I'll make the cushion - the plans for the bench also detail all the components I will need and how to assemble it.  I think it's going to be a lot of fun to pick out the fabric and stitch this up!  :)

If you are interested in the bench and want more information, you can watch this video (click here).  

Wish me luck!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Looms, Looms and more Looms

The surface of the Earth itself is an immense loom
upon which the sun weaves the fabric of existence.  
~ Wade Davis

It seems like lately I've been surrounded by different types of looms.  Almost two weeks ago, I introduced my young friend, Mariana, to one of those potholder looms.  

Remember those?  :)

Then, last weekend, we were browsing in Michael's and I saw this newfangled loom:  

Oh, excuse me, I mean this "Loop De Loom"...  ;)

It's really kind of ingenious how it works - if you are interested, click here for a YouTube demonstration.  

At first, I thought it was a new and unique type of loom - but then my weaving friend watched the video and said that it reminded her of the weaving sticks that she inherited from her husband's grandmother!  

Being a sweetheart, she popped those weaving sticks in the mail for me and Mariana to experiment with:  

If I can get any actual weaving going with these sticks, I'll post some pictures.  ;)

Being a total sweetheart, she also prepared a small cardboard loom for us to weave on - check this out!  

What can you do with a loom that is smaller than an index card?  


It turns out you can weave the most adorable little bag!  

And I know this, because she also included the above sample in my weaving loom care package!  :)

So, the number of looms in my house just doubled!  You know, because I don't already have enough projects queuing up...  ;)

Speaking of bags, hopefully I can finish my backstrap weaving project this weekend and start turning it into a small bag!  :)

What are your weekend plans?  I hope you have a great one!  :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Progress, But I Need a Plan...

You can't get a suit of armour and a rubber chicken just like that.  
You have to plan ahead.
~ Michael Palin

Thanks to my husband's anchor and my weaving friend's warp, I am making good progress on my current project:  

It is about 5.5 inches wide, and I'd like to make it into a small purse.  My thought is to fold it twice - one fold to create the front and back of the body, with the back being a bit taller - and then to fold over the excess of the back in order to form a flap.  

That is as far as I've gotten in my "plan" - there are several open questions that need to be addressed:  

Holding the flap down - the metal snaps that I've used in previous bags seem a bit too heavy, I don't really want to add a button hole...  

Also, how should I stitch it up?  The fabric is kind of thick, and I'm afraid that turning it inside out and stitching up the sides might not work well.  

Finally, my weaving friend recommends lining it, and I agree - but I'm not sure exactly how I would go about doing that.  

I definitely need a plan.  

Any suggestions where I might find a suit of armour or a rubber chicken?  ;)

Or maybe just some thoughts on how I might turn this piece of hand woven fabric into a little purse...  ;)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Gratuitous Kitten Picture

He who is to be a good ruler must first have been ruled.
~ Aristotle

Sophie surveys her domain.  

She has never been ruled.  

I will let you draw your own conclusions regarding the quality of her reign...  ;)

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Best Friend a Woman Can Have...

There is nothing better than a friend, 
unless it is a friend with chocolate.
~ Linda Grayson

It seems I am being quarrelsome this week, but again, I am going to have to respectfully disagree - today, with Ms. Grayson.  While a friend with chocolate is indeed quite a good thing to have, an even better friend to have is a friend who will prepare a weaving warp for you!

Yes, my weaving friend knew about all the problems I had with my loom bag and she took pity on me and she prepared a warp for my next project!  

Take a look at how beautiful it is...  

She wove a few rows at the front of the warp - you can see where her weaving ends and mine picks up - she used a red weft (mine is grey) and her stitches are tighter than mine:  

Here are her string heddles - every one the exact same length:  

And look how nicely spaced and completely untangled her warp threads are on the back shed rod:  

Finally, the back beam - again, look how neat and tight her stitches are, and how evenly spaced the warp threads are:  

It is a dream to weave with this warp!  And I now have a much more concrete idea of what I'm shooting for when I prepare a warp.  

Oh man, I can't wait until I can prepare warps this nicely!  

And I can't thank her enough for doing this for me!  It was an amazing gift!  :)