Wednesday, August 20, 2014

DIY warp weights that really work

Hello, friends. As we all know, necessity is often the mother of invention. On Saturday I took "Bug," my 4 harness Harrisville Designs small loom, out for her first field trip to demonstrate weaving at Londonderry's Old Home Days event. There was a warp on the loom (rayon chenille) and after unfolding the loom and getting everything ready to weave, the first three threads on one side of the warp were really loose and the whole thing was just a big kerfuffle.

Since I was on the road and didn't have my hemostats handy (my preferred method of suspending, for example, floating selvedge threads), I had to fashion something that would work out of the items I had with me in my "artisan-show-disaster-kit," which includes things such as screwdrivers, scissors, and cup hooks (which I use for display purposes for signs, etc...).

Here is what I came up with on Saturday:


Supplies needed:
film canister
cup hook (mine have a threaded screw-like end, which is great)
pennies or other weights

I have to say, these work great. Here's a  photo of the weights on the loom:


I like the way that additional weight can be added to the film canister, and the cup hooks have shown to be securely anchored into the lid of the film canister. "S" hooks or even a paperclip can be fashioned to add a bit of length/distance between weights.

There are all sorts of ways to tension a misbehaving warp thread (I recently read filling milk jugs with water or using "plastic bags full of rocks"), but I think the film canister method is a bit more tidy and compact.

Let me know what you think! I only wish that there were more film canisters around the house!

Be well,
Kate K.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

For your sewing room

Hello, friends. I'm preparing for a small local show to be held in August (Old Home Days, Londonderry, NH) and in addition to taking "Bug" with me for demonstration purposes, I will bring along a few items that will be for sale. I've found that it is helpful to have items for sale at a variety of price points at craft shows, everything from handwoven lace notecards to dishtowels to handwoven scarves. I wanted a small, interesting yet utilitarian item to take with me for shows in August and September and came up with this new pincushion:




The weaving is a traditional overshot design, "Star of Bethlehem," and the bottom is made from 100% wool felt. I included a vintage button and worked an embroidery stitch around the edge. (Is the red too bright? I thought it seemed cheerful, but then again my tastes tend toward the whimsical).

I might try a square version, too, but will wait to see what sort of feedback I generate from this post and from my Facebook and Instagram pages. It is always good to test the waters before investing a lot of time and energy into a new project!

The shadow weave scarf is coming along; I am about half-way finished with it. I find that taking the weaving in small doses is a good strategy for me -- I need a break after about 12" of weaving the pattern!

Have a happy Thursday friends, and enjoy your day. Thanks for reading!
Be well,
Kate K.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Handmade rescue

Hello, friends. In between weaving and working in the garden, I've been doing a bit of redecorating at home. The guest room has a new coat of paint, new pillow shams and cases, and a few homey touches. I stopped at the local Goodwill to see if I could find a mirror in a nice frame that I could hang above the small dresser/bureau.

I'm not much of a thrift store shopper, so I don't know how commonly one finds pieces such as the one that I found languishing in the back corner of the store:


The embroidered piece is beautifully framed (check out the detail below) and has the maker's initials, "SW" and date (2000) stitched onto the fabric. The price: $4.99.


I can't even begin to guess how many hours the maker spent making this -- there are at least 20 different thread colors used and a variety of stitches. As an artisan, seeing this fine example of craftsmanship for sale at Goodwill made me a little bit sad. Did the person, "SW," who worked on this item pass away? Perhaps there was no friend or family member interested in her work. Or maybe a relationship went sour and whoever possessed the embroidery simply didn't have the need for it anymore.

Well, it has a new home with me, and I was proud of my 16 year old son who said, "Some people don't appreciate how much time it takes to make something like that." I cleaned up the glass, washed the frame with Murphy's Oil Soap (it was really dirty), and gave it a bit of polish.

Here it is in our guest room, where it seems right at home (I think I'll put it on the wall, above the dresser):


Do you ever wonder, dear readers, where your handmade items will end up someday? My experience at the Goodwill did give me pause. I hope that "SW", wherever she is, would be content knowing that her embroidered item is much appreciated and is a delightful addition to our home.

Be well,
Kate K.