Tuesday, December 29, 2015

So, what's happening next year?

I don't know, I really don't. Of course I have hopes, dreams, aims, goals, but I have learned (and it's taken a really long time) that life is easier when you let God do the planning and you do the following.


At the moment, I would love to further my business. I'd like to wake up, have a shower, some breakfast, maybe walk the dog and then sit down to my loom and weave. And just keep weaving until I wanted to do something else - probably some dyeing. I've tried to work more on being a "real" artist for years and failed over and over. But I don't feel too sad about it anymore.  Because I've come to a realisation.



Being a real artist is not my real job. Being a wife is. Being a mother is. Being a servant of God is. These are the things that God is calling me to first. Everything else has to wait, and this fact is good and right. He gives me time here and there to work on the things I love, but only after my other duties for the day are fulfilled.



Maybe one day I will get to work full time on creative stuff. Or maybe God has other plans for me - whatever the case all He asks is for me to listen and obey, and with His grace, this is what I intend to do.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Friday, December 18, 2015

That awesome feeling!


Of finishing a project and finding that you love it! Remember this post? My, how things can change.


So, the blanket was woven on 4 shafts with my hand dyed Australian 4ply cotton. I used a twill variation for the pattern.


It's actually quite thick and heavy, so definitely better suited to cooler times than we are experiencing at the moment! (37 degrees today).


My little sweetheart was good enough to model it for me, even in the heat. 

This blanket will be in my Etsy shop in the near future, so look out for that if you like what you see :)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Cutting handwoven cloth, one method


Cutting a length of cloth of the loom is so exciting! But then what? If you're not leaving a fringe you have to finish the fabric somehow, and if you're cutting into it you may be afraid of unravelling. This is a great, easy method to use for either finishing to hem or if you need to cut into the fabric.

Firstly, once off the loom, the fabric needs to be wet finished and dried before you consider cutting.


When you've determined your cutting line (whether it's at the end of the fabric or somewhere else) cut a length of light, fusible interfacing the length of the cut and about 2 inches in width. It must be the fusible type or this won't work. Iron it so that your cutting line is roughly in the middle (so you have half of the interfacing on either side of the cut line). For me, the cut line was where the end of the woven fabric met the beginning of the fringe. Cover with a pressing cloth and iron until fused. 


The underside of the fabric now looks like this, nothing is really visible from the front side.

 Using your cutting line as a guide, serge right across. Can you see where the fringe begins and woven cloth ends? That was my guideline for serging. If you don't have a serger, a zigzag stitch on the sewing machine will suffice.


Now you have a neat serged edge. The threads are completely secure and haven't moved in the serging process due to the interfacing fixed in place. From this point you can go on to use your fabric according to your plans or begin to hem.


To finish the fabric with a hem, I fold over the serged edge once and iron down flat.

Then a second fold to enclose the serged edge and interfacing, press with the iron once again and pin in place if you wish.


Sewing the hem can be done by machine or hand. I used my machine with a straight stitch, close to the folded edge at the back.
Voila! Easy peasy and all secure, no loose or displaced threads and the interfacing gives extra support when hemming!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Great Expectations

I planned to weave a baby blanket. I spent weeks planning this project, first visually in my head, then on paper with measurements and particulars, then in the dyeing. I researched weave structures and matched colours, choosing the contrasting colours I thought would best show off the somewhat complex pattern. I spent a lot of time planning this blanket.



Then came the warping, the threading, the sleying, the tying on. Hours and hours of work. Finally, I got to the exciting part - the weaving! I began weaving with great anticipation, concentrating on the sequence to ensure no errors. After a few inches, I got up and stood back from the work, as I always do, to view the emerging pattern with pleasure.

And I hated it. 

It's busy, it's thick and textured, it looks messy and the pattern is barely discernible because of all the colours. To say I was disappointed would be a grave understatement. I felt like cutting the warp off the loom and shoving it in the bin. Instead, I went to bed.


Contemplation set in. I remembered a talk I had heard some time ago by a holy priest. He talked about expectations and how we get upset when things don't turn out "just so". He talked about expecting ABC and getting XYZ. He illustrated how readily we lose our tempers, get offended or grow angry at the smallest things. I chuckled when I heard this part of his talk - it was so true that people are selfish and expect the very best all the time. People. Me. 

You know what? I'm going to soldier on with this project that I hate. I've already learned a heap of new skills and tricks with warping, threading and colouring. Now I get to practice weaving a pattern I haven't woven before and is actually the most complex one to date for me. I get to practice weaving the full width of the loom, I haven't done that before either. 

When I begin each weaving project, I pray for God's blessing on my work. I pray also for the future recipient of the project. Prayers are never wasted, even when it seems we don't always get what we asked for. 

It may be that you ask for ABC but instead God blesses you with XYZ.