Tuesday, August 15, 2017

My Latest Adventure: Combining Crochet and Weaving!


When two worlds collide...I really love to do anything related to handwork and fiber arts (crochet, knitting, weaving, embroidery, felting, spinning), and I often struggle with which thing to do because I want to do all of them all of the time!

My solution to this is often to combine several techniques in one project. In promoting the weaving kit for eWoodstory, I like to demonstrate different things that can be done with the loom. The latest idea I had was to paint the warp, then crochet the weft to create a textured piece.

It is evolving as I go, and I am now filling in with surface crochet. I am thinking of incorporating some felt as well. An interesting work in progress!

Freshly Painted Warp

Beginning to Crochet the Weft

Achieving Texture!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Fiber Filled Summer!


Even the brushes were beautiful!
Since I hit the ground in the USA, I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to engage in all kinds of amazing fiber arts activities!

It started with me attending the Black Sheep Gathering. It was the first time I have been able to attend in a few years. I am so amazed at how it has grown! This is the first time that I took classes at the gathering.

The first class I attended was on steam dying natural fibers with acid dyes. It was such fun and something that I would like to do more of! She showed us some clever techniques that resulted in some stunning creations!
Dye Preparation
Demonstration on how to apply the colors
Hand painted wool, steaming in the pot
Our painted wool top, hanging out to dry
Our silk hanging out to dry
My next class was on painting and stamping silk with natural dyes. I really enjoyed this! It was an interesting challenge to plan out a design that you have only one chance to execute. I am used to crocheting, knitting, embroidery, and weaving that allow you to take your work out and start again! We were painting silk scarves, so you had to decide and commit to wherever you put your brush or stamp and make it work if it didn't look quite like you thought it would! I was quite conservative with my designs, because I wanted the scarves to be something I would wear when they were finished. In the end I was pleased with the scarves but wished I could paint and stamp one more of each with the knowledge I gained painting the first two!

Natural Dyes
My finished handprinted scarf
It is amazing to see what is created in a group when everyone has the same  resources! All completely different!

The last class I took was New Tradition Needle Felting. It included needle felting with wool locks, fabric and adding embroidery and beaded embellishments. It was so much fun! I had done some needle felting before, but never including fabric. You could have heard a pin drop in the room! No one wanted to go on the mid class break. We were all too involved in our pieces! I plan to to a lot more with needle felting in the future. The possibilities are endless! I realized that I didn't take as many photos in this class, because I was so absorbed in the process!

Sample made by the teacher

In progress

It was really amazing to be surrounded by so many people interested in fiber arts. It also reignited my interest in drop spindle spinning. I have started to experiment with spinning my own art yarns for weaving. I really just need more hours in the day to play with fibers!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Summer 2017 Crochet and Weaving Classes in Eugene, Oregon!


I have arrived in the USA and I am excited to announce that I will be teaching two classes while I am here, at the lovely Cozy yarn shop in Eugene Oregon. 

If you are going to be in the Eugene area on Friday June 30th, and/ or Saturday July 1st, here are the descriptions of the workshops:

PAINTED CROCHET ART PENDANTS- A new approach to color in crochet! Crochet a specially designed motif, then use watercolor paints to bring the stitches to life. The art crochet piece you created will be stitched into an eWoodStory "Olive" shaped Stitchable Pendant, to make a one-of-a-kind accessory that is sure to be a conversation piece!

BEGINNING LAP LOOM WEAVING- An introduction to modern weaving with a lap loom, to create small scale woven paintings created using a mix of techniques and surface textures. The class will teach you how to use all of the tools in the eWoodStory Ultimate Weaving Kit. The kit will be yours to take home and continue creating with! In addition to learning how to weave, you will learn how to make tassels, pom poms, and lucet cord with the specially designed tools in the kit.

If you are interested in signing up, you can sign up online here, or in person in the Cozy yarn shop.

I am really looking forward to this, and hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Vibrant Beet Root Yarn!


My adventures in natural solar dyeing continue! This time, I decided to try beets. I peeled and cut up the root only and put it in a jar with water and white vinegar. I put the yarn on top, and left the jar in a sunny place for two weeks. I was careful not to move it during this time because I wanted the yarn to be variegated. I was absolutely thrilled when I opened up the jar and found these beautiful colors! The yarn that was touching the beets turned a rich dark red and the yarn that was closest to the top turned a beautiful pumpkin color. I am ready for fall! I washed the yarn in Woolite after removing it from the dye, and still the color remained vibrant. Did I mention how much fun I am having with this! Stay tuned for the results of walnuts, pomegranate with rusty nails, and green onions!


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Choosing Colors For Crochet Motifs




Through working on the Weaving Stories project, I faced many interesting challenges along the way in dealing with the contributing artists.

I am used to doing all of the design work myself for projects, so guiding the artists by phone and email, seemed like working with my hands tied behind my back!

I had a particularly enlightening experience with one of the artists who was a crocheter, Ghadah Al Moosa, of the Crochet Cafe. She submitted a design that was inspired by the Islamic theme. She designed a crochet motif that was inspired by a traditional islamic design. I gave the artists color palettes for each theme so they could choose their materials accordingly. Since I was going to be putting so many different panels from different people using different techniques, the color scheme was key in making the installation cohesive!

I thought that it would be straight forward for this panel. It turns out, that the type of yarn and order of the colors made a huge difference in the look of the panel. I had Ghadah try a few color combinations based on what I thought would look good, but somehow they just weren't right. I felt so bad asking her to do so many samples, and I felt even worse rejecting them all! I decided that the best way, would be to try drawing and coloring in samples to get an idea of what would look best. My freehand drawings weren't effective enough, so I went in search of a program to trace the photo, so I could print and color it. I was thrilled to find this free online, easy to use stencil making program! In a nutshell, you can take a photo of your motif, then upload it to the website and choose from three different types of tracing options, depending on what gives you the best result. From there I edited the traced photo in a photo editing program to make it even sharper. 

I printed out a page of the traced motifs and set to work with some colored pencils, trying all of the combinations I could think of. I narrowed it down to my two favorites, and Ghadah graciously agreed to crochet a few more versions. She sent me photos of each, and I cut and pasted multiples of each version side by side, to represent how they would look as a panel in the wall. From there it was easy to determine which would look the best. 

Some of the color options I experimented with.

The actual panel on the blocking board (photo by Ghadah Al Moosa)

I think we really succeeded with this version, as the Islamic section of the wall was one of the most photographed by the media!

The Islamic themed section of the Weaving Stories Wall (photo by Tammy Asad)
Weaving Stories article in the Kuwait Times newspaper.
To sum things up, the stencil making photo tracing program opens up a new world of opportunities to help with making color choices for your designs!



















Sunday, May 14, 2017

Solar Yarn Dyeing Experiment Part 2!


After two plus weeks of soaking in the dye baths, the true colors of my dye experiment were finally revealed!

I was blown away by the gorgeous colors! The cochineal is a stunning magenta, the red onion skins a beautiful burnt orange, the turmeric and orange peel an almost florescent yellow, the red cabbage with vinegar is a pretty lavender, the pomegranate skins, are rich gold and sand colors, the mint gave the yarn a slight green tint, and the red cabbage with baking soda turned the yarn an amazing blueberry color!

I am planning to make a weaving with the mint, pomegranate, and onion skin dyed yarns. Some sort of dip dyed effect. It will be extra satisfying since I started from the ground up with the solar dyeing!

I think it was a great success and I can't wait to start my next batch with , beetroot, walnut powder, avocado, berries, grapes, henna, and strawberry tops. I will will report back with my progress!

Now I am off to create with my new colorful yarn!


Friday, April 28, 2017

Adventures in Solar Yarn Dyeing!

From Red to Purple: Cochneal, red onion skins, orange peel and powdered turmeric, pomegranate skins, mint and tree leaves, purple cabbage with baking soda, and purple cabbage with vinegar.
I have always had an interest in natural dyeing and wanted to do it, but hadn't actually taken the plunge!

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine who is an experienced dyer, invited me to join her in dyeing several hanks of handspun wool. She had obtained all kinds of natural dyestuffs from Turkey that are used in dyeing wool for rug making. She also had some indigo, and some dyestuffs from Kuwait.


It was an amazing day! We had around 6 pots boiling at all times, and we produced a rainbow of yarn colors! She gave me the confidence to give it a try on my own. 

I felt like I wanted to experiment with small quantities of yarn to see what colors I like best and are the most successful. I stumbled upon information about solar dyeing in small jars with basic mordants such as vinegar, baking soda, and alum. It was something I could start right away with supplies I already had in the house!

My daughter was on spring vacation last week, so we did it as a project together. It was a creative science project! We were amazed at the colors of the water. We put the some of dyestuff in the jars with the mordant, and a bit of hot water. Once the alum was dissolved we added hanks of off white wool yarn, and some natural handspun wool, more of the dyestuff and water to fill the jars to the top. We put the lids on and found a sunny spot on the window sill. Fortunately we found a place that gets morning and afternoon sun. 

It has been 8 days now, and we are planning to open the jars and check on the yarn next week to see how strong the colors are. I have read that other people kept their yarn in the jars anywhere from 10 days to the entire summer. I don't want the dyestuff to mold, so I probably will only keep them a few weeks. 

Stay tuned for an update on our progress. Hopefully the outcome will be some beautiful colors that we can turn into a lovely crochet project or a weaving!