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!





Monday, April 17, 2017

Introducing eWoodStory's New Weaving and Fiber Arts Kit!



This past year has been a whirlwind of activity! After finishing up the Weaving Stories Exhibition, I was incredibly inspired by all the work that was made by so many talented hands coming together in the woven installation,  that I decided that my husband and I should design a loom that would be fun to use, and that would get people of all ages working with their hands!

It has been many months of experimenting, designing, and testing. A special thanks goes out to Tammy Asad, of TS Daily Treasures, Suad Murad, and family members who tested our kits and instructions to give us the valuable feedback we needed to make this available to the public!

We are so proud of this kit. It started out as a weaving loom and grew into a fiber arts kit with the inclusion of the tassel maker, pom pom maker, and lucet for making cord. It is lightweight and portable and designed for people of all skill levels!

We have just begun selling the kits in the Sadu House Gift Shop in Kuwait, and we plan to add some to our Etsy shop at the end of June. I also plan to offer workshops that will teach people how to weave and use all of the tools in the kit. Please stay tuned!

Our Ultimate Weaving Kit


Pieces Created with the  Kit

Monday, April 3, 2017

Freeform Crochet Workshop for the KTAA


a Collection of Student's Pieces from the Workshop
I just realized that I forgot to tell you about the freeform crochet workshop I taught at the Sadu House a few weeks ago for Kuwait's Textile Arts Association!

It was a two day workshop with over 20 students. The only requirement for the workshop was to know the basics of crochet and the objective was for everyone to go home with a piece of freeform fabric that they created.

Many of the attendees had never seen freeform crochet, so I brought a collection of my favorite Freeform books by Prudence MapstoneJenny Dowde, and James Walters & Sylvia Cosh, to show them.

We started off by learning to crochet a selection of textural stitches that work well in freeform. That took the entire first session. We ended the session by learning the Russian Join. I assigned them a little homework, which was to make a magic ball of yarn using the Russian Join.  It is a good technique to know, and I thought it would be nice for them to be able to concentrate on the stitches instead of changing colors and where to change colors when making their first freeform piece.

For the second session, we got right to work freeforming! We played a game to create a "pattern". I had them pick stitch types out of a basket, and then roll the dice to determine how many of each stitch to make. The only thing they had to decide was where to place their hooks to make the stitches. It was a little hard for them at first to resist the temptation to work in rows or perfect circles. They kept asking me if what they were doing was "right". I told them there is no real right or wrong in freeform. If it looks good to you it is right! Once their pieces started to evolve, there were many "aha moments"! I only wish the workshop had lasted another hour, as they were just getting into it when we had to end the session. Since the workshop, I have heard from some of the students that they have done more even more freeforming, and they are really seeing the possibilities. They are sending me photos of their work and are saying that they can't stop freeforming, which is so amazing!

Below is a photo of Ranju Gandhi's first piece of freeform. Isn't it stunning! I can't wait to see what she does next!








Thursday, March 23, 2017

Springtime Petals Crochet Collar!



There is about a week left of National Crochet Month, and I hope you all have been crocheting to your hearts content! 

I had over 900 downloads of the Petals Collar Pattern this month, and I am hoping to see lots of project photos on Ravelry! 

The first project photos were posted last week, and it the collar is so pretty, I asked the maker, Mimouna, if I could share her photos with you. Thankfully she graciously agreed! She says she is a newbie crocheter, and you would never know it from her beautiful work!

I just love how the collar looks in purple, and her photo really celebrates spring!

I would really love to see more versions of the collar, so anyone who makes one, please post your photos!


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Weaving Stories Exhibition, The Next Chapter!


In honor of Kuwait's National Day, we were asked by 360 mall to exhibit the Weaving Stories woven wall and interactive loom for 9 days! It was wonderful to be able to share the exhibition with even more people! 

The interactive loom was a real hit and many people of all ages stopped by to try their hand at weaving and write a little something that they wanted to share about themselves.




The loom filled up several times during the 9 days, and we now have a lovely collection of woven strips. We are brainstorming how to display them in the gallery.

Here are snippets of all of the crochet panels that were in the wall. Some wonderful techniques and stitches were represented: applique, filet crochet, interlocking crochet, freeform crochet, broomstick lace and crocheted motifs. It was wonderful to have another chance to photograph the wall again, as I was able to focus on specific elements this time, and take pictures in natural light! 

                                                                        "DESERT"

"SEA"

"ISLAMIC"

"TRADITIONAL KUWAIT"

"MODERN KUWAIT"

Soon, we are hoping to have a permanent location to display the wall for visitors to see for years to come!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Crochetville Designer Blog Tour 2017 Giveaway!



I am thrilled to be a part of Crochetville's National Crochet Month Blog Tour! It kicked off yesterday with posts by: Kristine Mullen and Marie Segares

Follow along the tour for up to three special daily blog posts from crochet designers and giveaways from designers and companies. There are a lot of ways to celebrate this month! You can keep up with the tour on Crochetville's website and Facebook page.

Every year I do something a little different for the tour. This year I decided to do a limited time giveaway of one of my accessories patterns listed on Ravelry. For one week (March 2nd-9th), I will be offering the whimsical Petals Collar pattern as a free download! 

I originally designed this pattern with my daughter in mind, and that is why I crocheted the sample in bright colors. You could also make it look more sophisticated by changing the colors. I think it would look amazing in black and white for a woman. You can experiment with different types of yarn and various embroidery stitches, to embellish the collar as well. As I always say, there are endless possibilities! If you make one, I would love to see your version! Please post any photos on Ravelry, so they can appear on the project page. If enough people post photos, I will do a special blog post to show off all of your collars!

To get the Petals Collar Pattern, click here, and when checking out, enter the coupon code: Crochetville.

I hope your March is filled with lots of wonderful crochet!

Petals Collar

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Crochetville 2017 Designer Blog Tour!


It's that time again! National Crochet Month! Celebrate with Crochetville all month long! Crochetville has lined up a host of designers and a collection of giveaways. Follow the tour with daily posts from the designers who will be doing special posts in honor of the month. I am scheduled to post on March 2nd, and I am going to be offering one of my patterns for free for a limited time, so please visit my blog this Thursday to get the code to download it from Ravelry.

It will be a fun month, so plan to add the tour to your blog reading list every day!