Sunday, May 29, 2016

Working With Fiber: Modern Weaving!

Lately I am getting lots of opportunities to work with fiber in new ways! Over the years I have collected all kinds of beautiful yarns, roving, and fibers.

I am the project manager for the Weaving Stories project for the Sadu House in Kuwait in honor of Kuwait being chosen the Islamic Cultural Capital of 2016. We are involving the community in creating a panoramic woven wall, inspired by the traditional Bedouin tent divider. This wall will celebrate the traditions and culture of Kuwait. It will be made up of pieces created by artists and makers in Kuwait and abroad in the medium of their choice. 

We are holding workshops to get people inspired to work with their hands and give them the skills they need to start creating, as well as to encourage them to make pieces for the Weaving Stories installation. 

Consulting with us, is Lesli Robertson, an artist and professor of textiles from Texas. She has been visiting us the past two weeks and she taught a wonderful workshop on the art of modern weaving, called Woven Paintings. Participants were given looms to use and take home with them, so they can continue to weave! Most of the participants were new to weaving, and everyone created their own mini work of art! Here is a nice article that was written by the Kuwait Times about the workshop.

I wove my first piece, and really enjoyed it so much! I was able to combine my love for fibers, and my embroidery, and freeform crochet experience into this piece. As soon as I finished it, I was ready to start another! It is in progress and will definitely include crochet. The posibilities are endless, and I think that weaving could be a really fun thing to do while traveling! You can use a mix of fibers, colors, and textures, and it is very relaxing. It is really like painting with yarn!

Stay tuned for my crochet infused weavings!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Crocheting with Dark Thread

I wear black practically every single day, but I didn't realize until a few days ago that I rarely crochet with black or dark thread. It wasn't because I was a afraid of not being able to see the stitches either. I guess I just gravitate towards earth tones for crocheting.

This week I decided that I NEED a black version of the Bow Tie Necklace I designed for Robyn Chachula's new book, Vintage Modern Crochet. Since I wear so much black, I thought it is something that I would really wear a lot. I got out my DMC Pearl Cotton 8 and a 1.25 mm hook, and began to crochet at night, in a half lit room because I was trying to get my daughter into bed time mode. Big mistake! Even though I am comfortable with the pattern, "crocheting into the ridges on the underside of the chain" seemed like navigating a dark rocky road on foot! I decided to wait until my daughter went to sleep so I could crochet in a lighter room. That helped, but it still wasn't light enough to see the stitches! Next I got out a portable light and crocheted very close to it. That helped a little more. I was wearing black pants, and I noticed that they were not helping me to see the stitches. I found a white cloth to put on my lap to give a contrasting background which brightened the effect of the light. I was able to get the first row done with these new conditions, but was too tired to continue to the second row.  In the morning I did the same thing, but found crocheting even easier with the morning light added into the mix. Black thread and tiny hooks still aren't my favorite combination, but at least I completed the project I set out to crochet! I am in search of black chain to finish it off. I can't wait to be able to wear it!

I will be showing you how it turned out on June 2nd, when I post about a giveaway I am doing of a digital copy of Vintage Modern Crochet. Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The "Crochet" Motif, That isn't Crocheted!

Photo by Penguin & Fish
You know that feeling when you discover a new idea that is so exciting that it makes the creative wheels in your head start spinning? That is how I felt when I discovered this embroidery pattern by Alyssa Thomas of Penguin and Fish. You must go to her blog to read about her lovely inspiration for this design and how it is used as a part of The Splendid Sampler.

At first glance, I thought it was a crocheted motif stitched onto the fabric. When I realized that it was actually embroidery stitched to look like crochet, my mind was blown! What a fantastic idea! I love combining two crafts, and this is such a unique way to do it! If you know how to crochet and embroider, you can make the stitches look as though they are crocheted. It makes me want to try following the directions for a crochet pattern, and embroider the stitches onto fabric instead. It would be a very interesting experiment!

This version of Penguin and Fish's design was stitched by the talented Harmonie, whose work I recently discovered on Instagram. Isn't it beautiful!
Photo by Harmonie
To illustrate that this really is embroidered:
Photo by Harmonie 
I am now envisioning embroidery stitches on fabric as I crochet. I really must try this soon! Thank you Alyssa, for such a wonderful idea!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Combining My Crafty Worlds!

Since I started the eWoodStory collaborative business with my husband, I have been branching out into doing some embroidery, knitting, weaving, cross stitch, and felting -in order to showcase what can be done with our Stitchable Pendants. So more and more I am combining different crafts, and I find myself loving them all. I like to combine techniques, so I don't have to choose between them! 

However, designing in crochet is my first love, and I try to incorporate crochet as much as I can into eWoodstory pieces. The kits we offer are for crochet jewelry with wooden elements, and we encourage all kinds of  crafts to be used to create pieces for Stitchable Pendants. Crochet Motifs really look lovely stitched in! 

I was thrilled to come across the motif pictured in the "Olive" pendant above. Some of you may recognize it... it is from the Tinker's Toolbelt I designed for Interweave Crochet Accessories 2014 issue. I originally submitted the design as a necklace pattern, and the motifs were smaller, because I used a finer weight thread. This past weekend I came across one of the original motifs, and I was thrilled to discover that it exactly fits into the pendant. It was really perfect because of its size, shape, and the fact that it is two of the same motif stitched together, so it looks nice on both sides! As you know, I always love to use things that I create in multiple ways, and this motif is right at home in the pendant!

I always save leftover crocheted pieces from samples. Using what you already have, encourages you to be the most creative that you can be!

Tinker's Toolbelt, photo by F + W Media

Sunday, April 10, 2016

My First eWoodStory Crochet Workshop!

This week I had the pleasure to teach a crochet workshop to members of the Kuwait Textile Arts Association, along with some avid crocheters in Kuwait. They crocheted a specially designed motif, then they learned how to paint on crochet and how to stitch their motifs into one of our Stitchable Pendants

I really enjoyed going through the whole process with them from crocheting, to blocking, to painting, and then finishing. One lady painted her motif to match the blouse she was wearing and was able to wear hers right away!

It was great to see how each person put their own personality into their motifs. Each one is unique, different, and beautiful! 

There were moments during the workshop that you could hear a pin drop! They really got into their work. It was so wonderful to see! I hope this is the first of a many workshops I will teach at the beautiful Sadu House in Kuwait. Next on my list is freeform crochet!

One especially creative attendee, crocheted a pendant out of the wooden piece I had used to wind yarn around for the kits!

Here are some of the completed pendants from the workshop. See the unique personality in each!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Community Involvement Through Fiber Arts!

Photo by @brisstyle and @myauntyanna
Through new contacts and projects I have been working on so far this year, my interest in the importance of getting the community involved in the fiber arts has grown tremendously. When people get to work with their hands and see the magic of what you can do with yarn, there is a true excitement which will hopefully stay with them and encourage them to do more with fiber!

I am always on the lookout for new ways to engage the community, and Instagram is my favorite place to be inspired! You can find me there as @stitchstorycrochet or @ewoodstory. I follow lots of interesting people, if you want to be inspired by them as well! I was so excited to find this jumbo spool knitter on the accounts of @brisstyle and @myauntyanna of Australia. Isn't it absolutely fabulous! I want to make one and take it with me every time I go to the park. I just need to think of an amazing use for the large knitted tubes that would be created!

I could really see people getting interested and wanting to have a go! 

I would love to know if you have any community fiber projects or things like this going on in your part of the world, leave a comment below and tell me about it! :-)

Photo by @brisstyle and @myauntyanna

Photo by @brisstyle and @myauntyanna

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Painting on Crochet- a New Workshop!

I am very excited that I have been asked by the Art and Fiber group of the Kuwait Textile Arts Association (KTAA) to teach a workshop at Beit Al Sadu. We will be crocheting motifs that are specially designed to fit into eWoodStory Modern Stitchable Pendants. After crocheting the motif, I will demonstrate how to do the Invisible Fasten Off (one of my favorite crochet techniques), how to block your piece, paint it, and stitch it into the pendant. 

It will be so much fun to see how different each motif looks after painting! I will be doing a post about the workshop and I will be sure to take photos during it, so those of you who aren't in Kuwait, can see what we got up to!

The workshop will be held on April 6th at 10am. The cost for KTAA members is 4KD, and the cost for non-members is 5KD