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!





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 worldwide in our Etsy shop. 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!