Sunday, December 31, 2017

My Year in Fiber Arts and Looking to 2018!

On this very last day of 2017, I have a lot to be thankful for and a lot of wonderful fiber filled memories!

I had the opportunity to organize fiber arts activities at our local community garden, attend the Black Sheep Gathering, learn some amazing natural dyeing, felting, and fiber painting techniques, design crochet patterns for Interweave Crochet, teach weaving classes using our Ultimate Fiber Arts Kit, teach "Fun with Textiles" childrens' workshops for the Sadu House, and add a new member to our eWoodStory line, a mini weaving loom that is just the right size for weaving on the go! We also had the opportunity to take over the apartment next door to us, which means I have a new studio space to set up! Finally, all of my supplies will be in one place, I really can't wait!

I keep adding more techiniques to my list of favorites, and in order to have time for all of them, I tend to combine them. You will be seeing lots more crochet/weaving pieces embellished with embroidery, using naturally dyed, and hopefully handspun art yarns (I see a spinning wheel in my 2018 future). I have also started doing macrame with my daughter as a fun weekend activity to learn new techniques together. So you may see some knotting incorporated into my work this year as well!  I am planning to develop and teach more weaving classes in Kuwait and the USA and you will be seeing some independently published crochet jewelry patterns from me as well. I am planning to attend the Black Sheep Gathering again, as well as the annual Chain Link Crochet Conference in Portland, Oregon. Are any of you planning to attend these events? I would love to see you!

May 2018 be healthy, happy, creative, and prosperous for all of you dear readers! Thank you for your support, and I look forward to sharing more fiber adventures with you in the coming months!

Natural dyeing with family and friends!

Needle felting class at the Black Sheep Gathering

The Cool Cat Cuff for Interweave Crochet Fall 2017

Far Out Ruana for Interweave Crochet Fall 2017

Teaching at the wonderful Cozy Yarn Shop in Eugene, Oregon

Teaching at the lovely Sadu House in Kuwait

My amazing students from the art weaving workshop!

We created Pom Pom bouquets in the Fun with Textiles Class

 Meet our new baby weaving loom

If you are on Instagram, I would love to see you there as well, you can find me on my crochet account: @stitchstorycrochet, or on my collaborative account @ewoodstory, featuring things that I make with our stitchables, and weaving and crochet kits.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

More Creating with Crochet Remnants!

I have been keeping all of the scraps and leftovers from current projects in a little pottery bin on my work table to make into pendants. This pendant was made from an extra cord and set of tassels for a purse I made.

By tying the cord into a semi-complex knot, I was able to create a 3D effect when stitched into the pendant. After I finished stitching the knot into the pendant, I realized that the tassels and the cord really need to be together, so I decided to include them as well. The addition of the tassels really changed the look, style, and dimension of the pendant! This opened up a whole new realm of pendant ideas for me to explore. So what started out as scraps, took me down an exciting new creative path!

In 2018, I will continue to save my leftovers for more creative challenges. I recently had an idea for embellishing yarn with yarn scraps, so I may never need to throw any scraps away again!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Calming Crochet Wallhanging

The new Winter 2018 issue of Interweave Crochet is now out! Check out the new beautiful new lookbook format to show all of the designs in the magazine.

When I first submitted this design to the magazine, it was an idea for a scarf. I had some beautiful grey variegated yarn and thought would be interesting to crochet a wave pattern that would really show off the changes in color.
Original Scarf Submission
When I heard back from the editor, she asked if I could make a modern wall hanging based on the design instead. I had been making woven wall hangings using our eWoodStory weaving looms, and so I was in the perfect mindset to do it!  They sent me this gorgeous Blue Sky Fibers Bulky alpaca and wool blend to work with, which couldn't have been a better choice for the project. I have since bought more of the Polar Bear color to dye with natural dyes. I will report back to you with my results once I have given it a try!

So here is what I came up with for the issue, the Calming Wallhanging:

Photo by Harper Point Photography

Photo by Harper Point Photography

Photo by Harper Point Photography

Calming to crochet, and to look at! A lovely project for those cold winter nights!

You can favorite projects from this issue on its Ravelry page. There are so many lovely projects to choose from in this issue from home decor to accessories to garments!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Remnants Challenge Part 2!

To continue with the recycling theme I began in my last post, I have been challenging myself to create new things using leftover scraps from previously completed projects.

Recently I was working on a woven project. I wove several ribbons that I wanted to weave into a pillow top. I wove them together, then stitched them with the sewing machine. I couldn't stop myself from stitching on the top, and discovered that I really liked the effect and stiffness of the new stitched fabric!

When I had finished stitching around the square, I cut off all of the excess ribbon ends. I had a wonderful pile of mini weavings that inspired me to make this pendant using the ends plus some yarn and felt scraps I have. Did you spot the crocheted chains?

This was such a satisfying project, especially since it came out of a successful technique experiment.

If you are on Instagram and you would like to participate in the challenge, post projects made with your remnants/ scraps with the hashtag #remnantschallenge.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Using Crochet Remnants

From most any design project, I have leftover pieces. I save these pieces hoping for just the right project to come along. I decided to challenge my self to make a pendant out of some of the pieces leftover from the free Mademoiselle Necklace Pattern I designed for Berroco.

By layering them and adding some surface embroidery, I was able to create a 3D background for one of our stitchable "Pod" pendants.

I like working with remnants and leftovers, because working with what you have exercises your creative problem solving and the results are always unexpected!

I plan to continue this challenge and will be sharing more remnant creations in coming posts. I challenge you all to make something out of your scraps and remnants! If you are on Instagram, use the hashtag #remnantschallenge.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Adventures in Combining Crochet and Weaving!

Even though I love working with many techniques, I always have crochet on my mind! I especially love to combine different technique to achieve interesting effects. For a while now I have been experimenting with and teaching modern weaving with our eWoodStory weaving kit. I love doing freeform work, and weaving can be so creative. You can really show the beauty of the yarns and fibers you are using.

I recently started experimenting with including crochet in my weaving. The first experiment I did was to crochet the weft for a weaving in an ivory color. I freely wove it into the piece along with some other yarns, and then painted the crochet to go with the yarns. I also crocheted the fringe. I felt it was really successful, and the wheels of creativity began spinning!  If you want to see the evolution of this weaving, here is a link to an earlier post I wrote when I was just beginning to weave this piece.

The next piece I worked on had some crocheted chains and bobbles added to the warp. I then wove around them to incorporate them into the piece without covering them up too much. I also did a little embroidery embellishment to finish it off.

The third piece had a completely crocheted warp. I crocheted a filet mesh that was tailored to fit the loom, and then I crocheted some chains to weave into the mesh. I alternated weaving the chains in, with some of the same yarn that hadn't been crocheted. I love the rich tapestry it created! I made this into a purse. By crocheting the warp, I was able to make the piece long enough to make a purse from the one panel.

After completing this piece, I decided that I wanted to try making the warp the focus of the piece, and I crocheted interesting wavy strips that I wove a little color into after crocheting. I alternated these with double chain bands in a contrasting color. Then the challenge was to find a warp that would hold it all together but not compete with it.

I have many more ideas for combining crochet and weaving. I am excited to keep on experimenting with this! I have decided to call these combo pieces "weavrochet". My daughter and I had a great time brainstorming words combining crochet and weaving, and this was our favorite!

If you would like to follow along  and see progress photos of my weavrochet adventures as they unfold, follow me on instagram, and you can also search by the Instagram hashtag #weavrochet.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Teaching Art Weaving in Kuwait!

Last weekend I had the pleasure of teaching a workshop in the “Fun with Textiles” series for the Sadu House in Kuwait. The workshops are sponsored by Gulf Bank and are to expose children aged 6-12 to the textile arts. Since the Sadu House is a cultural museum based on the art of traditional Bedouin weaving, I thought it would be nice to introduce them to the basics of weaving. I know that some children may have done a little weaving already, so I wanted to make this workshop a little different. We had them draw and color a picture on a paper towel first, and then cut it into strips to weave into their piece. Adding this element really showed their creativity.

We used cardboard looms and showed them how to warp the loom, and how to do a plain Tabby Weave (simple over 1, under 1 weaving). I wanted to show them more weaving techniques, but they all loved the basic weaving so much, that they just wanted to continue with that. Those who finished quickly were able to learn how to make tassels on each end of their weaving.

I was so impressed with their creations. They were all so beautiful and unique! I hope it opened up their minds as to some of the amazing possibilities of weaving and working with yarn. 

Gulf Bank put together a promo video from the day, and there is some great footage of the kids hard at work. Click on the play button in the post below to see it!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Far Out Ruana for Interweave Crochet 2017!

In my last post I told you about my Cool Cat Cuff design in the new Fall Issue of Interweave Crochet, and today I will tell you about the second design- the Far Out Ruana. This design also started out as a smaller project, inspired by their call for crochet that looks like macrame. I devised a stitch pattern after studying various macrame knot combinations. It is basically a series of chains that are joined together at different intervals. It has a lovely drape, and it looks a little like a fancy fish net. It looks different when it is stretched out vs. draped over your shoulder which is interesting and eye-catching.

My original idea was a for a delicate scarf. The editor really liked the stitch pattern and decided she wanted it to be used on a larger scale project, a ruana. A ruana is a fun and versatile piece to have in your wardrobe. It is like a garment, but functions as a shawl too.

If you like the idea of the stitch pattern to be used in a scarf, you can just do less rows, and customize the length of a panel to your desired length.

The Ruana is made in two panels and then crocheted together with some decorative detailing added to the center back. My photos the finished sample seemed to have disappeared from my files, so I can't show you in this post, but I plan to take photos when I get the sample back so I can point out the details! Since the stitch pattern is mainly chains, it only takes 4 skeins of yarn, and the yarn used in the sample is a readily available and affordable yarn, Lion Brand Heartland.

Post Update:

Thanks to one of my blog readers, it has come to my attention that the edging instructions for this pattern were mistakenly left out of the magazine. I contacted Interweave and they said they will update Ravelry and their errata page with these instructions. 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Cool Cat Crochet Cuffs for Interweave Crochet Fall 2017!

Fall is my favorite time of year and I am always so happy to have designs featured in the new fall issue of Interweave Crochet! 

In this Issue I have 2 designs, the first of which I will talk about today. My favorite thing to design is jewelry, and I can never resist a call for jewelry designs! 

I also love mixing techniques, and I wanted to incorporate some weaving this time. I designed a bracelet that looked like woven links using surface crochet details.

When I heard back from the magazine, they asked if I could make the bracelet into a cuff, so we decided to double the width. They also sent me a finer yarn to use, so the result is quite different from my original submission! You can easily make the cuffs into a bracelet by crocheting half of the stitches. Cuff or bracelet. Customize as you like! Below is the magazine version that was put into their 70's themed section of the magazine. It is great that the editor was able to work my submission into her retro vision!

 If you would like to see all of the lovely designs featured in this issue, they are all up on Ravelry now. Visit the page and show the designers some love and favorite your favorites! The Cool Cat Cuff is also available for sale as an individual pattern from the Interweave online store.

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!