Wednesday, May 22, 2013

First Project Sewn From My Own Hand Woven Fabric

I'm still learning and practicing weaving on my small Cricket loom, and having fun doing it. Remember this woven piece that I shared a few days ago? It was my third weaving off the Cricket.

I'm not real fond of the color. It's a little too much for me, so I decided to use it as my learning piece to sew with...

and a tote bag is what I decided to make with it. First tote bag, and I researched some on the web, then went my own way, as far as a pattern and directions. I folded the fabric up from the end enough to leave room for a flap, so the bag wouldn't be too deep and because at the time I wasn't sure how to cut up the fabric and keep it from raveling on me.

I was a little lazy, and I am not a great seamstress, so I layed the lining on fabric and sewed the side seams all at the same time, plus I sewed across the corners to give it a little depth. This left raw seams down the sides on the inside, which is not too attractive, but it works. I should also mention that before I did anything else I zigzag stitched around all the edges on the machine to help keep it from raveling.

I have all kinds of fabric pieces, but none of them were big enough for a lining, and since I'm just learning and practicing, I found an old bed sheet and cut a lining out of it. I wouldn't have chosen this pattern for this project, but it also works. I folded the edges over the lining and machine stitched them down for the flap.

This is the back. I made the shoulder strap by making a thick length of each color yarn (Peaches and Crème solid yellow and yellow/pink/orange variegated), twisting each separately, then twisting them together, and tying a knot, leaving a tassel. I machine stitched an end to each side, making the strap, added a large pink button on the flap for decoration, and called it done! I am now wondering about the large pink button though. :/
Finished size is 10" wide, 12" high, 2" front to back, with a 36" strap
I learned on this one what not to do on the next one! However, this one is very usable. :)
The time I'm spending on my weaving practice is not to say that I'm neglecting my art and other projects. I've been doing some quirky doodle sketches along, and I've just finished the 3rd book in the Millennium Series by Stieg Larsson, which I enjoyed immensely, plus a book written by an old classmate of mine, October Snow and Other Stories by Caldwell Davis.
Next on my reading list is Rod Stewart's autobiography. I can tell by sampling it that it's going to be good. I love his sense of humor.  I've been listening to his new CD too and it's awesome! Can you tell I'm a fan? :)
Life is also constantly happening in all sorts of unexpected ways, keeping me busy. I can not say that the house work is not neglected. Stuff and dust bunnies have all but run us out since hubby retired. :o
It's all good though, and I hope, in some way, I made you smile! :)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Weaving and Peonies...

It's a beautiful, but chilly, morning here on Rabbit Hop (yep! It's a real place! :)). I've been busy with life and not getting much creative stuff done...or housework either. I have several projects to the midway point that I hope to get finished soon. In the meantime, I'm still playing with my Cricket loom. I love it, but now I'm wishing I'd splurged for a few more dollars and gotten a bigger one than the 15". After the pieces are wet finished they shrink down to 12-13", at least the cotton Peaches and Crème yarn I used did. It's a good size for placemats, runners, etc., but too narrow for rugs and other projects without having to sew fabric pieces together, which we all know, I dislike intensely. :/
You can always make it smaller on a bigger loom, but you can't make something larger in one piece than the loom you're working on. Maybe if I get good enough on the 15" Santa will bring me a bigger one in a year or two. Meanwhile, I'll keep practicing on the one I have! Practice does make one better! :)
So this is my third project on the Cricket all warped, shuttle loaded, and ready to weave. I am so proud of myself. I warped it this time without having to check the directions once. See? I'm already getting better! :) Peaches and Crème yarn, yellow warped with pink, orange, & yellow variegated weaving. Let the fun begin!

This is once again the basic plain weave stitch. I planned on learning a different weave for this project, but never could find something that I was comfortable trying just yet. My plans often go awry.
I also planned for this to be a small rug for the bedroom...

however, it was too narrow to look right, so I'll have to do something else with it. This is the finished piece, before the wet finish, removal of the base yarn, and doing something with the fringe. I may try it as a runner for the dresser in my bedroom. The colors match. Anyway, I now have three lengths of woven fabric, and I'm thinking I'll get out the sewing machine and see what I can do with them. We'll see what they turn into. Wish me luck! :)
I also wanted to share my white peonies with you. I only have one puny little bush. The rocky clay dirt in our yard doesn't lend itself well to growing flowers, or anything else much for that matter, but somehow, this little bush keeps fighting to survive. The white peonies are my favorite flowers.
I LOVE their scent!

My maternal grandmother had peonies, both the white and the rose colored. She knew how much I loved them, and every Spring she would give me the first bloom. When she was no longer able to pick it for me, she would tell me it was there, to go get it. After she was gone, Papa would pick the first one for me, and he gave me roots off hers to start my own, which I did. I enjoyed it for many years and thought of them every time it bloomed (I think of them every day, but especially when the white peonies bloom). The bush eventually died, due to a very hot and dry summer, but I bought a new one and planted it in a different place. Some springs it really struggles to produce even 2-3 blooms and some times it produces many, like this year. I continue to love it, and my grandparents, whom I still miss every day. The white peonies produce more than gorgeous blooms. They produce lovely memories.

Thank you so much for visiting! I hope you enjoyed it and that something I said made you smile. :)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

2nd Cricket Loom Weaving, Quick sketches, and A Book

Since I got the first attempt at a tote bag fabric a little short, I decided to try another one. The only weave I know, so far, is plain weave, and this time I used the same size cotton yarn (Peaches and Crème, I think) for both the warp and the weft. I got this one a little longer than needed, and it wound up narrower than the first one. This fabric is about 41" x 12" after it was washed and not counting the fringe.

The fabric has been washed and dried here, but I haven't pressed it or smoothed the fringe back out yet. I haven't decided whether it's going to be part of the bag or not. This piece could also make a table runner for a small table or a scarf for a smaller table where it hangs off the sides. We'll see. :)
I also did a quick sketch of a crow sitting in a dead tree with a marker that is getting low on ink. I'm thinking about making a stamp with him.

A different quick sketch, which didn't turn out too well, but nevertheless I got some sketching in for the day. :)
Same woven piece. All I have to do now is press it, zigzag stitch around the edges to help keep it from raveling (if I'm going to make it into a bag), decide what to do about the fringe, and sew it into a bag, or whatever  I decide on.

A close up of the plain weaving. The warp yarn is off white with little smidgets of color here and there, and the weft yarn is ombre shades of brown. I love that where the colors cross it forms tiny crosses all over the piece.
I'm really wanting to warp the Cricket for another piece, however, there's a cone of butter yellow yarn at Wal-Mart that I've been lusting after for a while, but there is so much yarn on it I thought I'd never use it all. Since I now have the Cricket though, it's not a problem. Now the question is whether to wait til I go to Wal-Mart and get the yellow thread or go ahead and start another weaving with what I already have and use the yellow for the next project. Decisions! Decisions! :)
While I've been practicing weaving, I've also read the first two books in the Millennium Series Trilogy by Stieg Larson. I know, I'm way behind everyone else. Now that I'm reading them, I find them very hard to put down and can't wait to start the third one, "The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest". I've seen all three movies, two of them subtitled too. I guess you could say I'm really enjoying the characters and the writing. :)
Anyway, hubby has gone fishing with his dad and his cousin, and I need to do some much needed cleaning out. Now to decide whether to do some de-cluttering, start the third Millennium novel, do some laundry and warp the Cricket. Hmmmmm...