Sunday, June 30, 2013

Yarn Fun Box and a Mixing Bowl

Box of fun just waiting to happen! I bought the large ball of Chunky yarn and the gold and beige Maysville cotton warp on the far right separately. The rest is a variety of colors and textures in wools and acrylics that came in a grab box (I didn't know exactly what I was getting). All ordered from Dick Blick Art Supplies.

Now I get to figure out what to do with them! Yay!
I am currently warping my loom with the bronze gold Maysville 8/2 cotton yarn for a sampler. Then I'll go from there!
I saw some of the yarn bowls on Etsy and thought to myself that they were really fun and useful, that I'd like to have one. Instead of buying one, I'm going to make one out of paper clay at some point, but for the time being I'm using a 64 year old large ironstone mixing bowl that my mom got at her wedding shower that many years ago. It also happens to be the same age as me, and I've always loved it. She was going to toss it out, so I brought it home with me. It makes a wonderful yarn bowl that holds cones, tubes, or balls, with plenty of room, and it keeps them from turning over or rolling all over the floor when I'm warping or crocheting, plus it's decorative.  
Sorry about the picture quality, but I was in a hurry! :/ Hard to see the yarn coming up out of the bowl and onto the loom, but it's there!
My husband also suggested that I could turn a flower pot with a hole in the bottom to pull the yarn through, over the yarn to keep it from rolling around, or use one of those pots with holes in the sides for hen and chicken cacti. Great ideas! Much cheaper than ceramic ones, but maybe not as cute or pretty though!
My work space is currently in such disarray that I don't have space for art and stuff, but I'm beginning to have withdrawals and a yearning to try out those new Liquitex Open acrylics that I bought a few weeks ago on my Gelli print plate. Stay tuned! :) 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Lessons Learned the Hard Way-Part 2 (weaving)

continued from previous post...

I had a heck of a time weaving this, as when I untangled the mess that had dumped on the floor during warping, and re-warped it some of the threads got crossed. I thought I got them untangled and straightened out during the rolling up on the apron bar process with the paper rolled in between, only to discover that the tension in some threads was much looser than others and I had failed to get some of them around the apron bar altogether, which created many problems during the weaving fun. I had encountered many dropped and picked up threads along the way and had to un-weave and re-weave many rows, some I caught right away and some not until the end. Couldn't do much about those! lol

I ran out of the weft thread I was using to begin with, so I skipped up on the warp threads and started using a different weft yarn. Up until now I had been using all Peaches and Crème cotton yarn, but for the last part I used a variegated acrylic Red Heart yarn and above is what I had at the end of the warp length.

I didn't leave a long enough skip on the warp. When I cut it into, the fringe was so short on these ends that it was difficult to knot them off to keep it from raveling. I'm learning!

After I cut them in two. See how short the fringe on one end is? Anyway, I wound up with a long, very soft, scarf and a square one too.

Front side, 12x14" after wet finishing. A few boo boos on the back, but looks ok on the front. Will probably lose the fringe before putting it to use. Could make a cushion cover!

Back of the long piece, which is about 44x14", showing some of the bobbles. A few rows of weft accidentally got two lines woven through, which accounts for the thicker lines. These I didn't see until after the fact, but I think they add to the texture and design of the front. Some of the threads had long spaces where I missed picking them up, so I clipped them, took a needle, and wove them in the best I could that way. I also had to tighten up some of the loose loops and weave in loose ends.
The front side after wet finishing. It will make a good piano bench cover maybe?
I made a lot of mistakes while I was weaving this piece, and I got really frustrated with it and almost ditched it at one point, but I refused to let it beat me and stuck with it until the end. I'm happy I did, because I really learned a lot of valuable lessons on it, plus I used up some of my scrap yarn stash.
Lessons learned the hard way always tend to stick with one, don't they? And experience really is the best teacher.  I now know what to watch out for and pay close attention to the next time. :)
Shared on Creative Every Day, where you can find many different artistic styles and blogs just by clicking on a picture!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Lessons Learned The Hard Way -Part 1 (weaving)

Yippers, I'm still learning to weave on my Cricket loom and having a blast! I agree that this is a great first heddle loom to learn on before going on to the bigger floor or table looms. The Cricket teaches you how to warp and then to work a heddle while weaving. Like everything else, it does take practice and having your mind on what you're doing.

Okay, so I wanted to start a new weaving, but I couldn't decide on a project to aim for, so I decided to just warp the Cricket with extra long threads, and just practice weaving to use up some of the yarns I had on hand to weave a long piece of fabric, which can be cut up into smaller projects if I want. That was my first mistake, but the biggest mistake was, being the inexperienced weaver that I am, I got the bright idea to thread each slot and each hole as I went, with DOUBLE threads.

I had never warped with more than one color before either. This time I decided to do the sides in yellow stripes with a large middle stripe of off white speckled. All yarn used in this project is Peaches & Crème 100% cotton 4-ply, medium weight, which I got at Wal-Mart. After counting out and marking how wide each stripe would be, I pulled the yellow DOUBLE threads about 8-9 feet across the living room to my warping pole, which was clamped to a second wooden tv tray. Yellow stripe left side, done. Got over half way across with the off white speckled and ran out of yarn. The cone was empty! :o

My eyes fell on a skein of plain white, so I tied that onto the speckled DOUBLE yarn and kept warping...til I ran out of white. :/ Oh, well, why not use the rest of the skein of hombre pink up while I'm at it, so I tied that onto the white and finished out the middle stripe.

But I get ahead of myself! Being a rank amateur at this, I did not think about the LONG lengths of DOUBLE yarns needing a support of some kind in the middle to keep them from sagging down from the weight, and about the time I started warping with the pink, it happened.

The warping pole, clamp, yarn, and all, came off the table and dumped all those yarn loops in a pile in the floor. I have to confess that I did talk a little ugly, and for a brief moment considered taking all the yarn off and starting from scratch on the warping, this time with SINGLE threads, but I was determined that it wasn't going to beat me. :{

I re-clamped the pole to the table, thought I got all the untangled warp loops back over it, not necessarily in the order they were in to start with (my thinking was that I was going to cut them off the pole later anyway), and continued the pink stripe to where the planned yellow stripe started, and then finished the yellow stripe on the right side. It's 15" across. I never experiment on small stuff. That would be too simple! :/

Finally, all the DOUBLE threads were pulled through and both TV trays were leaning inward from the yarn weight, but now I could start winding the warp onto the loom. I carefully lifted the warp loops off the pole and cut the loops in two, which I straightened out like a giant pony tail, tied a large overhand knot in the end for safe keeping and prepared to start rolling on to the back apron bar.

Winding the threads through the heddle was a whole other adventure in itself. The threads had gotten crossed and what not when they dumped on the floor, so I had to keep combing through them with my fingers to straighten them out enough to go through the slots and holes as I wound it onto the back apron bar for weaving. Trust me, it was not easy to keep all those DOUBLE threads winding over the paper winding over the apron bar either. :o

It took a while, but I finally got it all rolled on, and the ends separated and tied around the front apron bar. There was a pile of those to tie off too! But I got er done! Yay!

Then I sat in awe and looked at my whole evening's worth of work and wondered what ever possessed me, a beginner, to attempt such a thing as DOUBLE threads. But that was only the beginning of the adventure.

I now wish I had made pictures of the warping process, but at the time I didn't plan on sharing the details of my misadventures on this project.

To be continued...

Shared on Creative Every Day, where you can see many different artists work and blogs just by clicking a picture!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Strapless Woven Bag (weaving)


This is a bag (lacking the strap) I made from the very first piece I wove (first pic) when I had no idea at all of what I was doing, other than making a piece of fabric from yarns that I had on hand.

I used a cotton yarn (Peaches & Crème) for the warp and a thicker acrylic yarn for the weft. I don't know if this was such a good idea or not, but the main problem I had when I took it off the loom was that I didn't keep the heddle really straight when I beat the weft into place, and the selvages were not straight, so the overall shape of the fabric was kind of crooked.

I had problems when I sewed it up with one side being longer than the other and kind of curvy, but I managed to get the bag fairly straight. I cut the fringe short and left it on for embellishment. Both sides are alike, and I will probably add a lining too, when I decide what kind of strap I want to add.

I think it will be handy for craft supplies or something. Good experience! I'm learning! :)