Monday, July 21, 2008

4 New Journals

I made some new journals ... The set of 3 uses textured artist's paper colored with the Moon Glow/Shadow inks and fused to a dark batik for background. Looks like the cosmos to me ...

Here's another one. The fabric looks good enough to eat!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Another Round of Weaving

I went back to Yarns by Design for another weaving lesson. We got the loom re-warped (the hardest part), and I bought some new soft yarn to weave. Now begins the meditation ...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Ginger-Milk Soap

This is one of my favorite soaps to make. I made a double batch last week, so I'd have enough to give away.

Ginger Milk Soap
Based on a recipe from Diana's Sugar Plum Sundries

Makes about 1 pound of soap

10 oz. Palm Oil
4 oz Coconut Oil
2 oz. Olive Oil

2 oz Lye
4 oz. Water
4 oz Ginger Juice and Water

1/2 tsp Ginger Milk Fragrance Oil

Gather your ingredients and equipment.
Cover your work surface thoroughly with newspapers.
Grate a "hand" of ginger and add enough water to equal 4 oz.
Combine oils and warm to melting.
Outside, add lye crystals to 4 oz. water.
When the oils are 110 degrees F, and lye water is 100 degrees F, gently pour lye into oils.
Add juice to mixture, stirring constantly.
Stir/mix until soap traces and pour into prepared molds.
Cure for 4-6 weeks.

Where do I get my supplies for soap-making?
Eden's East for oils and herbs - They might be out of business--I can't seem to find their website now.
Majestic Mountain Sage for scents

Friday, July 04, 2008

First Attempts at Weaving

I'm weaving!

I finished warping my little table loom last night. After attending the open workshop at Yarns by Design, the book Learning to Weave by Deborah Chandler makes a lot more sense.

I figured out how to attach the warp to the front roller, adjusted the tension. Loaded the stick shuttle with yarn, tested the heddle harnesses--and I was weaving! It IS fun--and it seems to go pretty fast. I was able to do about a yard in not very much time. It took longer to warp it, than it did to do the weaving.

I used a medium acrylic yarn above. It has a nice soft feel to it. I filled up the stick shuttle 3 times. A boat shuttle would probably be too thick to use on this little loom. The shed wouldn't open wide enough to use a boat shuttle easily, so it's a good thing I bought the stick shuttle.

The last round of yarn is the red wool above. This is the first batch of yarn I ever spun myself in a spinning class about 10 years ago. It was a nice cream-colored roving. The teacher taught us how to dye it with Kool-Aid back then. It was pretty rough and ugly stuff, I thought. I never would have kept it--I'm a much better spinner now. However, it's a nice record of how far I've come with these crafts. My husband had the foresight to save that red ball of yarn all these years--for just such an occasion as now--my first attempt at weaving.

At this point, I'm out of warp. At the workshop the other night, the teacher only had me put on about 1-1/2 yards of warp--just enough to learn the process. Next time, I'll put on 5-6 yards so I can do a few more things with it. Now I'll have to make sure I can attend the next open workshop so she can show me how to fix the problems (uneven tension in the warp strings, uneven edges ...) and how to remove the newly minted fabric from the loom.

I think the next warp might be black or dark purple. I want to see what a dark warp does for the weave ... So many possibilities! I may have to move up to a larger sized loom someday. I think it's safe to say--I'm hooked!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Warp Speed!

Good News! The little table loom I acquired (a friend found it on a trash heap) is in good working order. With a few minor repairs here and there and replacing all the tired and dusty warp and heddle and other strings, I've got myself a decent starter loom!

I took a lesson at Yarns by Design in Neenah last night. This summer they are offering several drop-in sessions for weavers. Last night there were two students--both of us absolute beginners. The teacher, Cheryl Stegert, was very knowledgeable and I got answers to my initial questions :

1) Is this loom usable? Yes.
Are there parts missing? No.
Does it need any repairs? Just minor repairs.
2) How to get started?
I was kind of hoping not to have to do the warping, that I'd be able to use the tired strings still on it. But no--like a good teacher, she had me start at the beginning with the warping board--and we cut off the old warp and turned them into "thrums" (pieces of string too short to save--actually, they are useful for all sorts of things!)

AND the little loom didn't break apart when we put tension on the warping strings!

Eventually, I'll have to replace the string heddles and she explained how to make a jig to make uniform heddles. But I'll be able to do a small project once I get the warps re-strung. ;-)

Here's a close-up of the heddles that will eventually need to be replaced. Here you can see I'm in the process of warping the loom. After the warp strings run through the heddles, I then run them through the reed (not shown) before tieing them off on the bar in front of the loom.

There's a lot of work to do before I can even get to the "meditation" and rhythm of weaving.

The other thing I wanted to know : Will this shuttle work (the one at the top of the picture below)?

CL's grandfather in France lived in a town with several wollen mills. He had the job of setting the patterns on the industrial looms. He had several of these old shuttles in the back shed. For my purposes on this little loom, however, this shuttle would be overkill. I'd need some special tool just to wind the bobbin. And see all those little holes--where is the yarn supposed to come out? I guess this goes back to being an interesting and antique knick-knack.

So I bought this little stick shuttle (middle item in photo) instead. Maybe later, I'll get a nice boat shuttle with the rebate from W ... I also bought the little hook for threading the warp through the heddles and reed : an essential tool!

I have some homework to do before the next session! I'm almost weaving!

Fibre & Stitch

I finally bought a subscription to this online magazine devoted to mixed media techniques.

What a surprise to discover that many of the authors are people whose blogs I read regularly. Just reading the first issue felt like hearing from old friends! People like :

Lynda Monk at Purple Missus
Carol McAfee at Textile Tales
Sue Bleiweiss
Vicki Welsh at Field Trips in Fiber
Terri Stegmiller at StegArt
Lois Jarvis at RustTex

Now I know how they created some of the wonderful things on their blogs! :-)

Reading Fibre & Stitch is giving me many more ideas and techniques I want to try. I think I'm going to have to set up a schedule. Summer is 1/3 over, and the wet studio is closed in the heart of winter ...

I should have no problem finding techniques to try and topics to post on!