The Color Purple…..

my version! Purple–combines the calmness of blue and the energy of red. The words royalty, luxury and power come to mind. The color purple rarely occurs in nature which may account for it being one of the most expensive dyes to create, thus the association with royalty.

My process usually starts with gathering yarns and selecting colors.  Not every yarn is suitable for warp or even for weaving.  I was a knitter before I took up weaving, so I have lots of knitting yarns that I love to mix with yarns made specifically for weaving.  Ironically, I thought weaving would use up some of the knitting yarn….HA!!!  Anyone with an addiction (yes, it is a real thing) to yarn, fabric, beads, trim, etc., knows they will never live long enough to use up everything in their stash of materials.  Yes, I was a dreamer in that respect, and my children will have to forgive me when it comes time to downsize or hold that inevitable estate sale.

This shawl is gloriously purple and a bit larger than I usually make a shawl.  After weaving, it is wet finished, air dried and the ends are hand twisted into fringe and trimmed.  I love the way the different yarns blend together…..creating a whole piece of weaving that is greater than the simple sum of its parts!  This one is “in the books” and ready to be posted for sale on Etsy.

 

One Warp, Two Looks……

WOW!!  I don’t think I could come up with two more different looks from one warp!  Yes, the warp was designed to make two scarves, but I couldn’t resist changing things around and adding my own spin on things.

I wanted to get as much fabric as possible from this painted warp, so I added the black stripes to make it wider.  I think adding black makes something go with everything, so you will often see a touch of black in my weaving.

Weaving is a funny business…..there are plenty of opportunities to make “creative” changes.  Unexpected things happen and sometimes plans change.  I didn’t calculate the length of the black warp I was adding to this piece correctly, so the piece on the left of the photos became a Mobius cowl with long twisted fringe.  The piece on the right is a shawl.  I like that they turned out to be very different.  It’s sort of like your children…..they are totally different people and probably very different from what you expected!!  These two woven “children” turned out unexpectedly interesting and beautiful.

My Friend Died…..

sewing machine

so I bought her sewing machine.  My friend was a quilter.  She made quilts for veterans with Quilts of Valor.  She made quilts for a local organization that screens children who have been abused, so they had something soft and warm to comfort them at a terrible time in their lives.  She was a night owl and stayed up late working on quilts for many others.  I’ll bet she sewed a million stitches on that machine.

She was a teacher.  She taught my children in high school.  She also taught at the college level and shared her love of our country, her knowledge of our history and her passion for education.  She helped several deserving students receive scholarships.

She was a patriot.  She gave back to her country and her community by giving of her time and talents through the Daughters of the American Revolution, serving as her chapter Regent, Treasurer and a State District Director.

She wasn’t young, but she was young at heart.  She stayed active and engaged in both body and mind, until a massive stroke took away her independence. I don’t remember ever hearing her complain about her health, but I know she was a breast cancer survivor. Her outlook was always positive and she had a “can-do” attitude.

I didn’t really need her sewing machine, but now I have a spare.  A sewing machine never quits at an opportune time, it only breaks down when you are in the middle of a project, so now I have a back-up, but more importantly, I am honoring my friend by taking care of something that meant so much to her.  I will use her machine to sew cashmere baby blankets, felted wool throws and finish weaving projects and while I sew, I will be thinking of her and remembering our friendship.  As long as she is remembered, she lives on in our hearts.  Maybe I’ll even make a quilt.

When Things Get Tough…

tie a knot and hang on!  Warping the loom is not my favorite thing to do, however it is absolutely necessary if you want to weave something.  Warping a loom consists of steps like “slaying the reed” and “threading the heedles.”  It sounds like a foreign language!  The warp  is the lengthwise yarns on the loom and the weft is drawn through, over and under the warp to create fabric.  Warping a loom takes some time and patience and it and has to be done correctly before you can weave.  Sometimes a new warp can be tied onto the loom using the previous warp.  It’s still a tedious process.  Like many things in life, when done correctly, warping the loom and weaving the fabric produce order out of apparent chaos.

I created the painted warp in these photos at the Artesian Gallery in Sulphur, Oklahoma about a year ago.  Part of the delay to weave this was just being busy, but part of it was savoring the anticipation of creating something from this beautiful warp.  I dyed or “painted” enough warp to weave two scarves.  It was amazing to see how different each warp looked and wove.  The colors changed in beautiful gradients as they blended.  I love the way the colors bleed into each other.  Putting this warp on the loom and weaving it make me hope there are more painted warps in my future.

You can see by comparing this photo with the previous one of the work on the loom, that the color schemes change mid-warp.  In other words, there are two completely different projects in this warp.  One is blue, reds and greens; while the second one is blue, red and purple.

Painted warp-07

After warping the loom, the weaving has begun!  I’ve added some solid black stripes to add width to the finished fabric.  Other weavers at the Mahota Studios, where I weave, tease me about always adding “a touch” of black to everything I make…..it’s mostly true!  I can’t wait to get this fabric off the loom and do the finishing.  There is still lots left to do before this will be two garments, but now that I’ve anticipated and savored, the process has begun.  Hopefully the finished products will be worthy of the wait!

 

Henry’s Blanket


Henry is my daughter’s fourth child and first son. What a joy to share in the surprise (they chose not to know the baby’s gender) of the birth of this little boy! I drove his sisters to the hospital after he was born and the anticipation of whether they had a sister, or a brother was almost too much. With much excitement and squeals of laughter, we all welcomed Henry.

I’ve made each of my grandchildren a blanket either before or shortly after they were born. They are all different, just as each child is different. Different blankets are done in different mediums. They are knitted, crocheted, quilted and now, made from cashmere sweaters. Henry’s blanket is made from felted cashmere sweaters. It is possibly the softest baby blanket I’ve ever made.
Being the first boy, Henry came into a world full of everything pink. Because we didn’t know if he would be a boy or a girl, his wardrobe consisted of gender neutral colors. Now that Henry had arrived, it was time to go shopping! A new nursery décor was in order. A world of adventure awaits Henry: a world with soft elephants, friendly turtles and gentle lions and lots of sisters!
I will be sharing more about how I started working with wool and cashmere sweaters in a future blog, but for now, I hope you will enjoy a photos of Henry’s blanket.

Red is the Color of…….

……my work this week!  It is also the color of passion, love, adventure.  It represents primal forces and energy.  Historically, it was almost as rare and expensive as purple, which may explain it’s popularity.  Red is the most popular color used on flags in the world.  In some cultures, red is the color of good luck.

I am working on two different and red projects; one woven and one from felted wool sweaters.  The woven project is a red shawl with hand twisted fringe.  I warped the loom and have finished weaving it.  Now it has been wet finished and is waiting to have the fringe completed.  The felted wool project is just beginning.  I’ve cut five different shades of red sweaters into the pieces for the project.  March Madness was great for this as I could cut and watch basketball!  I managed to get quite a bit of useable material from the sweaters and will start on the layout of the pieces today.  This creation is destined to be a wedding gift for the daughter of a very special friend.

Working in red reminds me to be passionate about the people and things I love.  Sometimes it’s frightening to let your feelings show or to invite people to share what you are passionate about.  I hope you will enjoy seeing the fiber art I create and you will find your own passion!

Follow Your Art

Collage 2017-11-28 10_17_30

When is something art? When you stop and think about it, that is a very profound question. I’ve been in wonderful art museums, seen a famous piece of “art” and thought a second grader could have done better. So, is art, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder? Is it something new and unique from the mind of the artist? I don’t know the answer, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about lately.
I’ve always thought of my work as “crafty.” Many of the fiber arts can be craft, but can also be art. I think of some of my early attempts and most of them were more craft than art. It was only when I began to weave and work with cashmere and wool that I felt empowered to call my work art.
What I create comes from my mind and flows from my fingers. It is unique in this world. I feel compelled to fashion something new and useful from fiber. I am excited to wake up and start working on a project. This convinces me that I should, with all my heart, follow my art!

It’s Spring–Think Pink

I’m celebrating the first day of spring by finishing this fun cashmere scarf.  It’s still cool enough to wear cashmere, even in Oklahoma.  In fact, it’s almost never too warm for cashmere.  Even when it’s 100 plus outside, it can be chilly inside and a cute scarf is just right.

This project made me think of my mother.  She was a breast cancer survivor….twice.  She went through as many stages of grief and recovery as there are colors in this scarf.  The edges are finished with a soft ruffle….a feminine touch she would have appreciated.

My mom would have loved the fact this scarf is made from recycled cashmere sweaters.  She was a child of the Great Depression and was good at using up every bit of something and recycling, before is was fashionable.  She was eco-friendly before there was such a thing!

I’m listing this on my Etsy site today in celebration of Mom and Spring!

Learning a New Skill

Please be patient with me….I’m learning a new skill.  I can remember the days before the internet and email.  Perhaps I need a grandchild here to help me set this up, but I’m going to do this on my own.  I’ll learn more through trial and error.  This won’t be perfect this time and maybe not for many posts to come, but I’m thrilled to set out on a new adventure and to see the possibilities of connecting with the world in a new way.

Don’t worry if the tabs don’t work or the photos aren’t great….I won’t worry about it either right now.  Just know I’m learning a new skill and am proud to just be trying.

As my skills improve, I hope to share my love of fiber art and perhaps inspire more creativity in the world.  Thanks for being patient!