Last minute scramble

I start school in three short days--I can barely believe it. I really only finished three major pieces over the summer. I'll have to at least complete 12 over the semester. Oh boy.

Right now I'm scrambling to fully understand card/tablet weaving. I have a hard enough time charting the heddles/pedal configurations for harness loom, and I need to totally rethink that for tablet weaving. There's also a definite 'twining' involved with it. And it seems as thought once it's gone off, it doesn't go back very well. I know the first project for Advanced Fibers is going to involve weaving, so I'd really like to get this down before I jump into a major project.

Samples so far, with varying degrees of success. The one on the left is doubleweave, then a sample woven with strips of t-shirt fabric rather than yarn, then a pattern that utterly failed, screwing around with four colors, and the one I posted about earlier.


Back. I love the thickness of this--I think it would love better in faded black t-shirts though--not as slick or smooth. Or in thin wool, but I don't know where I'd find enough wool that fine.

Also learning a bit more about crochet. Don't know if I'll use it during the year, it's a bit time consuming, but maybe for fine details.

Shells! Looks rather less crafty in white cord I think.

My other fiasco right now has been the hem on my wing under-shirt. It came out a bit crooked, so I'm carefully trimming it back (having sewed it by hand, I have to undo the seam and re-anchor it) to a curve. Before, when I was trying to hem it, it was sticking out awkwardly, I'm hoping this will help.

Yes, I have photoshopped in a red line to indicate the new hemline--my yellow tailor's chalk didn't show too well.

Sleeves are also put together--I think there'll be a band or belt-ish thing around the bottom, I'm not a big fan of bell sleeves.

Last thing--still playing with filet crochet, when I came upon this lovely photo in one of my needlework books.

Aha--a plaid effect!

In t-shirt strips, it's nice and thick, and the over-lay makes it solid. The crochet is easily shaped--might make a good coat. Again, wish I could find good material for it in a wool, but we'll see.

Slightly Tipsy Post

Hope it goes okay. Probably less text than normal. A lovely night out with friends, but a promise is a promise, and an update is an update.

Basted together the bargello quilt, it feels so much more real now with that thin layer of batting and backing. Can't imagine how long it'll take to quilt it. It's a long-term sort of project.

But my big project today was learning how to do card-weaving. It's a simple way to bypass a loom, but still get the effects of harness weaving. I think you can get nearly any effect you can with 4 harnesses with the technique, it's just a matter of translating the designs to the cards, holes, way they are threaded through, and the way you turn them.

Starting to thread the cards. I will probably use masonite or balsa wood next time, the cardboard bent and was awful to punch holes in. This pattern called for 22 cards.

Here I am working on it--yes, it is attached to my belt-loop. And if you were ever curious as to how I look out of costume, that's pretty much it. It's a terribly short warp, because I just wanted to give it a go. It's also really awfully tensioned, which I figured out is a problem--the strings kept getting caught on the cards.

Turning the cards, separating the shed as I go. Hopefully, if I make the tension more even, I can turn them all at once, I had to do it individually.

Finished sample--my back had had enough.

The cloth is surprisingly thick and strong. I *think* it's a sort of double clothing, though I'm not sure.

I'll talk later when I'm feeling more capable about my plans for this technique.

Back up North

I thought I wouldn't have much to post on, but once I start taking pictures, I realize I do~

Apparently my idea of a relaxing plane-and-vacation project is setting in about a dozen godets with hand-done french seams. On heavy cotton. I'm taking a rest tonight because of it--my hand's hurting a bit.

I may add horse-hair to the bottom hem to give it a little more floof.

Spreading it out--it's a little more than a half-circle.

Now I'm carefully stitching on a waist band to hide the slightly messy tops. The only problem so far is that the french seams pulled it in a little, and I may need to add some fabric to the middle front, but I have to put a button placket there anyway, so I'll probably make it decorative.

Okay, so my first crochet project probably shouldn't have been this complex. You can see how uneven it got at the bottom. I'm not too bothered about it though. Working my way over to the crotch area, that'll be fun to figure out.

I've still been toying around with the idea of giant filet crochet. I gave it another go.

I crochet with strips (like in a rag rug) then took the resultant mesh and used it as a giant needlepoint mesh. It's an interesting texture, I think I'd like it more a bit neater. I might try it again with sewn tubes, though that'll make it take much longer.

Of course the back's a nightmare. But I bet it would be quite warm. Might make a good coat.

And I'm going to end with a gift and a find. Both have been tugging at my brain, thinking about how to rightly use them.

Beautiful piece of hand-done crewel embroidery I found lost in a thrift store. I kept the large piece, but the smaller bits I top-dyed black. I really love the palette that resulted, I may top-dye a good deal of my crewel wool yarn to use.

The original colors. This'll eventually be a pillow for my couch, if I ever buy stuffing.

The other is a gift from my mate Diana who gave me these amazing bits and beads from her grandmother's stash of wedding-dress supplies.

Not Cheating, I swear.

But I'm going on vacation until Friday, and I'm leaving the laptop behind. But I'll have a plane ride and some down-time, so I'll keep working, and have a nice post when I get back.

Leaving you with this lovely sample, which I must admit I did not make, but was done by Emma, one of the highschoolers I helped teach at the Summer Institute at Uarts. And which I scooped out of the scrap bin. It'll probably find it's way into the inside of something--it's certainly something I could see being a treasured scrap.

Thanks Emma, for changing my mind on Shibori, a technique I often find veers off into awful "Fibre Arts" territory. With enough layers, it's really complex and almost prismatic. The class also made me appreciate silk as a material, particularly duiponi and organza. I feel like they would work really well with the wools and cottons I'm using, it's just a matter of finding them used. I think I need to start looking for old wedding dresses.

Here's my Material Wish List--I know I've only got a few readers, but hey, let me know if you have any of these things, I'm willing to trade! Condition is generally not important, I'm going to take it all apart anyway.

--Wool Sweaters, especially the natural white irish cable kind, or fair isle
--Old silk/cotton quilts, even in poor shape
--Silk wedding dresses/anything with silk yardage or cotton/silk lace.
--Old military coats/jackets
--White button-up shirts (100% cotton)
--Plaid button ups, particularly in blue/grey/green shades (100% cotton)
--Wool dress pants/skirts
--Leather jackets/scraps
--Heavy wool blankets (usually felted army types)
--Simple metal, wood, or horn buttons.

Workin' it out

Updating more often seems to be working out--I'm taking more in-process pictures, and I feel better about how much I'm getting done. It's easy to forget all the little things you do if you only look back every two weeks.

Promised pictures of the Cathedral Window dress yesterday, so here they are. At least it's on a mannequin--I know the pictures are not the best. One day I'll have a decent camera.

I should also mention the mannequin's chest is a little too large for it--it's meant for a fairly small person (though the fit is meant to be loose in anycase)

Now I just need to figure out the underdress. I was thinking maybe something light gray, or ombre-dyed light to dark grey? Or maybe patchworked scraps? Not sure yet.

Started over on the undershirt for the wing shirt--going simpler this time.

Cutting it out. Check out my sloppy brown-paper pattern.

Basting the shirt together to check the vest over it. I used to be too lazy to do this, but you know, it doesn't take any longer than to pin it, and it works better.

Cutting the length to match the curve of the wing.

Un-basted, then I cut slits in it to insert godets to add fullness. Not sure yet if I'm going to dye the godets or leave them white. Or if I'm going to leave the seams raw, or do french seams or bias or something. I want them on the right side, to add some line texture.

I've also been trying to crochet filet mesh with strips of wool--I think if I get a bigger crochet hook, it will work. I also top-dyed two fair-isle sweaters tonight, though one came out spotty, and I'll have to redye.

Old Lady Time--Crochet and Quilts

So I skip yesterday. I needed a little break, and seeing as it was my day off of work, I took the whole day off. But I did get a fair amount of stuff done. The cathedral window dress is done! Except for the underskirt, which I need to think about. No pictures, I really need to get a shot on a person or mannequin, hopefully I can manage that tomorrow.

Bargello quilt is now officially a top. I added two scrappy braids to make it a normal size, since the bargello part was a little bit odd and square. Same technique as on the braided shirt. Need to layout my batting and baste it together, then I'll hand-quilt it. It'll have to wait until I can bring everything to school, I don't have enough room in my apartment for it.

Testing out some crochet meshes. As far as I can tell, they're generally used as backgrounds in filet crochet and Irish lace, but I really like them on their own. I'm thinking I like it best at extreme sizes--in thin thread, and maybe in several strands of wool, or strips of wool fabric.

Putting it to work on the side of an under-shirt. The pink thread is silk, and the undershirt is some sort of slubby raw silk, I may dye them both, I may not, after all, it's in a place that would be covered up by clothing.

Quick and dirty shoe mock-up in some crappy felt.

Thinking from the bottom up

I just bought a pair of Red Wing boots to replace my old winter boots. They were an extremely strange pair of boots, shaped like a pair of Clark's chukkas, but fur lined and made of some sort of hard, dark leather. Unfortunately, they were also from the 60's or 70's, and cracked along the sides.

So I've been thinking about shoes. Plotting and planning about making them. I have some ideas, I have some thick wools and leathers, and I'm eying some waxed linen thread at my school's resale shop.

A while back I tried to make a little wool shoe:

Which is a good jumping off point. And I've been drawing shoes too:

Hopefully I can get to a scanner soon, sorry for the awful photo-of-a-drawing. I was working from images of old armor--Leg armor called graves and cuisses. And samurai armor as well, most of it is made from bamboo and fabric, and I feel like I can emulate that in boiled leather and wool.

I also want to try doing some cut work for more delicate, lace like boots.

Some shoes I'm looking at:

The New Deal

Is that I'm going to take a page from Seamus's blog Days Run Away and really give it a go updating daily, or at least semi-daily. I feel like I keep missing days until it feels too late, and then I have about a month's worth of photos, so I end up not posting half of the progress shots. So here goes.

I've been doing some little samples of new techniques. I finally figured out how to crochet, after 4-5 years of scratching my head after making a chain stitch. Don't know why it suddenly clicked, I was just staring at a drawing in one of my needlepoint books, and it all made sense.

The other piece is something called 'Hungarian Cloth?' or at least that's what the old book I saw it in called it. It's basically a dense double buttonhole. I think it'd look good black-on-black.

I really want to try Hardanger embroidery soon, just looking for an appropriate even-weave fabric. Also thinking about translating broderie anglais to wool on a large scale. And card-weaving is still in the back of my head, especially since I know i have a weaving-based project once I get back to school.

I've picked up this dress again to try and finish it by school's start--I'd really like to get it, another shirt, and a pair of shorts done before I start. We'll see.
Getting through all the needlelace sections is a grind...

I'll admit the fit's a little awkward, but it was really dictated by the size of the window-squares. Next time I'd make them a little smaller. And not out of wool (I don't have a fair picture yet, but I'm playing around with the pattern in silk organza, the transparency is really beautiful.)

The needlelace gradated from very tight to loose. I think I'll put a dark gray fabric as the underskirt, it'll soften the effect a bit I think.

More tomorrow, or so I hope!