‘New’ Telaic Fantasy #2 – postcard recycling/mail art kit

TF2 CoverIt’s felt like a long time coming (to me), but I have finally caught up with myself, and re-formatted Telaic Fantasy #2 into the new, bigger A5 size.  Now that all the back issues have been updated, that means I can focus on getting a new issue ready.  Actually, I have something pretty cool in mind for TF4, but because it involves allowing for somebody else’s schedule, it means the new issue won’t be out until the beginning of July (ish).  Don’t worry – I will have lots of other new stuff popping up between now and then!

For now, here’s a preview of the revised TF2:

TF2 Preview 1The free postcards now come tucked into an envelope bound into the spine, and the postcard labels themselves are printed onto (recycled) gummed paper (I recently learned that gummed paper is better for the environment than self-adhesive, as it is water-soluble, and doesn’t clog up the works at the recycling plants).  There is also an additional page of labels for you to photocopy, cut and paste, so you can recycle as many postcards as you like :-).  Ever fancied trying a spot of mail art?  I’m not sure about the realistic possibilities of a tapestry reaching its destination in tact, but it’s surely a concept worth experimenting with!

TF2 Preview 2There are lots more features crammed into TF2, not to mention the fact that it doubles up as a handy notebook, with lots of custom printed pages for you to scribble down your sketches, notes & ideas. TF2 is available to buy as a stand-alone zine, or as part of a membership package for the D.I.Y. Weaving Club.   As always, the first 10 issues will be signed and numbered.  Check out the listings at my Etsy Store for full details & all options available!

TF2 postcard stampAnother addition to the postcard recycling kit is this cute illustration that I hand-carved using my new-found lino-cutting skills ;-).  I’ve used it to stamp onto the envelope that contains the free postcard & postcard cutting template.

Today is a happy day, as it marks the beginning of my revised working hours at the bookshop.  From today onwards, I will only be working afternoons, allowing me to squeeze in precious extra time every morning to keep on top of all the crafty stuff.  Too-many-ideas-and-not-enough-time will I’m sure remain my mantra, but hopefully those extra few hours a week will make a difference.  🙂

The new D.I.Y. Weaving Club is up and running!

Taking a ‘kind-of’ break while I moved house enabled me to think about how I could improve the formula for the D.I.Y. Weaving Club.  With the first batch of 3 month subscriptions just come to an end, this seemed like the perfect time to make the change.

In short, you don’t need to subscribe any more. Instead, you have 3 options:

  • Membership inner covera one-off Basic Membership Pack, which includes a weave-able Membership Card & an exclusive Membership Book.  This gives you lifelong membership to the D.I.Y. Weaving Club, with email updates.

OR

  • Member pack 3a Membership Pack which includes card & book (as above), plus an issue of Telaic Fantasy zine with accessories for a D.I.Y. weaving project, and a randomly selected mixed yarn pack.

OR

  • Layered Preview 1 croppedif you don’t want to join the club but would like the latest meanderings & projects from ‘Telaic Fantasy’, you can buy any of the zines alone.

TF has grown quite dramatically!  It is now half-size (A5) rather than quarter, and includes at least one D.I.Y. weaving project inside (the old D.I.Y. club had separate kit & zine, but I decided integration was the way forward), plus random accessories.  Extra bits have been added to TF1 & TF2 so they are more chock-full than ever.

Want to know more?  Check out my Etsy Store!  You’ll find detailed info on the contents of each Membership Pack & zine.  New zines and Membership Packs will be added over the next few months, possibly at a slightly irregular schedule, but there’s definitely more to come, so please check back!

D.I.Y. Weaving update

Apologies for my recent silence – I promise that despite a lack of blog posts, TangleCrafts has been a hive of activity lately.  The Etsy store has been doing a roaring trade, and it has kept me on my toes staying on top of all the orders. If you have signed up for the D.I.Y. Weaving Club, rest assured despatch of the first month’s instalment is iminent! I have spent most of today printing and packaging, and I will be visiting the postbox no later than Saturday, so your bundles of weaving goodness will be with you very shortly.  Hurrah!

bumperbundlestring[N.B.  If you missed the deadline signing up for the March D.I.Y. Weaving Club, don’t despair!  You can still buy the first zine, Telaic Fantasy #1, or you can still sign up for April (and beyond) D.I.Y. Weaving Club, including a different mystery kit.  If you just want a taster of what you might be missing, get a one-off Bumper Bundle to try it out – you won’t get quite as many goodies as a club member, but it’s still lots of fun!)

mock-upI have also added 2 new items to the Etsy store: a Weaving Bowl, and a Postcard Recycling Kit.   If you follow my blog, you’ll know I occasionally have the girls round for a ‘Crafty Day’ (the most recent one, we all pitched in to make some ‘unique’ wedding invitation cards for Trish).  I laid out a prototype weaving bowl on my first Crafty Day, and 2 of the girls dived straight in.  It’s just a fun thing to leave out in your home.  When somebody stops round for a chat, they may or may not feel inclined to weave something, but hey, it’s nice to have the option!  I love the postcard recycling kits – just add the labels to front & back of a postcard-sized piece of card and you’re ready to begin!   It’s a great way to introduce a crafty friend to the joys of weaving…

I’ve also added some new pics to the ATC and Play Your Cards Right kit pages, as I have been playing with the packaging, and it’s all changed.  Well, the content remains the same, but I’ve re-done all the booklets, and the packaging is now pre-printed (still by me) with integral pockets, rather than using labels and envelopes.  I told you all that ‘research’ into ELF really was research!  To be honest, I’m not sure if I have decreased my workload with the new packaging or not, but I’m much happier with the way it looks, so I’ve achieved something, at least…!

Last but not least, the next issue of ‘Telaic Fantasy’ is in the final stages of preparation.  Watch this space next week for a bumper issue!

So you see, I meant it when I said I’ve been busy – and that’s not the half of it!  As soon as TF2 is ‘on the shelves’ I’ll be back with some more free projects for you, as well as notebooks (yes, notebooks!), and some more new kits which I’m really excited about.  It’s an ongoing process, and a seemingly neverending flow of new ideas.   I’ll never be able to squeeze enough extra hours  into each day to get throuigh it all, but I can have fun trying!  See you soon…

Craft Leftovers Interview

Find out more than you ever needed to know about me and TangleCrafts in the interview just posted at the cool Craft Leftovers site.  There’s a free set of TangleCrafts Weaving cards with the March issue of Craft Leftovers Monthly – find out more here, then sign up before Saturday to get your subscription. Craft Leftovers Monthly is a fun and funky combination of zine and crafting goodies that will show you how to make awesome cool crafts with all your leftovers – you can’t say fairer than that!

Check out the main Craft Leftovers site, too – there are lots of interesting posts & free projects to browse and explore 🙂

All quiet…?

It’s been a quiet weekend for me in terms of blogging, but I’ve been working non-stop on all sorts of fun things, some of which have made their way onto the catalogue pages, and some are just still little kernels of ideas, waiting for the right time to (or more accurately, for me to have time to let them) grow.

Anyway, be sure to check out the Latest Additions page for all the bits & bobs I have finally got sorted, including a FREE ‘How to Weave a Bookmark‘ PDF, a FREE counted thread chart, and a fun new kit added to the Friendship Weaving page.

Enjoy, and keep checking back, as I have lots more still to come 🙂

More happy things

Can you believe it?  Touch wood, technology finally seems to be on my side again!  I am the proud owner of a new laptop, and revelling in the fact that I no longer have to sit at my desk to type, but can instead make use of the lovely, comfy chairs and sofas in the downstairs part of the house!  I also now have a keyboard that can type all (yes, that’s ALL) of its letters at first touch, so in future, any typos you come across are just the result of my being a bit haphazard, rather than the keyboard randomly omitting letters I have actually requested.  Hurrah!

But the BEST thing about it, is that IT HAS USB POINTS THAT WORK!  Finally, for the first time since summer, I can attach my printer, and therefore print off documents, and scan things again.  This means that in addition to the new weaving kits, I can finally get going with the stitchery charts and kits again.  Well, actually, I’ve decided on a slight change of direction, and the needlework charts are going to be available in book form, in the future, rather than as kits, with some still available as individual charts.  I will be re-vamping the needlework pages in the near future, so watch this space!

So this lovely little laptop is making my life a LOT easier, just now.  Forgive the excess of capital letters in this post, but I’m very excited about it!

Oh, you know what else I’m happy about?  Okay, December is a busy month; but I’ve decided not to worry about re-launching the needlework books until the New Year, which means I have a good few weeks in which I can spend any spare time weaving.  You would think I had done a lot of that in the weeks running up to the craft fair, but actually, the last couple of weeks were all about the preparations, with VERY little weaving time.  I have my eye on some lovely new yarns to play with.  This month, despite Christmas madness going on around me, I plan to RELAX…  Wish me luck!

Weaving ATCs

ATCs (Artist Trading Cards, to the uninitiated!) are something that have intrigued me for a while.  The concept is simple: an artist decorates a card (specifically sized 2.5″ x 3.5″), adds their contact details and any other information they want to, to the reverse, and then trades (never sells) this card with other artists.  It’s a highly personalised business card, in a way, building a community feeling among artists.  But also a huge online community has sprung up, creating and trading ATCs – and just in case I’ve given the wrong impression, this is a world open to any crafter/artist, not just ‘professionals’.

I think ATCs are a wonderful creative outlet.  They allow you to try out different techniques on a small scale, and the mixed-media cards I’ve seen can be quite stunning.  It’s one of those all-encompassing ideas that means whatever background you have, or medium you work with, you can play, too!  But I guess it’s the fact of communication, and the fact that it’s a personal, not mass-produced/commercial thing that makes it feel like a little oasis.

Although not commercial in the sense of trading rather than selling the cards, an industry has sprung up selling related materials to decorate and store your ATCs, and cool stuff like labels and rubber stamps to add your details to the reverse.  Being me, of course, I just look at the labels and then make my own.  I had the idea for a woven ATC, and while working on a design for the reverse, came up with a way to make a loom directly out of your ATC blank.  As I speak, I’m having rubber stamps custom made.  At the craft fair, I will have funky little (alterable) tins containing an ATC kit, with ATC blanks,  2 different ATC backs, needle, ‘shed stick’, instructions, etc.  You may have noticed, I’m really pleased with this idea.  I just want to get people weaving (another post will be coming shortly with more DIY ideas), and ATCs are a brilliant, sample-sized way to get people hooked!

This was my prottype ATC. I also have a slicker image as an option for the reverse, eradicating the tape measures.
This was my prototype ATC. I also have a slicker image as an option for the reverse, eradicating the tape measures; and a far simpler, more meditative weaving, currently half-complete.

In addition to the ATC kit, I will be (literally) giving away an ATC loom as my business card – the front has all my contact details, the back has instructions to turn the card into a loom.  The weaver, of course, is not obliged to mke an ATC, if they don’t want to; they also have the option of just slipping the weaving from the (re-usable) card once complete, and framing/mounting as they choose.

I can’t claim that weaving an ATC is an incredibly original idea, but it’s certainly not common.  Putting the concept out there in the hands of a wider audience of creative types, though, opens up all sorts of possibilities for combining weaving with ther media.  I think it’s just something that hasn’t really crossed people’s minds, but once the idea is there, it’s a very viable, adaptable option.  I’ll leave it up to the ATC community to explore further…!

The only person I currently know who is experimenting with woven ATCs is artist/tapestry weaver Laurie o’ Neill.  You can see her processes and some completed cards here.  I love this idea for using ‘thrums’ Jazzcat Thrums as an ATC background.  I’ve been using thrums to stuff the little Oddballs I’ve woven for the fair.  I think this is a far more decorative use for them, though, and you can still be just as creative with exploring colour combinations.

More looms. There are, quite simply, always more…

I was harping on about the copper loom, and the Archie loom a couple of posts ago.  Well, I have just stumbled across another site, where you can buy a loom based on the same principles:Loom in a Tube.  This one is not copper, but is still aesthetically pleasing.  The text does not specify what it is constructed from; not being an expert, the best I could guess is that it looks ‘brassy’!

The additional novelty of this particular loom is that – as the site name suggests! – it comes in a tube, and (apparently) you can roll a partially complete weaving up into the tube, for easy transportation.  The only other loom I have seen that works on this premise is the Journey Loom from Weaving a Life.  The Journey Loom is wooden and comes with a whole spiritual ethic, so has its own charm, but the Loom in a Tube has a tensioning device, and the tube is far sturdier and thus more protective than the Journey Loom fabric case, so at $95 seems far better value to me than the Journey Loom ($88).   Each to their own, though!  I do like the philosophy behind the Weaving a Life site, even still.

But back to the loom in a tube: it feels as though it was designed for me!  At 12″ x 20″, it is exactly the same dimensons I had planned out when I was contemplating buying all the copper piping and constructing my own pipe loom.  I usually weave smaller pieces, it’s true; but it’s nice to have the option to work to a slightly larger scale…

I also like the books and kits provided on the same site.  The projects are all available as either book OR kit, to suit individual requirements and a lot of them incorporate beads as well as threads/yarns – something I have yet to try out, but is suddenly calling to me…!  One of the kits also introduces ‘eccentric weft’, a term I do remember once coming across in one of my vintage weaving books, but is in essence what you will find me referring to in my own work as ‘freeform’.  I really like to see that somebody out there is encouraging creative exploration in tapestry weaving; because  if you’re not into stripes, the majority of other tapestry kits available are simply not going to appeal to you…!

Well, I’ll let you know if and when I try any of these fun things out.  In the meantime, please post a comment if you have tried any of these looms out and/or have any advice!

Illoomination

Despite my recent posts about tapestry looms, and although I have been weaving a lot lately, it turns out that, actually, my recent weaving experiments haven’t been woven on any of my looms at all.  Instead, I’ve come to the realisation that (for me) weaving on cardboard is just as effective, and far more practical.  Admittedly, this is primarily because I like to work on a small-scale, and would not work so well for larger pieces.

I’ve been preparing for a craft fair that is coming up at  the end of November (www.thisisbazaar.co.uk – check it out!).  I’ve woven a couple of small ‘pictures’, amongst other things.  But instead of struggling with how to finish and frame them neatly once the piece is removed from the loom (or if not struggling, at least spending time on finishing that I would rather spend weaving) I have worked from the beginning of each piece with a piece of firm card cut to the size of the aperture of the intended frame or box mount.  I guess a level of foresight is necessary here, as this does (up to a point) commit me to using that particular frame for the finished piece, rather than deciding on the best way to mount the finished piece once it is complete…

But I haven’t used anything special.  The card is just ordinary card, cut from discarded packaging materials, notched with scissors.  I even discovered that a hairclip makes a brilliant weaving needle, with the yarn gripped firmly in place, and a curve to the clip easing the over-under motion (a needle of some descrption is probably still best for finer work).  This set me to thinking about how weaving as a craft is so simple to execute, with great results, and really doesn’t need any expensive equipment at all.  In fact, if you have a small stash of yarn (or maybe a woolly jumper to unravel!) you can weave with virtually no outlay at all.  It’s actually a brilliant example of the recycling-through-re-purposing ethic.

I had some friends round to my house yesterday.  There was lots of crafty stuff lying about, because we were planning to play while we chatted, so I put out a box with some oddments of wool, a couple of miniature looms I had putPlay Your Cards Right Loom together out of re-purposed playing cards, and a part-worked example I had been working on.  I didn’t make a big thing about it, but two of the girls picked up looms and started weaving straight away.  I had pre-warped them, so there was nothing fiddly to start off with.  One of the girls started using the hairclip; the other was using her fingers until I showed how it worked: both agreed the hairclip worked really well.

Trish's Pouch
Trish
Bernice's Pouch
Bernice

Both made cute litte pouches, and I was so impressed with the way they turned out.  The girls couldn’t have chosen more different yarns and colours from each other, so they were brilliant examples of what could be done, with a little imagination.

So when it comes to the craft fair, I’m now decided that as well as finished pieces, I will also  have beginners kits, made up of re-purposed looms.  I liked the idea before, but seeing the results of my girly day yesterday, proved the results could be really worthwhile even using such basic materials.   Selling a kit may not seem quite in line with the re-purposed ethic, but anyone can go online and find out how to make a cardboard loom, if they want to.  The simple truth is that despite our current DIY culture, many people still prefer to have everything presented to them, ready to begin.  But once they have tried it out, seen what the kits consist of and how easy it is, perhaps they will be encouraged to make their own next time.  Well, maybe…

I got quite twitchy at the last craft fair I did, because there was quite a lot of time spent just sitting around when I felt as though I ought to be doing something.  I hadn’t been organised enough to take anything with me, and  sitting around doing nothing is NOT something I generally do a lot of! This time I will definitely be weaving as I sit, and I will have some sample looms to hand for anyone passing by to try out, if they show an interest.  Yesterday’s experiment has made me feel very positive about the whole thing. 🙂

Freeform Bargello – the series so far!

Oak Leaf Panel (c) TangleCrafts, 2008 - £25
Oak Leaf Panel (c) TangleCrafts, 2008 - £25

The freeform bargello series is far from complete, but I have finally finished the borders for the second and third pieces, so thought it was time for an update.

Kits are now available, colourways and prices as shown (additional colourways will soon be available for ‘Marble Wave’ – watch this space!).  Each kit includes a comb-bound A4 chart book with full

Marble Wave (c) TangleCrafts, 2008 - £20
Marble Wave (c) TangleCrafts, 2008 - £20

instructions, full skeins of overdyed floss, and a free bonus chart to complement the design! Please visit the Stitchery Designs page for further information.

You can find details of how to place an order here, but please feel free to email me if you have any questions about either the kits or ordering.

You can get 10% off the prices shown if you are a member of the

Bobbin Along (c) TangleCrafts, 2008 - £22.50
Bobbin Along (c) TangleCrafts, 2008 - £22.50

TangleCrafts Yahoo Group and mention it when placing your order.

I’m working on more designs to add to this series, exploring bargello and freeform bargello from different directions, so watch this space for more new designs coming soon!

In the meantime, please let me know what you think of the freeform bargello series so far 🙂