Handwoven faux postage #3

handwoven letter collectionOver the last couple of days, I have been weaving yet more postcards.  Why? I hear you wondering…  Well, partly to try out some different yarns, partly to try out some alternative woven postage ideas, and partly for…another reason.  Where are the postcards going?  What are they for?  Well, this time I’m not sending them to myself, but I won’t say more than that for now – look out for updates!

handwoven postage 1My postcard from a couple of weeks ago (right) was woven with an aran weight knitting yarn.  The ‘stamp’ was a very basic surface needle-weave which hid the background weaving nicely.  The more recent postcards, however, were woven with a less bulky (dk) yarn – largely because I simply could not find the blues I was looking for in a heavier weight.  (I always find it surprising that despite the vast array of yarns out there, sometimes it’s impossible to find one that matches the colour in my mind’s eye…)

woven faux postage comparisonI soon discovered that the same simple needleweaving came nowhere close to covering the background.  I got around this by weaving diagonally (both directions) across the grid that was formed, and this did the trick.

For the sake of experimentation, I also tried weaving the ‘stamp’ as part of the main body of the postcard weaving, rather than as an embroidered addition on top.  I instantly liked the way the splicing together of the envelope & stamp colours gave the appearance of a serrated edge (well, at top & bottom, at least) and will most probably use this method again.

I still also want to experiment further with the matchbox loom, though, and applique a tiny weaving onto the postcard, instead.  Another day, though…!

The Handwoven Postcard Project

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Handwoven faux postage #2

handwoven letter postcard by Su MwambaIn a recent post, I claimed that the stamp woven in the corner of this ‘letter’ was my first handwoven faux postage.  Who knew?  Turns out I was wrong…!  I just re-discovered an old post of mine from 2010 in which I wove a postage stamp on a tiny matchbox loom!

I had completely forgotten about this, but really need to try it again – it would totally be possible to embroider a little detail onto the surface of this tiny weaving…  

Matchbox weaving loom

Ironically, this miniature weaving probably took as long to complete as the handwoven postcards I have talked about recently, due to the fine embroidery threads used instead of bulkier knitting wools.  It would be possible to weave a quicker stamp using a bulkier yarn or thread, though – it would just afford less opportunity for adding finer detail.

See the original post for further details.

Spot the Difference #2

postcard 2a afterYou’ve got to be impressed by Derby’s mail service!  HP#2 arrived home safely yesterday, and you really would be hard-pushed to spot any signs of  damage due to it’s journey through the postal system (compare the pic above to the earlier pic in this post – I defy you to spot the difference!  I assure you, they are different pics, taken days apart).  postcard 2b before & afterThe only evidence can be found in the slightly disappointing hand-scribbled cancellation of the postage stamp.  Otherwise, it is entirely unscarred, and might just as well have not travelled anywhere at all!

I suspect I am not challenging my handwoven postcards sufficiently, by sending them on such a short, local journey.  Perhaps Derby is especially (unusually?) mail art-friendly?  But HP#3 (& possibly HP#4) will test out the services slightly further afield.  I’ve not had chance for any further weaving yet, but should be underway in the next few days…

On the plus side, the results of my experiments so far must surely be encouraging to anybody who is worried about the damage that might befall their artwork should they free it into the postal system.  Personally, I’m a bit disappointed – I was hoping for some scars and more obvious signs of transit…   But on the evidence to date, it seems quite likely that your missives will survive entirely in tact and unharmed, so now that excuse is by the wayside – get creative! 🙂

The Handwoven Postcard Project

A handwoven letter

I’m hoping that my first handwoven postcard trial will arrive while I’m out today.  In the meantime, I’ve been making up for lost time & have completed Handwoven Postcard #2.  Yes, it’s all a bit meta this time – a weaving that looks like a letter, except that it’s a postcard… 😉

handwoven letter postcard by Su Mwamba

I initially wove it plain, just with the airmail border but it looked very boring.  The addition of embroidered ‘address’ and needle-woven ‘stamp’ (my first handwoven faux postage!) really finish it off.  I’m slightly concerned, though, that the extra detail is more likely to endanger the weaving while it’s on its travels (more little bits to get caught up in machinery)…but we shall soon see!

Find out more about the Handwoven Postcard Project...

Handwoven faux postage!

Well, it could be.  I’ve been meaning to make a matchbox weaving loom ever since writing my Borrowers zine, and today, I finally got around to it, and I even remembered to scan each step of the way:

Cut down to basics, all you need to do is:

  • Snip notches at approx. 3mm intervals along the short edges of a 32ct matchbox tray.  (My advice: mark it out first!  I ended up with 7 notches, but an even number will work better when it comes to ‘finishing’/removing from loom.)
  • Warp loom.  I warped all the way from one end to the other, around the back of the loom and back to starting point.  See finishing tips below for how the way you warp will affect your options.
  • Use matches woven under and over alternate threads to adjust tension, as required.  I removed the matchsticks as the weaving grew, so that I could weave all the way to the top of the loom.
  • Weave!  I used a (hand-dyed) variegated perle 5 cotton to get a stripy effect without having to change threads too often.  Using a needle will help you when weaving.  I used the needle I use for bookbinding, because it happened to be to-hand; but the book-binding needle is a sharp, and a blunt-ended tapestry needle would be far better advised!  Visit my weaving freebies page for basic/additional weaving instructions.
  • Removing your weaving from the loom will depend on how you have warped:
  1. If you have an even number of warps and warped all around the outside of the matchbox tray, snip across the threads in the centre of the matchbox reverse.  Tie off warp threads in pairs, and trim to preferred length of fringe.
  2. If you warped your loom back and forth around notches (across front of loom only), carefully nudge loops off notches and thread onto matchsticks for a miniature wall-hanging.

Well, it entertained me, so hope you will enjoy this little (no pun intended 😉 ) project, too.  Let me know if you try this out – would love to see pictures!

What’s everyone up to?

I’ve had some great updates in the last week! And it’s always cool to see what other people are working on, so if you’ve been inspired to try something by one of my kits or zines, do let me know so that I can share 🙂

wall hangingFirst up today is Sharon Schmeidel – back in January, she bought one of my ATC weaving kits and has been weaving away ever since. In her own words, tapestry weaving has become “another passion I should probably have done without”! The scale has increased somewhat since her ATC-sized beginnings – I’m sure you’ll agree with me that this wall-hanging is pretty awesome! Sharon is a member of the Iowa Art Quilters Group, and this piece has been on display in Grenell, Iowa, over the summer, at a show in conjunction with an area weaving conference. Cool!

doodle stitchI was also really happy to see Robin O. Mayberry’s post on her Alchemy Studio blog, about the bookmark she doodle-stitched, after I sent her a copy of my new ‘Contours’ zine, less than a month ago! The zine is all about doodles, and at the very last minute, I decide to include a bookmark as an extra. I didn’t have time to trial the concept first, so I just hoped that it would work – and it looks like it did – hurrah! Huge thanks to Robin for being my guinea pig & actually trying it out :-). If you would like to try it yourself, every bookmark that comes with the Contours zine is hand-doodled, and will be similar but different to Robin’s, so your doodle-stitching is guaranteed to be unique.

faux stampedAnd last but not least, I received a great piece of post from Kristina Howells in France. I’ve been taking part in some faux postage projects, lately (although Kristina was very quick off the mark with this one, & I haven’t created, let alone sent my response, yet!). The envelope I received from Kristina had 2 ‘real’ stamps at the top, which had been duly postmarked, but also a faux postage stamp just beneath – and what tickled me was that the faux stamp had also been postmarked! I hadn’t got too far yet with my ideas for the faux postage project, but receiving this really prompted me to give it some thought & I’m itching to get started, now…

Woven postcard update

arteth postcard beforeArteth's woven postcardArteth Gray has just posted the ‘before’ (pre-mail!) picture of the woven postcard I received, on her blog, so I thought I should do a before and after update here.

I feel kind of bad, because the ‘before’ picture is so lovely (look how straight those edges are!), and you can see just how much damage the journey did to it.  On the other hand, the whole point of mail art is that the journeyis a part of both the process and the artwork, so I’m still exceedingly happy to have received it, & I still think it’s brilliant.  Thanks again, so much, Arteth!

If you’re inspired by this, check out the Handwoven Postcard Project – more info to come soon!