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!

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What are you weaving?

Okay, we all know I’m moving house soon & have forbidden myself from beginning any new weaving projects 😦 – but what’s your excuse?

angela-baty-pouchI just had a lovely email from one of my Etsy customers, Angela Baty, showing me the cute little pouch she wove (left) after buying a DIY Play Your Cards Right Kit.   She used a self-striping knitting yarn, which is a great idea if you have some lying about, as it saves changing yarns every time you want a new colour (and saves tucking in so many loose ends).

If you’re very patient, you could try weaving with a patterned sock yarn, but it would take FOREVER to weave!  But if you do have the patience, and you packed the yarn firmly, you would have a very sturdy little pouch at the end of it!

So what are you working on?  I’d love to see photos, whether you’ve woven something from a TangleCrafts kit or followed one of my freebie patterns.

And please let me know if you come across any anomalies in the instructions, whether it’s a typo, or just plain wrong!  One of my DIY Weaving Club subscribers, Arteth Gray, found that the glue I suggested wasn’t strong enough to hold the comb/board loom together while she wove.  I suggested instead using gaffer tape to hold the comb in place (not very pretty, but very strong & practical); but Arteth said “I tied the comb on with some embroidery thread, and that seems to be working well” – so there’s another tip for you!

Weaving frustration!

With a house-move looming on the horizon, I am really reluctant to begin any new projects.  This is just asking for trouble, of course.  I keep seeing things that inspire me!  I already have more ideas than I have time to put into practise, and putting projects on hold for a month or more just means that I’m going to accumulate even more of a backlog!

I posted a while back about a woven book cover which has given me various ideas that I’ve not had chance to explore yet.  I also recently ragrugbagdiscovered this cool project at Dollar Store Crafts for turning a rag rug into a bag.  I check this site regularly, as it frequently suggests original & unusual ways for re-purposing everyday stuff.  I have to say, I have not yet found a pound shop in the UK that sells these woven rag rugs, but I have seen them relatively cheap in the past.  Anyway, I would feel like I was cheating if I made one of these, because – well, I’m a weaver, aren’t I?!  So finding this project has inspired me to get weaving myself.  I actually have a mousematcombboardloom loom (yes, just as it sounds: a mousemat with a comb glued along the top) warped and ready to weave, but I’m trying to be good, because I know it will take longer than I anticipate, and I really need to motivate myself to get packing, rather than allow more distractions… 😦  But there’s a cunning idea I’ve thought of but not tried out yet, so it’s definitely high on my list for getting around to, after the move…

I’m really itching to get weaving again.  Oh, it’s frustrating!  Maybe if I’m really good & get everything packed up within a couple of weeks I will allow myself a little project  break regardless…

In the meantime, I recently treated myself to the complete set of back issues of Croq Zine.   The political slant of craftivism scares me slightly, but I’ve not been scared by what I’ve read so far.  Well, of course, it has just given me even more ideas to store up…  But at least it only involves writing down some notes (for now) rather than getting stuck in immediately.  It would be kind of nice to just sit down for a couple of hours and read through the stack of zines in one go; but that would defeat my you’re-not-allowed-to-spend-time-on-stuff-when-you-should-be-packing rule.  Instead, I have a half hour lunch break, which is actually just right for reading through a few features; and it is also kind of nice to be able to savour it a little, and make my treat last a little longer.

Please help me not have to pack so much by checking out my Re-Housing Clearance…!

Woven bookcovers

Why didn’t I think of this? The notebook covers are made from corrugated cardboard (leftover packaging) and the covers are woven with scraps of fabric. The tutorial shows you step-by-step how to do it all!
Click here for this very cool project.

woven-book

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 ideas

5.  Haiku Tins (photo to follow).  I found a good source for tins with aperture lids recently, and have woven several freeform pieces to fit the different sizes.  For the smallest tin (pencil box-sized),  I tried something a bit different.  Using beautiful yarns in graduating variegated shades, I wrapped the yarn, rather than wove.  This is a ridiculously simple thing to do, but because of the blending and shading in these particular yarns, really very effective in the end result.  I think of them as meditations on colour, which led me circuitously round to haiku.  After reading quite a lot of haiku, and being aware of them as a source of strong natural imagery, I decided that they suited these wrapped tins perfectly.  So I have bought some recycled fibre paper, onto which I will print individual haiku, and a little collection of these printed slips of haiku will fill each tin.  (Obviously if someone has an alternative use for the tin, they are welcome to remove the haiku, once they have bought it!)  If you like haiku, can I strongly recommend ‘Clear Light’ by Alan Spence?   The Haiku Tins will contain a mix of traditional and contemporary haiku.

Night swallows dew-damp meadow / casting velvet shadows / that will pass
Spring evening

6.  Meditations.   I’ve woven a few freeform pieces for the craft fair, and while they evolve quite naturally, I also find that after weaving one, I tend to want to go back to basics, back to the basic, essential flow of weaving.  The wrapped Haiku Tins gave me the idea to just weave a very plain block, allowing the colours of the yarn to do all the work for me.  This allows me to really get lost in the rhythmic, soothing process of weaving, and becomes a meditation on both the process and the random evolution of the colours.  The pieces you see to left and right are examples, unframed thus far.

Muddy fields
Muddy fields

My idea is to frame them, individually, in very plain, simple wooden frames.  Within the frame will also be a handwrtten haiku, composed by me, relating to the images evoked by the weaving.  I love the clarity and economy of haiku, the condensed images retaining a simple appreciation of the mysteries of the world around us.  I think they work perfectly with the meditative process involved with the weaving of these pieces.  I’m in no way claiming that my own haiku compare with the masters of the genre; but the pieces are personal to me, and using my own poetry makes them even more so.  I guess it gives the viewer of the work an insight into my own perceptions, whether they agree or not.

Fading autumn sunlight,
glowing
over muddy fields

Night swallows spring evening,
casting shadows
that will pass