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!

Advertisements

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!

Colours and crafts

Colours are a hugely personal experience, and while in design terms there are rules and reasoning why some combinations work and others don’t, it’s still true that two people can experience the same colours in entirely different ways.  I found the poem below on a website called Plant Dyed Wool which runs courses on dyeing wools with natural dyes, as well as weaving and felting the results.

I’ve tried dyeing my own embroidery threads before and loved the results, but found it too time consuming to keep up (if I wanted to do any stitching/designing, too).  There’s somehing very appealing about natural dyeing, though, and I’m going to get around to trying it out one day.  I love tapestry weaving (my header above is an extract from one of my small pieces) but have just in the last couple of days started hankering to go back to basics with some ‘pure’, solid, traditional weaving on an old-fashioned peg loom – nothing fancy, just simple, cleansing ‘zen’ weaving, for its own sake.

[I find that I go through phases of stitching then switching back to weaving, then back to stitching again.  They’re very different crafts, but have the reassuring familiarity of working with threads, fibres, wools etc.  There’s a project coming that will combine weaving, needlework, music, and possibly some fiction, too, once I’ve completed this exploration of bargello.  There’ll be a break for a while from the appearance of new designs, but I am looking forward to putting my time and energies into it, and I think the results will be worth it.]

It was on the search for a peg loom that I stumbled across the Plant Dyed Wool site.  Theirs are the only peg looms I have found with character (click here to see what I mean), made out of gorgeous grained, knotted natural wood, rather than wood with the life planed out of it.  Anyway, to return to the point, it was on this site that I discovered the poem below, written by Skye, the daughter of the dyeing-weaving-felting lady, Jane Meredith.  I love the vivid colours that streaks through it, and found it very evocative.

Blue fingers planted this garden

Where there is gold in the petals and leaves

Where green breathes

Then turns blue

Blue softly turns pink

As it dies by the river

And wool white as a swan

Is dipped

Kingfisher red