Thursday, September 25, 2014

Playing with Beads

Yeah!  This topic just needed to be its own post. So, let us play with some beads.  Whatever you have in your stash is fair game.
But, before I go any further, I want to re-address a topic I covered in an earlier tutorial: Adding a Round of Beads, and that is the informational article I shared on: How to Pick Beading Thread.  

It is important to consider the functionality of your piece when choosing to add beadwork.  Meaning--- Mother of Pearl is abrasive.  The edges of those drilled holes may not be as smooth and polished as you think. They can rub through, and break a cotton or polyester thread in no time.

That said, because I chose to work with fire-polished glass and crystal beads, and I knew early on, that my Winter Sampler was destined to decorate a wall--- AND, that I did not have the budget for thread shopping, I doubled up on a sewing thread that I already had on hand.
While laying in a full [pre-strung] or short strand of beads, I work with the Warp Loops pushed down to the base.  I turn over the loom, and work from the back.  Someone else might not find this necessary.  It merely makes things easier for me.

I like being able to work from the opposite side and see what's going on back there. That's along with the fact that sometimes, depending on what I am weaving, I need to be able to drop the needle through, and then pull it back up, around each warp thread. [THAT I did quite a lot of, while weaving my Rag Bag Tote.] Or when securing old and new weft fibers at the close and/or start of a new round. 

It's also quite handy when you're adding in beadwork as you weave.
As I covered in Adding a Round of Beads, there are two basic Rules of Thumb for this technique. Either--
The desired Size of beads will determine Placement of strand within your weaving. 
The desired Placement of strand will determine Size of beads to be used. 

Auditioning Placement

*If a picture is all you need click on the image above for a Slide Show
Once I determined where my beadwork would need to fall in my Winter Sampler, I went about weaving up to that point.  That gave gave me time to determine my layout.
I had some Czech Fire-polished Glass Cathedral beads and Fire-polished Crystal Beads that I really wanted to use, so the size that I had on hand, clearly determined where I could place them.

SPECIAL NOTE: For a larger view of individual photos:
Right Click on a photo and chose either
Open link in new tab --or-- Open link in new window
I also like these beads, because the size of the hole is rather generous. I didn't need to go looking for the finest needle that would have an eye only a magnifier could help me see to thread.
For the remainder of this tutorial, I will work with this arrangement of beads.
Re-audition the larger of the beads, and then secure the beading thread to the appropriate Warp Thread [on the back side]; using a Square Knot.
SPECIAL NOTE: The image to the left is a good place to speak about the beads that can be chosen for the outer rounds. 
This loom offers a unique warping, and the spacing is not so noticeable once the finished weaving is removed. But it is also not as noticeable in the inner rounds, so you can use all the same small-sized mm beads in a pre-strung round. 

Once you get further out, it works better to alternate the size.
Then string the beads accordingly.

While keeping the beading thread taut, lay the strand over the Warp Threads, and work the beads into place. 

It is now time to work the thread back the other way. 
This time making sure the needle goes UNDER the warp threads; threading the needle through one, maybe two beads at a time.
Below is a view from the front side of the loom.

While I chose contrasting threads for these shots [and the upcoming warping tutorials], finding the best possible match, or using a monofilament [where appropriate], can make your threadwork almost invisible.
Let's get back to the examples at hand.
Once you are back to the Tie On point, depending on the beading thread, functionality, and/or hole size, you can Tie Off here. 

If you are not sure of the functionality, or you lack the proper beading thread, and the hole size will allow it, run your thread through a second time.

Just make sure you are capturing both sides of the warp threads.
You can add in a Half Hitch knot, as well, before or after each bead.  Just do so consistently.

Studio Tip
I share tips from my studio, periodically on Facebook, and this is the perfect example for this particular tip. 

I keep a pair of silicone coated pliers close by whenever I do any kind of needlework.

This is also good tip for anyone with dexterity issues. 

NOTE: The example above [shown from the front side], shows the start of the fourth, and last pass.
If the needle gets tight and too hard to pull, grab the tip of the needle with the pliers, hold on to the bead in question, and ease the needle through gingerly. 

Once your beadwork is in place and secure....

Simply Tie Off [using the Tie On tails], with another Square Knot.

 You can then use your favorite Stick Pin or Stiletto to align your short round of beads.
A Tapestry Needle or Pointed Tweezers work as well.

And the thing is, you don't have to follow the arch.
Get Creative.

And think outside the box!
But most important....
Have Fun!
What's Up Next?
That would be the Warping Options!  OH, yes.  They do exist. It is the last of the three posts that have been sitting, seemingly forever, in the Draft folder.  But, I took a little time this afternoon to work through the warping differences  between my trusty old loom, and one of the newly purchased [for the Rag Bag Tote Project] knitting looms.  While the two looms pictured to the right both have 41 pegs, their placement is significantly different. And that will alter the Tie On/Tie Off instructions. And that is something worth noting for people.
Until then,

Leave any questions you may have in the Comments. 
Or Facebook Friends can Private Message me.
Bye for now, and Blessings~
And Happy Weaving!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Part Two Place Holder

[EDITED Sept. 25, 2014]

A Denser Warping Overview -- Part Two has UPDATED.   

This will be followed by the Warping Options Tutorials [the last of the posts sitting in the Draft folder for FAR too long]--of which, the photos are edited and uploaded. I merely need to key in the instructional text.  Coming Soon! 
Until then,

Leave any questions you may have in the Comments. 
Or Facebook Friends can Private Message me.
Bye for now, and Blessings~
And Happy Weaving!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Weaving and Practicing and Spinning and Journeying

What's On the Loom
And What I've Been Doing In Between

Living disabled can be EXTREMELY frustrating.  Especially when any or everything you do has the potential of leaving you in a period of recovery; what I call Recovery Mode (RM).  Back in the Spring, I was out early in the mornings, harvesting Dandelions, White Clover, Wild Mint, and Plantain... so much so that I ended up in serious RM, and haven't been back out there to harvest since.  Sad really, since there's been such an abundance of White Clover blooming this year. But I just couldn't bring myself to do so.
There were things needing to be done inside as well.  There is no such thing as Laundry Day for me anymore.  It's Laundry Week.  And lugging around damp heavy loads to either hang outdoors, or upstairs to the drying racks in front of the bedroom window to dry [where I get the best breeze], lands me in RM every darn time. I make several trips when I'm washing up the rag rugs.  I can't carry them all at once.  But numerous trips, back and forth, can do just as much damage.  And there are times when I stand at the base of the stairs, with an armload of laundry looking up--- and sigh; heavily. 
Running the vacuum cleaner--- I used to do that all in one day.  Not anymore.  It can take me three to four days to vacuum the Living Room, alone.  The same holds true when I eventually maneuver the stairwell, and get the upright back upstairs.... [and that's likely all I'll do that day, get the vacuum upstairs.  Running it can comes later.] It'll take 2-3 days each, to clean the bedroom and then the studio.  And that's a lot of pain meds and RM in between. 
I don't sew as much as I used to... it keeps me seated in the wrong position.  But then--- so does weaving! But, I've been repeatedly modifying my work table to make it easier to sit weave.  And I have a new table mat in mind, that should make it even easier. All this said, I feel the need to do what I can--- before I am no longer able. And that is frustration, with a capital F!

But let's get back to what's on my loom! And why it is currently sitting, albeit patiently, waiting for my return.

One reason, is having reached a place where it was time to bring an idea to fruition. One I'd been mulling over for some time.  It's a hand-maneuvered technique I've seen done on harness/floor loom weaves, and I needed to take some time to figure out how to make it work in the round. And that meant needing to stop and work up a Practice Loom.

I pulled out another metal ring and prepped it for weaving. And then I gathered together some tools I thought would work.  They did not.  Oh, they will work for straight weaving work, but it was much too tedious.  So---- I needed to find another way to make it work--- in the round.  And yes! It looks like I fashioned one wicked hook for deep sea fishing.... or a Horror Movie prop for mass annihilation... But, for what I harmlessly needed it to do, it worked perfectly.
But this whole bit of tool making and practice work landed me in Recovery Mode for several days.  The good news, though, is that I took a fair amount of photos throughout, and have plans for a tutorial on this technique.  I trust you will just love it just as much as I do.  What is pictured here is not exactly what I intend for my WIP, but it is the bare bones of the technique that anyone else can easily build upon.

That said, I was very close to getting back to what I consider my current Work In Progress, which has been waiting ever so patiently underneath a pretty little dust cover. It has a new Provisional Round in place, and a bit of over dyed Coffee dyed [not to mention distressed!] silk ribbon just waiting for me to weave it into place. But it is at this very point [pictured on the left], that I will work in my new technique. 

There were those several weeks in mid-to-late Spring, I mentioned earlier, when my little dehydrator ran non stop. I harvested and dehydrated HUNDREDS of both Dandelion and White Clover flower heads; for hand dyeing and the making of flour.  And I have numerous canning jars filled of Dandelion leaves [to use in making vegetable broth], Wild Mint [whose proper name escapes me just now--- ], and Plantain leaves.   
And it wasn't just the harvesting that did me in.  It was all the prep work to get things properly washed and then safely stored. All of it slowed me wa-a-ay down.  But I just LOVED sitting over the kettle of wet Clover.  The aroma made it well worth the effort.
I also took a break from my WIP, because my very first circular weaving [pictured in the blog header] was crying out to be completed.  And I will write more about this later.  But suffice it to say, she is my baby.  And I was desperate to see her finished.  That said, I only just added on the true final touches;  wrapped feathers and more beads.

And then there was simply the need to Honor my place in the Fibery Goodness Journey to the Golden  Fleece, and honor the young Weaver and Spinner that once was; a very long time ago.

But no sooner did my Journey begin, in mid-February, than I ended up dealing with a major health issue, the first of March, that still goes unresolved.  Two trips to the ER, numerous medical tests and examinations later, I still struggle with shortness of breath. 
But--- Life goes on; albeit slowly. And because I missed my spinning so much [I simply can't multi-task like I used to], there was this little thing called Tour de Fleece [which is rooted in Ravelry, but migrated to Facebook, where I found my way to Team Nevermore Forevermore], that beckoned, and got me re-motivated to get back to my Module One spinning, and get my yarn completed.   

My fellow Mariners can find a link to my Module One story on the Group Two - Module One Forum Board.

[I am trying to find out how to add a Translator widget to Wordpress.  Any help from someone would be greatly appreciated!]

And you can also see my yarn, along with all the other beautiful handspuns in the Gallery of Module Yarns.
In just this last week or so, there's been much module-related color work and art journaling.  Not to mention, the need to catch up on course-related emails and Fibery Goodness blog posts.  And I have since downloaded ,and read my way through Module Two -- The Road of Trials.  The next part of my Journey--- is begun!
And over the weekend, I rounded up my Module One color wheel responsibilities with this exercise in color work. The happy accident is that the earth tones with which I chose to work, echo my Module One shield.  I pulled out an old 5 x 7 inch wooden picture frame from the studio closet, and then measured out and hammered in some nails every quarter of an inch, and---- Voila!  I have a miniature tapestry loom with which to brush up on and practice future weaving techniques.   Regardless the fact it is UN-round. (~: 
And while we are on the subject of Suzy Brown's [WoolWench Handspun Yarns and Fibers] and Arlene Thayer's [Spin Artiste] Fibery Goodness -- Journey to the Golden Fleece, a new round of course modules is opening up to students in October! 
It is a wonderful opportunity to meet people from around the world, and learn about yarn construction; blending fibers, and the proper tools to use for the desired end result.  There are also opportunities to sit in on live spinning sessions; with these leading Mistresses of Artsily Spun Yarns; and their periodic special guests. Do come and join us!
You can also find things related to the course and other fibery projects in the Facebook Journey to the Gold Fleece group.
And THEN---- Lest we forget! (~:  I got wonderfully side tracked by this little thing called the Warp Speed CompetitionOh, yes. This had me busy for a good month or so. And you can read a bit more about it here.  For now--- I'm still working on a few details.  I had intended to insert a lining.  I've had the pattern pieces drawn and cut.  I simply ran out of time to do it properly.  And it wasn't absolutely necessary to the outcome of the actual weaving competition.

It is a project that I wove entirely on the large [yellow] round Knifty Knitter looms.  And that includes the straight side panel and the decorative flap.  It was woven using 2" torn strips of a heavier weight cotton gauze for the weft, and a 100% cotton kitchen twine for the warp. 

Look for a more detailed blog post on this project soon. But--- Thank you, Suzy Brown and Andrew Poad, for the opportunity to craft it.  I am waiting patiently [NOT!] for my winnings. (~:  For your loom, and Suzy's handiwork. Blessings~

~Click here for the YouTube Winners Announcement.

~And here, to download the Majacraft Tutorials.

All of this aside-- I should also comment on the fact that living with the symptoms  of Fibromyalgia [FM] can make crafting out even the simplest of blog posts no easy matter. Sometimes my fingers, brain, and keyboard struggle to communicate.  But, with a great amount of determination, and Time, in the long run--- I win out.

Lastly, and totally unrelated to any creative interruption, I have been wonderfully taken aback by the amount of International Page Views of my humble little fledgling of a studio blog.  I snagged am image the other day [the week of Aug. 25th], so that I could share a week's worth of stats with everyone.   

How can I not say, "Viva la France!" (~: 

 photo Thanks40.gifAnd please note, in the right hand side bar, I have since added a Language Translator feature.  I trust this will be of help to my International visitors.  Thank you so very much.  And Blessings~

What's next up? 

That would be the follow up to the Denser Warping series.  I promise!  My goal for this week is to get at least two blog posts [this being one]--that have been sitting in the Draft folder for far too long--polished and updated! 

In the meantime, I am continuing to reorganize, and finish up, studio projects.  And am and making notes for new ones.  I've got a GiveAway project that you can find out more about on my Facebook Studio page.  You are welcome to stop by and visit, and Like. 
Leave any questions you may have in the Comments. 
Or Facebook Friends can Private Message me.
Bye for now, and Blessings~
And Happy Weaving!