Thursday, February 26, 2015

Be My Valentine -- In the Round


Be My Valentine
A Weaving in the Round
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This is going to be more of a quick Pictorial Overview, than a tutorial, of the quick little Circular Weaving I did to celebrate Valentine's Day. Unfortunately, I did not get a photo of every individual step, because I simply gave no thought to uploading the process here.  I was sharing photos as I went along, on Facebook; but--- there is a nice little feature to this piece that any given weaver might find helpful and/or useful in their own circular endeavors.  So, here we are.  I hope it sparks your imagination. 
For all intents and purposes, I hadn't even planned to do this piece.  My work table wasn't even set up for weaving in the round.  But, it was a FiberyGoodness Circle Weaving post on Facebook, by Arlene Thayer [Spin Artiste], that sparked my imagination. It also just happened to be on the same morning I was scrolling through a Pinterest board I had created for a FiberyGoodness blog post on the topic of: Love

The day was February 13th. I knew I couldn't finish this kind of project in a day; or even two. But--- the die was cast. And, I couldn't shake the burst of Creativity she had inspired.

This right here, being what all the Inspiration was about!
Fiber Artistry by Arlene Thayer ~of Spin Artiste

The one advantage I had going for this spur-of-the-moment project was the fact that this particular loom [the Green 9" Round Hat Knitting Loom (36 pegs)] was long ago warped, with the center already woven in place.  

Unfortunately, what I do not have is the best photo of the initial outline of the heart. And, as much of what I do dictates, I needed to work with what I already had on hand. The only bold red available was a skein of Lion Brand Homespun Yarn: Candy Apple Red. It was perfect, since it also added a fair amount of texture. I simply roughed out the primary shape, and then filled it in; weaving inward from the outer edge.

I would very much like, one day, for a project to be created entirely of my own handspun yarns.  But, I am not a production spinner.  Health issues tend to keep things on rather a small scale.  That said, this project gave me the opportunity to include a recently spun yarn [from a beautiful Norwegian Top], and my first-time use of a Top Whorl Spindle; both from Tina's Angoras

An absolute must, color-wise, was to include a yarn I had spun quite some time back, using a beautifully hand dyed and hand pulled roving from Larkspur Funny Farm and Fiber Arts Studio

This yarn resulted from my first-time-ever using a Russian Support Spindle. I love this spindle! And, while that skein is rather large [average and normal for so many others spinners], that single ounce of fiber took a few months for me to spin into a Lace Weight single.  The eventual plying, was a whole other nine yards. (~:

And, as I am want to do, I embellished this project with a little bit of wire and bead work.  Actually, before I even started to weave, I pulled out a the silver-plate wire, along with my wire jig, and fashioned a treble clef. And, yes. You got it! (~: I needed this piece to be representative of HeartSong Studio.

I also meant for there to be a heart-shaped bead inside the body of the musical symbol; but--- I got all caught up in making sure I had the proper shape, and the wire strands over and under itself in the right places, that--- I forgot to slide on a bead. I simply did not want to undo or bend anything already secure, so--- That just means I'll be making another one of these stylized clefs in the near future.
I should say that what I did give thought to, prior to weaving, is spinning a yarn specifically designed for this project.  That's actually how the strand of carved Mother-of-Pearl Hearts and Czech Fire-Polished Glass beads came about---- think pre-strung plying.  I soon scraped that idea, though. Had I committed to the hand spinning, I would NOT have finished when I did. Which, thankfully, was just before the end of February.

I thought this would be a good project to play around with--for a little added interest--the Clasped Weft Weaving Technique. Something of which I became familiar with in Saori Weaving, and intend to do a good deal more of in the near future. I believe this technique lends itself well to weaving in the round.  

After I added in a textured round of an Eyelash Yarn I had on hand, I finished off with another Lion Brand Homespun Yarn: Pearls.
As I indicated earlier, about not giving prior thought to this post, I do not have a photo, of any kind--fair or bad, of one important step. The Encased Wire. Including the wire in your finished edging helps a wall hanging to retain its shape.  There will be no drooping or odd curling from prolonged hanging.

Prior to crocheting the first round of Single Crochet [See On Loom Edging, from the Finishing Touches post.], I did two things:

First, I measured out and cut a strand of the same cotton warp thread, tying on and off using the bottom-most pegs; on either side--at the point of the heart. [See Off Loom Edging--Prepping an Edging Threadfrom the Finishing Touches post.]

And Second, I measured and cut a single piece of medium gauge floral wire, and then wrapped it around the outer edge of the loom, similar to Prepping an Edging Thread.

SPECIAL NOTE: If anyone has questions regarding this step,
a Comment to this post, and I'll  be happy to answer them. 

Below is the best zoom I could upload here, that shows just the littlest bit of wire peaking through where I temporarily attached it to the bottom-most pegs; at the point of the heart. 

Once I removed the weaving from the loom, I closed the ends with one twist of the wire; folding the ends back onto themselves, and then buried the ends inside the first round of Single Crochet.

Click on the photo for an enlarged view.
Once I finished the first round of Single Crochet, I gingerly removed my little valentine from the safety of the loom. And, once I secured the ends of both the floral wire and edging threads, I closed the first round of Single Crochet with a Slip Stitch, and then crocheted a second round of Single Crochet. 

And no. I did not increase the number of stitches in the second round. I did not need to, and it lays perfectly flat.

With the weaving finally off the loom, and all of the little wisps and tails of yarns and threads were snipped and/or tucked away, I went about placing and adding my decorative wire and beadwork. 

Though the handspun yarn idea had been scraped, I hadn't gotten around to unstringing the beads.  With one audition of placement, I went about hand stitching them into place.

Something that is specifically unique to this project [and this will look somewhat out of order because, again, I do not have a separate photo], is my decision to back this weaving with a piece of unbleached muslin. It is by no means a necessary step.  But, it gives the piece a neatly finished appearance.  Nice too, if what you actually want is to give it away. 

One thing that made this step easier to accomplish was using a Temporary Spray Adhesive.  It's the same premise, or trick if you will, that Quilters use to hold the layers of a quilt in place while they hand baste together the quilt back, batting, and quilt top. 

For a pattern, I simply traced around the outer edge of the loom, on top of a piece of muslin and then cut.  All I had to do next was needle-turn the edges, and whip stitch into place. Using the backside of the SC stitches, made for evenly-spaced stitching.

NOW--- Let's talk about how that lace ruffle got attached!

Running a gathering thread through the finished edge of a length of 5/8" lace, and then hand-stitching the lightly-gathered ruffle into place was a bit time-consuming, yes; but--- this was the part of the project that fulfilled my desire for a Victorianesque Valentine.

The second thing I had in the back of my mind, creatively-speaking, was the memory of a shoe boxes---with delivery slots cut in their lids. You remember? Those elementary mail boxes covered with tissue and/or construction papers, and decorated with all manner of valentines, flowers, cupids, and/or cartoon characters, crafted for an old-school Valentine Exchange?  Remember those?

That said---

Knowing from the start this would be a wall hanging, I went looking through my Findings Boxes for something that would work as hardware.

Again, not a necessary step.  You could just as easily pull some handspun or specialty yarn through the crochet work. Making sure, at very least, to snag the Encased Wire for stability.

I had a Satin and Pearl Braided Cording that I pulled into the initial project stash, but ended up not using it in the weaving itself.  For me it then became a must to use it for the hanger.

I had also pulled a length of Beaded Satin Ribbon [again, thinking I'd weave with it--and ended up not doing so], and that made for the perfect way to hide the cut ends of the hanger cord.  A bit of handiwork whip-stitching it all in place.  But, I really like the overall look.
After that, it was time for the true finishing touch. 
While it is not at all what I initially envisioned, I really wanted to include the rest of the Beaded Ribbon. So--- I fashioned a bow and stitched it into place. And, as with all things--one thing leading to another---  Voilà!
The carved Cinnabar Focal Bead was the final design element.  The Swan is a significant Totem. One that goes well with a day professed to honor Love.
I hope you have enjoyed this overview. I loved everything about this project, and want to say a special, "Thank You!" to Arlene Thayer, for inspiring me thusly. 
May you come away from this post equally inspired, and ready for next year's exchange of valentines.
For more Circular Weaving inspiration, come visit us in the Circle Weaving Group, on Facebook.  It is still a Public Group, so you are most welcome to Join. So, stop by and say, "Hello!"

What's Next? 

My Weaving Spool Rack.

I'm going to share a little project I pulled together last year, what involved power tools, sanding blocks, eye screws, wood finishing--- and barbecue skewers.  Yeah, that's right!  Skewers. (~:

And--- Remember the Warp Speed Challenge? 
Well, I'm pulling together the photos for a series of posts for my 
Rag Bag Tote ProjectSo far I've designated eight distinct parts:
 Part One: Overview, Draft, and Flap

 Part Two: The Sides and Bottom Strap
 Part Three: Warping Two Looms
 Part Four: Securing the Handles
 Part Five: Weaving Semi-Round
 Part Six: Construction Zone
 Part Seven: To Line or Not to Line
 Part Eight: Finishing Touches

While this project was a lot of work, it can be as busy or as simple as you want it to be. There is some Dimensional Weaving involved, and I'm really looking forward to sharing this with everyone.  And, I admit.  It's rather important to me, since I want to show that you CAN weave dimensionally using circular knitting looms.

Until then, I've other weavings in the works.  More on those later.
Leave any questions you may have in the Comments. 
Or Facebook Friends can Private Message me.
Follow me to, HeartSong Studio
Bye for now, and Blessings~
And Happy Weaving! 

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