crafty thoughts

I'm (clearly) real bad about posting anything other than my favorite links posts every friday. I'm not even going to apologize. This is my little internet space to do what I want. 

And today I wanna talk about my crafty thoughts. 

There are lots of them in my head. 

Right now I'm on an embroidery thought kick. Just thinking a lot about hand work and needles and thread. But not actually doing any embroidery. Just thinking about it. My phone and watch wallpapers right now are of an embroidered paper and every time I look at the screen it gives me that little urge to make some stitches. I'm thinking a lot about embroidering a chambray shirt. Just filling it up with stitches, without a real design in mind. An ongoing, possibly never ending project. 

One of my friends had a "make and take" birthday party. She bought this Sarah K. Benning embroidery pattern (which I also just recently bought) and she supplied the, well, supplies, and had her gal pals over and they embroidered. Even the non-crafty folks. I'm going to steal this idea for my birthday. FORCE my friends to do what I love. 

I've been thinking about my Sea Captain, who, nearly 2 years after starting, is still not finished. I'm in no rush. He's just chilling in my little hexagon tray, easily accessible to pick up and work on whenever I feel the eventual need to add some stitches. Maybe I'll do that while I watch Big Little Lies. While searching for the link to the Sea Captain, I spotted this pattern and now I'm thinking about that one too. 

Other crafty thoughts. I am still really enamored with the idea of woven bracelets. I borrowed this book from the library this weekend and one of the homes that is featured in it is that of Myriam Balay. I haven't ever heard of her before, but she is doing the exact sort of woven bracelets I want to do. Her shop is gorgeous and very inspiring for me. She weaves on an adorable little rigid heddle but I could definitely use my fave lap loom to get similar results. Here's her instagram account. Her pinterest account is super gorgeous too, i love her aesthetic. 

Hmm other crafty thoughts. Right now I just have a lot of ideas. I'm working slowly but surely on my knitting but not imposing any deadlines. I'm struggling with forearm pain once again (because I just can't lay off of instagram) so that makes long knitting sessions difficult. I really should go to my orthopedist and see what she recommends (probably laying off of instagram. I refuse to delete it. that's just going too far.).

I have a lot of urges to paint these days but haven't acted on them yet. I'm thinking a lot about acrylic paint these days which is new for me. Usually my painting urges are the watercolor variety. I found this artist and her finger painting really calls to me and makes me want to get a little messy. 

I think I'm just in a really tactile phase right now, wanting to really feel my materials and use my fingers as much as possible. I know a lot of non-artists and non-crafters don't get and/or understand that...that NEED to do a certain craft or art form and the need for tactile sensations. I'm not sure how to explain it other than just that...it feels like a need and feels like it will satisfy something in my soul. Even if I'm not actually doing anything but thinking about it, it feels satisfying. I get real antsy if I haven't crafted in a couple of days. 

So, there are some of my thoughts. I will hopefully one day soon post some real posts with photos and everything, but for now, this will do. 

stitches texas 2016

Yay! A Stitches recap! Here's how it all happened. The week before Stitches, I woke up thinking about this woven wrap. Yes, this is what wakes me up in the middle of the night- craft projects. This wrap is made on a rigid heddle loom which is very different than the lap looms I have been using. The loom is a somewhat large financial investment, so I was wary of buying it, especially since I had no idea how to use it. I googled "rigid heddle loom classes Dallas" and lo and behold, the website for Stitches Texas popped up and there was going to be a class THE NEXT WEEK. 

FATE. 

I added the class to my cart, and a knitting class for good measure, and then texted one of my close friends about it in case this was a dumb financial decision (the classes at Stitches aren't exactly cheap). She said to think about it for 2 days and look at my bank account and you know, be an adult and make sure there were no big expenses coming up. Did I take her advice? A little bit. I waited an hour. Or maybe a half hour. Definitely not 2 days. I didn't want the classes to sell out! Then I spent the next week longing for Friday. I bought yarn for my classes and did my knitting homework (the best kind of homework). 

my class supplies

Then Friday came! Yay! 

I did rigid heddle weaving with the talented Deborah Jarchow. She was a great and very experienced teacher. The first 3 hours of the class were dedicated to helping everyone choose their warp and weft yarns, turning skeins into balls, and learning to warp the loom. Then there was a lunch break and after that, we wove! It was a lot of fun but tbh a little boring. I'm glad I did the class because Iearned it wasn't as satisfying to me as weaving on a lap loom. I like that you can make longer and wider things on the rigid heddle but I don't see myself investing in one (for now...). 

my chosen yarns

warping the loom!

that's one good lookin' warp if I do say so myself

the red yarn is waste yarn that separates the warp so it is evenly spaced; the pink yarn is my first few rows!

oh yeah looking good

my (mostly) finished scarf! I still need to wet finish it and trim up my stray ends and fringe.

~close up~

Then on Sunday I took Norwegian mittens!!! Beth Brown-Reinsel taught the class. I was SO excited for this class because it was going to be my first foray into stranded color work, something that has always intimidated me. When I've seen other people's stranded projects I've really admired them but thought that I could never do them. A class was the perfect time to try it out so that I could have hands on instruction and help if (when) something went wrong. To my delight and surprise, stranded color work is not hard at all! If you can knit, you can do stranded color work! The hardest part is figuring out how to hold 2 yarns at once and even then, when you get that down, you are good to go! We made most of 1 mitten in class. I need to make the other one and my encouragement is that the first one took only about 8 hours total, so if I just knit an hour a day, I'll have a complete pair in about a week! 

that row on the needles was my first stranded row ever!!! shoutout to all my instagram followers who liked and commented on this pic even though they had no idea what I was talking about 🙃

I was checking to see if it fit- it did!

WHAT SORCERY IS THIS

the palm side

all of the student mittens! (note that I am apparently a super speedy knitter and got further than everyone else...#humblebrag)

I came home, put on my jammers, and finished the mitten!

And it wouldn't be a knitting convention without a little shopping, now would it?! I didn't want my weaving hobby to feel left out so I got some cute tiny weaving tools from the Hill Country Weavers booth for my Hockett loom! I got 2 tiny beaters- one for me and one for one of my weaving pals! This is way classier than the dinner forks we've been using. I also got a cute shed stick and a rad needle. 

I spotted some Hedgehog Fibres yarn at the Steven Be booth on Friday that I really wanted but I talked myself out of it. But then of course I was thinking of its perfection and how it was going to get snatched up if I didn't buy it. So I hemmed and hawed and then on Saturday morning I went and bought it. If you ever need an enabler while shopping, I'm your girl. 

I MEAN REALLY

So there you have it, my Stitches Texas 2016 recap! I loved going and I definitely want to go again next year! I loved walking around and seeing everyone knitting, asking people about their projects, wearing a shawl around and having people compliment it, and doing the same of others! I want my everyday life to be like Stitches! 

birthday weaving

My friend Sarah was celebrating her birthday recently so I thought I'd make her a cute little weaving for her. Her favorite colors are light/aqua blue buuuut I didn't have yarn that color so mint green it was! It took me about 2 hours total to make it and I watched counseling videos while I wove so I could count the time as work #genius

Aaaaand, the craftermath.

Happy birthday, Sarah!

weaving wednesday!

It's been a while since I've done a Weaving Wednesday, so here we go! 

If you recall, one of my looms is from the fabulous Austin-based Purl&Loop. My little Stash Blaster is perfect for quick weavings and it's super portable! 

A couple of weeks ago Purl&Loop started sharing photos on Instagram detailing how to finish a weave without any fringe. This is something I've been trying to figure out for MONTHS. I've wanted to make some woven bracelets and necklaces but all the leftover warp was causing me ~problems~. 

Annoyingly, Purl&Loop was sharing photos only ONCE PER DAY. I just couldn't be patient. They told me that they had a video tutorial on their website! Hooray! I watched it and got straight to business. 

A friend had tagged me in an Instagram photo, knowing I have been wanting to do jewelry, so this photo was my inspiration:

You rock, @wovenhippy!

I warped up my loom and got to work...

why are tiny weavings SO CUTE?! 

It was all going swimmingly until the end...

Things got a little...bunchy. It didn't look terrible exactly, but it didn't look great, either. So I tried again on a bigger piece. I made this one while watching the Olympics so obviously it had to have a few strands of gold in it.

yeah, this is edited and filtered because it was on Instagram. 

Then came the tricky part of pulling on the warp threads juuuuust so. It took a while but it came out alright!

Look at those perfectly looped ends!

Now that I had successfully tried out the tutorial, I moved on to finally perfecting a bracelet and necklace!

bracelet in progress on my stash blaster

finished bracelet! 

And now for my proud finale. Necklace exactly how I envisioned!!!

the very beginning

squeeee! 
"looks like a prehistoric preg test"- one of my friends
"is it a quarter cover?"- same friend

I proudly wore the little necklace to church the day after I finished it and got lots of compliments on it! I know what every girlfriend is getting for birthday/Christmas this year!

oh heyyy remember me?

 

Oops, no posts for over a month! Oh my! 

Let's see what I was up to...

I did some watercolor weaving:

I wove on my new Hockett loom (for those of you keeping track, that's 4 looms now):

I practiced soumak a lot using this video

I sewed a blanket for my friend's new baby boy! 

I made very slight progress on my seed stitch wrap

I went to camp! And on my break one day I took an obligatory coffee shop photo. 

I tended to some tomatoes. 

I wove some more (of course).

I celebrated my last day of being 26 under the strawberry moon.

And finally, I reignited my love for embossing. #embossallthethings 

Well, that was fun! 

 

wednesday weaving

 

Several weeks ago it was one of my good friends' birthday. This friend has admired all of my craftiness for the last several years and has mentioned how she would love to have a little handmade something from me. For several years, I've sewed her son up some birthday and Christmas gifts, but I had never made anything for her. That all changed this year. 

I was so inspired by this post that I just had to do it myself. I headed to Target to get some picture frames and then I got to weaving. Once I started making my friend's weaving, I loved it, so I had to make myself one too! 

The good thing about mini weavings is that you can make multiples on the same loom at the same time! 

I recently visited my friend for lunch and I was so happy to see my weaving proudly displayed in her entryway! She wrote me a very nice thank you card, saying that the weaving reminds her of me every day! Crafting for friends can sometimes be frustrating because they don't appreciate it, but that wasn't the case this time! 

 

trial and error

 

A few weeks ago I went to my friend Amy's house for a crafternoon. She and I, along with her 2 daughters, brought tons of yarn and we each had a weaving loom. We wove for about 2 hours and we all made something of our own. I made a mini weaving, one of her daughter's made a bookmark, and Amy outdid us all and made an ADORABLE cuff bracelet. This is why crafting in groups can be so good- I would literally NEVER have thought of making a woven bracelet, but it was Amy's first instinct! Amy just tied her warp strings together and she is able to slip the bracelet off and on. 

Inspired by her bracelet, I had to make my own. 

I of course was watching Pride and Prejudice while I worked on this. 

We call this #thedarksideoftheloom

The dark side cleaned up.

Amy had the great idea of attaching elastic to the back of the bracelet to make it easier to get on and off, so I grabbed the hot glue gun and glued on some elastic.

I didn't love how much you could see the elastic, so I cut it off and attached some sparkly twill tape instead. 

I didn't love this option either, so I thought I'd try a thinner ribbon. 

as you can see, I just glued everything on the original elastic!

This still isn't my most ideal option, although I like it better than the other two. I'm still trying to figure out what to do, but I'm thinking a button and elastic (like this) or some actual jewelry hardware (like this) will be my best bet. Not bad for a first attempt, though! 

 

a finished weaving

 

Last week I shared some photos of a weaving in progress. Well, that wip has become an fo! I put a TON of rya on this one and it is very thick and beautiful, like a cartoon character's hair. 

Before adding the rya. 

~artsy~ rya photo

I was working on this last Friday morning before work- this is the point where I had to go to work, so I snapped a quick photo and dreamed of finishing it. 

I did one layer of the rya and I could still see warp strings, so I decided to do a second layer. 

see through rya! no good! must add more. 

Finished! 

I love how this beauty turned out. I definitely want to make some adorable mini versions of it. I really enjoyed using the sequin strand and I'm sure it will show up in just about every weaving I do from now on. 

 

inside out weaving

 

Every Wednesday I babysit my friend's 4-year-old daughter. As a typical 4-year-old, she gets obsessed with certain movies and is perfectly happy watching the same movie time and time again. Last week she wanted to watch Inside Out for the millionth time and I just couldn't sit through it again. So I busted out the mini loom. This was before my new warp arrived, so I had to use some really thick cotton yarn, but it still worked out ok. 

As I was working on the weaving, the little one fell in love with it, so I gave it to her. I didn't have a dowel to hang it from, so it's hanging in her room off of a Frozen pencil. Typical. This little weaving took exactly the length of Inside Out to complete, so it was pretty much perfection. 

That's a pretty good looking warp if I do say so myself. 


 

new warp

 

Now that I have been weaving for a few months, I have noticed something: many of the weavers I follow and like use the same warp thread. I've been having problems with warping- I just can't seem to get it tight enough. I had bought some cotton crochet thread and I pulled it so tight that it broke! I finally bit the bullet and purchased the warp that everyone else was using: Maysville Cotton Warp. I had been putting it off because the shipping was as expensive as the thread itself and I, being spoiled by Amazon Prime, just couldn't bring myself to spend money on shipping. But alas, it got to the point where I just couldn't deal with subpar warps. 

When the warp arrived, I immediately got to working with it. 

Don't you want to live in this Downton Abbey scene?! 

For this weaving, I'm using a simple white acrylic yarn with a strand of mini sequins. It's so fun! 

Close up of the mini sequins. 

I'm working this weaving into a point and then I'm thinking I'll add purple rya to it. I'm loving how it's turning out so far. 

And just a pretty one- I have these Christmas lights wrapped around my headboard and in the last couple of weeks they have been blinking off and on constantly because a bulb is lose. I was able to fix them and enjoy the light again. 

 

weaving class

 

Some things in life happen serendipitously. That's what happened with the weaving class I took this past weekend. I was at a friend's house a couple of weeks ago and she had this great weaving hanging next to her front door. I asked her who made it and she told me it was by Laken from Woven Laine. I started following Laken on Instagram and about 5 days after I started following her, she posted that she had an opening for her weaving workshop that was coming up over the weekend. I saw the post about an hour after she had posted, though, and a few people had already said that they wanted the spot. I commented anyway and an hour later, to my surprise, Laken said that the spot was mine! I headed to her website and signed up for the class and proceeded to very impatiently wait for Sunday to come. 

Sunday finally came and I headed to the wonderful Akola Project for class. It was a small class which was perfect because it meant lots of one-on-one, hands on teaching. It was 3 and a half hours long, the perfect length of time for creating a mini weaving/ornament! We went home with a lap loom (that's 3 looms that I now own, for anyone keeping count!), shed stick, shuttle, tapestry needle, and fork. 

I have been practicing weaving on my mini loom for a few weeks now, so I feel pretty comfortable with the basic weave, but the class was still so helpful for me. We learned soumak, how to create a shape within a weaving, rya, and finishing techniques. The class was so fun and the kind staff at Akola gave each of us a necklace to take home as well! 

Soumak (the braided area) and my first woven triangle. 

Filling in the sides with a festive gold yarn. 

My finished weaving still on the loom, pre weaving in the ends. 

All ends woven in!

Ta da! My finished mini weaving! 

My weaving, looking super cute on the Christmas decorations at Akola Project. 

After class, I came home even more inspired to continue weaving. I've been using this blog to help me remember the skills I learned in class and to learn new techniques. Yay weaving! 

 

in which i buy a loom right after buying a loom

 

So you know how a couple of weeks ago I got it in my head that I NEEDED a loom? And I proceeded to buy a really beautiful handmade one? Well, this past weekend I was at my local fabric shop, Urban Spools, to buy some fabric for a Christmas quilt and I spotted a loom. I looked at it and immediately looked at my friend Maria, who works there, and was like, "UGH I JUST BOUGHT ONE ON ETSY AHHH". She was like, "I know! I swear we got these after you bought yours!" She totally told me I needed it, but I exhibited amazing self-control and didn't buy it.....until I saw the mini one. 

Here's the thing: I love mini things. I always have. Mini things are just so cute. They bring out my cute aggression. You know, the "AHHH IT'S SO CUTE I COULD EAT IT I'M GONNA DIEEEE AHHH". That. I added the mini loom to my fabric pile and came home and immediately started playing with it. This particular loom came with a gorgeous handmade wooden tapestry needle that I just cannot get over. It is so well made and much prettier than a typical tapestry needle. 

The best part of the mini loom is that you can make a lil weaving really quickly. It took me about 2 hours to do the whole weaving. This go around I made a tiny wall hanging, but I'm already working on a fab rainbow coaster. 

When it comes to mini looms, always say yes.

My big loom that I recently received from Wood Creek Looms

My cute and tiny mini loom from Purl & Loop

All warped and getting started on the weft. That needle though. 

Gettin' cozy with my mini loom. 

My first weaving! 

My new rainbow weaving. 

 

a new obsession

 

My weaving from Wool and Weave and an art print from Hayley Mitchell, both purchased at The Dallas Flea. 

For about a year now, I have really wanted to learn how to weave using a lap loom. It all started with an article in Mollie Makes about Maryanne Moodie. Maryanne makes the most gorgeous pieces and her Instagram is the stuff of every crafter's dreams #weavinggoals. In addition to being inspired by Maryanne, weaving is having a moment on the interwebs- every blogger out there seems to have at least one gorgeous wall hanging- and this trend is one that I want to follow. Being a knitter, I already have an abundance of beautiful yarn, so I'm hoping to put some scraps to good use, plus it would be another excuse to buy yarn (as if I needed an excuse to buy yarn).

This past weekend, I attended The Dallas Flea, which is a big craft show here in Dallas. Marie of Wool and Weave was there and I purchased a pretty pink and yellow weaving from her. She had these ADORABLE mini weavings and they set off an insatiable and immediate need for a loom so I could make tiny goodness (I have an obsession with tiny things...I've had it my entire life and it continues into adulthood). I had looked at a few looms online last year when my interest was first piqued, but nothing really stood out. I wanted something that was functional, obviously, but let's be real, I also wanted it to be pretty. Since I am a lover of all things handmade, I took my search to Etsy and I was not disappointed. I found this absolutely stunning handmade loom and immediately placed my order. It has already shipped! Friends, you may all be getting tiny wall hangings this Christmas. When my loom arrives, I will be using this tutorial to get started. Here's to yet another craft obsession.