Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Key Fobs

Last week, with my daughter behind the camera, we photographed my collection of key fobs.
The collection is now for sale here in my Etsy shop: Key Fobs on Etsy
We decided to try the very stark white background approach to product photography.
For those of you who are used to seeing my colorful photos, you know what a different thing this is for me. I agree that the photo has no distractions and shows the product off well, however, I'm not sure that it reflects me and my aesthetic. I'm having a dilemma.  Please let me know what you think!

The below photo shows a group together and is a much more fun photo, if you ask me!

I cut the woven band at about 10.5" and when folded and clamped into the hardware, it makes a loop about 10" around, easy enough for the average person to slip over their wrist. 

Last summer I did a wholesale order of 50 for a customer from Japan.
He requested that I make the loops shorter, about 6".
The photos below shows some of that order.
There were "brights" and "earth tones". 

If you are interested in making your own, I recommend the following resources.
My friend, Kim Varland, helped me to figure out the details of assembling my bands into key fobs.
She created this very detailed tutorial which is for purchase here in her Etsy shop: Key Fob Tutorial

I've been buying the hardware from this shop on Etsy:  SewingSupplies on Etsy

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

It's a Match!

I greatly admire handwoven fabric, overshots and twills are favorites, especially. I also love ikat fabrics and have never tried the technique, although I could on an inkle loom. And then, I'm in awe of people who can use their sewing machines without a fight (something I've never mastered) and who can create wearable clothing.

What an honor to be asked to have a part in someone else's project which combines all of the above. All I had to do was inkle a couple of plain weave bands. There was a lot of conversation, color-matching of yarns and a sample sent ahead of time to be sure that I had it right. Below is the result.

This is a cotton kimono jacket by Janice DeCoomen woven in bird's eye twill.
(Click photo to enlarge it and get a better look.)
It is part of The Milton Artists Guild's exhibit at the Office of the US Attorney General                        in Burlington, VT.  The show runs from September 2016 through February 2017.

The exhibit is called 'Inspirations' and her piece was inspired by the colors of the mountains and sky. Janice told me that "When I was an art teacher, a favorite unit was studying Hokusai's Mount Fugi paintings and having the students paint our local mountain, thus 'Kimono'". Below is a sample of the yarn she used for the project.

In the fabric, the bright pink color tends to get a lot of the attention, so Janice decided that she would like the trim and belt to have more of the blues/green/purple colors. 
I wove two pieces, trim at 1" wide, and a piece for the belt at 2" wide. 
They are shown below. 

Here is a closeup of the trim. I used 5/2 perle cotton at 53 warps, for just under an inch. 

Thanks, Janice, for inviting me to be a part of this! 
You can visit her website here; wildflowerweaving.weebly.com

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


There is a band that plays daily in Old Town Albuquerque; they are called Amauta.
Originally from Ecuador, they formed the group in 1990 with the mission of preserving and promoting Ecuadorean and Latin American folkloric music. The word "amauta" is a native Quechua word that means instructor or teacher. "Our motto is the people that do not keep their customs and traditions do not know their history nor their destiny." 
I've stopped to listen to them play on several occasions, totally drawn in by the sound of the flutes and panpipes, which they have in an amazing assortment of sizes. One member of the band also plays guitar and I noticed the plain strap he was wearing. One day, I decided to ask if he would be interested in trading CD's for a new guitar strap. He said yes!

At left is Hernan Rubio with his new strap and at right, Arturo Salazar with the pan pipes.
Carlos Noboa was not around when I took the photo, but is the third member of this trio. 

Hernan told me that his favorite color is green. In my last blog post, I showed several green straps that I wove in order to give him choices. I think he chose the best one.

I'm super happy with the trade and have been listening to their music all week.
They have recorded a mix of traditional South American music, along with versions of popular songs from artists we all know and love. 
I think their version of  the Beatles "Let it Be" is very pretty. 

This album cover inspired a new pattern.  (The strap is for sale here in my Etsy shop:

Just to give you a little taste of their music, I'll share this video taken in Old Town by one of the many tourists who, like me,  have been mesmerized by the music and stopped to sit a spell and listen.

Or check them out here on MySpace: https://myspace.com/amautaecu

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Going Green

I'm working on another trade this week and if it works out well, I'll show you the results in a future post. It involves a band, and a guitar player who doesn't speak much English. 
He was able to convey that his favorite color is green, though.
My strap inventory had a few with green as a significant color among other colors, but I wanted to give him some really good, really green choices.

I've got a nice variety of green yarns in my stash, so here's what I wove this week.

This one below turned out interesting and looking a bit like an African design. I wasn't sure that the light "mango" yellow and dark red would work well together, but was happy with the result.


This one is a Baltic-style pickup which I love! Most of it I wove on Saturday, August 27th, while vending at the People's Faire in Las Vegas, New Mexico.
It was great visiting with all of the locals, including this grasshopper who spent some time checking out my design. 

This picture had a few edits so as to bring out the grasshopper better, but the photo below, showing the strap after it was cut off the loom, has more accurate color. 


The strap shown below also uses a Baltic-style pickup pattern of sorts.

It's what I call a "Simple Pickup", a term for a concept that I came up with. These types of patterns employ a design which is mostly plain weave, with only a few threads used for the pickup design.   To see more examples of Simple Pickups, click here to read this previous blog post.  If you haven't done pickup, this is a nice way to ease into it.

Since there was a lot of interest in this band from members of the Inkle Weaving Group on Facebook, I'm including below the threading chart for this band. There are 75 warps.
The top row represents the heddled threads and the bottom row, the unheddled.

The pickup pattern involves the center cinnamon-colored thread and the two off-white threads on either side of it. It spans three rows and goes like this:
Row 1- Pick up the center thread
Row 2- Pick up the two threads to the right and left of the center
Row 3- Pick up the center thread
Because you are picking the center thread once and then picking it again, it ends up floating over 5 rows of weaving, while the other floats are over 3 rows.
In this band, I have woven 6 rows of plain weave before starting the next pickup motif.