Sunday, February 19, 2017

Weaving With T-Shirt Yarn

The idea of making yarn from t-shirts is not new. I stumbled across it when shopping for yarn on Etsy a few years back. I bought some and then decided to try making my own. I think that the most interesting results come from using tie-dyed shirts, so when I see a good one, I grab it. This was a REALLY good one, purchased at my local Salvation Army Thrift Store for $3. 
It has lots of saturated color.

There are several methods for cutting and I'll give you links at the end of the post. Mine is probably the slowest, but I don't have a rotary cutter and cutting mat and don't want to invest. 
I've used scissors to hand cut the shirt. It's best if you have something to stretch it on, that will allow it to spin freely. I found an ironing board to be ideal. First I cut off the hem. Then I start in from the bottom, cutting as consistently as possible a width of about 1/2". Spiraling around and around the shirt, cutting until I reach the sleeves. 
Below is a photo of the "ribbon" cut from this shirt.

By pulling and stretching, the ribbon naturally curls into a nice sort of tube shaped yarn.

It's a bit stretchy. I think I pulled it under a bit of extra tension when warping. 

It looked so cool as a wound warp even before I began weaving. 

Here's what it looked like after being woven up.

Here's a link to Mollie Makes and her blog post about making t-shirt yarn.
I've not tried this method, but it looks much easier and faster than mine!

And video version from Trish at UpCycled Stuff:

Saturday, February 11, 2017

New Mexico True Certified!

In New Mexico, there are more artists, entrepreneurs and home-based businesses than you might expect. So may of us live in rural areas and don't depend on employers, but are making our own way. The State of New Mexico understands this and offers various ways of supporting it's residents. For instance, the New Mexico Department of Tourism has provided opportunities for those who create products in the state to showcase their businesses on it's website,

The lovely statement on the site reads: "For generations New Mexicans have made a living from the land, herding cattle, growing pecans, creating magnificent pieces of jewelry from stones harvested underground. Today those traditions live on, supporting present day families and inspiring a new generation of makers, growers and ranchers.
When you buy jewelry, textiles, arts and crafts, food, wine, beer and other products with the New Mexico Certified True Mark, you have our promise that they are authentically "New Mexico True" - made, grown and born and raised right here with pride, love and the finest quality ingredients."

Did you notice that they actually mentioned textiles as #2 on the list? Living in a place where textiles are regarded as an important part of the culture is SO amazing!!!

I was inspired to add my straps to the list of "True" products. The certification process is free and has only a few steps to it. They asked me to submit some photos, including one or two of where my products are made. Below is a photo of my weaving room, aka "the Color Lab".
(If you'd like to come visit and maybe take a class, send me an email! at

I began the process last October just in time to get my listing on the site and into the Holiday Gift Guide. Already this has resulted in a few contacts by potential customers and an invitation to sell my straps in a local gallery. 

I'm excited to say that Galleria Ortega in Chimayó is now representing me!
This is a lovely little shop in a town that is know for it's weaving tradition! The owners, Evita and Andrew Ortega have curated an awesome display of fine things representing New Mexico and the Southwest. As much as is possible, they like to fill the gallery's many rooms with locally made products. As a tourist, I have stopped in several times myself and purchased uniquely New Mexico items like the hand-carved red and green chile earrings, books and notecards, and a cool t-shirt or two. 
Andrew himself is a 7th generation weaver and has his large working loom set up in a back room, always with a rug or two in progress. Visit their website here:

If you go to Chimayó, it's one of the highlights and centrally located near the old Plaza del Cerro. Nearby are some other things that you shouldn't  miss:  Chimayó History MuseumOrtega's Weaving Shop,  El Santuario de Chimayó, and Centinela Traditional Arts

"Specializing in all things New Mexico. Traditional Art, Contemporary Artists, Southwest Books,  Art Wear, T-shirts, and the Best of New Mexico Chile products."  

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

We Have A Winner!

I am so grateful to everyone who left a comment on my last post, "The Annual Birthday Giveaway".
It is very rewarding to know that my blog has readers who have found inspiration here! The feedback and nice birthday wishes were heartwarming!

My husband chose a random number for me and the winner was Nancy. Since Google didn't recognize you, Nancy, and give me a link to your profile, I hope you will send me an email with your contact info and mailing address. There was only one person named Nancy who replied, so you will know who you are!

Nancy's comment was especially flattering since she mentioned that Susan Foulkes, Laverne Waddington and I are keeping weaving alive and vibrant! I can't tell you how honored I am to be mentioned along with these two ladies! 

In case you are not already followers of these two amazing bandweavers and teachers, let me introduce them briefly. They have both been heroines to me and I gathered the courage to reach out to each of them and introduce myself at various weaving conferences, which was very rewarding.

Susan Foulkes blogs here:
Her blog is loaded with her adventures as a scholar of weaving and with her projects. She is very generous in sharing "how-to" articles, videos and pattern drafts. Many magazines have published her articles and she's written 4 books so far. You can learn more about them here;
Her specialty in bandweaving has been an extensive study of the techniques and patterns of the Baltic region. If you weave with a rigid heddle, you will find her tutorials invaluable.
When the Swedish company, Stoorstalka, designed a custom double-slotted heddle at Susan's request, they gave it her name, Sunna in the Sami language. 
I've not taken a class from Susan. I'm still kicking myself for not signing up for one when I had the chance last summer at the Braids conference. I do have two of her books, however. 

Laverne Waddington is known to many through her blog here: http:/  Although she lives in Bolivia, she has been traveling extensively in the U.S. for the last 6 years, teaching to groups in many states. I was lucky enough to take several of her workshops when I lived in California. She, too, has written many magazine articles and two books to date. You can find them here:
Her specialty is the backstrap loom and her blog is a great resource with numerous tutorials, videos, examples, etc. The blog also reads like a travelogue, documenting her many trips. She's studied with indigenous weavers throughout Central and South America, learning and documenting patterns and techniques. Also, a great scholar, Laverne's books translate patterns from cultures around the world into step-by-step instructions on how to recreate them yourself. 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Annual Birthday Giveaway! 2017

It's become a custom to have a January giveaway. 
💚💖💓  It's my birthday month and I want to share the love.  💗💜💛

While I've been making shoulder straps with swivel clips on the ends all along, there's a new development and I'm excited about it!

Check out the nice ends on these! They are made from a nylon & polyester blend by Dale in Arizona. Using these gives a nice look to the finished strap. 
I like way these taper down so I don't have to use the heavier 2" wide swivel clips. 
You can buy your own strap ends from his shop here: Replacement Shoulder Strap Ends

I've only got a couple of these 2" wide straps left and you can find them over in my Etsy shop HERE.
Then, there are also some 1.5" straps HERE

But, to WIN this one and have it sent to you at no cost, just comment below.