Friday, March 24, 2017

Should You Wet Finish Your Woven Band?

At first, when I started weaving, it never occurred to me that I should do anything to finish my bands once they were off the loom. They looked finished to me. Back then, I had no experienced weaver to tell me what to do and it was not mentioned in the books. Now, I almost always wet finish them.
This term may mean different things to different weavers. For me, it means putting them in a small bucket of water overnight. 

             On the loom                                                             After wet finishing

A term long-used in the weaving business is fulling, most often used when referring to woolen cloth. By wet finishing, the fibers are encouraged to shrink up and close the gaps between individual threads, making the fabric fuller.  If you look closely at the two photos above  you will see that the band has shrunken up a bit in the water, and the pickup pattern looks nicer because of it. The individual threads are not so much seen as individuals now, but are closer together, giving a more graceful line to the pattern.  Edit: the above band is woven from Omega Sinfonia cotton yarn. 

Another thing that soaking or washing does is allows the colors to bleed if they are going to. I have often been surprised by how much color comes out of the yarn into the water. To keep this color from being absorbed back into the band, I use the miraculous Shout ColorCatcher sheets. I buy them in the laundry section of the local supermarket and they do exactly as their name implies. Most of the time I find that half of a sheet works fine for one woven band. If a lot of color is bleeding out, I change the water a few times but leave the sheet in. I've often wondered how I could use these interesting dyed sheets in some way. Please let me know if you have ideas!!

Monday, March 13, 2017

A New Project- Santa Fe Style

Once upon a time I decided that I was going to start trading in my clothes one piece at a time for handmade. Well, that will probably never happen. I'm not really a fashionista, but I do sort of have a style. I love handmade clothes, ethnic designs, colorful embroidery, lace, Southwest style vests and tiered skirts, cowboy boots, Native American jewelry and woven shoes. And remember a few posts back when I was sporting all of those "tribal" patterns?

Thrift store shopping has been my thing for decades, but it's even more fun than ever here. The local thrift shops have incredibly great deals and I have found myself drawn more and more into hunting for those unique clothes. It's hard to resist a good deal even if it doesn't exactly fit me.

Guatemalan Huipil with exquisite embroidered design featuring birds

So, a couple of weeks ago, I discovered the world of online clothing sales for the everyday folks who just happen to love clothes. While there are a few sites, I chose to open shop on Poshmark and called it Santa Fe Style. (Click here to see it.) That sort of encompasses the handmade, ethnic and Southwestern fashion that is "my style".  It's been kinda fun learning a new social/shopping site and how it works.

 I'm a sucker for a good Southwest Vest! This one by Rebecca Stark has fantastic silver concho buttons!

Sedona Clothing Company vest made in Sedona, AZ is an interesting tapestry weave with some chenille. 

Within the first couple of days, I had over 200 followers. Where did they come from? Why did they follow me? Well, that's apparently what you do on Poshmark. Follow and share each others' stuff. The more the merrier. Established sellers have tens of thousands of followers!

Within the first hour I had listed 3 items and got my first sale. Whoa! So now it's a couple of weeks down the road and I've made 8 sales. This could work, I'm thinking. In my spare time.

I love this wool coat with handwoven panels from ChimayĆ³, NM. It's just a bit snug on me. From the 1970's, I think.

Although I'd love to model all of the stuff and have someone else take photos, this isn't always  practical. (And remember that it didn't all fit anyway.) So, I'm trying to master the art of "the flat lay" (Or putting stuff on the floor, photographing it and having it look cool). I've been taking photos of my weaving to sell online for years, but clothing is different.

This handwoven jacket has really excellent details like hand-braided trim and hand-knotted buttons. 

I also like the pretty and feminine. Give me flowers, lace and embroidery any day!

It also allows me to sell things that I have had in my closet for a while and just haven't worn.

A cotton knit sleeveless sweater from Peru. 

It seems funny to me, a fiber person, that others actually list clothing for sale without telling you what the fiber content is! Imagine!

I'm even cutting loose some of my sweet jewelry that I just don't wear anymore.

If you should decide to check out Poshmark for yourself, please use the code GMYSW when you sign up and you and I will both get savings. It's a $5 off your first order deal for you!
Or drop me an email at:

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

TV Reruns

Five years ago I was given a great opportunity to film a 30 minute TV talk show.
It was quite an accomplishment for me, so I'm going to share it again.

The show aired every other week on CreaTV in San Jose, California. It was called "Darlene Carmen Presents". She and her husband, Doug,  liked to find all sorts of creative people and interview them. They filmed a segment before mine with a group of Polynesian dancers. They were gorgeous!

This may surprise you, but I'm really rather shy.
I'd never been in a TV studio before and was intimidated by all the technical equipment and the 3 GIANT cameras. I had to wait "backstage" for about 45 minutes while they were filming that bit before it was my turn. More time to get nervous. So, I sat and wove. I tried going into the editing room to watch the producer at work, but that just made me more nervous. He told me that there would be no editing later. They go "live to film" and the film gets played in it's entirety. YIKES! Any screw-ups would be part of the final product.

When my time came to be in front of those big cameras, I remember thinking how dry my mouth was (a sign of nervousness) and that when I began to talk, my teeth were sticking to my lips. A few minutes in, I decided that I was either going to die right on the spot or get through it and that helped.
Really, I was shocked when I saw the show later as it  didn't turn out bad.
Hope you enjoy it!

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: