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 Chimayó, 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: iweavestraps@gmail.com.

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.
http://www.molliemakes.com/diy-fashion-2/how-to-make-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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qq7JX-s0Peo

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, NewMexico.org.










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 iweavestraps@gmail.com)


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: www.galeriaortega.com

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."