Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Little Handwoven Critters

After having spent the past year, off and on, weaving plaid, twill blankets, runners and other F.O. (finished objects) I decided it was finally time to design and weave something a little bit different, but on the same starting page. I created a weaving draft with a larger repeat area,with the intention of using the fabric to cut and make items, like little critters. I had a suspicion that my fabric might not be the easiest to work with once woven, due to the 12 e.p.i. that might make it unravel -if not truly fulled in the end. I was right on that account, but I am still happy with having tackled the project of making my first fabric for sewing, after weaving.
     There is just something about knowing you are going to cut apart your design that has sent chills down my spine in the past and has kept me from making fabric for cutting. After all the hard work of measuring, warping and weaving, the idea of cutting it all apart again felt so-- so-- wasteful. I guess having spent a year on the same type of fabric is what finally made me decide it was okay to cut some of my fabric! Patterns and fabric aren't as precious when you know you have the skills to make more!
     So here are the first two items made from cutting my handwoven fabric-- an X-mas Stocking and my favorite, Little Owlie. Neither one is perfect. Both have shown me what frightful sewing skills I have! But the process has allowed me to grow as a weaver. I cannot wait to find a source for traditional Scottish yarn for weaving plaid, so that I can full and cut a finer cloth in the future!

And though I tend to give most of my handmade items as gifts, this little guy was just too cute to part with. He now sits on top of my mantlepiece in our bedroom, making me smile!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Tea Cozy for my sister...

As many of you who love to make things know, it is often the case that the people for whom you make things are sometimes unappreciative (gasp!) So it is with greater pleasure that I get to make something for someone who actually requests an item to made by me. This is the case with my dear, sweet, next oldest sister. My sister lives in the desert of Arizona. That said, it may seem a bit funny that the item she requested is a tea cozy, to keep her tea warm. I have to keep reminding myself that people in Arizona must get cold in their winter-- but somehow because I am currently watching snow dervishes outside my window and it is -18 below zero windchill in Minnesota, her idea of cold seems a bit silly. But I guess 60 degrees F can seem cold to people who in the summer endure 112 degrees F on a regular basis.

So onto my project. Mom had given a Shamrock teapot to my sister one year for her birthday (which is in March) and so I decided to continue on with the Irish theme. Our family loves a good St. Patty's Day dinner of Corned Beef, Cabbage, Carrots, Potatoes, (and at my house we have plain Irish Scones made from the Simon Pearce Glass company recipe...yum) We even make Guinness Mousse for children and adults alike for dessert! And Yes, the kids have said that they feel a bit funny after they eat it, so we keep making the serving sizes smaller.....

But I digress. I happen to have a lovely little tea cozy that I purchased in an Irish tea shop here in Minnesota years ago-- and I decided I would try to make my own version for my sister.

I began with a rather ugly cottage knitting pattern that I found on the web, just to base things for size. However, as I didn't like the pattern and I am never one to follow directions anyway, I decided to substitute two strands of a thicker yarn and larger sized needles in order to full the cozy after I was done knitting it. This was a great idea, however, I also decided to change the decreases in the roof line and upon knitting, finishing and fulling, my cozy ended up about 3 sizes too big for anyone's teapot. (Did I mention I don't follow directions?)

So with only a little hesitation I CUT my cozy apart, and using my purchased cozy as a sort of template, I sewed the whole thing back together by hand with sewing thread in a smaller size. A little bit of post-sewing blocking on a blocking board -with some pins and an iron- and I was back in business!

After I placed the windows and door on the cozy, it just seemed a little bit bare. Though I like the simplicity of the cottage I purchased, I couldn't help but think that my sister's cozy needed more of what my kids like to say Spongebob loves to add to things....Pizzazz.

I found a bit of wool felt lying in my stash and began cutting shapes to go next to the windows and door. Three pumpkins and some kind of a dog (that started as a corgi or maybe a scottie-- but appears to be a cross between a dog and a squirrel--oops) and of course, every cottage needs a goat that gets into mischief. I think the goat will hide on the back side of the cozy in the end....milling about as goats generally do. We will see when the fabric glue dries on the front where our goat lands.

I only wish I could see my sister's response when she opens her present in another week, after I send it! I think I will put in a bag of Irish Breakfast tea and hope that every time she sips, she will think of me, and of our Irish side that came across the deep blue sea so very long ago. And shhhh...until she opens's a great secret!