Sunday, November 23, 2008

I'm here!

I know I haven't posted anything in a short while, but I've been knee deep in craftiness! I'm not equipped to post photos or anything now, but I've been busy trust me. The loom is warped, and after I wove about 3 inches, I broke a warp end. Believe it or not, it's the first one I've ever had break on me. In 3 years of weaving at school, it never happened! So I need to get a t-pin today so I can fix that puppy up. I tried a biggish sewing pin, but it was not strong enough.

My 10 year old niece Breanna came over and made needle felted Christmas ornament with me yesterday, which was fun. Within a few minutes she had broken all but one needle, so after that, I just watched. I can't blame her, though because they are easy to break, especially if you are new to the wonders of "stab art". And I only had 4 to begin with. (I had more but my cats helped me loose them. Yes, I will find them jammed in my foot someday.) When I gave her the last one, I said, "Be careful with that one, or we're going for a ride to the store." And lo and behold, the needle lasted. We used cookie cutters to make the shapes and that worked really well. I've heard that that was an easy way to make flat stuff, but I've never actually done it myself. It works like a charm.

I'm also teaching myself how to crochet, to expand my crafty repertoire! I've heard people say that if you try to do too much (as in different kinds of fiber art), you wind up never finishing anything. But I suppose the same could be said about life in general. I think it would be fun tobe able to use all these different crafty techniques together to make a colossal craft super-item. (Not like I'm the first person to think of that.) So more on crochet 101 later. Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Measuring the warp (is no fun)

There is something to be said for having the right tools for the job. I mentioned I was going to try to improvise a warping board to get started weaving, since my new warping board isn't due to arrive until next week. I took the weaving bench pictured in yesterday's post and I flipped it upside down and stacked cookbooks on the underside of the part you sit on (which is now facing up), so it wouldn't move. At this point I'm thinking how smart I am and that I wasted my money buying the real deal. (Insert belly laugh here. Oh, hindsight!) I then attached a warping peg:

to my entertainment center thing, because it had shelves about the height of the upturned stool legs. (That picture is a stock image, I only had one peg that came with the rigid heddle loom.) I had planned for about 200 warp ends since I was thinking about doing something with spaces in the warp and like I said, I wanted something manageable for my first go on a new loom. I would have preferred I was able to stand upright while warping, but I couldn't get the stool to stay put when I tried to elevate it, so I left it on the carpet and figured I'd bend over to warp. After all-it's only 200 pieces of string, right?

Then I was off!

Skip ahead half an hour. Let's just say this was not an ideal setup in retrospect. I felt like my back was broken and I was only a quarter of the way done. It's funny, I remember hating to measure the warp in school where I had all the right equipment, when I didn't realize how good I had it. Each thing you need to buy for weaving is like, hundreds of dollars and it was all there at my fingertips. This is a weaving I made in school on an 8 harness jack loom:

Here's a bit of a close up:

That weaving has 960 warp ends. I'd have to kill myself if I was using the ol' stool and peg method to measure the warp for something like that.

So when all was said and done, I gave up on my crappy method of warping. I. was. over. it. I had 58 measly warp ends, but if I space them out a lot and use a super chunky weft, I'll be able to make something around 2 feet wide.

I'm picturing a rag rug made with cut up jersey fabric. Honestly, it's just to get some practice, so it's okay if it wasn't the weaving I was planning on making. When that warping board gets here, it's ON!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I must have been good in a past life.

I must be sending out good weaving vibes into the world! I mentioned in an earlier post that I was fortunate enough to receive a Ashford rigid heddle loom over the summer. Here it is hanging on my wall:

I've woven a bit more on the RH since this picture was taken. Not much more, but a bit.


Are you ready? I'm serious, this rules.

I got a loom! A real one! A great big real loom! Holla!

The person who gave it to me is one of the most wonderful people I have ever met and now I will never ever forget her. I never, never thought I would have a loom, not at least until I had excessive amounts of disposable income to spend on a large piece of equipment like this. So thank you and I'll love you forever.

This is a picture of it in my tiny bedroom. When my husband saw it he thought I was insane in the membrane. I was joking that we could throw our bed out to make more room for it.

It is a Gallinger loom, which was sold at The Mannings in East Berlin, PA, but it was sold there before it was called the Mannings. Back then it was Gallinger Creative Crafts, until the business was sold to Mr. and Mrs. Manning in the 1960s.

(Please excuse the fact that there is nothing on the walls in my bedroom, I had to move major pieces of furniture around to get the loom in, so I took everything down so I could get it in position and figure out where I want the warping board to go. I typically enjoy having more flair on display.)

Oh and in regards to my attempt to make a ghetto warping board out of nails in my wall-no dice. The nails just kept falling out of the wall and were all greasy and disgusting and would probably ruin any warp that touched them. So I'm over that. I'm sure I could have made one, but I don't really own any tools, so I'd have to buy everything besides a hammer. When taking into consideration the amount of time and materials it would take to make my own, I decided to buy this one off Ebay:

I found this one for $29.99 at The Knit Store, which is a great deal. It should be here early next week. However since I can't wait to start weaving on my new baby, I'm going to improvise tonight with an overturned table and a dowel clamped the appropriate distance away. We'll see how that goes. I'm only going to use about 200 warp ends for my first weaving since I want a chance to get used to the loom and learn how it works before I try a complicated pattern.

Now for some close-ups of the loom! Keep in mind this loom came out of a garage, so it's a bit dusty. I promise to clean it and oil it all up. So don't hold that against me. This is a close up of the treadles and tie ups. I know 4 harness looms typically have 6 treadles, but this one is a little different. Each extra wide harness is tied up individually, so you have to treadle accordingly.

While acquiring the loom is certainly most of the battle, I still had a bunch of stuff I need to buy before I could actually start making something. First, I needed a bench! The ones they sell online are between $200-$400, which is ridiculous. I found this thing that used to be a table, I think, at the thrift store for $12. Sure it was too tall and wobbly, but nothing my handy hubby can't fix with our trusty hammer. ( I told you we had no tools.) Actually that's a lie. Our truly handy friend Mike brought us a saw thing. It looked like a drill, but it was a saw. Then the handy hubby fixed the wobbles. And yes, that's dusty too. It's a work in progress.

You can see that the bench has a little space underneath, so I can keep warp there! LOVE IT! Freakin' adorable. And look-I bought warp!! I love new supplies!! I had to buy a new reed and heddle hook-which in retrospect I think I used the heddle hook for everything and not the reed hook. I guess I figured I got the big ticket item for free, so I could spend $100 or so on other shit that I need to go with it. I bought grey, black, pink and white warp, which should give me enough variety to get started. I also found that pink and brown ball of jersey material at an antique store. (It's on the far right.) That would be cute for a rug, but there isn't that much, so I don't know how big of a rug it would make.

So, there you have it. Needless to say, I'm beside myself. I cannot wait to get going! Yay weaving!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Holiday gift ideas!

Buy something from my friend Lindsay. She rules and her shit is rad and can be purchased at Without a Pulse.

Like these crocheted Sushi Coasters:

Or for the rollergirl in your life, a "Talk Derby to Me" necklace, shrinky dink style!

This is Lindsay looking a little like a sad Care Bear. Cheer her up and buy something already!

The Medium is the Message.

I'm on a shopping high! I just purchased two new Shepard Fairey prints and I am super happy. If you aren't familiar with his work, you should check out his website OBEY GIANT. You've probably seen it somewhere in the last twenty years:

Or you may be familiar with one of his most recent works:

While working in New Hope, PA in 2001 I purchased a Shepard Fairey print during a show of his work at Tin Man Alley, thanks to proprietor and curator Jonathan LeVine. Tin Man Alley has since moved to NYC and is now the Jonathan LeVine Gallery. So here is the print I bought in 2001 and have treasured ever since:

That one is a joint work between Frank Kozik and Shepard Fairey.

Frank Kozik is a well-known artist who specializes in concert posters. He and Shepard Fairey collaborated on a print in 2000 for their joint art show "Fuck Kozik and Giant" which took place on October 5, 2000 at Dept Inc. in Osaka, Japan.

This is it in my living room, shown off especially well by my awesome photography skills!

The other print I bought at Tin Man Alley was this one by Frank Kozik. I love this one. I think it rules. The glare on this photo, does not rule. But you get the idea. It's awesome. She's blind and in a wheel chair and this kid's giving her the ultimate F you! Take this spider AND this skull. Damn. That shit's harsh.

So I'm sure you're on the edge of your seat wondering which two new prints I bought! Here's the first one:

And here's the second one. I figured I needed an Andre. I like this ripped up one.

All the prints purchased from OBEY GIANT are signed and numbered too, which is cool.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Getting my weave on.

Over the summer I was fortunate enough to receive a wonderful brand new 36" Ashford rigid heddle loom.

While I was picking up my Art Ed. Certification (my major in college was Fine Art/Sculpture) I picked up roughly the equivalent of a minor in weaving. In school we used 4 and 8 harness looms and what I loved best about weaving was creating pattern. I think it is so wild how you can manipulate the threads to make such beautiful and intricate designs. I love how all over the world and pretty much throughout time, weaving has stayed the same. Sure there are crazy industrial looms that are bigger than my apartment, but for the most part weaving still is what it always was. I remember this one time I had to visit The Daniel Boone Homestead on a college field trip and Daniel Boone's father was a weaver.

When we walked in the door there was a loom set up in the middle of the home and it was warped and partially woven with what was apparently a leftover project from Daniel Boone's father. (Or so they said.) Well, I wanted to just sit down and finish it for old Mr. Boone! I thought it was such a trip that this loom looked exactly like the loom I was using in school almost 300 years later.

Back to the rigid heddle. Like I said I loved pattern weaving and though I am extremely grateful for the rigid heddle, I do know it is a loom with real limitations as it only has the equivalent of two harnesses. That said I am eager to see what this baby can do! The loom was already warped when I received it, with a natural colored warp about 16" wide and who knows how many yards long, because I'm not undoing it to measure. Even though I have grander plans for this loom than what it is currently set up for, I know what a real bitch it is to warp a loom, I refuse to take off this warp and let all that tedious hard work go to waste. So I see a table runner or place mats in my future! I've woven about 6" or so, just messing around using a variety of pink, green and tan fabrics and it looks cute, but I honestly don't know what I'm going to do with it. Small wall hanging of some sort? Perhaps.

However, due to my minuscule apartment's previous life as an old timey post office and not a residence, I have almost no storage space. There is one small closet that my husband uses and another closet which is supposed to be for linens in the bathroom. Well my clothes take priority over some towels, so I keep my clothing in the bathroom! So the loom had no home. My handy husband put 2 hooks on the wall in our bedroom and VOILA! the loom is hanging on the wall. The hooks from Home Depot are the kind with 2 hooks on each hook (like for a coat and hat), so I have the loom resting on the top hooks and the shuttles rest perfectly on the bottom hooks. Nice! Also when there is a project on the loom, it looks lovely as decoration! Whenever I finish whatever I'm making, I'll post the pictures.

My next project is to make a ghetto warping board. I found sweet plans online thanks to In the Now if you follow the instructions on his website, you would no doubt have a very well designed warping board. I however, do not have a wood shop, or friends that I know of with a wood shop that are dying to make me a warping board. So this girl's going to IMPROVISE! I am going to bastardize the following plan and recreate it with 4" nails in my wall, using the plan below to provide me with the proper measurements and placement of the pegs (or nails).

I'll let you know what happens. I figure I've got some time to work on it, since I still have to finish my table/runner/wall hanging/place mats before I need to warp anything. That is-unless the weaving gods smile on me again and I have something new to warp! We'll see!!