Sunday, March 17, 2013

Right brain, left brain

I think you might say that I'm coming more into balance these days. Now that my kids have all gone away to college, my left brain is catching up to my right brain and I am spending more time on my family history research (see my other blog: Voices From A Distant Past).

But the right brain still demands its time as well, and here's what I've been up to:

I finished this scarf for my husband, using my own hand-dyed yarns.

Here's a close-up... the colors aren't quite this brown in reality:

After that, I wanted to weave an ikat pattern.  I found surprisingly few examples on the web, so I had to figure it out by myself.  First I measured the warp and dyed it chartreuse, one of my favorite colors.

Next I wrapped sections of about 20 threads in what I hoped would end up as a single organic shape, and overdyed them in cerulean blue (to get a nice chartreuse to green gradation.)

This is a selection of various weights of cotton yarns and fabrics from my dyeing session:

Here's the warp after I untied all the wraps.

And here it is, on the loom and ready to weave.

This is the finished piece.  Hmmmm. I'm not altogether pleased, but I have a better idea of what I should do next time.  I think I should use thickened dyes and paint the colors on rather than wrapping the sections of warp.  I think this would give me the organic shape I was going for.  I ended up with more of a striped effect, because each group of twenty warps had the same wrap.  If I painted the individual threads, the change from one color to the other would have been more gradual.  Oh well, live and learn!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

I've been away from blogging for awhile... life does speed up sometime.  I've had a few creative setbacks that have kept me away, too.  If you've seen my blog in the past, you'll know that my camera is happiest when it is overseas -- and 2012 was certainly a banner year for travel!  I had a chance to go to Russia this summer, but returned home only to find that one of my larger memory cards was corrupted.  I lost tons of wonderful pictures.  Right after that trip, I found out that the USPS lost a quilt I was sending out to be quilted.  I had made it for my youngest daughter to take to college, so the loss was especially hard to take -- especially because this was probably the one and only time I did not put a tracking number and insurance on a quilt I sent out!  All that heartache has made it kind of hard to pick up my camera, or set a stitch in a quilt.
Lost by USPS in July, 2012.... Let me know if you ever see it!!
While I've been daunted, I haven't given up.  Creativity just switched gears: I've been putting a lot of energy in my genealogy projects and I have been spending more time lately at Loop of the Loom, enjoying the peace and tranquility of Saori weaving:

my Saori portfolio! 
sideways detail of the first scarf I made (back in April)

I love weaving!  I am fascinated by the textures, and the possibilities for playing with color.
I'm especially interested in the interlock technique, where you hook the weft to a second color thread to get broken strands of color across the width of a piece; I've used it in every piece I've made. 

I like variegated color and couldn't find exactly what I wanted at my local yarn store, so I dyed my own wool:

Scarf in progress -- using my own hand-dyed yarns

I do tend to carry ideas out to their logical conclusion.  If hand-dyed yarn is good, then shouldn't I spin my own hand-dyed yarn?  I have some roving on hand, dyed back in 2009, and I bought an inexpensive drop spindle the other day to give it a go.  Unfortunately, spinning doesn't seem to be a popular activity where I live, so I can't find a class -- but after checking out some youtube videos, I managed to produce some yarn.  A little kinky, a little wobbly, but definitely yarn!  I need another project like I need a hole in the head, but I have to follow my curiosity or I'm not a happy camper.

And in case you were wondering, I don't think I will ever lose my love of quilting.  I had been working on this one off and on for a few years, but decided to finish it after I made my daughter's quilt (but before it was lost).  This one made it back safely through the mail, so here it is, for the record.

I've even made something new (albeit much smaller): a table runner for my quilt guild's Christmas gift exchange:

As for photography..... yes, I've had lots of opportunities to take more shots after losing so many this summer. I'm learning Lightroom, too.  It isn't huge learning curve, but I have lots of work to catalog everything, so it might be awhile before I start sharing again!