Weaving buffalo check on the rigid heddle loom

Art, DIY

Screen Shot 2019-02-11 at 6.01.09 PM.pngThis Christmas my husband gifted me perhaps the greatest present you could ever buy a fiber artist: an Ashford rigid heddle loom! I took a couple of weaving courses in college and have really been missing the art form over the past few years.

While I am knowledgable in weaving on a floor loom, the rigid heddle is a new venture for me. Things that I’m loving about it so far:

  1. It’s so light! I can move it wherever I want.
  2. It doesn’t take up a lot of space. Slide it right under the bed if you want!
  3. Warping it is a breeze. Less than an hour? Yes, please.
  4. It allows me to use a wide variety of yarns. Suddenly yarn scraps have a purpose again!

Hands down, an awesome option for beginner weavers as well as those who may not have the room to dedicate to a floor loom or the money to invest in one.

My new loom is the 32” model which is amazing because it allows for me to create patterns up to that width but also as narrow as I would like. This means I can make blankets as well as scarves!

Because the rigid heddle loom is new to me, I’ve been using the last six weeks as a learning period – experimenting with different yarn weights, colors and patterns.

So far, one of my favorite designs is buffalo check. This trendy pattern is honestly the simplest you could create on the rigid heddle loom and, when created with contrasting colors, yields striking results.

Pattern

Warp: 4 red, 4 blue (8 ends)

Weave: 4 red, 4 blue

I followed this pattern using Caron Simply Soft yarn in red and navy to create this super cozy scarf.

Seriously, so simple! I’m curious, what are your favorite buffalo check colors?

Stay tuned for more pattern exploration updates and don’t forget to follow along with my weaving adventures on Instagram.

 

DIY Plaid Flannel Blanket Scarves

DIY

This Christmas I was inspired to go all-out with homemade holiday gifts. In searching for a project I could tackle for several of my family members, I came across a great DIY gift idea: blanket scarves!

Trendy and inexpensive to make (less than $10 per scarf), I decided to give this craft a whirl this holiday season, making one for every female family member I’d be spending time with on Christmas day.

This ended up being nine scarves. Word to the wise, if you’re planning to make this many scarves for Christmas start early (like, early November) to avoid stressing yourself out with a scarf-making frenzy two days before Christmas. Yes, I’m speaking from experience.  

That being said, these scarves would make great gifts any time of year!

The time and energy were well worth it, as these homemade gifts were a huge hit. Now that the holidays are over I’m looking forward to making one for myself!  

Supplies:

  • 1.5 yards of apparel flannel (can be found at Walmart & Joanne Fabrics)
  • Scissors
  • Seam ripper

Instructions

  1. Start by trimming all edges, using the plaid pattern as a guideline to cut relatively straight. Don’t worry if you mess up! The fresh cut will make it easier for you to begin pulling your fringe.

2. Fold the fabric diagonally, creating a right angle.

img_3996.jpg

3. Trim the long end of the fabric so that it lines up with the edge to form a square.

4. Now – get a movie ready as you begin to start your fringe. This part of the process is easy – it just takes a hot second. Here’s what you’re gonna do – using the seam ripper, begin to undo the weave of the fabric, thread by thread. (check out the photo below)

5. You can either create a fringe on two sides of your scarf OR all the way around. Personally, I like blanket scarves that have a little fringe on all sides.

6. Once you’re done with the fringe you can either stop as is or (for extra reinforcement) use a sewing machine to run a quick stitch down all four sides.

Once your done with the fringe, all that’s left is to package it up pretty to give away as a gift! Or, ya know, throw it around your neck and call it yours. 😏

 

Snowy Pine Embroidery

Art, DIY

This Christmas I went all out in making handmade gifts. In fact, I spent most of November and December unweaving flannel for homemade blanket scarves for all the girls in my family – more on that later.

Aside from the scarves, I also gifted both sets of my parents and grandparents an original hand embroidery.

I decided to do a different design for each couple and the design I’m sharing today is the one I completed for my grandparents.

This design features three snow-covered pines, standing elegantly in a winter wonderland. I was inspired by winter-themed embroidery art I found on Pinterest, and was particularly drawn to this idea as my grandparents can now display this artwork all winter, instead of having to take it down with the Christmas decor.

I would highly recommend a design like this for artists looking to get into fiber art. With its limited color palette and simple line-art design, it’s a very approachable piece. In fact, it only took me a few hours to complete!

If you’re interested in tackling a pine-inspired embroidery, check out some inspiration here.

Happy stitching!

 

 

Snowman Embroidery

Art, DIY

This winter, I set about making my first snowman-inspired embroidery, inspired by the idea of making my grandmother a homemade gift.

Growing up, like most children, I was quite the expert in homemade gifts, constantly gifting my family members with the crafts and artwork I labored over in school and during my free time.

I’m happy to say my craftsmanship has improved quite a bit over the last 15+ years or so, but my desire to give homemade gifts has remained the same. Knowing that my grandmother would appreciate a handmade gift the most, I set about creating this embroidery for her in late November.

 

The process started out much the same as my other pieces, beginning with some google research (imagery inspiration is so important) and moving on to a pen sketch on fabric. When designing this piece, I knew I didn’t want to go too big (I was working on a limited time frame) but I also knew that it had to be big enough to make for a substantial gift. Not to mention a larger piece allows for more intricate details.

Another design decision that had to be made was whether or not I wanted to embroider snow falling in the background. While French knot snowflakes would have furthered the piece’s sense of whimsy, I ultimately decided against them, not wanting to distract from the main element and focus (the snowman). With the design being so clean, I decided against the clutter of snowfall.

 

After filling in all of the colors and patterns, I framed the piece and tied a festive blue ribbon onto the fastening, allowing the artwork to be easily hung. Although the snowman in the drawing is wearing Christmas colors, I designed him with the intention of being left out all winter, knowing that my grandparents would want to enjoy him all season, as opposed to only one month during the year.

While I’m in no hurry to embroider another snowman any time soon, I’m happy to report that the gift went over extraordinarily well! Having been the person who first got me hooked on embroidery, I know my grandmother was able to appreciate the time and effort put into each and every one of the countless stitches.

How to Make Concrete Pumpkin Planters

Decorating, DIY

During the fall, most of us are overcome with a strong urge to decorate, filling our homes with fake leaves and throwing Indian corn and scarecrows up on our front porches.

In your transition from summer to autumn, I would highly consider giving this project a try. For less than ten dollars, you can create two beautiful and unique pumpkin planters, pieces that you will be able to use for many years to come!

pumpkin

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 50 lb bag of concrete
  • Water
  • Bucket or wheel barrow for mixing your concrete
  • A concrete-mixing tool, such as a shovel
  • 2 plastic trick-or-treating pumpkins
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • Styrofoam
  • Vessels to place inside the planters (we used gatorade bottles, but I would recommend something with straight and smooth sides)
  • An exact-o knife or cardboard cutter
  • Spray paint, acrylic paint and paint brushes (if desired)img_0388

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mix your concrete following the instructions on the bag. We mixed our concrete by using a shovel and wheelbarrow.img_0397_
  2. Tape a small square of styrofoam to the bottom of your plastic pumpkins (this will be for the water to drain out the bottom of your planter).
  3. Spray the inside of the plastic pumpkins and the outside of the placeholders (gatorade bottles) with cooking spray.
  4. Set the placeholders on top of the styrofoam pieces inside the pumpkins.
  5. Fill the pumpkins with concrete while holding the placeholders steady. Occasionally shake the pumpkins to ensure the concrete is settling properly.IMG_0398_.JPG
  6. Once filled, leave the pumpkins to set and dry. If able, place them in the sun to speed up the drying process. I would recommend giving them 24-48 hours to set.IMG_0401_.jpg
  7. Once the pumpkins have properly set, cut away the plastic using a box cutter or exact-o knife.IMG_0402_.JPG
  8. Remove the placeholder inside each pumpkin.IMG_0415_.JPG
  9. Cure the planters by placing them in a bucket of water or misting them with a squirt bottle.

DECORATE:

We let our pumpkins sit for about a week, giving the concrete an adequate amount of time to set and cure.

If interested in decorating your pumpkins with paint, I would recommend first spray painting them with orange paint, creating a base layer for further decoration. I would also recommend two coats of spray paint, making sure you are filling in any small pores that may have formed in your concrete.

Once the spray paint has dried, you can use acrylic paint and a paint brush to fill in the your pumpkins’ faces.

FINISHING TOUCH:

Last, but certainly not least, fill your planters with mums or other fall-time plants.

And there you have it: two beautiful planters that you can use year after year for under ten dollars. So, what are you waiting for? Halloween  is only 6 weeks away!

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Fleece Coat for Skeeter

DIY

Fibernation post #2! As my Facebook friends and Instagram followers already saw, I made a custom-made coat for our dog, Skeeter. Skeeter, being ten years old and having relatively short hair, was in desperate need of a coat, especially considering last year’s winter temperatures trumped those of Alaska.


Although I could have easily bought a coat from Walmart or Petco, I decided to make one myself because:

  1. It was way cheaper.
  2. It’s fun to make stuff yourself.
  3. I could make exactly what we needed to supply for Skeeter’s needs.

In terms of material I bought your average variety of fleece. I decided on fleece for a few reasons:

1.It’s cheap.

2. It’s warm.

3. It’s easy to work with. If you are new to sewing I would definitely recommend fleece for your beginning projects. It runs through machines easily and you don’t have to worry about fraying.

I wish I could provide a pattern for this coat, however I cannot. This is because I was “winging it.”

All I did when making the shape of this coat was determined how long I wanted it to be and tapered the fabric accordingly for both his front and back legs. I did not want his movement to be impeded.


I used adhesive velcro on both the front and the belt to make them close, and while the adhesive seemed to be strong, I sewed over it just to be safe. Both straps with the adjustable fastening help keep the coat in place.

This project only took about an hour and provided me with a fun challenge. So if you are planning on sewing a coat for your canine friend, I hope that you find fun and success! I also hope that your dog loves his or her coat as much as Skeeter does!

 

How to Make a Wreath

DIY, Holiday

Nothing says “Happy Holidays” like a beautiful wreath hanging on your front door! But before you go out and spend what can be serious cash on a wreath or two why don’t you try making one instead? As I mentioned in my last post, I went to a wreath making workshop this past weekend at my local nature center with my mother and grandmother.

As it turns out, making wreaths is both easy and cheap!

Here is what you need if you want to try making one yourself:

  1. Floral wire
  2. Wire cutters
  3. A wire wreath frame (look for these at Walmart or your local dollar store)
  4. Pine branches (we used frasier fir, but any kind will do)
  5. Decorations (such as bells, ribbons, pine cones, etc.)

wreath decorations

Now that you have gathered your supplies, here is what you’re going to do:

  1. Cut your branches into 5” pieces.
  2. Make small bunches out of your branches (4 to 6 pieces per bunch).wreath bunches
  3. Attach your wire to your frame by wrapping it around the cross section. In other words, wrap the wire where a horizontal wire meets a vertical wire.
  4. Lay one of your bunches down and wrap it twice with wire. Pull the wire tight to ensure it is secure.wreath frame
  5. Place your next bunch so that it is slightly overlapping the first, covering the wire attaching the first bunch.
  6. Repeat this process until your bunches go all the way around the frame.
  7. Tie off your wire, wrapping it around the cross section like you did when you first attached it.
  8. Decorate!

wreath

I wrapped a thick ribbon around my wreath to give it a little flare but you can also go for a very natural look, attaching only dried flowers, pine cones and other natural elements.

Wreath-making = incredibly simple.

I was truly amazed and impressed when I saw a room full of beautiful wreaths from people who had never made one before!

I would encourage anyone to try this holiday craft. After all, who wouldn’t want a beautiful wreath hanging on their front door during the holiday season?

The Trendiest Way to De-Stress

DIY, Wellness

As you may have noticed, the holidays are coming. This is fantastic because the holidays are full of family, fun, traditions, baked goods,etc. etc. However, they are also extremely stressful, especially today on Black Friday!

coloring fish

But don’t let my ranting work you into anxiety. And if I already have, rest assured that there is a cure! That’s right, a cure for stress and an extremely trendy one at that: COLORING!

I had heard about this coloring trend a few months ago and was eager to return to what I once loved as a child. It was not until recently that I was given a coloring book by Andy’s brother and sister-in-law and was surprised by how much I love it.

 

Here’s a few reasons why  you (whoever you are) should try coloring:

  1. It’s FUN! Enough said.
  2. It’s relaxing. Something about simply focusing on filling a space with color is cathartic and can be especially great for those of us who suffer from stress and anxiety. Filling in color and seeing a complete page can give a sense of accomplishment which is great at the end of the day when you are just lazing around watching TV.
  3. No experience necessary. Coloring is a great hobby because literally anyone can do it. You don’t have to be a great artist to enjoy it and make visually satisfying coloring pages.
  4. It’s cheap. As with anything else, there are a lot of different options and prices when it comes to buying coloring books. And even if you don’t want to invest in a book, you can simply print adult coloring pages off of the internet. Be sure to check out Pinterest for some great pages!
  5. It can be social. If coloring alone is fun, imagine coloring with friends! Invite your friends over for a night of coloring, wine and cheese.

coloring snow city.jpg

As an artist, part of me wants to hate coloring as your creativity is somewhat limited. But it simply is too much fun to hate. On top of that, for those of you who are artists, I find that when I am coloring I am often inspired and find myself thinking about possible new art pieces.

Another possibility I have thought of is using my completed coloring pages for art-materials. In other words, you can take your colored pages and turn them into art pieces or craft projects.

Here’s a few DIY ideas off the top of my head:

  1. Homemade cards
  2. Christmas/Gift tags
  3. Wrapping paper
  4. Book covers
  5. Book Marks

coloring fish

So, long story short, no matter who you are, you should give coloring a go. It’s fun, cheap and can undoubtedly help you get through the stressful holiday season.

Happy coloring!

coloring deer

 

Happy Turkey Day!

Decorating, DIY, Festivity, Holiday

Posting once a week every Friday means that my weekly post will be falling after Thanksgiving on (duh-duh-duuuuh) Black Friday! A day when everyone will be out madly shopping as the Christmas season officially commences.

That being said, I thought I would throw an extra post out there this week to give you some ideas on how to have a creative holiday! While we all have Thanksgiving traditions that we live and die by, it is always fun to try new, creative ideas to spice up already established traditions.

Here are a few creative ideas you can add to your food-filled day:

  1. Homemade placemats. If you read my post from last week you know that homemade placemats can make great holiday gifts. They can also personalize your Thanksgiving dinner and table. Check out my post from last week to learn how to recycle textiles into these woven settings.

woven placemat

  1. Homemade place cards.
    Whether you simply stencil letters onto card stock or use different colored paper and ribbons for embellishment, place cards can add a fun and sophisticated look to your Thanksgiving table.
  2. Try a new recipe! This year I will be making something I have never eaten or made: Frozen Pumpkin Pie! Here is a recipe for one version if you also want to give it a go!

 

So no matter how traditional or trendy your Thanksgiving is, I hope that it’s a good one!

(Cover photo found via Google Images)