Thursday, April 17, 2008

More Moving On

I was able to spend six hours working on craft projects today.  I need to take more vacation days like this - no packing, no reservations at some strange hotel, no endless drives or waits in airports, no family arguments about where to eat, no frantic rush home.  Just sleeping late, eating a leisurely breakfast, followed by crafting - with an occasional cup of tea or dish of yogurt.  So what did I accomplish for the challenge?

After knitting several fabric pieces and being dissatisfied with their weight compared to the weight of the woven fabrics I selected for my book page, I was about ready to give up trying to combine knitting with textiles.  I felt I just wasn't getting combinations that were pleasing to the eye.  I was moderately happy with the I-cord outline I had planned for the fabric book page I sewed, but I still wanted to work with both my overabundant fiber stash and my growing, but modest fabric stash as part of the changes theme.  Using I-cord on a patchwork fabric background wasn't fulfilling my goal or my soul.  Then, I hit on a possibility.  I had a Weave-It loom (stop laughing, weavers) from my girlhood and I decided to try using some of my fiber stash to make my own fabric.  In my first attempt, I used some vintage nylon super-fingering yarn from the Fifties to lace the loom, and some polyester modern accent fibers to weave. 

I also used some modern crochet thread to lace the loom and to weave.

I have to say that I was pretty happy with the results.  The advantages to using my fibers in a woven format are 1) the resulting fabrics are lighter in weight and more compatible with commercially-produced textiles, and 2) I can control the color variations much better on the loom than I can in a knitted fabric.  The disadvantages?  I don't have all that many synthetic fibers or much crochet thread in my stash.

I have not yet tried to cut the Weave-It squares, so I don't know how they will stand up to being combined in a patchwork and then trimmed.   I am still working on this idea.  I have not used any wool fibers at this point, but I have so confess I am not anxious to do so.  I love how the synthetic fibers bloom after being released from the loom.   And the synthetic fibers are slippery, making them easy to weave on the Weave-It.  The slipperiness also allows the eyelash fibers to spring out of the fabric with a bit of rubbing or gentle scratching.  It's very easy to control what fibers you choose to release, too, so you can selectively set free only blue eyelash fibers, for example, keeping the others woven in the fabric.  Can you tell yet that I really had a good time with this experiment?

In any case, I need some additional stash to continue my research, so my $10 monthly budget for challenge projects will be thrown to the wind this April.  I am definitely going shopping this weekend for more fiber.  And when I get to Allentown in three weeks, I will be asking my dear sister to take me to Tucker's, a fabulous old knitting store that still has inventory from 60 years ago.  Need vintage fibers?  Call Tucker's, but please not before May 12th.  I get first dibs.

Meanwhile, here is a photo of the green fabric that will back the finished page.  The color is actually more of a yellow-green than what appears here.  I am not sure how I will treat the backing - leave it as is or do some embroidery.   I think I'll get a better feeling for this when I get the I-cord stitched on and the edging done.

Finally, here is the fabric I chose for the back cover of the book.  I also selected an orange fabric to line the inside back cover, but I decided to use acid-free orange card stock instead after looking at some commercially-produced scrap books.

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