1/31/2009

Lesson One- Reknitting



To be able to repair an item to the state it was in before, you must first be able to see how it is made. This is true with all things. When I first became a reknitter my first reaction was "But I can't even knit very well" I was told that knitting and reknitting are really nothing alike. I soon learned this to be true. I think that if you are a knitter that it does help though. So my first lesson is a challenge. Learn your fabric. This holds true with knits and wovens. I am concentrating on knits right now because they are much easier to repair. One reason this is so is because you are only dealing with a thread that goes one direction. With wovens you have the warp AND the weft to deal with. So here is an example and I ask you to go find yourself a chunky knit and sit and just look at it. Isolate a certain thread and follow it along its path. You need to recognize how this item is put together. After you feel you have learned this fabric, go find another smaller knit and do the same thing. I know this may seem like a simple thing, but it is very important.
1/30/2009

Revamp

Hello Everyone! Hope you are well. I am slowly beginning to feel like myself again. I knew I was starting to feel better yesterday when I caught myself organizing the dishes in the cabinet. Last week I could have cared less if the dishes were stacked properly. I am really hoping I get better fast as we have a trip planned to the Pyrenees on the 11th. D finally gets a break from all this work and wants to go relax in the mountains and do some snowboarding. I myself will keep a spot warm by the fireplace *^__^*


So I rethought my seahorse yesterday and with some good advice from Eva ( a woman with a great sense of color!) I decided to redo parts of him. I took off the dark beads. I felt they were just too great of a contrast with the rest of the piece and just didnt set him off as well as I wanted them too. Instead I replaced them with some cream colored pearl beads and did some defining stitches around the belly and fin parts. I like him MUCH better now. What do you think?

For those of you waiting for a reknitting tutorial, I haven't forgotten. Sorry to be so slow about this. I had first planned on doing drawings but decided that was way too complicated of a subject to draw. Also I think it would be better for people to see it done on the actual cloth. I searched around for something suitable and found the perfect hole in my white cashmere robe:


So the pictures have been shot and the repair done. (in bright blue!) Now I just need to add some details with photoshop and hopefully I can post it sometime in the next week.
1/29/2009

Seahorse


So I decided the other day that my little bag needed a seahorse to ride along. I never really looked close at one before so spent the day perusing pictures and doing some premilinary sketches trying to come up with one I liked. This was the finished product:

Which I then scaled down and cut this tiny template from. I wanted to use a piece of iridescent blue/bronze taffeta for the body but I knew that would be a problem. The fraying on this fabric is legendary. Since this bag is definitely one that wont be washable I decided to seal the edges. Now I dont have any fancy bottles of fray check or anything else laying around here. Fray check tends to spread easily anyway so probably a good thing. I am poor and my supplies are few so I picked my clear glass paint..which is basically a watery white glue. I lay the template on top of my fabric and with a small brush I painted around the edges, then I let it dry to tacky (only a few minutes) and cut around the edges leaving about a 16th of an inch of the glue. This worked perfectly except that the paper wanted to stick in several places so I spent a good 15 minutes picking bits of paper off of it. I then carefully did a tiny chain stitch around the edge with a pale blue kreinik blending filament.


So far so good. I liked this. SO yesterday I spent the day adding my details to his body. I went back around the entire body with a nice silk floss in ocean blue, added the detials inside the body and embellished it with beads. I have one small problem though. I'm not sure I like the cobalt beads that run down the center of his body. They seem to dark and harsh for such a delicate piece. What's your opinion?

1/28/2009

Long peaceful nights....

Stitching late into the night


The lamplight making the cloth glow


I love the richness of these late night photos.


What a contrast with the daylight!

1/27/2009

Underwater frolic



I have had to turn away from my paisleys for awhile. Even with my new gloves too many days satin stitching makes my hands cry. I have been trying to sit still, be a good girl and follow doctors orders but I had to get out and buy some things at the store yesterday, as Dorian was gone from early til late with no chance to stop. I regretted it though. I guess they were serious when they said no strenuous activity!
Once again this morning I couldn't sit still till I cleaned a little on the house but just straightening the bedroom and sweeping the floor in there brought me to my couch. I love to sit and stitch and often when Im too busy I think to myself that if I had a chance I would just stitch forever. I am learning this week that too long at one thing and your body aches to move. It's one thing to want to rest all day, it's another to be told you have to.


So to give myself some variety and add a bit of excitement back into my life, I started working on my mermaid bag again. I have long admired Jude's method of weaving strips of raw edged fabric and this work called for something raw and natural. I am still regreting my choice of background fabric as it seems to glitzy and shiny for what I'm wanting but I have some ideas. I am already loving this piece more and more!

1/26/2009

They spoke her name

Mirror Image of the painting 'POES√ćA' by Alphonse Mucha

I am having another bout of insomnia and have been sitting here flicking through flickr. I came across two photos that I have to admit shook me to the bone. They were beautiful work by a very talented textile artist but...they were so stunningly similar to another textile artist whose blog I read and greatly admire that I had to stop and do a double take and make sure they weren't hers. I really am just stopped in my tracks not knowing how to feel about this. I realize and recognize that 'there is nothing new under the sun'. I myself in the recent past did a piece and shortly after stumbled upon another artists piece that was very similar to mine. Hers was better AND done before mine. There are always going to be overlaps in peoples work. We influence each other. It's one of the main reasons I love reading other peoples blogs. Seeing what other people are doing inspires me. It gets my creative juices flowing and makes my fingers itch to work. The question still remains in my mind though. Where is the line drawn? What is considered admiration of anothers techniques and what is considered outright artistic plagerism?
1/23/2009

a momentary lapse of reason


Hello all! I hope this finds you well. Sorry that I haven't been around much this week. I'm afraid it's been one of those weeks where I find myself wanting to crawl in a hole and pull it in behind me! I know I mentioned several times that I've been sick. Well I finally was able to go to the doctor Monday. He gave me a nice pile of prescriptions. Seems he agrees with me that I probably have another occurance of GERD, but I also have some kind of flu...and a UTI. I guess when it rains it pours? Not only did I come home with a big bag of medication...from stomach pills to nose spray and everything in between...but I also was ordered to a specialist. He is insisting I have an upper AND a lower GI. This requires me being put to sleep, which I find scary. On top of that he says the surgery itself has it's own risks as it can cause me to bleed (I am on blood thinners) So my mood sorta matches the blustery rainy day outside and I haven't been accomplishing much, what with being up through the nights off and on.


I have finished some more on the paisleys. Some of what I have done I'm not real crazy about. On the snowflake paisley I was trying to give it a feel of wind and swirling snow. I dont think I really pulled it off and truthfully I liked it better before I added the dark blues in the background. D likes it a lot though so I'm leaving it alone. I had hoped to start on my batik this week but didn't really have the energy.

1/20/2009
Just beautiful
1/17/2009

Sick days


Still sick.


Still stitching.

1/15/2009

Slow progress

I have been sick all week. I think actually that is the reason my insomnia came about. Anyway, I have missed class all week and haven't been feeling up to much. I did get more done on the paisley piece though.


Here is a pic of recent progress and I actually have even more done on it. D has had that laptop with him most days recently and I cant transfer pics without it. I will try to upload another pic of it soon. Besides that piece I haven't been working on anything...that doesn't stop me from thinking about other things. I have plans for another project soon. Also want to finish my mermaid bag and my last fairy boot. And write some articles on reweaving. And..and..and *hehe*
"Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men..."
Here's to good health and progress!
1/13/2009

Reweaving 2


I received a question yesterday on what exactly IS reweaving and I realized that most people wouldn't know the answer to that. Silly me! When I first started reweaving I found that everyone I told about my new job had no idea what it was. That's because it's a dying art form. In the United States there are only a small number of firms that continue to practice it. This size becomes smaller as time goes on because, as I stated yesterday, it's impossible to find people who are willing to learn it and also because there still remains this feeling of a close guarded secret. When I first started reweaving the other weavers at my firm DID NOT want to teach me anything!
Reweaving is a loose term covering four different types of invisible repair to garments. 1) French weaving, sometimes called thread weaving 2) Inweaving, sometimes called piece weaving 3) Stoting and 4) Reknitting. Supposedly as history goes (and this is quite sketchy) There was once a young handmaiden for a queen in France. She accidently put a hole in the queens favorite dress. The queen was so livid she locked the handmaiden into a room with the dress and told her she couldn't come out till she made the hole disappear. Well the handmaiden cried and wailed and was in great despair but realized that she had to figure something out if she ever wanted to get out of that room. So after much trial and error she discovered a way to reweave the fabric over the hole and made the queens dress as good as new! This art form was closely guarded over the years and the master craftsmen themselves would only teach others in their family. It was passed down generation after generation and very few if any would teach anyone outside the families.
This is not your classic drycleaning repair where the seamstress throws the garment on the sewing machine and zigzags over the tear. This is not darning. These are all repairs that are done to garments that make the damage close to invisible. It can be extremely tedious and time consuming. The satisfaction is amazing though. I can't tell you how many times people would come into my shop and just be in awe over the repairs. I have had people cry, hug me and buy me flowers and bathsalts and lottery tickets, etc. There are many a cherished item out there and people can feel quite attatched to them.
Now most of these repairs are too difficult for me to teach you how to do them over the internet but there are a few methods that are not so hard and would still be of great value in everyday repairs. Over the next few days I will try to draw up a few diagrams and also take a few pictures of the tools I used to give you an peek at this fascinating art.
I know when I closed my shop it was a relief. It was extemely hard work mainly because there were SO MANY people begging me constantly to help them. I was never out of work and most times I was so overloaded that my repairs would run 8 to 12 weeks out. I must admit though that at times I miss it. Talk about a tactile dream! I would sit with piles of cashmere sweaters on my lap. Rich woolens and lovely silks surrounded me. I don't think I will ever get over the satisfaction I would feel when completing a job and seeing the look of amazement on a customers face.
1/12/2009

Reweaving

I am home sick again today after another long night of insomnia and much head pain and stomache aches. I think I am beginning ot suspect a reoccurance of my GERD which I suffered from greatly last year. Unfortunately D is undergoing exams this week and has no time to go to the doctor with me. ( The doc speaks French, I speak English...kinda need an interpreter there)
Anyway while I was wandering about this morning and I came across Eva's post on wasting textiles and it made me wonder how many people would be interested in a simple tutorial on some of the reweaving and reknitting methods I know. I couldn't really teach you anything to detailed but I could teach a few basics. Please drop me a line if you are interested and I'll see if I can sketch up some diagrams and make a post about such things.
I will be stitching away on the couch today. Maybe I will post a pic of how the paisley piece is coming along later. Take care for now!
1/10/2009

Watch out. here I come!


Bonjour Everyone! I am quite excited today as I finally received my tjantings. I have been searching far and wide for ones that were affordable AND they didnt charge an arm and a leg for shipping. Unfortunately most shipping from the USA is astronomical. I found these in Malaysia.
Funny thing is, I've only done one Batik in my whole life. I love them and I really want to do them but I dont really know what Im doing. This will be a whole new adventure for me. Good thing I am a great lover of adventure eh? So I guess the next step in this process is to design something I would like to batik. I'll be thinking on that in the next days.


I also came up with another great idea for something I want to make and my mind is all awhirl with thoughts on that. In the meantime here is my progress on my paisley piece. I keep telling myself "slow and steady, steady and slow..." Some things just take time and this is one of them.
1/09/2009

Chasing those cobwebs away!

Finally, I get some rest. I woke up feeling greatly refreshed yesterday and got back to work with a vengeance. In those last few days of blur I was lost in my choice of stitches so I wondered over to Pin Tangle Sharon B's wonderful blog. If you look in the right column there is a link to her Stitch Dictionary. I went over there trying to jog my memory since I couldn't think of a single stitch...and went away learning five or so new ones. I'm not done either. I think I will be stopping by often to this wonderful resource. Her blog is amazing showing several examples of her work. I hear she teaches great online classes too.


I finished the embroidery part of my mermaid bag! I have to admit it didn't go at all the way I planned, but I still like it quite a lot. I cant wait to finish making it into a bag and see how it looks then. I do like the water motif and plan to explore this further.


I also did quite a bit on another fairy shoe pincushion. I cant seem to find a good color choice for the pin cushion part of the first one and modified the pattern a little bit for the second one. This one has a lot more work to be done on it though. I really like the roses and black combination.


And guess what came in the mail? My gloves I have been waiting for! Now I can once again get to work on my paisley project!


My hands are very happy today *^_^*
1/07/2009

Insomnia

The ugly beast has reared it head. Usually it wont relent until it has it's fill. Four days now with little rest. I was hoping I had passed beyond these bouts of terrible insomnia. I used to suffer from it frequently. In fact it's what drew me to the computer. Many a night when I couldn't sleep I wandered the pathways of the internet. It's a very frustrating problem. I have so much I want to get done...things that are very hard to do when I feel like my eyeballs are falling out of my head. I'm afraid that there is little progress here. Class has been pure torture and just getting daily chores done is a long drawn out process.
I started work on a little piece two days ago. It was coming along at a nice speed. Most of what I was doing required little thought. Then I started on the embroidery. For me, this requires MUCH thought. I pondered the colors, stitches and composition for hours. It was ridiculous. It's a simple piece. My insomnia has rendered me brainless. Completely without the ability to make a decision. So my piece is not done. It sits here on my lap mocking my inability. So, I have no pictures to post. I really havent made any progress. Thanks so much for the thoughtful replies to my last post though. I am very determined to make this Etsy thing happen. It's either that or go out into the french speaking world to work. Seeing that my french is abysmal I'm hoping to avoid that. I think I can find a nice balance between making things that satisfy my creative urge and making things that other people want. Now to just get some sleep so I can actually make it happen....hope to be back soon with much news on much progress ^_^ take care all!
1/04/2009

Home again, home again, jiggedy jig

So finally after two LONG weeks we made our way home. It was so nice to sleep in our own bed and be comfortable again. Yesterday was spent restocking the kitchen and catching back up on laundry. Today I spent a long lonely day in my bedroom/sewing room as there were a bunch of guys here in my livingroom coding away. I was so excited to get home but now I am feeling a bit melancholy. I think it's just because I know I have to go back to school tomorrow and Im SO tired of French class I could scream. The break away was so nice. I like my teacher and I enjoy learning but I feel like every time I have to go there I break my chain of thought and it takes me forever to get back in the zone. I don't know if anyone else out there feels the same way but I feel like sometimes my grasp on what I want to do is very tenuous. I have all these grand thoughts on a project and then "Oh wait...sorry but I have to put that on hold....time for class." Then when I get back home all my ideas seem as mist.
Anyway...enough of the complaining. I did get quite a bit accomplished today back in my hole. Put a zipper in a jacket, finished organizing all my material that my MIL gave me and sorted all the little bits of thread, needles. etc. I also finished my little Rag Bag I made awhile back and cut out some material for another piece. Last night I worked on this....


I'm not sure where I am going with it and its quite a change from what I have been doing. I like many aspects of it but I'm really unhappy with the piece I chose for the background. I found a wonderful wheat color piece of wool after I started this that I knew would be perfect for it. I think I might make this into a little mermaid bag...somethig for her to keep her treasures in. Then I might work on another piece in this style on the piece of wool...something a bit more elaborate maybe? I still have my little shoe pincushion to finish and of course my paisleys but I am waiting for my gloves to come in the mail before I do much more work on that. It has been quite brutal on my wrist and thumbs!
D is really pushing me to open my etsy shop. I don't really want to rush it and only have two items I would even put on there. I wanted to wait till I had more items to post. He says the sooner the better as it will get my things out there where people can see them. What do you guys think?

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