Category Archives: information sheet

Branch Weaving – on a Stick!

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There are various ways of weaving with sticks, and you can get as creative as you like! This is just one of them, and if you have a look at Pinterest you can find all kinds weaving ideas.

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Now that I’ve got started blogging again, I thought I’d share with you a post I found on Interweave the other day, just cos it looks fun, and something that you might like to try with the kids during the summer holiday.

And thanks to everyone who has been reading my blog or referencing my Information Sheets over the last couple of years – its amazing how the stats have climbed even tho I wasn’t looking!

How to Weave on a Stick with Branch Weaving

See here for the original article by Jenna Fear.

Even the most inexperienced weaver (me) can learn branch weaving! The resources to do so are inexpensive and found almost anywhere. All you need to dive into branch weaving is a Y-shaped stick, yarn, and possibly a fork or darning needle. The fork and needle aren’t necessary but could make the process a bit easier.

All I needed to create my woven branch: several balls of yarn, a branch, a fork, and scissors.

I found out about branch weaving when looking at weaving projects on Pinterest. Then I looked around the web to see how to make my own. These are the steps I followed:

1. Find your branch!
Take a nice little hike through a woody area or even just your own back yard. Maybe ask your dog to help. Find a Y-shaped branch with a fork wide enough to fit some weaving between. I would recommend one that is 1 to 2 feet in length.

2. Gather your yarn.
I would suggest using a few different colors, but you can use any kind of yarn. I just pulled a few yarn balls from my stash that I hadn’t earmarked for any projects.

3. Warp your branch.
This was the hardest part for me to get right. First, tie your yarn onto the bottom leg of the Y. Next, wrap the yarn once around that leg, then carry the yarn across the open space to the top leg. Wrap the top leg twice, then carry yarn back to the bottom leg, where you’ll wrap once again. Keep going like this: always wrap once around the bottom leg and twice around the top leg. Leave spaces between each strand of yarn so you’ve got space to weave in weft. You will have a 2-sided warp, and you can choose to weave on one side or both.

I warped my final project with gray yarn that was hard to see against the stick, so here is a warp I did with lighter yarn.

4. Begin weaving!
Pick the yarn color you’d like for your first row and tie it onto the yarn strand at the open end of the warp. Weave your yarn through the warp in an over-under-over-under pattern until you’re happy with the look. To finish with that color, weave to the end of the warp and then cut it, leaving a 2″ tail. Secure the tail to an end strand of the warp with a knot—you’ll weave that tail into the piece at the end. For now, the knot will keep your weaving from unweaving. Use to fork to press the yarn together after it’s woven to avoid any open spaces.

This is the simple over-under pattern I used to weave onto the branch.

Repeat this process as you switch yarn colors. For more intricate designs, switch up the weaving pattern. I was happy with my simple rows of color and not yet experienced enough in weaving to get too fancy.

5. Weave in the tails
Weave in the tails between rows of yarn just as you wove the rest of the yarn in an over-under pattern. Make sure the end of the yarn goes over the warp so the very end of the tail is only visible from the back.

When you’re finished with your branch weaving, hang it on the wall or put it on a table for colorful décor. It’s sure to be a conversation starter! Plus, it’s a fun project for anyone interested in nature and creating with their hands! Try it with kids to get them into weaving.

 

Make Your Own Silk Paper – The Ironing Method

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DSCF1868Its actually very easy to make paper out of silk, and you can get some beautiful results very quickly if you use the Ironing Method.

I tried out a few variations, and made a few mistakes, and I would suggest that you work on the trial and error method too, and work out what you prefer.

There are various uses for this handmade silk paper, and you can make is as thin or thick as you like.  Thick paper can be used for book covers and even writing paper, and can be painted or embellished and embroidered after its dry, and cut to any size you want.

The thin paper is great to add to any art textile design piece, and is especially dramatic as a window within a greetings card.   You can also make beads by rolling strips of the paper and varnishing them – so I hope this gives you some ideas for xmas gifts!

You will need:

IMG_2605silk cocoon strippings (unwashed and still containing the natural gum, that the silkworms used to make the cocoons, which is what makes this method possible)

and/or

 

throwsters wastesilk throwsters waste (again unwashed – this comes in white or various colours)

 

 

silk hankies

matawa silk hankies (these are unwrapped cocoons spread out into hemmed squares – see my post on silk worms)

other odds and ends to add in when you are making the paper, such as bits of silk carrier rods, cut silk fibres, pieces of silk lap, washed throwsters waste, glitter, small beads or anything else that takes your fancy!

an iron and board or table

non stick greaseproof baking paper – must be non stick otherwise you won’t be able to peel the paper off

small spray bottle filled with ordinary water

A4 pack with everything you need - £9.99

A4 pack with everything you need – £9.99

I have put together a pack with the basics for you…depending of what size you make, it should be enough for 5- 20 pieces.

You can either buy this direct – see here – or you can find the listings for it on etsy – here, and on ebay – here.A6 silk sample pack_Fotor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instructions:

DSCF1844Cut two pieces of the baking paper and lay one on your ironing surface, then pull out strands of the silk cocoon strippings and lay in a thin rough circle or square on top of the baking paper.

 

 

 

 

 

DSCF1847Then spray with water and place the other sheet of baking paper on top and iron the sandwich.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSCF1845Lift the top paper and add some more silk strippings, and repeat as above.  You can continue this process until you get the thickness you want – or you can …..

 

 

 

 

 

DSCF1866….. add one thin silk hankie on top of the ironed silk, then another thin layer of the silk strippings, spray and iron.  The silk hankie does not contain gum so you need to add the strippings to fuse them.

 

 

 

 

 

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The idea of using the silk hankie is to give a thin net that will allow you to keep some gaps in the finished paper.  Lift the piece up and see if you want to add some more silk strippings.  The paper will still be wet so work carefully.

 

 

 

 

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Once you are happy with the piece of paper you have made, pull it off the bottom baking sheet and allow to dry.  You will find you have made a very thin sheet of stable paper.  The edges of the hankie will need to be cut off, as they will probably not have been stabilised.

Please note, when experimenting, you need to balance the thicknesses on each side of the hankie, and if you decide to add another one, you can.  Silk hankies can be dyed before you use them and will add some lovely colours to your paper.

 

DSCF1854You don’t need to use the silk hankies – this is another version where I tried adding some white silk throwsters waste, a little washed dyed silk throwsters waste and some coloured glitter.

 

 

 

 

DSCF1860I wasn’t sure I liked it all that much, but its just to give you some ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This is the finished dried piece.  Its a lot thicker than the first piece, and you need to fill all the gaps before you dry it!

 

If you would like to share your pictures of the paper you make, I will be happy to put them up on another post so that others can see them and get inspiration!  Please email them to me referencing “the ironing method’.  If you don’t have my email address, please use the CONTACT ME page.

 

To make things a bit clearer, you might like to watch this video I found on U-tube!

Some pictures of Silk Worms making Silk

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silkworm and cocoon

silkworm and cocoon

As you will know, if you follow my blog, I LOVE SILK!  Not just the finished silk fabric, but the raw silk yarns & fibres, and the cheaper bits like cocoon strippings and throwsters waste.  You can find some pictures of these in a previous post – and if you go to my etsy shop or julz craft supplies on ebay, you will find most of these, and other items on sale!

I came across this post about how silk worms make silk, with amazing pictures of the silk worms and their progress – it comes from Dona at Creative Country Life and you can find the original HERE.  Dona has kindly given me permission to copy this for you.

I am planning a series of ‘tutorials’ about using some of these, especially to make your own SILK PAPER but I thought you really must see this post first – it contains an explanation of how silk ‘hankies’ are made.


Raising Silk Worms!

They say that interesting people have interesting friends. I must be pretty interesting, if you go by that!

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Take a look at what one of my friends has been up to!

She’s been raising Silk Worms! I’m so jealous…

Now mind you this is not a large scale adventure. She just wants enough silk to make some Hankies for spinning. A Hankie is the form silk is generally accepted in for Hand Spinning into yarn.

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The problem is, even at a small scale, they go through a tremendous amount of Mulberry Leaves each day.

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Handfuls and handfuls of fresh Mulberry Leaves EVERY day. Naturally it is important to have easy access to a tree. And of course what goes in, must come out… So they need to be cleaned as well.

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The commitment is not a very long one. Only about 5-7 weeks. Before long they will begin to spin. Simple toilet paper tubes or egg cartons provide the perfect, cozy spot for the worms to spin their cocoons.

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One by one at first, then several at a time until everybody is neatly stowed away.

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But seriously. How cool is this??

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Soon there is nothing left but cocoons.

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But then comes D-Day…

The cocoons are… well, roasted in a 200 degree oven for 20 minutes. I know, sounds rather harsh after caring for them so carefully. But the thing to remember is that if the moth is allowed to emerge, they are doomed to die shortly after. They do not eat or fly. They simply mate, lay eggs and die. Now that’s harsh!

The next step is to simmer the cocoons in soapy water. This removes all the gummy stuff that holds them together. The carcass must be removed and then the silk is spread out on a frame about the size of a handkerchief (hence the name Hankies).

Then they are ready for spinning or dyeing. I hope to have some photos of that process to share with you soon.

As for me – I need to find a Mulberry Tree!

How to Make an e-reader Cover – a simple free pattern

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Here are some very simple instructions for making a personal and distinctive e-reader cover, with minimal sewing.  You could easily hand sew this, so you don’t even need to get your sewing machine out!

It could also be adapted to any rectangular object  you’d like to cover – just scale it down for your mobile, or even a  special notebook – I mean one made from paper that you actually write on – smile.

How to make an e-reader cover

(originally published in Country Homes  Interiors, but when I followed the link at the end of this post, I couldn’t actually find it on their site!)

 Create this slip-on sleeve from just three pieces of fabric.

You will need

  • Approx half a metre of your chosen fabric – or left over scraps from other projects.  You could even quilt them!  On the other hand if you want to buy some, do have a look at the fabrics I sell in the fabrics section of my etsy shop – HERE, and the fabrics section of julzcraftsupplies on ebay – HERE.
  • Matching thread
  • Tacking thread

The e-reader cover is made up of two main pieces, plus a gusset strip that joins the front and back. \ Michael A Hill

The e-reader cover is made up of two main pieces, plus a gusset strip that joins the front and back. (illustrations by Michael A Hill)

Step 1) Measure your e-reader and cut out two pieces of fabric to that size, adding 4cm to the width and 5cm to the height.

Step 2) Cut one 4cm-wide strip of fabric long enough to fit around the two longer edges and one short edge of the main pieces – this will form the gusset of the cover (see illustration)

Stitch a hem to finish. \ Michael A Hill

Stitch a hem to finish.

Step 3) Right sides facing and matching raw edges, pin one long edge of the strip around the two side and bottom edge of one of the main pieces. Stitch, taking a 1.5cm seam, trim and press open seam.

Step 4) Repeat to join the remaining main piece of fabric to the second long edge of the strip.

Step 5) To hem the top raw edge of the cover turn under 5mm then 2cm, press and stitch (see illustration).

If you do make one from these instructions, why not send me a picture of it and maybe I can add it to the next Gallery of Your Work!


 

source: http://www.housetohome.co.uk/articles/how-to-make-an-e-reader-cover-easy-sewing-instructions-craft-project-do-it-yourself-country-homes-interiors_530788.html

Winding Yarn into balls by hand – with or without a Nostepinne

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This is a very useful tutorial I found via Sheila Dixon’s Hand Spinning News, which has a video that takes the mystique out of how to use a Nostepinne, or any useful stick, to allow you to wind hand spun yarn, or just oddments of wool into tidy balls, manually.

It is copied directly from Roving Crafters – she calls them “cakes” – and she says on her blog that it can be freely copied – so I have!  I will be adding this to the i/sheet page so that you can always find it easily.


 

How to Hand Wind Yarn Into a Cake

Winding warn cakes

Confession #1: I like to wind yarn.

Its fun. Its an excuse to play with my yarn and when I wind up other knitters’ and crocheters’ yarn (I’ve been known to do that) I get to play with their yarn too. But its more than just play time. A nicely wound yarn cake will save you headache and frustration and make for a more pleasant knitting and crocheting experience.

A yarn cake sits flat on the table. It has a nice easy end to draw out of the center. If its done right, the yarn won’t tangle up and the cake won’t flop or bounce around. A yarn cake as a great and wonderful thing and nearly every yarn shop in the world will wind up your yarn into a cake with their ball winder.

But you don’t need a ball winder to make a yarn cake. You just need a stick. A dowel will work. So will a broom handle, a fat knitting needle, or the empty tube from your next roll of toilet paper. If you want to be fancy-pants about hand winding yarn, you can get a nostepinne. But only really hopeless yarn-geeks bother with those.

Confession #2: I own three nostepinnes.

small cake
I also own a ball winder but sometimes I make yarn cakes by hand and not just for fun. If I only have a small amount of yarn, say 50 yards or less, I wind it into a little cake using a small nostepinne thin stick. That works out much better.

 

 

 

 

Winding Yarn Into a Cake By Hand

 


 

Give it a try because it super easy. You’ll be making yarn cakes in no time at all and believe me, they are worth it. And grab yourself a copy of that yarn cake cozy pattern. Its a freebie and you’ll need something to carry your cakes in right? Right.

Also, if you like free stuff check out:

Enjoy!


Harris Tweed returns to Uig in the Hebrides

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From NEW 3D WEAVING in the last post to AN OLD WEAVING TRADITION getting a new life.

I am no Luddite, and I don’t actually know what the Hattersley Domestic Loom, used by Harris Tweed Weavers looks like, but I was thinking about the fact that I came across both these articles at the same time, and I chose to feature the NEW over the OLD first, and that weaving as a commercial enterprise, such as HARRIS TWEED has a long history.  

Luddites were the original movement that objected to the “new commercial looms” in the late 1700’s – I vaguely remember from my school history lessons on the Industrial Revolution.

Would someone like to contribute an INFORMATION SHEET (i/sheet) on the topic?


 

Copied verbatim from the Herald Scotland – you can see the original newspaper article HERE.

Harris Tweed weaving returns to old haunts

Harris Tweed weaving returns to old haunts

It is worn by celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna, showcased at Florentine and Parisian fashion shows and decorates everything from upmarket handbags and hotels to US motorcycle jackets.

But now Harris Tweed is rediscovering some of its own Hebridean roots with the return of weaving to the Uig area of Lewis for the first time in a quarter of a century.

And it is two young local men Domhnall Iain (D.I.) MacDonald in Gisla and Calum George Buchanan in Valtos who are leading its revival in communities on the west side of the island. There already are reports of considerable interest from others in the district who see weaving as a good means of earning their livelihoods locally.

For more than 50 years, Harris Tweed flourished in Uig. One of the last of the old weavers, Seonaidh Buchanan, recalls the first six Hattersley looms coming to Valtos in 1938. They cost £35 each and the weavers were paid £7 a tweed.

The Hattersley Domestic Loom was the mainstay of the industry for the best part of the 20th century.

First introduced to the islands after the First World War, the Hattersley Mark One, helped ex-servicemen who had lost hands and arms to earn a living through weaving. Its rate of production was superior to the wooden hand looms that preceded it and it was capable of weaving more complex patterns.

At the industry’s peak after the Second World War, there were 34 looms in the Valtos peninsula alone. In Uig as a whole, there were at least 100 weavers and for most of these families, the loom was the main source of income.

The industry went into sharp decline in the 1980s and the last of the Hattersley weavers in Uig retired in the early 1990s.

But Seonaidh’s son Calum George has been able to return to live in Valtos with his wife Mairi and infant son Fionnlagh because of the opportunity created by weaving. He already has his dad helping him at the painstaking business of tyIng in. “At first he wanted to find out if he could still do it. Now I can’t keep him away from it,” he said.

D.I. also had weaving in his family. His father and latterly his uncle in Gisla were weavers. D.I. continues to work two days a week for the council but says weaving gives him far more flexibility to be at home and help Ann with looking after their three year old son, Seumas, who already sits beside him as he weaves, watching every movement of the loom.

Neil MacLeod, chairman of the Harris Tweed Weavers Association, mentored Calum George, an effective way for new weavers to learn the skills. Neil said there are more than 60 people looking for looms, many of them working offshore and seeing this as a means of making their livings at home.

The chairman of Harris Tweed Hebrides, former Labour energy minister Brian Wilson, who lives in the Uig village of Mangersta, said: “It is great to see weaving back in Uig. This sums up why the Harris Tweed revival is so important.

“It allows weavers like D.I. and Calum George to remain in their own communities, earn good livelihoods and raise their families here. We just need to keep it going and ensure a strong, stable future for the industry”.

David Ross / Tuesday 11 August 2015 / Home News

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