Category Archives: information sheet

Branch Weaving – another way to use it

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branch_weaving_3-CROPI found this advert in The Republican Journal – no I don’t read it, I just clicked on a link about branch weaving!  

You can find my previous post on Branch Weaving HERE – so when I saw the advert for a Branch Weaving Workshop below, I was ‘blown away’ by the picture, and the idea of using this method to weave flowers and plants.  I have slightly edited the information about the workshop (left out phone nos etc), but if anyone actually wanted to join this workshop on 1 October – there is a link to both the artist and the Friends of Sears Island.

Of course, as I am in West Wales, and many of my readers are in India, Australia, and all over the world, as well as many in the USA, it’s unlikely we’d be able to go – smile – but if anyone does, please do get in touch and tell us about it!  (see the suggestion in my post about ‘reviewing’ any craft events you go to.)

Branch weaving with Cirillo

Friends of Sears Island workshop

Courtesy of: Sandi Cirillo

SEARSPORT  (USA) — The Friends of Sears Island invite the public to a branch weaving workshop with local artist Sandi Cirillo Sunday, Oct. 1, from 9 a.m. to noon. She will lead program attendees on an exploration of Sears Island while gathering natural materials to create a weaving, suitable for display in the home or a child’s room.

Participants will look for a small but sturdy branch and then learn how to weave on found items. Everyone on this outing will learn more about the environment on Sears Island and how important it is to protect it.

Cirillo has been a fiber/mixed media artist for more than 25 years. A retired art educator, she gives many different fiber workshops in the Northeast, North Carolina, locally at her home studio in Searsport and through Bucksport Adult Education. For more information about her and her work, visit especially-for-ewe.com.

Sears Island is on Sears Island Road, off Route 1 just east of Searsport. Participants should park along the causeway at the end of the road and meet at the kiosk near the island gate by 9 a.m.; and bring a beach blanket, to sit on while weaving, and a pair of sturdy scissors. Sturdy shoes, suitable clothing for hiking, a snack and water is recommended, plus bug spray if desired. No pets are permitted for this event.

For more information and updates in the event of inclement weather, visit friendsofsearsisland.org and the group’s Facebook page

 

Kantha: Exhibition of Textiles of Bengal

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Mingei International Museum
Kantha: Recycled and Embroidered Textiles of Bengal
October 28, 2017– March 25, 2018
San Diego, California  Learn More

I came across this Exhibition, from one of the mailing lists I am on – yes, I’m still talking about mailing lists.

The image is very striking, and I’d never heard of Kantha before, so I looked up the link above, and this is how it described it.

This exhibition features approximately 40 kantha

from Mingei’s permanent collection.

Kantha is a term used across the Indian sub-continent to denote decorative stitched quilting. In Gujarat, hangings patterned with concentric circles or squares in running stitch are known as kanthas, while in Bengal, kanthas are stitched for a variety of purposes, such as winter quilts, covers and wraps for books and valuables or as mats for ceremonial purposes. They are most often given to daughters on the occasion of their marriage, as a token of love, or as a gift for a new-born child or grown son. They are often, as tradition has it, made up of old cast off saris or dhotis. They can be the work of two or more generations of women and are treasured as family heirlooms.

I’d love to go to the exhibition, but its in California – so if anyone does go there, especially if prompted by this blog, do let us know what you think of it!

COME TO THINK OF IT –
IF ANYONE WOULD LIKE TO WRITE A SHORT PIECE
ABOUT ANY CRAFT EVENT OR EXHIBITION THEY HAVE BEEN TO,
I’D BE HAPPY TO PUBLISH IT ON THIS BLOG FOR YOU!
ANY ONE, FROM ANYWHERE, ABOUT ANY EVENT THAT’S LINKED TO ANY CRAFT

 

DON’T BE SHY, IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A MASTERPIECE

BUT YOU DO NEED TO HAVE TAKEN SOME DECENT PHOTOS OF IT!

WHO’S GOING TO BE FIRST?  

PLEASE GO TO THE CONTACT ME PAGE AND SEND ME A MESSAGE!

LET’S SEE IF WE CAN GET THIS IDEA OFF THE GROUND!

Ystalyfera Landslip: What I didn’t tell you before!

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What I didn’t tell you in my post ‘HALLO AGAIN” – because I was trying to get back to normal!

Or – part of the reason I didn’t keep up with this blog or go back to selling earlier.

All I have managed so far are a few listings on Etsy – but more are coming soon!

my landslip photo - March 2017

I took this photo in March of this year, because it shows the landslip at the back of my house – see the dark area running down the whole hillside – half of my garden went down there! All the hillside used to be covered with mature trees, the ubiquitous Japanese Knotweed and there were no streams – just a culvert at the bottom of the hill, for the old Swansea Valley Canal which was used to bring iron ore for the huge Ironworks that used to dominate this coal rich valley. The terrace of houses you see above were built for the factory workers, and miners. Steam floated up from the Foundry and the noise echoes throughout the valley, several families lived in each house and there were lots of pubs along the terrace!

I was evacuated from the house I have lived in since 1981, with a couple of hour’s notice on 27 February, after the factory down below reported to the Council that water was running through their car park.  It turned out that the culvert was blocked by all the soil that had come down the hill, and until Council Officers knocked on my door and told me I had to leave the house – I had no idea what had happened!  Several other houses in the terrace were also affected, but not all of them.

It had been raining heavily for several days, and I hadn’t bothered to go out into the garden, nor seen anything unusual, as the houses are built ‘down’ into the hillside.  We look like two story houses from the road, but there is a third level below, which has been my cellar, and entrance to the 3 level garden.

So I packed up a few things and had a horrendous and frighting 90 minute drive thro’ a thunderstorm at night along the M4 to the cottage I was planning to move into AFTER the alterations had been made – so it was pretty basic, but at least I had somewhere to go.

I kept in touch with the council and neighbours during the next weeks, but it was frustrating because I didn’t know exactly what was going on, and I wasn’t near enough to pop back regularly. (And long drives kill my osteoarthritic knees!)

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the garden wall had fallen onto my steps

On my next visit to Ystalyfera the damage was obvious.  The boundary wall had fallen onto my garden steps, and it wasn’t possible to walk down the rest of the garden.

A stream had appeared on the 2nd level of my garden, below a stone built retaining wall, and water had gushed from underneath the house and carved a 4 foot ‘channel’ into the once pretty area, taking with it various trees, and even a heap of stones I planned to build a feature with!

It was also evident that the sewage system had broken in the garden next door, which also had a new small stream running through it, and it turned out that the whole terrace no longer had a working sewage system – so how could we live there without being able to flush the toilets!

So I went back to the cottage, and tried to find a builder to do the work I needed there. I realise now that I was in a state of delayed shock, and nothing I did in those weeks made any sense.

My neighbour phoned in her own state of shock, on the 4th April to tell me that there had been the sound of an explosion coming from my garden that morning, and it turned out that a huge volume of water had gushed out of the hole underneath the retaining wall, and more of my garden had gone down the hill!  So back I went to Ystalyfera to have a look and it was truly frightening, and even the Council Officers wouldn’t go down to have a look at the source of the stream, on Health & Safety grounds!

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the source of the stream

The Council came up with various schemes, as most of the people didn’t want to have to move out, but none of them seemed viable, and we had a meeting to discuss how they were going to find out what actually happened and why.  Despite an article in the local newspaper, hardly anyone was aware that the landslip had happened.

I am writing about this now, because in the six months since the first landslip, various things have happened and after getting various expert opinions, the council decided on the August 8th, to evacuate the whole of the terrace, and the rest of my old neighbours are having to face the loss of their home too, and I feel very sorry for the distress it has caused them, having to move into temporary B&B’s, or stay with friends and relatives.

It has been all over the local tv news this last week, and I went back to see how people were, and to collect some more stock to start listing on ebay & etsy, but I have been caught up in the whole landslip issue again these last few weeks and found it hard to concentrate on selling!

In the light of the news this week, with landslips in Switzerland and India & China as well as elsewhere, and hurricane Harvey in Texas, which have killed many people this is a much smaller event, so don’t feel sorry for me – I am lucky that I already had picked out a new home in West Wales, but its stressful nevertheless, and I had an urge this morning to get it off my chest.

If you want to know more about the situation in Ystalyfera, this is a piece from the BBC website.

And this is one from the ITV website discussing the possibility of another 150 houses having to be evacuated.

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.

PS:  see also later post about another way to use Branch Weaving.

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- 10 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!

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