Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Zoom Loom Harlequin Vest

You know how sometimes things just fall into place as if there's magic fairy dust in the air? I love it when that happens. And that's how my newest design came about this summer.

Schacht Spindle Company really outdid themselves when they introduced their version of a pin loom, called the Zoom Loom. It's a 4-inch loom so handy to just stick in your bag and go. It has a sloping interior edge which helps to guide your weaving needle, a slot to hold your starting yarn while you weave, and it all fits nicely into it's own little carrying case for transport. AND it only take about 10 minutes to make a square.

I was already in love with the yarn shown in these images, Tempo by Filatura de Crosa, a blend of  mostly cotton with acrylic and polymide binders, that it was a natural choice for my next project. As I began to weave the squares, I loved watching the subtle color changes and textural quality of this yarn emerge. This was not boring. I couldn't stop weaving squares until I had made enough for a garment. It was so much fun when I started putting the different shades together and before I knew it, there it was, my Harlequin Vest.

I loved designing this garment so much, I have created a pattern so others can make it too. This Harlequin Vest Pattern is full of helpful hints, step-by-step illustrations and photographs on how to weave, construct and finish this vest design.
example of pattern illustrations
Included in the pattern are:

1. Diagrams for two sizes, Small/Medium and Medium/Large
2. Two Lengths: Short Version or Long Version

And now I'm pleased to announce that Zoom Looms and ZoZo FiberArts Harlequin Vest Kits are available in several different colorways from Cotton Clouds.

Or you can download a PDF version of the pattern at ZoZo FiberArts Etsy Store

Have fun zooming . . .

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

From nature's inspiration to wearable art

We had an unusually wet August here in the desert of New Mexico. As I was driving out in the country, I was delighted to see our typical browns and beige's had magically transformed into green foliage and yellow flowers.
Inspiration for my next piece
Follow my process below
New Mexico's nature has become a factor for everything that I do. With unpredictable spring dust storms and extremely hot summers. I have a small window in Mother Nature's schedule to try to get all my outdoor dyeing projects finished, usually from late August through November.
woven fabric just off the loom
pulling the threads to create the design
Earlier this summer I had woven two pieces of  beige rayon chenille fabric. I wove in supplemental threads intended to be pulled and gathered to create a pattern effect after dyeing, otherwise called woven shibori. Because of my love for color, this colorless weaving is somewhat boring. But I can tolerate it knowing the end justifies the means.

When the reprieve from the heat of summer arrived, I embraced the part of this craft that I had been waiting for and started mixing dyes. First I spread my fabric on tables outside while enjoying the sounds and smells of nature. That's when I feel at one with this process.
strings are pulled and it's ready to dye
Initially it's all so unpredictable and scary. There is the possibility of the perfect outcome. But that gets mixed up with my old fear of failure. All the time and money invested and old childish beliefs that failure is a bad thing even though  I really know "there IS no failure," only learning opportunities that come from allowing the unknown to happen. If I can get out of my own way, what emerges is something even better than what I could ever imagine.

and then I add more color
I start with a light wash of color
The process is lengthy and physically difficult without a professional dye studio. After the dyes have set, the fabric is soaked in tubs of water which are dumped and refilled. Then there's the rinsing. Rinsing, rinsing and more rinsing while on my knees and twisted over the edge of a bathtub.
fabric is ready to sew

For the next piece of fabric, I wanted to use shades of red. Red for energy, passion, spirit and love. Red makes me happy and reminds me of the pinks, oranges purples and reds in the flowers that I love the most.

laying out my color palette

dyes have been painted on and ready to process
long jacket trimmed in purple

When it's all said and done, I am amazed and satisfied!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Different Kind of Table Runner

This summer has been the season for table runners! 

Earlier this summer I taught a class on weaving fabric strip table runners at Calico Cow Quilt Shop in Roswell. After showing off my finished project to Kathie Bryant, the owner of The Stitching Post in Ruidoso, we decided to offer a table runner class at her store as well. 

Since The Stitching Post is a yarn shop, we thought a fabric strip class might pose a problem as there aren't any fabric options to choose from... or so we thought. 

Kathie came up with a new kind of yarn called "Tee Rags," which are narrow strips made of t-shirt material. 

I tested the Tee Rags on a sample piece a few weeks ago and was pleased to bring the new table runner weaving class to Ruidoso. 

Everyone was thrilled to use the Tee Rags instead of cutting fabric strips and the final products all turned out beautifully. 



If you are interested in holding a table runner class at your yarn or fabric store, please email me for more information.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Quilters Learn to Weave

Last weekend I had so much fun introducing weaving to a group of fiber crafters who are mostly quilters. They learned how easy it is to set up rigid heddle looms using a variety of Schact's 15 inch Cricket and Flip looms

Linda getting started
Carola and Jean at work
With their pre-cut fabric strips they learned to blend their choice of colors together in the weft and each created a unique table runner.

Finishing the edges

Their finished runners are all so beautiful!

Carola's Colorful Masterpiece
Terry's Finished Piece
Jean's Multi-Color
Jamie was a Natural
Becky's Mostly Purple
 Rosmary's: Beautiful!

Sign up now for upcoming classes at the Calico Cow Quilt Shop.
August 21 and 22, Thurs 10am-4pm and Friday 1-3pm
September 6 and 7, Sat 10am-4pm and Sun 1-3 pm
Call Carolyn at 575-623-8647 to reserve your spot.

Woven Fabric Strip Table Runner - Final Product

Friday, June 27, 2014

Easy Summer Weaving - Fabric Strip Table Runner

When a friend stopped by my studio with a table runner she had woven from fabric strips, I was reminded of the rag rugs I had woven in the 90’s and was suddenly inspired to teach a summer class of weaving with fabric strips.

What better place to teach this class than at the Calico Cow Quilt Shop here in Roswell where there's plenty of room and we'd be surrounded by all the wonderful colors and patterns in fabric.

After Carolyn, the store owner, gave her approval, I first had to weave some samples. I purchased five different fabrics in my favorite New Mexico colors. At first I was a bit nervous as to how my fabric choices would work together when I started weaving.

Next, using my Olfa rotary cutter and board, I cut the fabric into strips.

 I set up my Schacht Flip Rigid Heddle Loom and began to weave. 

Here's how it turned out.

The next time I stopped by the Calico Cow, Carolyn showed me a pre-cut collection of fabrics (known as a jelly roll) already put together by a designer. It's a no-brainer! Just follow the color sequence already there. As soon as I saw it, I had to have this one by Moda Fabrics called “summer.”

 What an easy and fun project for summertime.

You can join us at Calico Cow Quilt Shop and learn how to weave your own fabric strip table runner on Saturday, July 19. Click HERE for more details on how to register.

To schedule a ZoZo FiberArts weaving class in your town, email us at lois@zozofiberarts.com