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!