I can’t believe how fast time is flying by this summer. Suddenly, every chore that should have been taken care of over the past several years is perking up and saying ‘do me, do me’! So, slowly, they are getting done but I can’t leave my preferred activities behind.
I found a bag of leaves that I had dried last fall. Decided they needed to be seen. They were printed on Crepe de Chine (as well as silk habotai) with a bit of iron to augment the coloring. Crepe de Chine has become my favorite silk for printing. I tried silk charmuese but it was just too shiny for my taste.
A month or so ago I found myself rummaging through some donated yarns and discovered some yarn that is typically used by rug weavers. Always on the lookout for unique yarns to use for my braids, I decided this yarn looked like a keeper. Not only does it have an interesting texture but it is also soft around the neck (very important). Have some more of this, slightly different patterning, and will be making another braid with it.
Typically when I use wire for my kumihimo work, I use 20 gauge plated copper. If you are familiar with wire and done any work with it you know that 20 gauge is right on the edge of the readily finger malleable gauges. Getting ‘perfect’ tension with this gauge is always a challenge and you must be ready to show the wire (after acknowledging it superiority) who really is the boss!
On a traditional maru dai shorter lengths can be mastered. For longer pieces, however, the need to readjust the counterweight often leads to unwanted bends in the wires or a misaligned braid and always a few tension issues. A solution presented to our local weaving group a few months ago for another problem led me to my solution. I just needed a much taller mau dai with a few added features and I was on my way.
I am very pleased with the braids shown. The tension in both comes close to rivaling braids of silk.
P.S. These braids are in the Member’s exhibit at the Contemporary Handweavers of Texas (www.weavetexas.org) June 2nd thru June 4th at the Sugar Land Marriott hotel.
I’ve been spending a great deal of time this summer on my indigo processes; resist methods and dyeing. I do, however, try to sneak in a bit of time for some botanical printing.
There were a couple of batches that I am particularly fond of. The colors and images just seemed to be in harmony.
My favorite leaves for images are oak, pecan and sweet gum. There are other leaves,however, that leave wonderful tints and shadowy hints of their presence. Those are the leaves that give the pieces their overall look.
I will admit not all the leaves are from my area. My sister-in-law does send me small periodic parcels containing a few of the leaves from her area in the Michigan woods. I happily include those in my compositions.
I have been so busy with my botanical printing I almost forgot a favorite pastime: kumihimo. The last several braids I have done were with wire.
I do love these and the challenges they present. I have some ideas for additional designs but, every now and then it is good to return to the traditional: braiding with silk.
This one is titled ‘Rose’. Ir does remind me of the roses with the deep green leaves and the vibrant deep pink flowers.
So now with the CHT (Contemporary Handweavers of Texas) conference coming up in a year it is time to get started on making more braids to consider for entry into the member’s exhibit. Hope to have both silk and wire for submission.
Getting everything together for the Contemporary Handweavers of Houston Annual Sale. I had so much fun with the felted soap last year so I had to make some more. I also have a couple of kumihimo neckpieces and loomed bracelets to include. But my very favorite things are the eco printed/dyed scarves I have been making all year. Also managed to get some indigo pieces done.
Hope to see some of you there. It’s October 22nd through the 24th at Guild House. Check http://www.weavehouston.org for more details.
I do enjoy making these neck pieces out of wire, especially 20 gauge. The available wire colors are a joy to work with. Unfortunately, the photo doesn’t show there is a steely bronze colored wire along with the blue. I think adding the additional color adds depth to the color of the overall piece.
One of the challenges I have had since I’ve started using wire is to be able to create a braid with 18 gauge wire. I do have a difficult enough time managing the tension using 20 gauge but the 18 gauge always eluded me. As I was going through one of my books, however, I spotted a structure that might help me overcome my problem.
This is my first semi-success with 18 gauge wire. Now that I have created a braid with it I think I’ll put that challenge aside.
Have spent some time on a new wire kumihimo design. I think I like this one. It is done with 2 colors of 20 gauge wire. It easily slips on and lays very nicely. Time to make a couple more. I ordered some new wire colors and am anxious to see how they look.
Thought I would try to add a band of kumihimo to a felt cuff. Used the same structure as Kumihimo Concept and braided a short tube of wire. The length of the tube I had made was too long for how I wanted it placed. So I kept snipping it shorter until it seemed to be the correct size. As there was nothing to keep the tube from unraveling, it needed to be tacked in place. Used a few beads while I did that. An interesting look. If I do this again the next tube should probably be the length of one wrap.
As I was looking through a book of beautifully created neckwear, I ran across a piece that looked as though it was made with a kumihimo technique using wire. All the photographs in the book identified the materials used in these pieces but not the technique. While I have been doing wire pieces for a while, I hadn’t done anything using the structure shown. I decided a bracelet would be an interesting piece to try.
After making my bracelet I determined the gauge of wire used in the neckpiece was a bit thinner but for a bracelet, heavier is better. The braid structure appears, however, to be identical. This convinced me that the piece in the book was indeed done using a kumihimo technique. Now my challenge will be to make a bracelet that is wearable. This one will sit on the wrist and, as long as there is no movement, it stays there. Since we all move around, however, that challenge needs to be addressed. Will post my results.