Halloween Fun

I was a little worried about Halloween this year. What with life being so busy, and spending all of September in Berlin, I hadn’t had time to come up with another brilliant amazing idea (if I do say so myself), much less SEW it. But it all turned out well in the end, even if I did cheat a little bit.

If you remember, I sewed a pretty amazing pickle dress for the Science of Sour event. It was such a beautiful dress, it needed to get worn again. So, I decided to be a pickle fairy!

What’s a pickle fairy, you ask? Its an excuse to wear a pickle dress with pickle themed jewelry and wave around a pickle fork as a wand, and hand out sour pickles to people at parties which are usually devoted solely to consuming as many overly sweet things as possible. With glitter. And yes, that is dill in my hair, with a tiny cocktail fork.

The pickle fork was actually the trickiest part of this costume. Who would have thought that such a specifically useless piece of flatware would be so difficult to find? Luckily there’s a place nearby called Replacements, Ltd whose purpose in life is to supply you with an exact match for that teacup you broke from your grandmother’s teaset, or the silver fork that got lost, etc etc. If you’re ever in central North Carolina you need to go find this place. It is part gigantic warehouse of old plates and forks and cups, all documented and findable, and part MUSEUM OF THINGS. Like collectable teacup sets with Elvis Presley on them, or strange porcelain people, or fantastically expensive wedgwood things. Anyways, go there.

They also had pickle forks, thank goodness. I couldn’t decide between two forks, so I got both. One from 1910, one from 1900, both silver plate, and long, and shiny, and curvy. Perfect for wands.

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My favorite part of this costume turned out to be the jewelry. The best part about working at such a creative place are the trades. Yes, I will absolutely trade you a woven scarf for a pretty hand carved hair piece. I’m looking for some pickle jewelry, of course I’ll do some sewing for you… So yes, I got to commission some hand made themed jewelry on the spot. And oh did they ever turn out PERFECT.

Yes, she printed out tiny vintage pickle labels. And yes, she molded each individual tiny pickle. And yes, the jars have real liquid in them and the pickles move around a bit when you turn them. I can not imagine more perfect and beautiful jewelry. I mean look how tiny they are, that is my THUMBNAIL in the picture, compared to the jar for this earring.

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Peacock Scarf

Recently a friend asked me to create a scarf inspired by peacocks. I asked, “do you mean like the colors? Or are you looking for the shape of the tail? Or the eye effect the feathers have? What do you mean?”

She said, “whatever you want, you decide.” So, well, I did.

Sometimes overly generic guidance in creating an art piece for someone else can be irritating. What do they want? What do they expect? What if you’re wrong? But sometimes it really can be freeing. If you trust the person, and if they trust you, it can be awesome to just be like “sure, peacock, I can work with that.”

When I was commissioning this weaving bench, I told the artist “add something artsy to it.” He said “What do you mean?” “Just add something to it that feels right at the time. That’s something you came up with.” And he did. And I loved it.

Anyways, art inspired by friends can be really really cool. Here’s some photos of a scarf.

I used what is very quickly becoming my favorite scarf yarn: Earth Guild Dragon Tales. Its a point-draft twill pattern, and yes, I think the sort of maze like “spots” look like the eyes on a peacock tail to me, haha.

The warp colors are dark green on the outsize edges, and I mixed in light green towards the center to create a gradient effect. I used the same technique in the weft threads to blend between dark blue, light blue, light purple to dark purple and back again.

Personally, I think I fulfilled the “peacock” brief pretty well. And I loved making it and feeling inspired by just that one word. It’d be fun to try it again. Want a scarf inspired by your words? Leave me a comment and it might just happen!

Weaving Words

This was probably the hands-down best project I worked on for Christmas. Remember how I said the clasped weft scarf looked kind of like sound waves? I decided to incorporate that into a woven words scarf.

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I recorded myself saying “You are the most wonderful father a daughter could have. I love you daddy.” Then I looked at the sound waves for it, and wove it into a black and white clasped weft scarf. I also artistically drew it out, and wrote the words, and framed it to make it very clear what the scarf meant. Super sentimental, but kind of wonderfully perfect. My dad has always been the most musically inclined in the family, and he’s recently started recording audio books, so sound waves seemed so appropriate.

The yarn is the same dragon tales rayon boucle dyed by an Asheville local place named Earth Guild. Its the same yarn I used for the painted christmas scarves. Its, hands down, some of the easiest and most beautiful yarn I’ve worked with yet. It weaves easy, soft but strong, and washing machine/dryer safe, and SO SOFT once it’s fulled. The colors stayed fast, and it simply glows in the right light.

I love this concept of turning spoken words into a scarf. It could be done with any phrase, or any snatch of music, or famous speech. The black and white look so classic. I also feel like clasped weft would make really cool piano keys along the edge of a scarf.

New Weaving Bench

My loom didn’t come with a bench, and for the last few months I’ve been using a dining room chair. While not a huge problem, it is the wrong height for proper posture, and doesn’t allow the same range of motion as the bench I got to use at the studio weaving class I took. When I researched how much it would cost to buy a mass-manufactured bench which had no character, and which I’d have to pay for shipping anyways, I had a rather brilliant thought (if I do say so myself.) A friend of mine has some skill as a woodworker, and so I was super excited to commission a custom weaving bench from him.

I’m not picky. I simply told him the width of my loom between its legs, and the height I wanted it, and said that I wanted a seat that opened into a storage area. Beyond that, I left it entirely up to him how he styled it. Oh, and I requested one more thing: I told him I wanted him to do something artsy to it.

“What sort of artsy thing?”
“I don’t care, up to you!”
“What do you want it to look like?”
“Your choice!”
“What kind of things do you like?”
“Unique things made by artists!”
“Gah! Fine. But you have to pick a color. What color?”
“Oh, alright. Green. Do something green to it.”

I am more than pleased with what he came up with in the end. It is perfect! It is something unique and beautiful that I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else. THIS is why you make friends with artists. THIS is why you support artists whenever you get the chance. Fill your life with unique beautiful things that make you happy. ART! wheeee!

The one thing I might add myself is a padded cushion for the top. I think I’ll try to hand weave a cover which I can stuff with memory foam, or a pillow. That’d be highly appropriate.