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I happen to be primarily into: Spinning (mostly drop spindle, although occasionally on a wheel), Cord-making techniques (like Viking whip-cord, lucet, kumihimo, or all manner of braids), embroidery, applique, natural dyestuffs, some felting, fingerloop braiding... and maybe someday I'll really learn to knit and/or crochet. I've only dabbled in those more "common" modern pursuits.
I guess I've always been fascinated by fabrics and fibers. About 15 years ago I took a year-long college course in weaving, and learned lots of things that I don't use now (the last things I've woven have been simple rugs). I really loved overshot, though, and hope to get back to it sometime. For now, I'm still happy exploring plainweave. I have an inkle loom, but haven't learned yet how to warp it. That's something I need to learn one of these days.
After my kids got old enough to start messing with my loom, and I needed something more portable to occupy me, I started knitting. I can do some basic crochet if I need to, but I generally stay with knitting. I've done a little felting of knitted items, and I have the materials for needle felting. My daughter wanted to try it so I bought fleece and needles, but neither of us has pursued it.
A year or two ago I discovered embroidery, which I love. It feels like drawing with thread or yarn, and I'm delighted by all the colors of floss and crewel yarns that are available. I can't pass a display of floss in a store without picking out a few colors I'm attracted to, even if I don't need them for anything. I don't do cross-stitch or needlepoint, just embroidery. I especially like Jacobean designs.
I recently went to a colonial reenactment where I had a chance to try using a lucet and weaving on a colonial box loom (I have to get one of those! Does anyone know where I can find one that is not a pricey antique?) So those are on my list of things to work on in the future.
I just recently learned how to spin on a drop spindle, though I'm not very good at it and probably won't pursue it much. I think it might be easier to do if I had three hands. I do understand the attraction of spinning, though, and I'm trying to stay away from spinning wheels, since I don't have any more room in the house for another piece of equipment, what with the looms, hampers of yarn, and boxes of floss cluttering up the place. And, of course, all the books.
There's the best link I found -- I'd never heard of a box loom or of a tape loom, but you're right, that seems to be a colonial method for narrow bands. Since I do middle ages re-enactment, I'd never really looked into any colonial re-enactment. The tape loom looks facinating.
I'm really quite entranced with anything portable, which is why I appreciate a drop spindle more than a spinning wheel -- you can take a drop spindle with you everywhere. (And I often do!)
I was able to get some hands-on help with drop spindle spinning at a local SCA event, which I appreciated very much. That is also where I first saw someone doing blackwork-type embroidery, and this is yet another type of stitching I want to do more with. I found an interesting book on this: Blackwork Embroidery by Elisabeth Geddes and Moyra McNeill. The book covers the history of blackwork, and it has a number of pages of geometric blackwork designs that I find intriguing. It's a Dover book, too, which is also a point in its favor (I'm a big fan of Dover books!)
Thanks for your help, cayswann.
If anyone's in the So California region, I'm happy to teach drop spindle, lucet, etc. anytime, anywhere.
It looks like i'm in good company here:-)I started working handcrafts as a tennager and have played with/ dabbled in: card weaving, knitting,crocheting,sewing,needlework(cross stitch, crewel and needlepoint)My joys are lace making- tatting, with bobbin lace as my current focus, i started with Torchon, but have devoted a year to only doing Honiton so i can focus on the nuances as i learn.
A good friend visited me yesterday and brought her spinning wheel, i'm convinced i Must learn this craft as well now. Would any of you so kindly point me in the proper direction...books...etc?
Thank you all!
If you are a livejournal user and fan of communities, there are several really good spinning communities there, with lots of opportunities for question and answer, photos, links, and recommendations. There are several yahoogroups forums that are very active--although I recommend you skim them on the web first, since they can be very HIGH traffic.
Finally, you may be able to find a spinners or hand-weavers guild in your local area, or perhaps an historical recreation group (such as the SCA or a Ren Faire guild) that has knowledgable spinners to help you get started. I'm a fan of the drop-spindle more than a spinning wheel, merely because they are so cheap and easy and portable. I'm told the rule of thumb is that "You can spin faster by the hour on the wheel, but faster by the month on a drop-spindle" because you can take it with you everywhere. After that, I'd skim through my tags under spinning, since I have lots of books I *adore* for spinning resources.
Best of luck! --Cat
Great advice, thanks again!
Last autumn a friend took me to a fiber arts festival for my birthday, and I learned to spin with a drop spindle. I have a bunch of roving, but I haven't spun much of it up yet, only enough to knit a couple of swatches. If I get much more into spinning I'll want a wheel because I'm not really tall enough to get a good rhythm going with my drop spindle. (Yes, I'm 'inseam challenged.' My very tall roommate thinks it's a riot when I ask her to get things down for me.) Here are my first meagre attempts at drop-spinning!
Knitting Without Tears (by Saint Elizabeth Zimmerman) is one of my favorite knitting bibles. As a new knitter, I also found a lot of inspiration from The Yarn Girls' Guide to Simple Knits when I read it a few years ago.
(I do know how to sew -- marginally -- and embroider -- quite well -- but I haven't really engaged in either of those activities since I was a teenager.)
I have a question. A friend owns a gift shop that specializes in shabby chic/cottage style/vintage remakes. She wants to sell my tatted edging on pillow cases, etc., but I don't know how to price it. I have never sold any of my work. My question is, how do you put a reasonable price on handwork that takes hours, particularly if it is going to be included in a piece that has other embellishment work. I doubt anyone is going to want to pay $50 for a baby pillowcase or a ring bearer's pillow, not in this neck of the woods anyway. Any advice?
Pricing your own work is a major tight-rope walk. In some circles, people will only buy top-priced art (look online for the the Art-a-Fair or the Sawdust Festival down in Laguna Niguel, CA, at the Pageant of the Masters). In some circles, people will only look for a bargain.
Start with shopping around for similar hand-worked items like what you want to produce. Get a feel for the broad-range of pricing out there. Do these pieces sell for $50-$500? Do they sell for $12-100? See what I mean by broad-range?
Next, make one or two items on a stop watch. Really calculate actually minutes working. Also, keep a running tally of normal clock-time. For example, if I'm sewing, maybe I only work 45 minutes on real sewing, but it took 90 minutes from start to finish because of interruptions, coffee break, etc.
Figure the cost of materials, even if you didn't use the entire skein of cotton or you got two pillowcases for the price of one -- how much did you fork out? Next, calculate your hourly-work rate if you were paid minimum wage. Now, double that. Now, double that. See how those numbers fit into any of the prices on the market.
If I only paid myself $10/hour for my spinning, my hand-spun yarn might be bargain priced. If I paid myself what I earn in the office, doing analyst work for the Navy, my hand-spun yarn would be artistan priced. So now I have to find the right market -- and not be embarassed to charge correctly for my work.
When someone looks at your hand-spun, hand-dyed, hand-knit lace shawl and boggles "I'd never pay $350 for this!" and then goes looking for a $5 purchase at the next booth, you smile and encourage them to try to take up spinning, dying, and lace-knitting.
I've heard that some merchants will go to a show, and randomly take one item on the shelf and add a zero to the end. Take a $14 item and mark it for $140. And voila, guess which item sells that weekend? The mark-up. Sometimes people only want to buy the most treasured thing in the store.
Never apologize for pricing your artistry at artisan prices. And when you give your art away to friends for holidays, know you just gave them hundreds-of-dollars worth of your love and devotion.
My name is Elena, I'm 43, I'm Italian and I've joined because I love fabrics and their history and techniques...
I love embroidery, cross-stitching, weaving and recently I've started to learn tapestry weaving (but I'm just a beginner!).
As for CarolinaCatherina's message (wouldn't it be better to start a new thread about it, I wonder?) and cayswann's reply, I can only say that all these considerations are true, and that's the big problem of any textile art!
I've never sold any of my works, but I know that some of them have cost me _several hundred_ hours of work...How much should I price them? Even if I considered a ridiculous wage, that would amount to a big sum, and I'm quite sure nobody would want to pay that! On the other hand, I agree that such works should not be underpriced just because the right amount "looks" too much to people used to machine-made things.
I prefer giving away for free the things I made, as gifts to friends (only to those I know will appreciate them!) rather than selling them for prices that wouldn't even cover the price of fabric and threads.
I've sometimes wondered about trying to sell some of the things I've made. Like Elena, though, I'd rather just give them to friends who would appreciate them. (I don't knit much for my kids anymore, because I just hate seeing things I've spent so much time making lying about on the floor or abandoned in the car!)
Some time back, I was weaving rugs with Pendleton wool strips, and I made a long runner that I didn't have any use for myself. So I've had it tucked away on a shelf, and just recently sold it in a garage sale! I didn't even care that the price it fetched wasn't much - I was happy that the buyer liked and appreciated my work, and I hope she will enjoy using the rug.
My profile page has a picture of my current weaving work-in-progress. I wanted to experiment with weaving with cotton embroidery floss, and so far I'm pleased with the results. Using such short lengths of thread is somewhat annoying, though. I'll have to think of a new project that takes advantage of the short lengths. I don't know what to do with my resulting embroidery floss fabric - maybe I'll just keep it in a drawer with some of the other weaving I don't know what to do with! I guess I could say that I enjoy the activity of weaving (or embroidery) itself, and that having a useful length of woven cloth, or a pretty piece of embroidery, is secondary.
I know there is a weaving group, I'm a member of it (we have also the Tea! group in common!!)..But it seems quite asleep, if not dead (shall we try to wake it up?)
You also have a wonderful collection of WW1 books, and I've seen you are interested in William Morris...Do you know if there is any book about his tapestries? I gave a look on Amazon, but couldn't find anything (not his tapestry designs "translated" as canvas work, but just about his tapestries).
Thanks on the WWI books! I know I've seen a book recently about Morris's tapestries, but I can't remember if it's just a translated project book. I'll let you know if I run across one. I do have quite a bit about Morris, but nothing specifically devoted to his tapestries. (How on earth did he weave them? His creativity and industriousness just stuns me - and he was a writer about fiction and social issues, too. Amazing man!)
I think the book I saw recently was of Morris designs translated for needlepoint.
I know there are also books of his designs translated for needlepoint; I have a couple of them by Beth Russell and patterns are beautiful (I'll surely stitch something from them sooner or later!), but I wanted to learn something about his woven tapestries. There are a few (small) photos of them in Beh Russell books and some general information about William Morris and his life and works, but nothing very detailed (as of course most of the books is dedicated to needlepoint patterns).
Yes, William Morris was amazing, he tried a number of crefts and he excelled in each one of them! As for weaving, he used to wake up two or three hours before his due time in order to have time to weave every day before his work. I read he learned by himself only with the help of some ancient book about the technique (and a lot of exercize!).
I am primarily a knitter and counted cross-stitcher. I learned both when I was a child and have just enjoyed them. I have always been fascinated with spinning and have picked up a drop spindle to try and teach myself. I've made some pretty wonky-looking yarn, but it's a start, right? ;)
I'm determined to teach myself to crochet, despite the seeming mental block I have on it. If for no other reason, I like the finished look it gives to knit pieces.
I'm getting out the cross-stitch books to look for Christmas projects. That seems to be the time of year I want to do that kind of needlework. :)
I only have one cross-stitch project for a gift: my mother has requested a Celtic Cross. However, I recently discovered biscornus, so I might see about making up a couple for some friends.
I have done calligraphy for a long time. My favorite thing to do with it is make bookmarks with memorable quotes from the books I read. I taught myself to knit a couple years ago. I've been sewing for about 6 years -- I do alterations at a local bridal shop, plus alterations and custom sewing just out of my home. And this summer I taught myself to quilt. I've made 7 since August. I also just picked up embroidery over the last few months and I love to embellish stuff with it now that I've learned how. I feel like I'm forgetting something, but these are definitely my most-used textile addictions.
I saw an ad in a quilting magazine recently that said "In school, they said I was a show-off. Now they call me creative." I like that -- we're not really showing off; we just can't help it that we're creative!
In a Celtic Iron Age reenactment group, at public events I drop-spin and weave on a warp-weighted loom the group built.
I'm particularly interested in hearing from those of you who sell your work, or exhibit at fine craft shows.
Very recently I (finally!) put up a simple website that I created, a major accomplishment, since I'd rather be sewing than marketing!
Looking forward to being part of these discussions.
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