Saturday, September 22, 2012

Weave along #8- Part Seven Finishing Techniques

And, so, the Soumak Pouch Weave Along draws to a close with a very long video on finishing techniques.
copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay
Here are the chapters in the final installment:
1- Steam, Press and block the finished weaving
2- Overcast the straight edge of the inside front of the pouch
3- Making the point for the tip of the pouch
4- How to do the chain stitch embroidery
5- Cut out a lining
6- How to stitch the lining to the pouch invisibly
7- Stitch the side seams
8- Sew on the snaps
9- Stitching the edging cords to the pouch - in the video, I show how to add things like large beads at the ends and center of the cord, as well as the swivel clip hook. I also show how to stitch size 8 seed beads to the edging to embellish it.  You don't have to add these extra flourishes, but I thought that it made sense to show you how to do it so you ~could~ do it, if you want to.
It's the embellishments that make the pouch the truly individual statement of your creativity!
And, here's the video:
 Happy Weaving!
I hope that you have had fun weaving your Soumak pouch!
And, cheerio, this is my last post on 'A Word From Elena'
:o) Noreen

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Soumak Pouch Weave Along # 8 Part 6- Edging Cords

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay
Part Six of the Soumak Pouch Weave Along is all about the edging cords for the pouches.
You can use purchased braid like the Kreinik cord  on the edges of this pouch:
The edging is 3/8 ” trim:  # 170 Natural Pewter
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Or you can make  your own edging cord:
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Starting at the left hand side, the cords are:
Square cord spool knitted with 2 colors on 4 pegs,
Cord Spool knitted with 3 pegs
Kumihimo cords - the directions for how to braid the round cords come with the Kumihimo kit from Mirrix
Tubular Peyote stitch cord- instructions are available in beading books and when you google 'tubular peyote stitch'.
And last, but certainly NOT least, and definitely the fastest, easiest cord of all to make is the Simple Twisted cord, using the method that I have developed, using a spool and a crochet hook.
You will need a cord that is about 15 inches (37.5 cm) long to go around the sides and upper edge of your pouch.
The instructions for how to attach them to your pouch will be in the final installment of the Weave Along: Finishing Techniques.

Here are some videos that I have made to help you make your decorative edging cords:
How to spool knit a cord with just 3 of the 4 pegs on the spool knitter:

Sorry! couldn't get the video to upload, so you'll have to  click the link... hopefully it will work.

How to spool knit a square cord with 2 colors on a 4 peg spool knitter:

How to make a twisted cord with a spool and crochet hook:

Hope your pouches are coming along nicely!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Weave Along #8 Soumak Pouch- Part 5 Checkerboard borders

Part 5 of the Soumak Pouch Weave Along is a step by step series of photos that I took while we were on holidays at the end of August.
I adapted the pattern to have checkerboard borders and  wove  the Soumak pouch on my Mirrix Mini (5 inches wide... perfect traveling loom).
copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay
Here's how the pattern looks with the black and white checked borders:
copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay
If I had wanted to make the pouch wider, I could have added 's' hooks to the side and just added the checked squares to the pattern.
Adding 2 more 's' hooks at the top and bottom on both sides would have added one inch (2.5 cm) to the width of the pouch.
I wanted the squares to be symmetrical off a central square, so I had to do some fancy footwork with working out the size of the squares.
Here's what I decided: Here's the graph for the lower border of the pouch:
Each square represents one strand of warp:
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And now... to the step by step photos: Photographed in Jasper Alberta Canada
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And, here is the finished pouch: Woven in Lamb's Pride yarn from the Mirrix kit:
copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay
copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay
The embroidery is worked with Kreinik threads.
There is an amethyst bead on the center of the back of the pouch.
Happy Weaving! :o)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Soumak Pouch Weave Along #8 Part Four Weaving Techniques

The video for Part 4 of the Soumak Pouch Weave Along is a really big one because it's the 'how to's' for the actual weaving of the pouch.
copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay
Here's what's covered in this video:
  • How to weave the 4:2 Soumak border
  • How to weave the 2:1 body of the pouch
  • How to add more weft yarn when you run out
  • How to add new colors
  • How to change colors and make perfect joins between the color blocks
  • How to  step colors sideways in an outward direction
  • How to step colors sideways in an inward direction
  • How to work horizontal stripes
  • How to do the 'Topsy Turvey Trick' with the Mini loom
  • How to remove the weaving from the Mini
When I went through the video after the final rendering, I smacked my hand to my forehead a couple of times as my directional challenges clearly pop up in the video-  arghhhhhhhhh.......... several times, I call the left hand side of the loom, the ~right~ hand side.  arghhhhhhh
And, at one point, I called the weft, 'warp'.............   oh sigh............. so please forgive me for the errors.
Luckily, pretty quickly, I do say the ~correct~ thing.   But still........... arghhhhhhhhhhhh.............
And, no, I am not willing to re-shoot the video..... there are days and days and days of shooting, and so I am not going back to do it again.
Said in the nicest possible way, with really the minimum of snarls and snaps.  :D
Anyhow.... I hope that you will have a WONDERFUL time weaving your pouches!
Without further ado, here's the video: (bugs and all- and dogs barking and rain raining and thunder thundering.... the dogs were freaked out by the lighting and thunder, so they were indulging in a LOT of vocalizing about the bad bad sky!)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Soumak Pouch Weave Along #8 Part Three Warping the Looms

Today's installment of the Soumak Pouch  Weave Along is a video tutorial about warping the looms for the 'no warp ends' technique that will be the foundation of the Soumak Pouches.
copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay
There are a number of hints and tips that I have found that make warping for the  pouches much quicker and easier.
The video shows how to warp  the 8 inch and 12 inch  Mirrix looms, using 's' hooks.
The Mini (5 inch loom) is warped using the 'no warp ends' kit from Mirrix.
The looms are almost gift wrapped after warping!
Really?  Yes :)
I have found that using ribbons to tie around the 's' hooks on the lower edge of the 8 inch, 12 inch or larger Mirrix looms keeps the weft yarn from getting snagged on the hooks while weaving.
And, the Mini wears little babushkas or headscarves!
Yep. I tie bias tape or ribbon around the ends to cover the paper clips and keep them from snagging on clothing and to protect them.
I know it may seem odd, but it makes the weaving go more  smoothly.

Here's the video that shows how the warping is done for the Weave Along:

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Soumak Pouch Weave Along #8 Part Two: Design Notes

I am sure that everyone who is participating in the Soumak Pouch Weave Along wants to create a finished piece that is completely unique.
So, that's why I am sharing a few design notes.
copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay
In Part One of the Weave Along LINK   I posted my design for the Soumak Pouch.
How did I come up with this design, and how can you make it be a reflection of your personality?
I started the design process by thinking of the rug that was in my grandmother's dining room when I was a little girl:
copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay
I spent many a happy hour on that carpet, when I was a child, playing with my cousins.
The flowers became a deeply ingrained part of my 'pattern language'.
So, when I was designing the pouch, it was natural to look at the flowers in the carpet and see if there was a starting point there.
Indeed there was, and I sketched and played with variations on carpet flowers:
copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay
I  traced out lots of copies of the prototype pattern.
I find that tracing the pattern by hand is better for me than scanning and printing the pattern.
When my hand and eyes are quietly engaged in tracing the design, then connections are made that are really helpful in making creative leaps.
I choose aquarelles (watercolor pencils) that matched my weft colors.
Then, I colored lots and lots of variations on the theme, playing with combinations of colors and trying to push myself to use the weft colors in ways that I might not have considered.
I also would make little sidebar colorways when I was uncertain about a specific motif in the pattern.
And, then, when I was happy, I started weaving.
As I wove the prototype pouches, I discovered a few things:  OOPS! The weaving contracts when it's released from the loom, so it NEEDS a header and footer beyond the pattern!
Also, I felt that making the pattern more geometrical would make it more weaver-friendly, so I re-designed the pattern to make it conform more closely to the warp strands:
copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay
I felt constrained to stick to using only the colors of yarn that were in the various kits and packages supplied by the yarn companies.
I didn't mix and match, BUT... you can feel totally free to use yarn from your stash to personalize your pouch.
The only exception to the 'no stash' rule that I was following was that, for the black and white checkered pouch, I did pull white wool from my stash (well, my daughter in law's stash to be perfectly honest... bless her for her donation to the cause <3 and :D )
copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay
In this photo, you'll see that I traced the pattern onto graph paper (4 squares to the inch or 2.5 cm).
(The photo of the pouch at the beginning of this post was woven with the Mirrix Soumak Pouch Kit yarns and this colorway.)
Graph paper is the top of the list of my favorite design tools.... it's a weaver's very good friend indeed!
Playing with graph paper allows you to try out all manner of interesting things.
So, in a nutshell, what are the key points of designing a unique project?
1-  Look for a starting point in something that you love or are inspired by.
2-  Be willing to make mistakes and to start over
3-  Trace, don't print the extra copies of the design.
4-  Use colors in ways that you might not usually consider when you are experimenting with your coloring pages.
BUT... if you have signature colors, then, of course, feel free to use them.
5-  Make multiple color combination sidebars if you are uncertain about a part of the design.
6-  Use graph paper to work out colorways and patterns.
7- The ways that you choose to embellish your pouch will make your pouch TOTALLY unique, as the finishing and embellishment techniques are incredibly expressive :)

Here's the Design Notes Video:
 Happy weaving! :o) Noreen

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Weave Along #8- Soumak Pouch Part One- Setting up the Looms

Welcome to the first installment of the Soumak Pouch Weave Along!
I hope that you are going to have a wonderful time, weaving one of a kind pouches for your business cards and cellphone, or using it in any way that appeals to you.
If you would like to join in the conversation, you can leave comments here on this blog,
as well as on the Mirrix facebook page LINK and the Mirrix Ravelry page: LINK
copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay
I will be demonstrating on the Mirrix 12 inch, 8 inch and 5 inch Mini, which is a totally magical little loom.
Because of the small (but oh so perfect) size of the Mini, I have had to come up with some fairly 'outside the box' ways of working with it for the weave along- which certainly add to the functionality of this delightful little loom!

I have made six video tutorials and one slide show (so far) for the Weave Along.
I will be posting installments of the Weave Along every Sunday and Wednesday from September 2, 2012 to September 23, 2012.
BUT... you don't have to keep up with this pace.... you can follow along at your own speed, as the blog posts are going to be here for as long as Tottie still Talks Crafts! 
I have covered a TON of information, and some of the videos are very long.
To make them as user friendly as possible, I have made chapter headings for each segment of the videos.
This means that you can stop the video and move back or forward to review anything you want to, at any time in the video.
Here's what the chapter headings look like:
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So, without further ado, lets get started!
Here is the pattern for the Soumak Pouch:
copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay
Print the pattern so that it is 3 inches wide and 10 inches long.
Print several copies.
And, now, for the video tutorial: (hope you enjoy it!)

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Colorblock Bracelet

One of the great things about weaving (and crafts in general) is that you have the ability to make things exactly how you want them. No searching in stores or compromising on quality. 

I've jumped on the whole "colorblock" bandwagon this summer and I keep thinking how a colorblock bracelet would be the perfect pop to add to a bland outfit. I chose bright salmon, purply blue and black Delicas and some turquoise stones to make this simple but fun bracelet. The only trick was that my stones only had one hole and each stone equaled just about two rows of the Delicas so I had to somehow weave two rows of Delicas for each one row with a stone in it. I did this like this:

three salmon, one turquoise, three salmon
three salmon
then back through the previous row of three salmon, one turquoise, three salmon
three salmon

and then a new row of three salmon, one turquoise, three salmon

Using this method you build up one side at a time and then sew back through your previous row, build up the other side, and then begin a new row. This means that you are not always sewing through in the same direction like you would be if you were just weaving rows, but if the holes in your beads are big enough it's an easy way to get a nice big bead in the middle of your piece. I should also note that I used an 18 dent spring and left two dents in the middle of the piece without warps on them. 

1/3 of the way up the piece I will switch to my black Delicas and 2/3 of the way up the piece I will switch to the purply blue. A fun weekend project perfect for anyone in your life who needs a little color! 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Happy Birthday Claudia

Today, August 30th, is Mirrix President Claudia Chase's birthday. I won't tell you how old she is, but she is old enough to have me as a daughter and I'm 27. I've said too much. Point is, all of you should wish her a happy birthday! Head on over to our Facebook page and give her a little birthday shout out. Want to go a step further? Email her with a little birthday love!

In honor of her birthday we're having a 50% off sale on our 5 for $30.00 pattern package (designed by her). Code happybirthdayclaudia will get you all 5 kits for $15 at checkout.

Scroll down on page to purchase: