Baba’s Story: Learning Needlecrafts

…The most difficult part of learning any new skill is learning to tolerate the distress of being bad at it. Everyone feels clumsy and frustrated as they work to get a new skill from their mind to their hands…The feeling you get when the skill just clicks into focus, it’s just indescribably satisfying…

One of my favourite blogs, Crochet Concupiscence,  has a list of questions that people can use to self-interview. This blog is all about crochet, and I do a number of needlecrafts, primarily sewing, weaving, embroidery, spinning and crochet, so my questions/answers are a bit different. Still, it’s a good way to think seriously about how string became the organizing principal of my life. And since I am currently snowed in following a blizzard,  here is section one: learning to craft with fabric, thread and yarn…

 

All About Learning The Textile Crafts

Q1. When did you learn needlework?

A1. I came very late to the textile crafts. I was already in my mid 40s before I began and I am  only 50 now. My grandmother had taught me a bit of crochet when I was 8 or so, but she had difficulty teaching a left-handed kid with learning disabilities that included directional confusion. It was frustrating for both of us.

In grade 7 I took a class called crafts (very unwillingly). The teacher was old-fashioned and refused to let me knit ‘backwards’ aka left-handed. The two of us struggled over a 12″ teddy-bear made of horrid blue variegated acrylic for the whole semester, with her smacking my left hand with a knitting needle every time she found me knitting left-handed. To this day I don’t like to knit!

My real start in needlework came via a general  commitment to living more simply, I wanted to learn to sew enough to make myself a simple wardrobe of long dresses and pinafores. Basically I was aiming for the life and wardrobe of the Crones pictured above. (One of those is me!) And now that’s pretty much my life! Continue reading “Baba’s Story: Learning Needlecrafts”

Baba’s Current StringThings

Here is what I have been working on this week…

Here is a quick round up of what I’ve got on the go this week…

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A Pretty Peacock Blanket for Miss.B.
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Blocking a new piece of thread crochet, a pattern-free mandala or doily.

Continue reading “Baba’s Current StringThings”

Finding Treasures

S0, as you Winnipegger’s may know, Wolsley’s Neighbourhood Bookstore and Cafe is closed (temporarily I am POSITIVE). I encourage action!

Anyway, I just read this wonderful post about finding fibre-love treasure in second-hand bookstores ad thought to share it with you.

Two of the best finds I ever made at the cafe were ‘Plain and Fancy: American Women and Their Needlework, 1700-1850’ by Susan Burrows Swan (found last week!) and the ‘Woman’s Day Book of American Needlework’, by Rose Wilder Lane. (Yes, Laura’s daughter!) It still had it’s companion box of patterns too!

Have you made any amazing finds second-hand?

A good second-hand book store is a pearl beyond price.:-)

The Sweaty Knitter, Weaver and Devotee of Other Fiber Arts

I enjoy roaming the aisles of used book stores.  Over the years I have found some amazing HandweaversWorkbookbooks for very little money.  Recently I came across a 1956 edition of A Handweaver’s Workbook by Heather G. Thorpe (originally published 1936, reissued in 1974).  Not surprising given its age, the book is hardbound, and the pages are printed on heavy acid-free pages. It is also in perfect condition, nary a pencil mark! What a find!

Browsing through it, I was impressed by its thorough yet not overwhelming approach to introducing weaving.  I learned some interesting facts I’ve not seen newer weaving survey books or learned in a weaving class.

Did you know (I didn’t!) that …

PorteeCrossThere are different names for crosses on warps made withe a paddle dependent upon their position:  The first cross at the end of a warp is called a porrey cross; the second cross is called…

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What Do You Call Your Arts And/Or Craftsy Self?

In praise of all of the Craftivists, Textile Artists, Crafters, Embroideresses, Spinsters, and Needleworkers…

Image above is Alter Image by Alanna Tyson Her post on Art vs Craft is well worth reading

I am a craftswoman, not an artist. I am a Craftivist  too. Let me tell you why…

The Personal Is Political

Words can be unexpectedly powerful. The difference between a craftswoman, needleworker, crocheter, fibre or textile artist, and artisan, etc., may be only a matter of terminology, but what you call yourself  makes a real difference in both self and public perception.

As always, the personal is political.

Continue reading “What Do You Call Your Arts And/Or Craftsy Self?”

Pin Looms: Making Weaving Portable

I blistered my fingers pin-loom weaving but it was hella fun!

Pin Loom Weaving Class

Yesterday I went to a fun class at Wolsley Wool, my local independent yarn store. Kari taught us how to weave on a pin loom. I had flirted with the idea of doing pin loom weaving before, and the Schacht Zoom Loom is exactly the kind of small loom that tempts me the most, but I could never justify the cost and I never ran into a second-hand one.

So when I saw a workshop offered, including a handmade pin loom, taught by the delightful Kari, I jumped at it.

Four Inch Pin Loom Class
Four Inch Pin Loom Class: My Brand New Toy!

Continue reading “Pin Looms: Making Weaving Portable”