Sunday, May 8, 2016

Finger Weaving Tidbits and Images

Every time someone sees one of my a finger woven projects I am asked the same questions. "How did you learn to do that? Who taught you?" These are simple questions, but the answer to them are never quite so simple. If I am honest, I say, "I really don't know," and then I get an interesting yet varying array of looks.

But the truth is, I really don't know. I braided horse manes, my hair, cords, and yarns, and even did Macramé as a kid growing up. Somewhere in that mix up maybe I learned, but I don't ever remember doing a project with it. When my husband brought me one of his first braintan hides, placed it in my hands, and asked, "what do you think of this?" I replied that I would love to braid with it.

After actually braiding the leather, doing some research, and showing it to others, I realized what I was doing was called fingerweaving. I searched out and bought several books on the subject and through them, I've studied how others do it. The resources share that in Canada, many years ago, they secured the strands at both the top and the bottom before braiding. Curiosity about this drove me to connect with a fingerweaver in Canada and ask if he did it this way. His answer was yes. Hmm... that is not how I do it.
After reading another book, the author's way sounded so complicated that I gave it a half-hearted try, then shook my head, and went back to my way since the results look the same. There are still a few books out there on fingerweaving that I would like to buy because they are not something my local library carries. However, I am not sure just when or if I will pick them up. I can get good results fingerweaving, so I am always pulled to buying books on other subjects that interest me first. Somehow, I always run out of that green paper stuff that people want in payment for their books, before I run out of books on my bucket list.

The books have helped me stretch and reach out to try different patterns other than the basic diagonal fingerweave which comes so naturally to me and is my favorite to do. But some of the other patterns look cool enough that they are worth the effort.

The following are a few pictures of some of  the many different things I have fingerwoven. I tend to have my own style, and often mix leather with wool or braintan leather with bark tan leather. Are you surprised? ; ) A couple of times a year I will fingerweave a small sample project out of yarn so that I don't forget how to do different weaves. It may not be perfect, but I want to do enough to know that I could pick it back up when needed. Unlike my beading projects, where I often feel like I let too much time pass between them so that I am constantly relearning the same things.

Monday, May 2, 2016

A Small Catch of Felted Fish

Enjoyable! Pure fun, that is what these fish are. I actually have no idea how many of them I made, because I gave so many away. All the stages involved in making this fish are delightful. This project started because I wanted to learn to knit with more than one color. I figured that a knitted toy would be a safe project because even if it wasn't perfect it could still be loved. So the pattern was bought, the needles found, and the 100% wool yarn chosen for its felting ability.

The total freedom to mix and match bright colors in the fish was exhilarating. Added to that was the ability to change colors whenever I felt like it. I tried many different two color patterns, liking some enough to use again and only doing others once. I even made a mistake when doing the tail that I reused in designing other fish. It made the fish tail much fuller and more fan like.

Because you felt these fish they are knitted bigger than you want.  You then add them to your washer with a load of towels being washed in hot water. I loved letting the children put the fish into the washer themselves, and also letting them find the fish in the load of wet towels that was taken out of the washer. Their eyes would grow big as they realized the fish had shrunk in the felting process. Many big fish were knitted and given away to friends so they could have the fun of felting the fish themselves with their own children watching.

The last step is stuffing the fish. Usually this job went to the children. Their small fingers work perfect for poking stuffing through the fish's open mouth until it went from a flat fish to a plump fish. Usually much giggling went along with feeding the fish in this manner.

A optional step was to add eyes so that the fish could see the child who love it. Buttons worked for this as did just some yarn and simple embroidery skills. Whether the fish had eyes or didn't seem to matter to the children who loved them. They would often run off with them before I had a chance to get the eyes made.

My goodness, I think of have talked myself into digging out this pattern and making some more fish. I wonder if my children would think they were to "old" for felted fish fun. Ah, maybe you are interested in making some too. The pattern can be found here.
Though I bought mine through a yarn shop so you might be able to find it in one too.