Tools for Weaving: Updated

This October will mark my Weaveversary as I celebrate one year of fabric weaving. My goal over the last year has been ultimately to weave better and more often while saving my back and shoulders. Many of these tools have been instrumental in helping me do that. 

Here are my favorite tools and why I think they are critical for a weaver to have at his or her disposal:

1) Hex Weave & Mad Weave: An Introduction to Triaxial Weaving, Schiffer Publishing. This book continues to be an invaluable resource to me. It's informative and inspiring. 

2) Zirkel Magnetic Organizer Pin Cushion. A magnetic pin cushion is mandatory. Pushing pins back into a traditional pin cushion, or trying to finagle a box, wastes time and wears out your hands. The Zirkel is fantastic and even comes in this fun and gorgeous Lime color.

3) WEFTY fabric weaving needle. I designed this tool specifically for weaving with fabric strips and so it's the best tool for the job. The WEFTY allows you to weave on interfacing easily, weave with thicker material (like double folded strips, canvas, or denim), and use just your finger to move the tool through the design. The product's intent is to save wear and tear on your hands while helping to improve the overall look of your woven piece.

Zirkel, WEFTY, and Foam Core Board all hard at work.

Zirkel, WEFTY, and Foam Core Board all hard at work.

 

4) SF101 by Pellon. You will need a way to secure your woven panel, and a lightweight woven interfacing is the only way to go. I use SF101 by Pellon for every woven project because it stays fused until well after the basting stitch.

5) 1/2" Foam Core Board by Elmers Products. I buy the 20"x30" foam boards in cases of 10 from Dick Blick for classes. But the boards can be found at Michaels and other craft stores pretty easily.

6) Simplicity Bias Tape Maker Machine. Owning and using this machine has been a lifesaver. It works and it works really well! I'm really happy with how much time and sore muscles it continues to save me. 

7) Best Press. I use a LOT of spray starch. Make sure you get the scentless kind! I spray my fabric strips and then iron them, either by hand with a hot iron, or with my bias tape maker machine.

8) Bias Tape Maker. While I almost always just use my hands for making 1" strips, I did on occasion find a use for the 1/2" Clover Bias Tape Maker before I started using the machine. Making 1/2" strips is much less dangerous with the tape maker between your hands and a hot iron!

I hope this list is helpful and that it makes weaving easier for you!

2016 Bag Project

I started the 2016 Bag Project as a way to challenge myself to meet some goals I felt I needed to tackle: learn how to make bags, try out new weave designs, and practice quilting. I've wandered a bit from my initial project assignment, which was to design a bag each month that showcased new-to-me weaving and quilting. Instead of designing the bags, I've begun to rely on others' designs. Frankly, I think that's the best way to learn how to make bags ... follow in the footsteps of the ladies who actually know what they're doing. And they have taught me many valuable skills! I've also made some bags that showcase weaving only, as not all patterns have room enough to include quilting. 

Quilted Solid Textured Denim.

Quilted Solid Textured Denim.

The next six months will focus on getting back to that original plan. I'm excited to begin designing my own bags again, and taking on new and more complicated weave patterns. I'm also basically bonkers-level ecstatic to have discovered a new denim from Art Gallery Fabrics called Solid Textured Denim. It's a 100% cotton 10 oz denim that works perfectly for bags. It's sturdy enough to act as handles without any reinforcement, and will wear well as a bag exterior. It looks gorgeous quilted, and it sews beautifully. This discovery will make it much easier for me to incorporate quilting into my upcoming bags!

The Curvy Clutch by Zakka Workshop, woven using Paperie Fabrics by Amy Sinibaldi for Art Gallery Fabrics.

The Curvy Clutch by Zakka Workshop, woven using Paperie Fabrics by Amy Sinibaldi for Art Gallery Fabrics.

I'd love to hear ideas on types of bags to try, new materials to experiment with, and techniques you think I should attempt to master! See you for my next 2016 Bag Project check-in... I'm planning for another in October. 

Essentials II & Dare Minis Blog Tour

I'm so excited to show off this mini quilt I made for my youngest daughter. I'm also excited to host an awesome giveaway of 17 fat eights of Essentials II and Dare fabrics, as well as four 1/4 yard cuts of assorted Smooth Denims from the Denim Studio by Art Gallery Fabrics! See the end of this post for how to enter...

But about this mini for my little one ... At two months shy of two years old, Alice is, and always will be, my baby. Totally spoiled with a mind of her own, she completely rejected the first baby quilt I made for her! I decided not to take it personally and wait and see what her tastes were before attempting to make her another one. The first quilt I made for her was all primary colors, blue and red being predominant (I think I read somewhere that was good for helping babies develop their eyesight?). I notice her preferences are for bright, feminine colors. Also she adores the texture of woven pieces. When I got Essentials II, I knew I wanted to give a quilt for Alice another try.

Mini quilt and hoop art made with Essentials II and Dare fabrics by Pat Bravo for Art Gallery Fabrics.

Today is also my turn in the Pat Bravo Minis Blog Tour featuring Dare and Essentials II fabrics for Art Gallery Fabrics. Lately I've been especially drawn to weaving with mixed prints and softer colors, and I've been experimenting with ways to incorporate weaving into quilts. This blog tour seemed the perfect way to continue this exploration, and make something special for Alice, all while using my bundle of Essentials II fabrics! 

My mini, which measures 25" x 30", began with a woven panel using 1/2" strips of Essentials II. I'm calling this weave design Woven Tiles. I used the Blush color way for the tiles and Azure for the background. The outer border of my mini is Open Doors from the Dare collection.

Auditioning borders for Woven Tiles mini quilt.

For the quilting, which is all straight line, I used a Superior Threads King Tut variegated called Cotton Candy. The quilting on the weave is all in the ditch, and serves to ensure that the weave stays put during washings (it has so far!) but doesn't obscure the weave. 

Straight line quilting with Superior Threads King Tut variegated thread.

Navy and white striped Streakly Business Azure from Essentials II is the quintessential binding fabric!

It just does not get any more perfect than this, people!

Woven Tiles hoop art.

Oh, and Alice loves it! The first night after I hung it up, she was so excited she had a tough time falling asleep. Several days later, she still ends each night and begins each morning by pointing at her new wall hangings and giving me a big hug. What is the most appreciated thing you've ever made someone else? I'd love to know in the comments.

Learn the design

Would you like to learn how to weave your own Woven Tiles project? I've put together an instructional video explaining how to weave this design.

 

For ease of use, I'm going to write out the sequence directions here as well, so you can read along at your own pace after watching the video.

Woven Tiles Instructions:

  • Pin first layer of strips horizontally, alternating between background and tile colors.
  • Second layer is woven in from the top
    • 1st: tile strip. Over two, under two. Repeat.
    • 2nd: background strip. Over one, under one. Repeat.
    • 3rd: tile strip. Over one. Under two, over two. Repeat under/over two
    • 4th: background strip. Under one, over one. Repeat.
    • 5th: tile strip. Under two, over two. Repeat.
    • 6th: background strip. over one, under one. Repeat.
    • 7th: tile strip. Under one. Over two, under two. Repeat over/under two.
    • 8th: background strip. Under one, over one. Repeat.

Giveaway!

Want to win the fabrics pictured below? Of course you do! That's 17 fat eights of Essentials II and Dare, with four 1/4 yards of smooth denim - that's a whole lot of bright colors and soft fabrics. All you have to do is subscribe to my YouTube channel if you haven't already (you'll be the first to learn new weaving designs and tips).

Giveaway ends Monday, May 15 at 7:00 AM PST.

You'll definitely want to check out the other bloggers who have been getting creative with their Essentials II and Dare fabrics! Yesterday was Marija Vujcic and tomorrow will be Samantha Dorn and Maja Wlusek.

Woven Velocity Bag

Weaving is a way of creating a unique, multi-dimensional textile that can be used like any other cut of fabric. Converting great patterns to triaxial weave opens up a whole new world of project possibilities. 

For this tutorial, I am going to use The Velocity Bag as my example. The pattern for The Velocity Bag is a free download on the Art Gallery Fabrics site (their site has several galleries of fun and free projects!), and it's a popular item in their look books. I adore this bag, and wanted to weave at least one side in Wanderer Fabrics by April Rhodes for Art Gallery Fabrics.

I converted The Velocity Bag into triaxial madweave, which is the weave that is comprised of three layers and completely tiles a plane (no spaces between the strips). 

The dimensions of one side of The Velocity Bag are approximately 16" x 16", and I am going to use 2" fabric strips folded and pressed to a prepared width of 1", which makes the conversion to triaxial weave extra easy. I knew I needed 19.5" long diagonal strips, and that I needed a total of 32 of those diagonal strips.

My cutting requirements were as follows:

  1. 1st Layer: (16) 2" x 16" strips folded and pressed to 1" x 16"
  2. 2nd Layer: (16) 2" x 19.5" strips folded and pressed to 1" x 19.5"
  3. 3rd Layer: (16) 2" x 19.5" strips folded and pressed to 1" x 19.5"

Once the 16" x 16" woven panel is pressed onto lightweight woven interfacing, I use a basting stitch around the outer edges to further secure it. Then I place my pattern piece on top of the interfacing, and trace around it with a fabric marker.

I sew right on the marked line, then cut out the pattern piece using a scant 1/8" seam, and sew with it as I would any other pattern piece.

Woven Chevron Pillow

Weaving is such a great way to play with color and texture, and an even better way to create something uniquely special with all your fabric scraps. Check out the Woven Chevron Pillow pattern I wrote for Sew Mama Sew.

Made with Alison Glass Handcrafted for Andover

Made with Alison Glass Handcrafted for Andover

I would love to see what you do with this pattern! Tag me on Instagram @t_jaye

Securing a Woven Panel

Often I will forget to first pin down interfacing before weaving, so I discovered a trick to use when that happens. In this video I demonstrate that technique, and talk a bit about the other ways I secure my fabric strips and woven pieces.

This video is about securing a woven panel

Tumbling Blocks Madweave Tutorial

Follow along with my daughter and I as we set up and weave a madweave in the tumbling blocks design. A great resource for in-depth instruction (and inspiration) is Hex Weave & Mad Weave: An Introduction to Triaxial Weaving by Elizabeth Lang-Harris & Charlene St. John, Schiffer Publishing

Tumbling Blocks Madweave

The fabric I am using is Cotton + Steel, from the Bluebird and Sprinkle lines.

I refer several times to a flat weaving needle, which I make and sell in my Etsy shop. After searching for something like it and finding the tool didn't exist, we created it. I can't overstate or oversell this: the flat weaving needle makes weaving much easier on my hands while greatly improving the accuracy and overall look of the piece. But a flat weaving needle is not required, and I provide tips for those weaving without one.

Make sure to share your weaving with me. I can't wait to see what you can do! Instagram | @t_jaye #modernweaving