Tuesday, 16 October 2012

textured tale

It is no secret that I love all things textile as well as beady, my little book on Loom Weaving is popular with beginners wanting to explore this traditional blend of textile and beading techniques.
I think if you love any craft it is inevitable that the tools to go with it somehow proliferate without you noticing. A quick check reveals that I have six different types of bead loom, plus another three that my lovely dad has made for me over the years. (are you picking up on my autumn cupboard clearing vibe?)
One had the beginnings of a Kerala Bangle on it. This is a loom workshop I have taught many times and continue to offer, I love it because it enables students to explore a loom with a whole mix of materials and really get to know the different processes. It is also a great way to develop a feel for thread tension in a way that won't mess up a carefully counted pattern if you don't hit perfection on day one! and a great way to teach the best ways to work a huge range of techniques in one piece.
last of the summer' Nasturtiums

First, gather together a pile of embroidery threads, flosses, yarns and fibres, some beading thread, seed and accent beads. This part can be a glorious adventure in colour, just heap together your faves and play with the pile until you have a mix you love... or pick out the colours from a picture for inspiration, like this snap of the very last of the Nasturtiums in the garden (I sense a garden tidying session coming on.. what is it about autumn and the need to sort things out and get them straight!).
Or, you can cheat and buy a ready mixed pack of dyed threads (of which I have too many, picked up as impulse buys at shows... oh such clever tempting packaging!)
Section showing woven  thread and
beading on the same warp threads

Next, warp up a loom with beading thread, then get weaving.
Here is a picture of the sample still in the loom which, incidentally, I must get round to finishing; which starts with finding the bag of threads to go with this UFO.
I like to start with a section of old fashioned over and under weaving with embroidery thread, this creates a firm  selvedge, and sets the colour mood.
Next add some bead loom weaving. Keep changing the weaving process, the bead types, weights and textures of fibres and threads. I also like to embellish some of the beady sections, or you can weave in some apertures.
It really is an open invite to have a small scale creative party!

Stack of Kerala Bangle
To finish, weave into a bangle by finishing both sets of the warp threads through the weaving at the opposite end. For a more snug bracelet, end with a second selvedge, then finish the warp ends at each end. Create a sewn fabric clasp (snap fasteners are perfect) or a metal bracelet end, of the kind designed for ribbons.

For a final flourish, add a beady edge, for me it tidies up the transitions between the techniques, and can be anything from a simple whip stitch with a bead on, to a netted edging.