From inspiration

Tweed, Chanel and the Isle of Harris

When I’m not translating feather colours into yarn explosions in my work on Wrapt in New Zealand pieces I am toying around with different yarns and textures on my two rigid heddle looms and the four shaft (6 tredle) floor loom.  Did I mention that they are all made by Ashford, a great little New Zealand company based in the South Island.  I love that, and I love my Ashford looms!

My current obsession on the floor loom is twill, that lovely, simple weave structure that creates neat diagonal lines in the cloth and beautiful drape at the same time.  Take a look at the denim in the jeans you are wearing – yup, twill.

While I was mooching around the internet (as you do) looking at yarns and fabrics and colours and textures for inspiration I came across this stunning video, and I am now officially obsessed with Chanel tweed.  I adore the colour and texture in these handwoven samples.

I love that this style of weaving, that has always inspired me most, is not only ‘real’ but highly valued and sought-after.  Pick up any weaving book and there will be endless (wonderful) examples of intricately woven FLAT pieces of fabric.  While I admire the technique and skill of this type of weaving, it never really grabbed me by the throat and screamed YYEEEEESSSS!!  This DID!!

So I have watched and been inspired by the talent on this video dozens of times – each time I spot something new that makes me think “What if….?”.  So now my head is exploding with concepts and I am torn between scouring the internet for more on Tweeds, the Isle of Harris, boucle tweed yarns and throwing something on a loom…but more on that next time.

Wednesday WOW – The Marble Music Machine

This video popped out on leap year day, February 29, 2016 and it blew me away.  It took 14 months and a singular vision to create, and anyone who loves music, engineering, construction and ingenuity will love this.

Take a look at the Wintergatan Youtube channel for more on how the Marble Machine was created.

Wednesday WOW – Jamdani Weaving

It has been a while, with more hands on the loom time than surfing and blogging time, but I saw this stunning video this morning of Jamdani weavers from Dhaka in Bangladesh.  They weave incredibly fine and transparent cloth with designs created by inlaying feature yarns to create patterns.  The muslin fabric base is very, very fine, while the supplementary weft is added by hand, pick by painstaking pick, in a freehand design created from memory.

Jamdani weaving is recognised by it’s inclusion on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Jamdani Weaving.  The fell of the cloth.  Picture by Masud Anada

Jamdani Weaving. The fell of the cloth. Picture by Masud Anada

Jamdani Weaving.  Inserting the supplementary weft.  Picture by Masud Anada

Jamdani Weaving. Inserting the supplementary weft. Picture by Masud Anada

I use a similar technique in my Wrapt in New Zealand designs, using a supplementary weft to add Maori and Pacifica inspired motifs to the scarves and wraps I create which in turn are inspired by the native birds of Aoteaoroa, New Zealand.

Using a supplementary pattern weft to insert designs and motifs into a Tui scarf.

Using a supplementary pattern weft to insert designs and motifs into a Tui scarf.

The possibilities are endless

I found this on Kate McEniff’s Tumblr and thought that it summed up my life at the moment.  There are so many possibilities and opportunities in front of me that the distant goal seems gigantic and miles away.  I’m trying to convince myself that that is an exciting thing…


Wednesday WOW – Shark Socks

I had to laugh at these socks when I found them on ETSY yesterday over at AB Knits.  Knitting is beyond my arthritic fingers and I admire the sheer variety of creations that come off the needles (especially my mum’s jumpers!).

Wednesday WOW – 25 Craft Inspired Cake Designs that are Too Cute To Eat!

This round up is featured on Architecture and Design.  I love them all, but the basket of yarn created at Cake Journal is my favourite.

Wednesday WOW – Japanese Kokeshi Doll

You might have seen this on Huff Post recently, or Vimeo or Awardeo.  Yasuo Ozakazaki crafts these beautiful, traditional wooden dolls in the Naruko style on a lathe in a process that is just mesmerising.  It even stopped my three kids in their tracks, which is truly saying something.

Wednesday WOW – Cross-stitch

Now, this WOW is a bit different.  It wasn’t created by an artist with a stunning or intriguing vision and mad skills…or maybe it was, but in a smaller way.  The artist was my mum.  And she made it for me.  40 years ago when I was very small and hadn’t yet decided that I would never be a Jennifer, but a Jenni.

Cross stitch for baby Jennifer

8 Things You Don’t Know About Me

  1. Eight, because that’s my lucky number…but only because my favourite player in the All Blacks when I was 12 years old played in the #8 position…sigh…(The All Blacks play rugby union, for those of you living outside the Commonwealth, and play for New Zealand NOT Australia if you are from Chicago)
  2. Kia orana!! Greeting and welcome in Cook Islands maori.  No, I am not fluent (not even close) but I do have a special place in my heart for the people of the Cook Islands, and Aitutaki in particular.  A stunning people and a stunning part of the world- so beautiful it makes my breath catch when I think back to our two years there.
  3. Speaking of the Cook Islands, it was there that I caught the weaving bug.  But not with yarns of wool, silk and alpaca – fibres from the coconut palm and pandanus trees.  Fibres that the peoples of the Pacific have been using in their everyday life for centuries.  When I started talking with the local girls about learning to weave, they raised their eyebrows but kindly pointed me to the Vainetini, a women’s craft group.  It was there that “Auntie” Josie tested out my commitment (“…I think you should start with a placemat…”) before supplying me with some rau ara (dried and prepared pandanus) and helping me on my way.  You can see the full story here on Jen’s Dabbles.
  4. Blue, Blue, Blue.  I have always loved blue – my favourite award at high school was the waterpolo Blue I received…my favourite rugby team was the Blues…my eyes are blue…then there is Aitutaki Blue, a range of blues that is so incredible, so pure, so unbelievably real it must be seen to be believed.30_04_2010IMG_272
  5. Outrigger canoeing was the perfect way to enjoy that sensational lagoon in Aitutaki.  Paddling on training runs out to deserted motu’s (islets) and back as the sun set was so beautiful it was unreal.  A half time dip in the water was great – just tip yourself out of the six-man canoe into the lagoon and refresh yourself.  Magic.  I continued to paddle when we moved on to Australia in the Whitsunday Islands, which is beautiful in itself but a completely different experience.
  6. I love a good cake.  But I love decorating them even more.
  7. I have R.A. (no, that’s not what President Bartlet had – that’s MS).  Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I am lucky and it is in drug-controlled remission.  Enough said really.
  8. I might have given it away in the last ‘thing’ but I have a bit of a thing for The West Wing…and Star Trek (the Next Generation, to be specific)…and Lost…and Sleepy Hollow at the moment…am I a cliché??  I confess to marathon sessions while I weave away…shhhhhh!