Tag: handbags

Inventory Day! 

Owning your own business is lot more than simply weaving all day, creating cool stuff! There are lots of business-y minutiae that need to be done on a weekly or yearly basis. On that list is taking inventory. I usually knock it out at the start of a new year & today’s the day! Counting up what is actually left after a busy year is a satisfying task – not to mention the bonus of getting to pet all the fabrics along the way! 

It makes me think back to another much less fun inventory day. I was home for the summer during college working for Kelly Services and they assigned me to a company called Sprague Devices. (If I recall correctly, they made windshield wipers for trucks.) I sat on a dirty floor in a warehouse counting little nuts, bolts and flotsam for what felt like an entire year, but in reality was only a day or two. It was exhausting and filthy and thank goodness I was 20 and didn’t care how icky the job was! 

Compared to that experience, today should be a breeze! By Sunday morning, I hope to have a comprehensive list of my remaining handbags – without ending up covered in dirt! (Although, at some point I’ll probably sit on the floor… and I haven’t vacuumed in awhile… so, maybe a little dirt, then.)

The weird, exciting life of an artist…

It’s been awhile – a very long awhile, since I’ve done a blog post! But, this idea keeps rolling around in my head to write about my crazy, challenging, never boring life as an artist. The plan is to bring you some stories from the road and from the studio. Hopefully, they’ll provide an accurate and occasionally entertaining glimpse into life as a weaver – the good, bad and unexpected! 

So, I thought I would start with a little vignette from the road. I’ve been a traveling fool this summer! Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Connecticut, Tennessee and of course, homebase Indiana. Most of the art fairs have been new for me – which just ratchets up the anxiety level! Not only am I driving to a new place, I’m hoping to sell well in front of new buyers, impress new organizers, and ideally, connect with new artists! It’s a tall order, let me tell you! 

Here’s the scenario – I’m in Nashville, TN at the TN Fall Craft Fair at B24 for a 3-day show. You always hope you have been assigned to a good spot, but you never really know. Turns out, B24? Best spot in the event! How do you figure, you ask? Well, I have some shade (which is priceless when the temps are in the 90’s every day), I’m close to the food & port-o-potties, and I have brilliant neighbors! 

On Friday (first day of the art fair), I ventured over to get the largest cold beverage I could find, since it was hotter than the sun. Or at least it felt like that, as I had already sweat through my outfit multiple times. Up to the coffee vendor I go, “Biggest ice tea you have, please!” Turns out, they offer a fish bowl – 32 ounces! Perfect! The drink is prepped and I don’t see any lids. So, I ask and they respond, “Yes, we have no lids”. Now, I’m not the world’s most graceful girl and a number of scenarios instantly play through my head of how this could end badly. But, I cautiously proceed back to my tent all the same. 

My neighbors at B25 are Julie & Darrell – fellow midwesterners, newbies to the show just like me, and all around extremely likeable people! I share my predicament with them and Darrell chimes in, “We’ve got a lid”! Julie, who has a fierce love of lemonade, got a humongous drink earlier in the day from a different vendor. So, I happily borrowed their lid to ensure that neither myself nor my handbags ended up covered in iced tea! 

Over the course of the weekend, it became a thing – Julie would use the lid early in the day for her lemonade and then pass it over to me for my iced tea (we were being good recyclers and reusing the cups, too). On Sunday afternoon, as everything was winding down, we made our final swap & I ended up as Keeper of the Lid. Being an artist is mostly a very solitary job. So, finding kindred spirits at an event is an amazing bonus! When I see Julie & Darrell next (in November at a holiday event in Michigan), it will be great fun to reconnect, see how the fall was, and most importantly, hand back the lid! 

Visual candy here!

Hello, friends! It’s been a big week and I’m all tuckered out. So, I propose a visual walk through the blog this time around! I’ll be back to my usual glib self next week. Enjoy!

No one's surprised I'm using green here...
No one’s surprised I’m using green here…
The rule of weaving - some are up, some are down!
The rule of weaving – some are up, some are down!
Putting the rag shuttle to good use!
Putting the rag shuttle to good use!
The end of a necktie trying to escape...
The end of a necktie trying to escape…
Love seeing the cones in the background!
Love seeing the cones in the background!
Ah, progress!
Ah, progress!
The woven landscape...
The woven landscape…
This is going to make gorgeous handbags!
This is going to make gorgeous handbags!
Time to forward the project!
Time to forward the project!

Next up, there will be more weaving – yay!!! Probably a little less green, but definitely more weaving! Talk to you soon…

Run 14 Weaving 26

And the beat goes on…

Did you know that when you pull the beater bar forward, squashing the yarns together in the fabric, that’s called, “beating”? And there’s your trivia for the day! (I know you’ve been holding your breath just waiting for that little nugget!)

The woven landscape...
The woven landscape…

Last we chatted, I was weaving in yarns and pieces of recycled neckties to create a lovely bolt of fabric that will be turned into handbags! And guess what? This week, more of the same – just pinkier! (This is immensely funny because of all the colors in the whole, wide world, pink is my least favorite! Turns out, I can stomach the dark pink colors better. But still, the coincidence is not lost on me!)

Yes, please!
Yes, please!
Making progress!
Making progress!

With this loom, I can typically weave about 6″ before I have to forward the project – and that’s a nice amount of space! If any of you plan to do a bit of loom shopping in the near future, my suggestion is to specifically ask about that dimension since every loom is built differently. And if you don’t have “loom shopping” on your list of things to do, I highly recommend it!

Adding in more purple!
Adding in more purple!
It's a bird's eye view!
It’s a bird’s eye view!

As I go along, I am taking out the dark purple yarns and replacing them with bright magentas and pinks. The goal is to gradually morph from one hue to another. I love it when colors seem to ease in and out of each other – especially with yarn, because I know each one is a solid color. So, I find it magical when they look like they’re changing in front of my eyes! (Can you tell I spend a lot of time thinking about this?)

Shuttling along...
Shuttling along…
Just makes me happy!
Just makes me happy!

And let’s not forget about the neckties! I’m using ties that blend in fairly well. So, at times, you just sense that the texture is different versus actually being able to pick out each tie. But, that’s OK with me. The joy of being an artist is deciding what you want your product to look like – picking which elements are critical and which ones aren’t.

See how the fabric changes?
See how the fabric changes?

The end is coming quickly! Next week, I’ll finish up the weaving fun and cut this puppy off! And then, who knows? Don’t you love the delicious, agonizing minutes in between projects? It’s something to look forward to! Talk to you soon…

Run 15 Weaving 61

If you "weave" me now…

The title is a play on a song by the band Chicago! (Please note, I didn’t say it was a good play! Just that it popped into my head when I needed a title!) Who out there is singing, “oohoohooh-oohoh! Baby, please don’t go!”? Ah, the hard core fans in the group… love it! And now, on with the show!

And we're weaving!
And we’re weaving!

So last week, I kicked off the project with light blues. Now, I am slowing easing into darker colors. Occasionally, I’ve been throwing in a strip of necktie to provide some additional texture, as well as incorporate something fabulously re-purposed!

What would we do without rag shuttles?
What would we do without rag shuttles?
The ties blend in better with the darker colors.
The ties blend in better with the darker colors.

I own a small handful of different types of shuttles. There are lots in the entire universe, I am sure! But, the versions that I love to use are the rag shuttle (great for holding either fat yarns, or a handful of different yarns together), and the boat shuttle (which holds a bobbin that you can wind very quickly). Those (2) are my go-to pieces of equipment, great in nearly any project!

A tie is joining the party!
A tie is joining the party!
Occasionally, the ends try to escape!
Occasionally, the ends try to escape!

Because this will be used as fabric to make handbags, I don’t worry about the ends of the yarn. I just let them all hang out! They will simply get cut when the bags are being created anyways. This is huge time-saver!

And then there are the ends of the weft!
And then there are the ends of the weft!
We're getting darker!
We’re getting darker!

I love the process of subtly changing the colors in the shuttle. Usually, I’ll swap out one or two yarns in the bunch each time I load it up. That way, I can avoid a drastic change and instead, aim for a smooth transition from color to color. The challenge of figuring out how to best accomplish that makes me so happy!

See the ties hidden in the fabric?
See the ties hidden in the fabric?

And the weaving goes on! I won’t have too much fun without you – promise! We’ll talk soon…

Run 15 Weaving 24