Janice Issitt                    Life and Style

travel, interiors, photography, home, crafts, personal style

30 Aug 2015

Weaving Navajo Style

You may remember a while back I tried my hand at weaving. It's something I tried way way back in the mist of time (cough, whisper, sshhh it was the 1970's).  That and macrame, both of which I never thought I would see a recurrence of appreciation for. But like everything, things come back in fashion. 

I must admit, I never thought I would see G-Plan furniture coming back in style but saying that publicly just makes me look like a right old codger haha.  There are so many schools of thought on decorating, it's as personal as your clothes. I'm all in favour of revivals in styles, so whether you were born before the 70's or way after, you can either re-live your youth or play with ideas from the past. 

So with the return of retro, teak sideboards, Trechikoff paintings, browns, teals and mustards, comes the macrame plant pot holder and the woven wall hanging, and I love it.

But you don't have to go the whole hog with the look, replicating every element, if you are clever with colour you can mix it in with pieces from other time periods.  Placement is also key, and because weaving is a textural thing it can work as a way to soften a more minimal harder surrounding.

The first few little weavings I did were just to get my hand in, with anything crafty one does need to practice the technique a bit to get the tension right and also to the design that appeals to you most. 

I started with some freeform lines, seeing how different thicknesses of yarn would sit together and while its much neater to use the same size yarn all the way through you can create a more three dimensional piece with fringes and variations in weft.

So what to use as a frame, well if you look on pinterest you can see that almost anything can be adapted as a frame, old picture frames, branches etc.  Here's where my adaptation for a frame comes in, I bought a tapestry stretcher frame on ebay with the idea that such a thing might come in handy one day (oh the hoarding mentality). 

This large tapestry frame has given me the chance to make a larger piece although it is really tricky trying to keep the warp threads at an equal distance.  As my intentions were to use up some of the yarn stash it seemed a bit counter productive to buy an expensive purpose made weaving loom, and I can just imagine the reaction from the other half at spending loads of money on four bits of wood with notches in. I think if he was better at d.i.y. I would have asked if he could make a loom, perhaps you will have better luck with your spouses abilities in the wood working department, (probably not if he or she is a musician though)! I think that when this piece is finished I will decide if I like the 'handmade' look or whether to get a professional frame for a neater look.

Now I've looked at designs a bit more I'm gravitating towards the American Native Indian style of geometric, you can see these on my pinterest boards too. This week I am definitely channeling my inner Navajo.  

Textile artist Maryanne Moodie does fantastic things with fringes, I wish I could go to one of her classes as I'm not getting on well with the fringe aspect, I can't get it to sit smoothly, so for now Im giving it a miss. 

So that's my progress so far and I will show you the finished results fairly soon.  I'm also weaving beads on a small bead loom but that will have to wait until this is finished, one thing at a time. 

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