Friday, March 6, 2015


This morning is yet another morning of the last few, that I've awakened with a feeling of disconnect.  There is a lot going on in my little brain - that's not anything new.  The thoughts I'm having aren't all that new either, but I can usually shake them off within a day or two.  Not so much this time.  That's ok.  Being reflective is a good thing for me.  I just know that anyone that knows me, can tell what's going on with one look into my face.  That part, I really wish I could hide.  I am who I am, and there's no hiding anything.

When I'm feeling this way, I tend to either veg a lot, or be creative. I've been doing both.

If you remember back a few months  almost a year ago, I said I was involved in the Journey to the Golden Fleece course.  This course sort of opened up a lot of feelings for me, and it also taught me about following my heart, not my brain.  The heart says do "this" and the brain says, "no one will ever like it."  This thinking, along with some other things that happened, led me to the year I'm having this year - all about finding Martha.     This has been good in most ways, but it has also made me realize some things I've been stuffing inside.  Which then makes me face those stuffed things.  Which isn't easy............more on this down the page.

Yesterday we had a snowstorm blow through.  Thor.  Thor was interesting.  Thor started out with mild temps and rain, then turned to freezing rain as the temps dropped, and finally, dumped about six inches of snow on us.  The previous snow had just melted and gone away, literally, the day before Thor arrived.

The ground is white, and pristine looking.  It won't stay this way, but for now, it's absolutely beautiful.  Yes, I'm crazy.  I love the look of fresh fallen snow.  That's probably because I don't live in a snow belt, and haven't had feet upon feet of snow fall on me, like my friends and family in New England have had......on the other hand, watching the snow fall and blow around and the peacefulness it causes, is magical to me.  I have no other way of explaining it.

So after hanging out on the computer for awhile, and having a couple of conversations, I decided to do some weaving.  I had done a wall hanging, my first with weaving, a few days ago, because I needed to finish up the Journey course.   During the course, I'd fall behind, then do a couple of modules at once, creating the yarn I needed for those modules.  Then I'd fall behind again, and catch up the same way.  It was my creative process, so I told myself, however I got through it, was what it was going to be.  I made some pretty plain yarn, and some really fancy, colorful yarn, and I  made corespun yarn with wire, and I made yarn with colorful feathers sticking out all over.

I was going to weave it on the circular loom that we got to work on during the course, but because my yarn had some special features, I couldn't see myself tearing it apart by pulling it in a circle and possibly damaging some of the yarn, and I figured it would also cause me to struggle, and I didn't want to struggle while weaving.  I decided to weave it on my 15" Cricket loom which was warped, and I had enough black cotton warp left on it, to weave this wall hanging.

©Martha Manigross
This wall hanging used each of the yarns I made during the Journey course, and I wove them in all in a row.  Although I feel like no one else would understand the cohesiveness of this piece, that's not what this is about, and I'm extremely happy with it.  The weird thing is, it felt SO good to be weaving a wall, it is meant to be that I do this.  It's been a long time coming.  Something I realized just around the same time I completed this, is that it brought me back to high school, when I did an art piece in macrame'.  I was told at the time, the piece was accepted into an art exhibit that would be photographed, put in a slideshow, to be shown in schools across the country.  I never got the piece back.  That makes me sad to not have it, and no one else really ever knew it happened, and I never got to see the who knows what really happened to it.

At any rate, I felt grounded to have made this piece.  Which led me to making another piece yesterday during Thor......

©Martha Manigross
I call this piece, roots.

I'll be making more wall hangings.  Which means I'll be spinning more yarn, to get the textures and colors I'm looking for. It was very calming and meaningful for me to do this wall hanging and there are MANY more in me to do.

Well, that's it for today.  I have much more I could say, but I have PT this morning and many things to get done.

Take care,

Sunday, March 1, 2015

New Project!

Since I've been in this new mode of weaving and sewing clothing from the cloth I've woven, I was poking around the basement and found some cloth I'd woven a few years ago, on one of my "other" looms.  I think it was the newer Baby Wolf 4 shaft.  I did NOT get along with that loom at all.....I had so much trouble with it, all the time.  Previous looms I owned were: an older model Baby Wolf, a 45" Leclerc 4 shaft loom, and a 24" Kromski Harp rigid heddle loom.  I loved the Leclerc, but it was HUGE and took up too much room.

I have to say,  I LOVE my little Saori loom. It's SO easy to do everything with. It's easy to thread, slaying the heddles and the reed; it's easy to flip around if I need to get to the back.  It's got the little shelf built in on the top, as well as the bobbin winder built in.  It's quiet, and easy to play with.  It fits in perfectly in my little office/studio.

©Martha Manigross
You see the purple cloth hanging over the back of the chair in the photo above?  It is the fabric I spoke of above, the fabric I'd woven on the Baby Wolf.  I wound the warp and used the same yarn for the weft.  There were lots of long floats where the threads didn't catch when I was weaving.  It's okay though, I'm good with that.  It's got great drape and I love the colors.  I decided to make a shirt out of it.

I did what I always do with my hand woven cloth ~ I sewed it together in rectangles.  That makes for a very basic, boxy top.  Not exactly flattering.  Like this one:
©Martha Manigross
This is fun, but it has NO shape to it and on my body its quiet unflattering, but it's my creation and I love it.  I'm thinking of re-working this one to make it a bit nicer for me to wear.

So the adventure began when I decided I was going to be brave, and try to make the new one look more fitted, more like a real shirt, one I'll be happy to wear.  Once I got the center front and back sewn, by overlapping the selvaged edges, I decided to sew up the sides.  It was really HUGE on me as this cloth was wider than the cloth I'd recently woven.

I put it back on the dress form, and I let it sit there overnight.  I had to take my time and decide what I wanted to do with it.  Sleeping on it, and seeing it sit on the dress form, helped me not rush through the process just to get it done.  Yeah, I do that.

The next day, I got up and I decided I was going to be brave.  I pinned the sides of the shirt, making it more fitted.  I tried it on - carefully - and took it off and decided to sew the sides up along the pinned lines.  I tried it on again, just to be sure, and I liked it!  I actually ended up sewing the sleeves to look like real sleeves - I sewed up the sides, then did an upside down L across the sleeve.  It fits SO much better!

Of course, then I had to cut all the excess cloth - and that hurts!   It's really hard to cut the cloth you worked so hard to make.  Once I did it, it was SO freeing!  The shirt actually fits me so nicely. It's not REAL fitted.  It fits loosely and it is airy and comfortable.

©Martha Manigross
Ta Da!  This is the shirt.  It's a pull over.  The next is boat shaped with a bit of a V in the center. It's difficult to tell in this photos because I have my arms up and it's not ironed.

I did learn a few things from this project.  I had to sew all the cut seams down, or they'll come totally unraveled.  I hemmed it by rolling the hem up and sewing, but ended up taking out the stitches, and using a lace hem tape.  The hem lays much flatter.  My dress form is invaluable for hemming straight.  I would never have been able to get the hem straight without the dress form. I think this is one of the best investments I've made!   Too bad I waited so long to do it.

I'm very happy with this shirt. I'll be making more with future hand woven fabric.

I bought some Valentine's day fabric on clearance at Wal Mart.  I am going to cut out a fabric pattern based on the above shirt.  Then I can just cut my hand woven fabric and sew it together without it causing me so much stress.

I've put a new pre-wound warp on the Saori loom, and I've started weaving. I will get some weaving done today, since the weather is making this a stay-in type of day.  I over-did it a bit yesterday anyway, so I'm glad I get to lay low today.

Thanks for letting me share.  Take care.