Friday, November 25, 2011

Built in Brooklyn Craft Fair!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! And now, since we are all in post-Thanksgiving mode, two things are happening: 1) we are consuming way too many leftovers, and 2) we are all in full-on holiday gift shopping mode.

So, in the spirit of holiday shopping, I will be participating in another craft fair called the Built in Brooklyn Craft Fair on Franklin Avenue hosted at LaunchPad. I will be there Saturday, December 3, from 12-6 p.m., along with a bunch of other talented local artisans. Come check it out!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Park Slope Craft Fair Tomorrow!

Hello all!

If you're in the NYC area, come stop by the craft fair in Park Slope at John Jay Campus: 237 7th Avenue in Brooklyn, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be all sorts of good stuff there-- including mine!-- just in time for holiday gift shopping. Money from vendors will benefit Brooklyn schools, so come shop for a good cause!

A preview of some of the lovely wares I'll be peddling:

See you there!

Monday, November 14, 2011

My first custom order!

A while back, I weaved a scarf for a friend's birthday present. A little while later, her parents visited her, and there was a cold snap. She wore the scarf I'd made for her. Her dad saw it and contacted me about making a scarf for him, too. I was so excited-- my first custom order!

He wanted a black and yellow plaid scarf with a touch of red. I chose to use Lion Brand's Vanna's Choice because it's soft, durable and washable. Plaid patterns are a lot of fun to weave-- I love designing the way the colors will overlap with one another, then seeing how it looks when that design translates to the actual woven fabric.

I sent my friend's dad the finished product, and he received it a few days ago. He sent me this picture along with very kind comments. Thank you Mr. Jennings!

I love creating custom pieces. It's a way for me to get to know someone and give them something fun and functional at the end of the process.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Yarn Dyeing Workshop

This past Sunday afternoon, a friend and I participated in a yarn dyeing workshop at Lion Brand Yarn Studios near Union Square. (If you are into yarn crafts and live in NYC, go there! It is an awesome shop and the people who work there don't mind if you touch every ball of yarn on the shelves.) The workshop focused on how to dye self-striping yarn, which is yarn that is dyed to have different stripes of color in it so you don't have to change skeins to get the color-changing effect.

Our instructor gave us "sock blanks," which are already-knitted swatches of material that contain enough yarn to make a pair of socks. They had been knit on a knitting machine before class, so all we had to do was paint them (which is, of course, my favorite part.)

For this process, we used acid dyes. Our yarn blanks were soaked in water before class, and given to us ready to be painted. We could mix the dyes with less water to get very intense colors, or more water to get more pastel colors. (I naturally opted for intense, bright colors.) After mixing the dyes with water in cups, we used foam brushes to dab the mixture onto our yarn, making sure that the dyes bled all the way through to the other side of the yarn.

It was neat to watch everyone in the workshop paint their yarn because even though we were given the same instructions and the same basic tools, everyone's yarn blanks ended up looking completely different. Some people painted triangles or zig-zags and some chose stripes, some chose bright colors while others used more subdued tones. Harkening back to the little dyeing I had done in my college weaving and color theory courses, I chose yellow, magenta and turquoise and let them bleed into one another to make purple, orange and green in some places. My friend took one look at my bright yellow yarn and said, "Brianna, that is so you."

After we were all done painting, our instructor wrapped up our soggy yarn in plastic bags and placed them all in a crock pot. Heat and pressure helps the dye set into the yarn. After about twenty minutes, our yarn was still soggy but ready to be taken home, washed, and made into something. Mine is currently hanging in the bathroom, drying out after its last rinse. I'm excited to make something out of it!

Now for the fun part: pictures! (Thanks to the staff at Lion Brand Studios for the photos-- not to mention the workshop!)

Supplies on the table: dyes, cups, patterns, brushes and a clean sock blank.

Workshop participants busy with their sock blanks-- you can see mine there in the foreground with the bright rainbow dyes on it.

Showing off my work!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Welcome to the Warped Handwovens blog!

A little introduction to me and my work:
My name is Brianna. As a kid I was constantly drawing, painting, playing with clay, beading, collaging, needle-crafting-- I always knew I wanted to do something related to art when I grew up. For college, I attended Syracuse University, where I studied Communications Design and fell in love with design.

At SU, art and design elective courses outside our main focus of study were required in our curriculum. One semester, knowing nothing about weaving, I signed up for Intro to Floor Loom. It became my favorite studio elective-- I found the weaving process methodical and meditative (a great stress reliever), and at the end I had created something beautiful and functional. I learned about all sorts of techniques, patterns and materials, and created a few pieces I was very proud of.

Fast forward a few years, after I'd moved to New York for a design job. The job was good, but I was itching for something to do after work that's more than watching TV or checking Facebook. I kept thinking about weaving, but there was no way I could afford the kind of loom I learned on-- plus, there was no way I could fit one into an apartment in Brooklyn. But after doing some research, I stumbled on the Cricket Loom, a table-loom-sized lightbulb went off. Soon after, I got my Cricket Loom in the mail and started weaving away.

At first, I weaved just to relax, and I didn't really think about doing anything with the pieces I finished. But after several months and a growing pile of scarves (not to mention half-unraveled yarn balls that seemed to follow me around the apartment), I started wondering what I could do with them. Right around that time, I saw a flyer for the Built in Brooklyn craft fair. I sent in an application and got a table, and proceeded to go into production hyperdrive. Thanks to my design background, I know how important branding is. So is the origin of Warped Handwovens-- "Warped" being a little nod to both the length-wise threads on the loom and the fact that I'm a little strange.

Warped Handwovens made its first appearance at that craft fair, where I sold a few things and began to realize this could be more than just a hobby, and my scarves could have homes other than on a shelf in my closet. I started an Etsy shop around that time. Since then, I've been working on building up my inventory, doing some personal weaving projects and some custom orders. In the coming months, I plan on participating in a few more craft fairs around Brooklyn and adding more to my shop.

This blog is where I will discuss my weaving projects, techniques, inspiration, events, other crafty people I like, and basically all things warped. For more warped goodness, visit my Etsy shop. Thanks for visiting, and please check back often for updates!

And, because this is supposed to be about my projects, here's a glimpse of one of my most recent:

A scarf inspired by the vanilla-chococolate-strawberry ice cream combo. Delicious!