I am not joking when I say that this part of my creative work is just as important as any other when it comes to my Magic and my personal power. Leaving aside the fact of how much I personally enjoy creating, textile arts are one of the legacies of my grandmothers and many of my Ancestors, and thus one of the strongest threads (no pun intended) that join me to them.
Spinning and weaving are also part of the attributes of deities all around the world; and even at the most pragmatic level, keeping the learning muscle active will do wonders for your mental health – and once you’ve got the hang of it, all of these arts have tremendous meditative and therapeutical qualities. Whoever dismisses this area of art as something “for grandmas”, is not only seriously insulting grandmas (and I am not taking it) – this person is just a fool.
For those who want to try: You Tube is FULL of astounding tutorials for all of these techniques. Do not be afraid to try something new!
A technique I’ve wanted to learn for a long time – since I’ve been crocheting for over 30 years, I found the process itself to be very easy, but it was quite taxing on my hands, probably because I tend to crochet very tightly. The little basket below was made with upcycled yarn, and has proven to be extremely useful to carry my knitting extras (scissors, yarn needle, measuring tape and such) around the house, so I am definitely making more of these – just spacing the projects between others, to avoid the dreaded Repetitive Motion Injure.
The project below looks really nice, but right now it’s in the UFO (UnFinished Object) row. It’s made using the same technique, but with much finer threads. It caused my left hand to cramp badly after a few hours, so right now I do not know if I will finish it, because it doesn’t make sense to me to do any crafts that worsen my fibromyalgia, when there are so many options to let my creativity loose :).
And, let me add something about UFOS – although my UFO stash is quite small, they do not worry me or ashame me one bit. Every second I spent doing this, I was learning and honing my technique, and not wasting my time. The fact that it did not become a finished item, or that some UFOS never will, is completely irrelevant for me. As a painter, no one would expect me to complete every sketch into a finished work, or to finish 100% of the paintings I start – but, in the textile arts community, there is this shame of UFOS, as if they were a failure. In my opinion, they are not, at all; they are just steps into your path.
Fernando is the spinner of the house – or, better said, the Winter spinner, because spinning in our summer is just insane. The first day of rain in October is our calendar date to take out the wool and the wheel, and until temperatures rise again around May, he will be spinning enough wool to last through the rest of the year. These are the first two yarns of this year – one made with the colours of our winter, and another one reserved for Christmas crafts:
I am not nearly as experienced as a knitter than I am as a crocheter, so one of my goals this winter is to improve my spectrum of skills about it, starting with learning to work on circular and dpns (Double Pointed Needles). None of these techniques are popular at all neither in Spain, nor in the Canary Islands, so as a child I learnt to knit on straight needles the Spanish way (which is with one needle under your arm), and quickly abandoned it for crochet – once I retook the knitting craft around 8 years ago, it became just a growing frustration, because it was really tasking for my body.
As someone living with a chronic illness, I cannot afford to do crafts that worsen my condition – but, I am very glad to say, dpns have been a total saver for me! Absolutely no hand or back pain, and the lightness and softness of the wood needles is just delightful. The needles were, of course, made by Fernando, who’s a very skilled wood carver.
The sachet below was made with the yarn I showed you above, and it’s a gift for the musician that offered his music at our latest Noche De Animas Service.
Christmas is usually a busy season at Bruja Carolina, so I’m starting the Christmas gifts early with this lovely ornament pattern from Little Cotton Rabbits. These have an added challenge – colourwork, something I had never done before, but that I found really entertaining. Yes, I know these are horrible :D – but, considering that these are a) my first real socks; b) my first colourwork; and c) I just started working with dpns – I am quite happy that I managed to follow the pattern from start to finish. There is no way to improve without some horrible first tries!
The best of my embroidery and tailoring is, of course, for my small collection of reproduction dolls. A reproduction doll is a modern copy of an antique doll, made by a doll artist and not by a factory, and a perfect choice for someone who enjoys sewing – with so many fitting tests, measurements and adjustments, using a real antique doll would be very dangerous (for the doll). I don’t sell the dolls or the clothing, so this is a permanent work in progress for me; right now, I am working with Angelica, a 24 inch doll from the estate of doll artist Reg Sobey. First, I had to restring her and repair the wig completely, as it was a total mess; that alone took two days of work.
Below, a detail of the stitching in the shirt’s front, which was improvised. Such a great way to create and explore stitches and new techniques. As always, everything is made from my own patterns, that I create following traditional tailoring, and handstitched from start to finish.
Below, a before-and-after photos of the shoes, which had to be completely restored as the leather had scuffs and glue stains. Some of the dolls I have were purchased fully dressed by the original makers; I love to reuse/upcycle every piece of clothing, as to show my respect for both the tradition of dollmaking, and for the artist him/herself. Actually, in the picture on the right, you can see an underskirt that I made using an undergarment from another doll – that’s the only machine stitched stuff you will find in my dolls!
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