After a morning epiphany during my meditation time, I worked my witchy ass off all day to give a huge turnaround at my art website. I realized that since I see no difference between the many manifestations of my art, and that I believe them all to come from the same source, they should all share the same space, and the same importance. I invite you to visit it, and enjoy the new galleries – plenty of magical, herbal, artsy eye candy!

http://carolinagonzalezart.weebly.com/

 

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Textile Arts: Latest Work And Experiments

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!

Tapestry Crochet

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.

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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.

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Spinning

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:

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Knitting

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.

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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!

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Sewing

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.

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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.

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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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Textile Arts: Free Crochet Icod Stitch Pattern

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Icod is a beautiful town in the north of Tenerife, the island where I live. The yarn colours I chose reminded of its landscape, always green and cloudy, as it is located on a very fertile area.

Please click on the picture above to open the PDF file for the pattern of this lovely stitch combination. Besides the pattern for the stitch, you will find pictures and a description (but not a tutorial) of the work made to create the handbag that you can see below. This is a really easy stitch pattern, as long as you know how to make front post and back post double crochet. If you don’t, please check on YouTube for instructions, there are lots of fantastic tutorials there. As always, personal use only!

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Textile Arts: Free Crochet Afghan Square Pattern

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Please click on the picture above to open the PDF file for the pattern of this afghan square, or download it from my Ravelry page if you prefer. As always, personal use only!

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Textile Arts: More Cross Stitch Magical Patterns – Secret Garden Sachet

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When I started this blog, my intention was not only to republish all the useful articles I have written over the past ten years, but also to document my life as it is, with its natural cycles. For us, July and August are the months of indoors activities – just as people in other countries are housebound by snow, we are housebound by the heat. With temperatures staying over 40C/104F as a minimum, day and night, and virtually nothing to wildharvest, it is the time to sew, knit, spin, etc. As our life changes from season to season, so does this blog :).

This new pattern was named Secret Garden because it has been designed for those Witches who have to hide their craft from other people’s eyes. From outside, it looks just like an embroidered sachet with a flower design, as the lavender ones used for perfuming cupboards – totally harmless. But it is so much more than that.

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The design features two overlapped crosses, one with thistles, and one with roses, making it a very powerful sigil for the protection and blessing of the home, specially for women and children, as both plants are strongly related to Mother deities. Of course, the filling can be customized to those needs, or to any other needs, depending on where you intend to place it. Here are some examples:

· For Money And Road Opening Magic: fill it with Basil, Bay Laurel, a piece of Cinnamon stick and three shiny golden coins of any type. If you work in an office, keep it in your purse; if you own a business, hang it near the entrance door; if you work from home, hang it near your desk/computer.

· For Love: fill it with Rose petals, Lavender, Peppermint/Spearmint, and something your lover/love target has touched. Hang it over your bed.

· For Protection: fill it with Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Wormwood, and a piece of Hematite. Place it over your front door (but in the inside of the house, of course).

· For Healing And Health: fill it with Sage, Rosemary, Marigold petals, and a piece of Amethyst. Keep it in your kitchen.

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The sachet is just two squares of fabric sewn together, one with the embroidery, and another one of your choice. Sew with right sides facing each other, serge, trim the sewing allowance and turn around. Fill the sachet and sew shut; you can leave it as that, or you can add lace, trims, pompoms, beads, tassels, charms… that really depends on your taste and sewing abilities.

Witches – remember intention at all times, from beginning to end of the project. The more focused you are on your intention, the more powerful the sachet will be.

A crafter’s extra note – to avoid plant bits to escape through the fabric, wrap the herbs in a paper towel to the shape of the sachet, like making a small packet or envelope, and place it in the sachet like that. That will also make much easier to sew it shut!

Feel free to download the sachet pattern by clicking the image below.  And as always –  personal use only, and never for items for sale!

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Textile Arts: Crochet Cushion Cover

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This cushion cover was made to save an ugly-but-useful-boring-beige cushion I was given by a friend. I’ve been crocheting for over 30 years; coming from a family of seamstresses, my love for textile arts started at a very early age. Crochet clothing is usually too hot to wear here, even in winter, so I can only make home stuff – and this ugly cushion gave me the perfect excuse :). In this post, you can find the links to the patterns I used, all from the lovely website Cypress Textiles.

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It started with making four of these squares, the Laura Square, from her Ravelry Page.  Then, I turned to the website and found the beautiful Celtic Lace Junior method of her creation,  which was used to put the four squares together. From there, I changed colour again and improvised a border of my own creation – but you can certainly use any of the lovely patterns she has shared for a border of your liking Here.

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In this picture above you can see it still unfinished, just pinned to the piece so I could know how much space I had left to cover. See how beautiful the joining method looks when the fabric below shows! Below, the finished piece.

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If you love textile arts, Ravelry is Pattern Heaven, so join if you haven’t yet! Although this work is not for beginners, this same author has simpler pieces that even beginners can do, so check her website and find yourself a new addiction :). Now, for a little extra inspiration, some crochet pieces I’ve made in the past years – no patterns for them because these were improvised, but it would be very easy to find patterns for similar pieces on Ravelry.

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A pentacle-shaped mat, for my cats, made by working with two threads at the same time – one regular acrylic yarn leftover, and a ball made of joining together leftover bits of handspun yarn. The cats love it :).

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Double sided potholder/teapot trivet, because herbalist friends deserve nice things :).

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A basket for moving my art projects sround the house, made with granny squares – stash busting!

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A few years ago, I crocheted a whole box of baby clothes for an Algerian charity – this is one of the pieces made.

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And of course, Tarot bags :).

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Textile Arts: More Cross Stitch Magical Patterns – Canarian Goat

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My third incursion into cross stitch pattern design is a homage to one of the the most important animals in the history of our islands, both for the Guanches and for colonized Canarians – the goat. Our geography, created by volcanic activity, filled with deep ravines and with barely no flat pasture fields, makes it very difficult for herding sheep or cows;  but goats can make it and thrive in almost any environment, and quickly became the constant companion of the aboriginal shepherds and farmers.

I created the pattern from scratch,  starting with pictures of our indigenous goat breeds, and added several decorative rows of small designs in the body, as not to make it too boring to embroider. I embroidered it on eggshell coloured Aida cloth with the finest crochet thread I had (which would be size 30) in a deep red colour. I really loved the result, but it would look great in other combinations, like white and blue, or white and black.

Feel free to download the goat pattern by clicking the image below. You can embroider amulet sachets, bags for cards/gemstones/herbs, embroider and frame the pieces as sigils, or create magical gift cards with them for loved ones. And as always –  personal use only, and never for items for sale!

The GoatA detail of the framed piece. It fits a 4×6 inches frame well, but size can vary depending on the fabric you choose, and on the size of your stitches.

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Note – you can find other free embroidery patterns created by me HERE and HERE.

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Textile Arts: Crochet Elf Slippers

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This pattern for crochet slippers has been on my Ravelry page for ages, without getting any attention because I barely have any time to be there. So, I decided to offer it here too, so all blog readers can enjoy it.

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A pattern much easier than it seems, filled with texture, but that requires that you know front loop, back loop, front post, and back post stitches. It is worked from the toe up. As always, remember – personal use only. Please click on the link below to download this pattern:

Elf Crochet Slippers – Open PDF File

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Textile Arts: More Cross Stitch Magical Patterns – Welcome Spring!

I had such fun making the cross stitch sampler and the first page of embroidery designs, that I jumped immediately into more designing and stitching.  I absolutely loved the folk style patterns I chose for the sampler, but as you know doing work that represents my own culture is essential to me, so I decided to create some designs with herbs and flowers that are always around me.

On the image below, which you are most welcome to download, you can see the second set of patterns I have created, this time focused on Mediterranean and North African flowers and herbs, along with an explanation of their symbolism. You can embroider amulet sachets, bags for cards/gemstones/herbs, embroider and frame the pieces as sigils, or create magical gift cards with them for loved ones. They are extremely easy, even if you have never tried cross stitch before. And as always –  personal use only, and never for items for sale!

Welcome Spring

Again, I loved making these designs, and creating new ones with elements of my surroundings was definitely the direction for me – I’m not interested in copying anyone when I create (because then it would not be creation at all!), but instead what drives me is reflecting my world and my experience of life. I have nothing but the utmost respect for tradition, and so I stay within traditional materials and techniques, but if we don’t continue with the creation, what are we leaving for the next generations?

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The first one I chose to embroider was the Rosemary pattern, on a strip of eggshell colour Aida cloth, to make a trivet with a small blue towel.

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With a bit of trim from my stash, it was ready to be used :).

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People always ask me what I do with these projects. Sometimes they become gifts for people I love, but most of them are used in my everyday life. Life is short, and tomorrow is never granted – so, in my view of life,  it is always time to use the beautiful things that surround me. I don’t care if, with time, this towel is going to end up being a rag – every time I use it, it will add a touch of magic to that moment, and that is EXACTLY why I made it.

Textile Arts: Cross Stitch Sampler, And Free Magical Patterns

In the past weeks, I have been working on a cross stitch sampler. I do a lot of surface embroidery, but cross stitch is something entirely different, and a skill I really wanted to improve. I didn’t follow a specific pattern, but instead I worked on filling as much as possible, picking little details from many different patterns. I worked on 32 ct undyed linen with DMC threads, choosing colours that mimic historical natural dyes.

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The piece, framed and ready to be hung – of course, the frame was a dumpster diving find :).

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Closeup of the patterns.

Since drawing and painting was my first skill as an artist, and one I think to be the true foundation of many of my other crafts, I couldn’t resist designing some patterns myself, and stitching them among the more traditional ones. At its core, cross stitch is a binary language, so it was a completely different thing from drawing freehand patterns for surface embroidery – completely different, but very, very interesting for me.  You can be sure you will be seeing more of this in this blog.

And, of course, there is the meaning of the motifs – crosses for protection, birds for love, diamonds for wealth, and so on.  On the image below, which you are more welcome to download, you can see some the first set of patterns I created, along with an explanation of their symbolism. You can embroider amulet sachets, bags for cards/gemstones/herbs, embroider and frame the pieces as sigils, or create magical gift cards with them for loved ones. They are extremely easy, even if you have never tried cross stitch before. And as always –  personal use only, and never for items for sale!

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Please click on this picture to get the full size image, which will print nicely on a full sheet of paper.