Saffron Orange & Maroon Red

When that first spark ignited in my heart for the people of Tibet, I found that, to me, their culture was synonymous with saffron orange and maroon red. For the most part, this is because these are the colors that the monks wear.
Monks-Robe

The traditional robes worn by today’s Tibetan monks originated 2,500 years ago.  Monks of that time, would scavenge cloth that had been discarded for reasons such as, being chewed by mice or oxen, being soiled by childbirth or menstruation, or being used to shroud a dead body. This cloth would be cleaned and any salvageable areas would be cut out and sewn together.

iStock_saffronA dye would be made by boiling the bark of trees, plant juices, leaves, fruit and flower juices along with the roots and tubers of plants over a long period of time. The maroon color of the outer robes that we see used today became the traditional color of Tibetan monks because at the time it was the cheapest dye to produce.  The inner robes are usually a bright saffron orange. Often, spices and heartwood from a jackfruit tree would be used  to achieve this color.

saffron yarn & fabric
Do you have certain colors that you automatically relate to a certain place?

Winter Weaving

Winter WeavingI did a little winter weaving on my portable loom. It felt good to sit down on a cold, snowy day & play with some of my stash yarns.  This little weaving was inspired by the fresh fallen snow & the Magnolia tree in our backyard.

Winter Pussy Willow

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This weaving loom can be found in my Etsy shop

Dream Catchers

UPDATE 5/4/15: I apologize for the quality of these photos.  I am currently working to rewrite this post with clearer images.

Creating a dream catcher is such a fun & meaningful project.  They are a lot of fun and simple to make. This tutorial will show you how to do the webbing.

MaterialsMaterials:

Hoop ~ this can be anything from the inside piece of an embroidery hoop (what I used for this demonstration), a metal ring, or a wreath.

String ~ any type of string can be used, cotton, hemp, yarn, wire . . .

Sewing needle can make the job a little easier, but it isn’t necessary for doing this project.

Dream catcher webbing1. First, tie the string to the hoop.  Then, wrap the string around the hoop as shown.  You want the string to wrap around it’s self to help hold it in place. I didn’t do this on my first dream catcher & I found it difficult to maintain the tension that I wanted on each stitch.

2. Work your way around the hoop.  Keep in mind the more stitches you have around the loop, the smaller the stitches will be. This is neither good nor bad, but just a different look.

3. Now, you are going to work your way around the hoop a second time. This time, you want to place your stitch on the section of sting between the first stitch and theplace where you tied the string on.

4. Continue working your way around the hoop making stitches between the stitches of the previous round. Look at the arrows on image 3.

5. Keep going around the hoop making stitches between the two stitches above it until you can’t go any further or you decide you are done. Tie the string in place.  You may want to use a tiny dab of glue or clear fingernail polish to help secure the knot.

WebbingThere are several ways to get creative with the webbing. Here you can see the difference having more or less stitches around the hoop.  You can also add tiny beads anywhere you like by threading it onto the string & holding it in place as you work the next stitch.  Another idea is to switch colors as you go.

From here the possibilities are endless. Try wrapping strips of leather, or fabric around the hoop, or painting the hoop. Tie different ribbons, & yarns onto the bottom & sides. Tie feathers, stones, sticks, dried flowers, charms, anything to the ribbons.

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Dream Catcher Kits are now available in my shop!

Knitting is a Love Language

When my husband & I were getting married, we read Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages.  We were young and the wisdom we gained from reading this together was priceless.  As the title implies, the book explains that there are 5 love languages.  They are words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.  However, I believe that there is a sixth love language, KNITTING!

IMG_0122Ask any knitter/crocheter how many items they have created for themselves, and they will most likely give a modest number of items.  I  have made 4 thing for myself.  Now, ask a knitter/crocheter how many items they have made for other people and you likely hear a much larger number.  I can’t even tell you how many things I’ve knitted for other people.  I stopped counting a long time ago.  Why is this? Because, knitting is a love language!

Now, according to Gary Chapman, my love language falls under acts of service & gift giving.  So, when I want to express my love and appreciation for someone, my most natural response is to knit something for them.  As I spend my time crafting each stitch, my heart & mind are pulled toward that person.  I pray for health and I pray for safety.  I pray for blessing and joy.  The piece I create becomes my prayer and it is my gift to the one I love.

What is your love language?

Textile Sculpture

Recently, I have been inspired to try something new in my own personal walk with fiber arts ~ sewing. I have done some sewing here & there.  I made a few little dresses for my daughter when she was a toddler.  I’ve made a few toys for both my kids, but never anything that impressive.  I have used patterns to recreate other people’s inspirations.

I love what these fiber artists are doing.  You can see the out pouring of their heart in their work. You can see the time they spent, the inspiration they experience, and the fun that was had while producing these fabric creations.   I strongly recommend stopping by to see what they have going on!

Mister Finch
Mister Finch
species flock_a_web
Abigail Brown
Jennifer Murphy
Jennifer Murphy

The Tribute Series

Tribute SeriesIn my own personal journey with handcrafts, there have been two influential people who have brought me to the place I am at today.  To these two people, I am eternally grateful for their gift of time while teaching my hands the skill of knitting. I have felt honored as they impart to me the traditions of the craft, as they walk beside me in support of every knitting endeavor I’ve taken on. In response to this gratefulness, I would like to host a series of blog posts in tribute to handcraft mentors. I know I am not the only one who has had the privilege, and the benefit of having this kind of mentoring relationship.  In these posts I would love to offer you the opportunity to pay tribute to those in your life who have played a mentoring role in teaching you handcrafts.  Whether it be your mother, grandmother, a good friend or unexpected teacher, I want to meet them.  I want to read your story & learn about the traditions that have influenced your own handcraft work.

The first post in the series will be my own tribute to my knitting mentor.  After that, I will post the stories that I receive from you in tribute to your mentors. It is through these relationships that have made the traditions of handcrafts so meaningful, & rich in history. Let’s honor the time old traditions of passing down the skills of handcrafts together!

For more information on how you can participate, click HERE.

The first 4 people who send in their story & have their tribute published on The Fiber Nest will receive a gift to give away to your mentor or keep for yourself!

Feel free to contact me with any questions ~ I love to  hear from you.

Twining

“Twining” is a verb meaning to wind or spiral around something.  It is a term to describe an old method used in creating baskets & bags.  In honor of Thanksgiving, I thought it would be fun to share a historic handcraft that was used by the Native Americans & probably the Pilgrims as well.

made by the Nez Perce

Many artifacts have been found all over the world showing us beautiful examples of how this technique has been used in many different cultures.  It is a simple technique that both children & adults will enjoy using.  It can be used in making very basic items or elaborate artful pieces.

I was introduced to the skill of twining this fall at a historical reenactment. A woman was making a bag & was kind enough to show me how she was making it.

To start with, she had looped a piece of twine the size she wanted the bag to be & secured it. This was to be the base of the bag.

Then she cut pieces of twine to a length that was twice the size she wanted the finished bag to be.  She draped these pieces over the initial loop to create her warp.
She cut enough pieces to go all the way around the loop laying the pieces side by side.

To make the warp stay in place, she simply started to twine the weft around each pair of warp strands, twisting the weft after each pair.

She continued to work the weft in this way until she had gone around the bag several times.  Then, she would create a gap & start again an inch or so farther down. I really like the look of these bags that she was making & think they would be great market bags. They look to be very strong & durable.

I had hoped to make a twined bag myself & post a tutorial for you.  However, with this being my first twining project, it is looking a bit rough. A tutorial will come later.

gathering of 5 medals

This weekend was one of our favorite events of the year, the gathering of 5 medals. It’s a historical reenactment of the colonial period that changes from year to year. This year we found more people working with fibers than in the past.

spinning with a drop spindle
twining a bag
dying with natural dyes
dye stuff
indigo

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I found the natural dyes to be the most interesting as it is an area I would like learn more about.


A great article I found on the topic can be read here.

nature + fiber art = seasonal inspiration

>>>> I came across this beautiful installment this past spring and was inspired to do more outdoors knitting this summer.  I didn’t get as much of it done as I had hope. The summer seems to have gotten away from me as it always does. I get to this point in the year and panic.  I realize autumn is upon us and I still have a list of summer activities yet to do.  This summer, I couldn’t get enough time at the beach! I am still hoping to get at least one more trip in before the weather turns chilly.

I did get some knitting in this summer, and on our last trip I found this lovely drift wood!  I have some ideas brewing for next summer, or maybe this autumn yet.  I make a vow to myself to slow down, empty my date book, and enjoy the coming season.

>>>> Happy Labor Day my friend! <<<<