Author Archives: marthamanigross

About marthamanigross

Weaver. Spinner. Knitter. Dyer. Seamstress. Quilter. Crocheter. Photographer. Beader. Blogger, Native American Flute Player. Wife. Mother. Sister. Friend. Owned by 2 horses, and two small dogs. Obsessed with making. Finding new ways to make all the time.

Dream Catcher Jacket (2)

I started weaving cloth for another jacket.  I knew right off I’d weave 8 yards, leaving me plenty to play with for a new jacket.

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I used some variation of purple in each section, except one. It was my intent to use it everywhere, but I got carried away winding bobbins and trying colors.  I wound the bobbins with more than one thread.  I mostly used two, but there were a couple of places I used three threads on a bobbin, and three threads on the floor, and did clasped weft.  I really love the handle this gives the cloth.

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Colors include 2 shades of green, 2 shades of blue, and turquoise along with various shades of purples.  Some of these pictures don’t really do the piece justice, but these were when it was still on the loom.

Below is something that was brewing in my brain for awhile, and one night, I just couldn’t help myself.  I sat at the loom, and I put this dream catcher in.  I used 8/2 white yarn, a bowl, and I stitched a circle.  Then I filled in the dream catcher the same way that I make the dream catchers.  The only thing I didn’t do, yet, was put a bead in which represents the spider on the dream catcher.  I may also use beads on the threads hanging from the bottom of it, but I’m a bit worried about putting beads on, because if someone wants to wash this, it would then have to be washed by hand.  As it is now, it can be washed on a gentle cycle in the machine.

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Here is the finished jacket.

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The colors are pretty accurate, at least on my monitor.  It was really windy yesterday when I took these photos, so I had to take them on the covered porch as close to the house as possible.  Otherwise, the entire dress form would blow over, it was that windy!

I finished the front of the jacket by folding the center vertical edges in about an inch and a half, placing a very thin iron on interfacing inside the fold, then sewing down next to the folded edge as well as next to the selvage edge on the inside.  That helped stabilize the edges.  Eventually I’m hoping to find a nice closure for this.  Either a really special button, or a fancy frog closure.  I may just see if I can make one.  I don’t know yet.

I added pockets, and reinforced the neckline because it was pulling badly.  It’s all fixed now.

This jacket will be for sale, as will the first blue jacket I made.  Once I have enough items made and I can fill a 10 x 10 tent, I will then send in my applications for a couple of shows that have very respectable people who sell at them, and see if I get juried in.  If I don’t I think I’d be very disappointed.

I do have to say, I’m pretty proud of this jacket as well as the first one (in the previous post).

Now it’s time to get busy on the next one – not sure if it’ll be a jacket, or a vest, or a shirt….I have this need inside me to make another jacket and to get a little less controlled with the yarns, and to get a little more free with my weaving, but I also am having a grand time with being a bit traditional even though I only have a 2 harness loom.  I feel driven to continue with the jackets, even though I want to make something simpler with the next couple of projects, because the jackets really are time consuming and stressful for me to make due to the fact I am free-handing all of this – no pattern except the one I made from the first jacket – and even then, this cloth was a different width so it wasn’t very helpful to have a pattern.  I’m getting better at trusting my instincts though, as far as what to do.  I’ve also learned a LOT about what I might do differently in order to make the next garments better.

Thanks for looking.

Take care,
Martha

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Finished Jacket

This is the finished jacket, made from the hand woven cloth that came off the loom.

I’m very proud of this jacket, as I had no pattern to go by, while making it.  It is fun to wear, all cotton except for a bit of binding lace I used.  I learned a lot of lessons working on this jacket, and it will now become a pattern for future jackets.

DSC_0005 (2) (800x799)DSC_0010 (2) (800x779)I’ve shown the front and back of the jacket in the above photos.  Lots of blues.  I received many compliments on it when I went to spin (as in spinning yarn) group.  I was asked if I’d be writing a pattern.  The answer is, no, I won’t. I’m not a pattern writer, and there are way too many variables in making something from hand woven fabric.  For instance, the width of the cloth – every loom is different, every fiber you weave with, be it cotton, wool, or some sort of viscose, is different.  Every BODY is different.  This jacket fits me and I’m a size 16W.  However, it would fit someone a bit larger, as well as someone thinner than I am – it would just lay differently on the body.

I added my own quirky designs to it.  I braided the fringe on the back in a style that I love doing.  I also added the pocket at an angle, and it works.

There will be many more of this style jacket as soon as I can get the cloth woven.

Thanks for checking in.

Currently….

Currently on the loom – cloth to make clothing.  Blues.  I’ve been drawn to working in monochromatic colorways.

This is what’s currently on the quilting wall.

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The colors are much more vibrant than the photo shows.  It’s hard to get a good photo because my studio is so small, and so crowded. I have to stand with my back up against the sewing machine table to get the photo of the wall on the opposite side. It’s probably only about 5-6 feet I can stand back.

I will start piecing this quilt tomorrow.  Then I will sandwich it and quilt it using a program on my sewing machine.  I can choose the pattern, hoop it, and let the machine sew it.  I hope it works well.  It’ll be my first experiment with it.  If I was smart, I’d do a small wall quilt to test it first.  Not my style though.  ha!

Went to the Art Center today.  Spoke to a friend. She suggested I bring in one or two of my wall hangings.  They haven’t sold at The Loft in the other town, so maybe I’ll give it a shot.  Can’t hurt, right?

I’m trying to focus more on the thing that bring me joy.  Weaving cloth, then making clothing, brings me joy.  I will continue to work on this and be more consistent with making.  I am a maker.

Thanks for checking in.

Martha

Grateful

I’m extremely grateful. The last couple of months have had ups and downs, but the highlights have been so positive.  I believe in The Universe.  Believe good things will happen, and they will.  You just have to believe.  Not make them happen, or be impatient about them happening.  Rather, visualize, and believe.

About two months ago, after a Sunday breakfast at the local diner, we were walking down the sidewalk and hubby decided to venture upstairs to a local gallery called The Loft, in Culpeper, VA.  While conversing with the owner, hubby decided to bring up the subject of my woven wall hangings.  The owner asked me to send her JPG photos and descriptions, which I did within a few days.  She asked me to bring the wall hangings in which I did the following week.

She accepted three of the five wall hangings to hang in the gallery.  For the other two, she suggested we hang them in The Raven’s Nest Coffee House, also located in Culpeper.  If anyone purchases the ones hanging in the coffee house, 25% of the proceeds go to the SAFE house, which helps women and children.

A few weeks ago, I got a call from an ex-co-worker of my husband.  She had another ex-co-worker with her, someone husband hadn’t seen in quite awhile.  They wanted to come by, so I told them sure!  We never get company out here.  After running around the house trying to corral the hairballs that are our life, they showed up, and we had a good time chatting and visiting.  The gals wanted to see my fiber projects.  They were ooooing and ahhhing over so many things, it made me blush.

They wanted to try on some of the shirts and vest I’d made, so we went into the bedroom so there was a bit of privacy, though they tried them on over the shirts they were wearing.  My house is small and the men were in the living room, so the bedroom was the only other place to do it anyway.

They enjoyed trying on the shirts and the vest I’d made.  They switched off and on and the other gal decided to buy two of my items.  I had a really difficult time pricing them because #1, I hadn’t thought anyone would purchase them and hadn’t thought of a price ahead of time, and #2 I really didn’t think anyone would pay for them for what I thought they were worth as far as the work and materials I’d put into them.  However, I came up with a price I thought was fair for me, at least, and the lady bought them both!  I’m so happy and proud.  I am totally aware that my items take a certain person to appreciate them.  Which is the one main reason I was so surprised!

I had decided I wanted to knit a few things, and I made a cowl out of the hand spun yarn with locks I’d dyed and spun during Spring.  I posted it on Facebook, and immediately a friend said she was interested.  Again, I had a difficult time pricing it, but she still wants it, so that will be delivered this weekend.

I so appreciate these things being sold.  I really needed the boost of acceptance and confidence to continue to make items in the hopes that others will appreciate them, and value them, and be willing to purchase them.

The art hanging in the gallery has not sold, as far as I’m aware, but I’m still proud it’s hanging there.  I believe the items in the coffee shop will be taken down when October is over.  I keep hoping with Christmas coming, people will want to purchase these items.

Photos below of the items I’ve spoken about in this post.

Bobbi and her shirt, front and back.

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Bobbi and the vest – front and back (don’t have a better photo of the back).

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Wall hangings:

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Scarf from yarn I spun:

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Thanks for looking.

Take care,
Martha

Weaving

My art, which includes weaving, spinning yarn, and sewing my hand woven cloth, is more or less free-style.  I really am not one to follow the rules, or stay in my lane; I would rather experiment, and find what’s in my heart and let it flow through me into my hands, into my art.

However, I tend to limit myself.  When I look at the work of others, I realize just how subdued, in the lines, and not-as-expressive-as-I’d-like-it-to-be !!!!!!  I see the imagination of the work of others, and I think – “WOW!”

Today, I discovered the work of Juliet Martin here. Looking at the imaginative work she’s done, I’m overwhelmed thinking how sedate my work is.   However, I’m learning that I have this sort of thing in me, I just have to allow it to come forth, and be.

I had recently hit a wall with all of my creative endeavors.  It only lasted a couple of weeks, but it’s an awful feeling, not having any desire to weave anything, sew rope bowls, or spin yarn.  More on all of those items in the future!

However, on Saturday, we decided to go to The Mannings Hand Weaving School and Supply Center.  They carry all sorts of goodies and supplies for weaving, as well as spinning, knitting & crochet, including tools, yarn, fiber, and equipment.  I had received an email on Friday stating they have decided to close at the end of 2015.  It’s very sad, as they are a wealth of information and supplies, and they are within three hours travel from our home to theirs.  I can’t say as I blame them though as they would like to retire and travel, and I totally get that.  They searched for buyers for awhile now, and no one has stepped forward to say they’d be willing to buy the business.  If it were up to me, I’d LOVE to buy it as it’s in a beautiful part of Pennsylvania.

When I mentioned the email to my husband, he said, “Let’s go up on Tuesday.”  I said, cool!  He had plans to buy hay on Saturday  morning, however, when we woke up and he took care of the horses, it was pouring rain and it didn’t look as though it would end any time that morning……sooo…..after caring for the horses, he came into the house and said, “Let’s go to The Mannings today.”  I wasn’t sure I was ready for the road trip, and I had to call the dog sitter to see if she was available.  We would be gone at least seven hours, and that’s too long for our pups to stay in without going potty.  I lucked out and the dog sitter not only answered her phone, which has never happened before, but she was available!  I was pretty happy, and hurried to prepare to go on a road trip!

As we headed North, out of Virginia, passing through Maryland then into Pennsylvania, the weather changed dramatically.  It was gorgeous!  Blue sky, low humidity, and NO rain!  Yipppeeeee!  I really needed this road trip, and the shopping therapy.

I shopped, and though I spent a ton of money and came home with a ton of Cotton and Tencel yarn to weave with, I could have bought a LOT more!!!!  I mean, seriously!  The yarn was all 20% off, and I did enough damage to last me a LONG time…..

©Martha Manigross

©Martha Manigross

The top row is all cotton.  The large cones on the bottom are Tencel, except for the black on the far right, which is cotton.  I use a LOT of black cotton yarn.  This is all 8/2 which is fairly fine, but in my comfort zone.

Sorry the picture is so dark – when we returned home, the rain was done, but it was still cloudy and almost dinner time, so this is an inside photo taken with it all laying on my blue ottoman.  Not the greatest photo in the world…..

Today, I did finish the woven cloth I’d started about a month or so ago, before I went into my slump.  It is in the Saori style of weaving, using a lot of clasped weft.  I wanted a cloth that was light weight, only black and white, and not thick.  I can’t wait to wash and dry this, and see how it finishes, then drape it on my dress form and work with it to make a nice, classy top.

©Martha Manigross

©Martha Manigross

©Martha Manigross

©Martha Manigros

©Martha Manigross

©Martha Manigross

Total yardage before washing and drying is 5 yards.  Warp:  100% Black Cotton.  Weft:  100% Black Tencel and 100% White Tencel

We’ll see how much it shrinks in the wash!

Speaking of which, I’m in the middle of doing my laundry, and the dryer and washer have stopped.  I must go tend my stuff, and I’ll be back in a few days (more or less) with another post.  Coming attractions:  Rope Bowls and more weaving adventures.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope to see you again soon!

Always,
Martha

Hello world!

Welcome to my new blog.  I’m Martha, and I’m happy to meet you.  I hope you like what you see.

I’m a fiber artist living in rural Orange, Virginia, USA.

I’m also a spinner and weaver, and I like to try new ways of using fiber – not the digestive kind – the kind that comes off sheep and goats and other animals, from plants, and man-made fiber.

I will be posting my work soon.  I do ask that if you share, you are kind enough to link back to this blog.  Please, do not use the photographs as your own, and please, give me credit if you share them.

Excuse me now, while I go watch the sunset, the hummingbirds on the feeders, and the bunnies that are chasing each other in the yard.

See you soon!
Martha