Dotty has her own range of products

To my surprise my chicken design has proved so popular amongst my friends and visitors to the blog, I have decided to begin work on creating Dotty her own range of products. After weaving almost continuously for the past couple of months I have managed to weave off several metres of the design.

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I thought I would begin with marking out and sewing together some cushion covers. I am keen to make the zips a focal point and in this instance have opted for striking red ones.

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I have put aside enough fabric to design a range of clasp purses and bags. The remainder I have framed, personally I think the design looks rather nice as a piece of wall art.

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Prototyping and production

Alot of experimenting has taken place in the last few months. The lampshades construction proved suprisingly straight forward once I had collected together the necessary equipment and woven off the fabric, I found some great easy to follow tutorial videos online.

Once I had determined the height and circumference of the shade I wanted to make, I cut out the appropriate sized self adhesive PVC backing material. This then needed to be secured to the fabric the best way to do this is to peel and stick a few inches at a time until the PVC is completely attached. It maybe necessary to smooth out any wrinkles or air pockets.

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Cut around the PVC leaving a extra inch of fabric around the edge. To ensure a clean finish the ends need to be folded and taped down, the next job is to add double sided tape along the two remaining edges of the PVC material.

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Now the tricky bit, hold the metal lampshade ring in each hand while carefully rolling them simultaneously along the edges of the PVC, taking care to follow the line of double sided sticky tape and to move both rings forward at the same speed.

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The final task is to tuck the edge of the fabric over the metal rings and to secure it in place. To tidy up the frayed edges they need to be pushed back under the metal frame.

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One consideration I will make with any future lampshade making is to be more careful with my choice of weave structure. The thickness of the fabric definitely impacts greatly on the finish of the shade.

 

 

 

 

Chevron Chic

In between weaving off the larger sample pieces from my earlier projects I have been working on ideas for a couple of new collections.

I’m not usually the one to follow trends but over the last few years chevron patterns have become increasingly popular. I think for me its appeal comes from the similarity they share with the herringbone and twill patterns which appear extensively in woven fabric.

Its not hard to notice chevron markings in interior design and architecture but for some time now they have been infiltrating fashion, advertising and much more. This simple pattern comprises of a series of inverted Vs and is more commonly known as the zig-zag.

Although the chevron pattern can be traced back as far as 1800 B.C. with is earliest incarnations appearing on pottery and in rock carvings. My own research has been influenced by African tribal markings and ceramics, which heavily utilize these patterns. Most of my photographic research was taken at The Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas exhibition at New York’s MET.

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My main focus for this small project has been to experiment with as many structural variations and differing scale options as time would allow, below are just a few examples

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I’m looking forward to developing these samples into something exciting in the coming months.

Windings

Windings (wrappings) play such an important roll in my weaving process. They are one of my favourite design tools.

I find as my weave collection develops I want to create more winding’s to work from. I think adding additional drawings and winding’s as a project progresses is important to keep ideas fresh and developing.

Although there is no substitute for sampling, I find them an effective way of trying out different combinations of colour and texture. They allow me to develop colour palettes and narrow down my choice of yarns for the warp and weft.

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Not all of them I do out of necessity more often than not they are simply one offs and a means to extract from an image the colours I find so appealing.

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Loom and studio

Late last year I took the decision to relocate my loom back into the house, I was worried as winter approached what effect the extended cold months and damp environment would have on the computerised mechanism of the loom. As a result my garden studio is looking a little empty now.

On the plus side this has freed up considerable space and has allowed me the opportunity to re-organise my yarns and ever expanding book and magazine collection, which now fills the remainder of the wall space.

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(Can you spot Dot the Chicken in the photo)

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My loom (a 24 shaft AVL studio dobby loom) is now safely stored in the spare room come 2nd studio away from the effects of any inclement weather.  The loom itself I bought second hand a couple of  years ago and since then have added a 2nd beam and hundreds of additional heddles, which has allowed more scope in my design work in particular work with double cloth. I use the WeaveMaker software for the majority of my design work and this runs in conjunction with my loom.

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Looking to the future I am keen to buy a 2nd loom one which has a greater weaving width as I am restricted at present to only 20  inches.

Progress

I can’t believe it’s been such a long time since I last updated. My weaving has remained pretty constant over this period, I have been busy developing new ideas and weaving off existing ones. As I discussed in an earlier post my intention was to weave off much larger pieces of fabric from one of my favourite collections.

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I have made excellent progress with this and I am now at a point that I can begin work experimenting and prototyping products. what a wonderful feeling it is to see all my months of hard work planning and designing finally be at a usable stage.

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I began by making a small collection of cushion covers, I think the scale of my designs and choice of yarn lend themselves better to home furnishing products, although I have not completely ruled out developing a range for fashion in the future.

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One thing I think is missing from the designs is a way of identifying that they are mine, perhaps branding them in some way is crucial. I need to do a bit of research into printed tags I can sew onto the products.