Evergreens, beewax candles, stacking dolls, dalarna horse, along with my handwovens brought cheer to welcome the winter.
Balsam Sachets – I was inspired this summer to make little balsam sachet pillows after reading KerryCan’s Love Those “Hands at Home” Blog post about her balsam pillows. I immediately ordered two large bags of ground balsam fir to insure I would follow through on the project. Throughout the late summer and autumn the aroma drifted from the balsam bags calling me to create a handwoven fabric worthy of this amazing scent – colors that said balsam, evergreen, winter. Then in early December, I wove with Swedish cottolin using the last of the M and O’s dishcloth warp alternating three to five shuttles of colors to create the fabric I’ve dreamed of for many months.
Then…came the decision of shape. I was inspired by Tonya’s Handwoven Ornaments and decided to create a sachet to represent the balsam tree. After chatting with Tonya about her process, went to a local quilting store to find the best interfacing to iron onto the handwoven fabric. My goal was to support the fabric and also keep the balsam from poking through the handwoven threads. Some people ask me if it was hard to cut my handwoven fabric. My answer, no….I wove it to cut it. The hard part was really just the slow part – stuffing the balsam into the small holes created by machine sewing and then hand sewing them closed. These were gifts for the family and they all delighted in this first trial of tammyweaves balsam sachets!
After completing my dishcloth warp for my fundraiser, I still had a few dishcloths that needed woven, so I put on a new warp and wove up 15 more dishcloths for gifts to be given. As I took the dishcloths off the loom, I noticed my color choices had changed – they were darker – reflecting the colors of the early mid-west winter.
As winter continues here in Ann Arbor, I ponder the joys of 2016 and the amazing weaving opportunities I have experienced. The quiet winter morning and the magic of Jack Frost at sunrise awakens my spirits to dream of the warps to soon dance upon the loom.
And, I wonder what creative dreams you are having. Do share!
Last year this time I was in the middle of running Warp A Weaver – an Indiegogo Fundraiser created to fund my attendance at Vävstuga‘s first Väv Immersion Class. I happily raised %33 of the total amount and took out a soon-to-be-paid loan for the remaining fees. Contributor’s were offered a perk/gift in exchange for their financial gifts. The gifts ranged from handwoven cottolin dish clothes and tea towels to piano and voice lessons.
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A few daring souls signed up for the weave your own dish cloth opportunity. This was the best deal offered during my fundraiser – @ 3 hours of weaving, instruction and materials all for the same price as the pre-woven dish cloth. Though only five people chose this gift, it was my favorite, as it allowed me to share my love of weaving.
The perks/gifts were woven in my studio on beautiful Swedish handcrafted Glimåkra looms and hemmed on the old featherweight sewing machine my grandmother gave me years ago. Today I popped the last of these gifts into the mail. I smile in anticipation knowing that for many of these recipients, it will be the first handwoven item in their home. And with a bit of luck, it will not be their last!
When your package arrives from tammyweaves – open with care if using a sharp object- for example scissors, as this could cut into your new textile. Feel the difference of handwoven Swedish cottolin. Touch, enjoy, savor the experience.
Your handwoven’s first bath: Soak gently in a bowel of warm water with just a few drops of soap. Gently rinse and squish out water, without twisting or applying strong pressure. Blot out excess water with a thick towel. Block your handwoven by laying it to dry so that it is “square” with itself. Dry on a flat surface or on your favorite clothes line/drying rack.
Ongoing washing: Your handwoven textiles will become more and more absorbent with each washing. When using your cloth in the kitchen or bath – wash at least once a week. Toss it in the washing machine with towels of similar color or wash by hand in hot sudsy water. Remove from the wash and take a moment to square up and flatten the edges as needed. Line drying is recommended, though my mother always preferred to toss hers in the dryer. Either way they will shrink a bit with time. The Swedes put their towels through a mangle to press, so if the iron is your friend, you may delight in ironing your towel and if not, you can simply put your towel back to use as is!
Dish Cloths: tammyweaves dish cloths have been used daily in my kitchen for over 15 years. Handwoven of Swedish cottolin – a mix of cotton and linen, these cloths will last for years. Note: washing sharp knives with the cloth, risks cutting through the fibers, and is not recommended. Other than this, you can clean and scrub away at your sink, in the bath or in your home! Rinse out with hot sudsy water after each use and hang over your facet/sink to dry. Notice that the cottolin does not mold or hold odors. This is the beauty of natural fibers.
Tea Towels: Enjoy these generous sized towels in your kitchen or bath to dry your hands or your dishes. If you really “just can’t” use it as a towel, enjoy it in your bread basket or to decorate the top of a table or dresser. In the Swedish tradition, I’ve sewn loops of woven tape onto the ends of the towel for ease of hanging. Handwoven in a traditional Sålldräll pattern(M’s and O’s in English) with Swedish cottolin – a mix of cotton and linen, your tea towel could become a family heirloom. I now have a kitchen drawer filled with handwoven tea towels and wonder how I ever lived without them!
Thank you for your generosity which allowed me to follow my dreams. Learning, weaving and developing my creativity at Vävstuga may be the very best four months of my life. I am so very grateful. ~ tammy