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Weaving

  • These Projects Will Convince You That Macramé Is Your Craft Soulmate.

    Macramé!  It's an older craft that is making its way into the modern craft space, one weave at a time. I'll elaborate for the readers who saw the title of this post and asked themselves "What in the world is that?". The yarn work appeals to both knit and crochet lovers, because it falls into the middle of both widely popular crafts. Macramé is the act of knotting cord into unique and beautiful designs. It became a widely popular craft in the 70's, and we're just now seeing it make a comeback in 2018. Read on to learn all about the wonderful world of weaving!

     

    Getting Started : Easy Peasy Projects

    Macrame Woven Wall Hanging - Get Started in Macramé

    Since this craft marches to the beat of its own drum, there really isn't a large learning curve to mastering the technique. These projects from Getting Started in Macramé should help you hit the ground running when you dive into the world of weaving. The rustic appearance of the woven yarn brings a perfect balance of simple and sophisticated to your room decor, based on how intricate you want your design to be.

    Take the two examples below (still from Getting Started in Macramé). You have the beautiful wine red table runner (left) which has star-like woven trim, and a nice zig zag pattern in the middle, bringing a nice casual setting to the dining table. On the flip side, you have this delicate woven chandelier for your entryway (right), which elevates the space to make it look upscale. With Macramé, you can draw the line between casual and fancy however you want, the choice is ultimately yours. It's a choice that isn't offered often in yarn crafts, but with this particular one, you have more flexibility.

    Macrame Intricate Red Table Runner - Get Started In Macramé
    Macrame Woven White Chandelier - Get Started In Macramé

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Macramé Full of Twists and Turns

    Macramé Arrow Macramé Wall Hanging - A New Twist On Macramé

    Once you've gotten into the basics, you can get a little more creative, and we have the perfect intermediate book for you! A New Twist On Macrame brings you new projects that will help you hone your Macramé skills, and expand the amount of vintage style icons for your decor. Combine seasoned weaving techniques with with modern decorum, like this silver arrow woven wall hanging (above). Perfect to hold a cute trinket for your guests to marvel at, this home decor project brings versatility and style to that empty space above your desk.

    The projects in this book deal with activating the space above your head with planters and other free-standing mobile forms! Take these two projects below. Both hanging devices have intricately woven details, but have totally different functional uses. We've got the rich and vibrant green planter holder (left), delicate enough to soften up the look of a room, yet strong enough to hold a glass planter confidently in the air. On the right, we have the woven hanging shelf with more textured details at the top and bottom of the project, in a neutral white to make it a versatile and flexible piece for any area of the house!  The range of all three projects in this book is a testament to how much you can learn and create in this reimagined craft space.

    Macramé Forest Green Planter - A New Twist In Macramé
    Macramé Hanging Shelf - A New Twist On Macramé

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Macramé Is For Everyone!

    Macramé might seem a bit daunting at first when you see the time and effort it takes to weave one of these creations, especially if you are new to the idea. But we promise, it's just like knit and crochet! If you still think you need some time before you try your hand at the craft, try these transition books. These titles are the perfect half-step up into the weaving universe, and they're meant for yarn crafters who are looking for something new! We recommend these titles to anyone looking to dip their toes in the water before diving in.

    Crochet Wall Hangings

    Macramé screen-shot-2018-11-15-at-3-22-26-pm

    Learn To Make Woven Wall Hangings

    Macramé Macramé

    Learn To Weave

    Macramé

    Have you tried Macramé? If you have, share it on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter! We'd love to see it.

    screen-shot-2018-11-15-at-4-04-59-pm

    Happy Weaving!

     

    -Leisure Arts Team

  • Crafting Across Cultures: Mexico

     

    Hey craft family!

    Today we’re switching it up with a hot new crafting series, affectionately known as “Crafting Across Cultures”. We get so wrapped up in our own projects, and tend to forget about what’s going on with the rest of the world (in crafting, that is). I want to focus in on a specific country for each post in the series, and shine the spotlight on some of the great crafts and Folk Art they have to share with the world. Let's expand everyone’s horizons in craft, and spread new ideas across cultures.

    This Week? We have Mexico! 

    Mexico

    Known for its beautiful textiles and interesting pottery designs, Mexico has had a stronghold in the arts for quite some time (since 1400 BCE, according to Wikipedia). Today, we’re going to focus on the traditions of making these crafts, and the cultural significance it has for Mexico. 

    textiles

    Textiles

    The textiles of Mexico have worn many hats. Clothing was originally made from plants and cottons, which later expanded to more luxurious fabrics like silks and wool after the conquest of the Aztec Empire. Most fabrics are made with naturally dyed fibers, which give nice earthy tones to the coloring and prints in the textiles. Most are embroidered and adorned with fresh patterns that incorporate the Mexican flag in some form or fashion.

    Here are some of Mexico’s most popular textile fashions!

    rebozo

    Rebozo

    This is a garment that is still widely used today in both mixed-race communities and indigenous cultures. This long shawl is used to carry heavy objects close to the body, or support a baby. It’s traditionally a long piece of cloth with fringe on the sides, and can be made as big or as small as the crafter wants.

    saltillo-blanket

    Serape / Saltillo Blanket

    Always featuring a diamond shape in the center, the Saltillo blanket is beautiful and functional. The blankets were historically worn by men during their travels. Made with natural woven fibers, they are always bright in color as a tribute to the gods. It is speculated that if you wear bright colors, you keep evil spirits away and are granted favors from the gods. That’s why these blankets will always have luxurious blues, pinks, greens and purples, all naturally dyed from fruits and insects.

    Otomi embroidery

    Otomi Embroidery

     This is a style of embroidery that is implemented on fabrics in Mexico. This style of hand painting on fabric is based off cliff painting and could take weeks or even years to complete. Otomi Women trace a design on a white cotton cloth, and then go back and stitch with a technique that only appears on one side of the cloth. The designs seem abstract, but relate to cave painting motifs that date back to hundreds of years ago.

    pigments

    The Making of Textiles in Mexico

    The textiles you just saw are traditionally made by spinning, weaving and sewing. Hand weaving fabrics on backstrap looms to create intricate patterns and color combinations are still common practices in Mexico. In fact, this article from Zinnia Folk Arts references that each Mesoamerican culture had a deity that watched over the women who wove and created fabrics. Textile making was known to be a gift to women from the gods. Fabrics were used as a form of payment earlier in time. Whoever had the best fabrics were known to be of a higher social class. Materials and adornments like beads, feathers, and rabbit fur were woven into the nice materials, and cotton was eventually introduced from the areas the Aztecs took over (but was only available to the wealthy). It’s amazing to think about how important materials like fabrics can be to a culture. From fibers to thread, then thread to tradition.

     

    Hope you had fun learning something new today! If there are other crafts to make from Mexico, please share them with us. We’re always curious!

     

    If you want to learn how to start crocheting or weaving so you can make these awesome designs (or designs similar), we have a few books to recommend!

    Learn to Weave

    Learn To Weave

    Learn To Embroider

    Learn to Embroider

    Poncho Rebound 

    Poncho Rebound

    Modern Southwest Afghans

    Modern Southwest Afghans

    Cool String Art

    Cool String Art

    Lastly, If you wanted to learn more about the Crafting Culture in Mexico, we have some pretty neat links for you to click on below!

    History of a trend: Otomi embroidery and patterns

    Textile Making in Mexico by Cristina Potters of "Mexico Cooks" 

    Textiles of Mexico

    Mexican Textiles 101: The Saltillo Blanket or Serape 

    Mexican Textiles 101: Cochineal, A Natural Way to Create Red Dye

    Mexican Textiles 101: What is a Mexican Rebozo? 

     

    Happy Crafting!

     

    -The Leisure Arts Team

     

  • Tags, Bags & Paper: Wrap It Up!

    It's time to wrap your presents. Get ideas and gather your supplies! It's time to ramp it up and make those presents a little more special!

    Here's how you can make a nice presentation to the gifts you have specially purchased for the people around you. Don't skimp on the thoughtfulness of the gift by throwing an unwrapped box in a plain gift bag. You can jazz up your gift tags and wrapping paper a bit from using your coloring instruments to adding a little more flair with needle and thread, or adding other store-bought embellishments. Experiment and have fun!

    Wrapping Supplies: Large Glitter Bags (whose glitter effect does NOT come off - fabulous!), Kraft Paper Tags and Burlap Tags. Wrapping Supplies: Large Glitter Bags (whose glitter effect does NOT come off - fabulous!), Kraft Paper Tags and Burlap Tags.

    The best new paper glitter bags I've used in years - the glitter does NOT come off on your hands, or table, or carpet... Look at these Large Glitter Bags in four fabulous colors!

    I will have both wrapped boxed presents, as well as, bagged presents. Now I'll focus on making decorated gift tags to use on all my presents. I used both the Burlap Tags (item #47564) and the Kraft Paper Tags (item #47563) and was very pleased in the versatility that both of these basic designs offered!

    Embellished burlap and paper gift tags; use as ornaments, too! Embellished burlap and paper gift tags; use as ornaments, too! 

    I had so much fun making these tags. I let my creativity grow from simply coloring an ornament design from the Art of Coloring Festive (item #6945), to making tags that were embellished and dimensional that could be hung as ornaments, too!

    Layer your tags, whether burlap or paper, to have both to/from names and a design.

    Close-Up of layered effect using both Burlap and Kraft Paper Tags for a present. Close-Up of layered effect using both Burlap and Kraft Paper Tags for a present.

    Pairing my completed tags with the Large Glitter Bags.

    Pairing a Large Glitter Bag with one of the embellished gift tags. Pairing Large Glitter Bags with just the right embellished gift tag.

    Here's the most elaborate gift tag that I made. I used two Kraft Paper Tags to complete this ornament. I cut-out an oval shape in my first tag that would act as a window; my second tag was kept whole. The first tag would get a piece of hard plastic (cut from another package's blister pack) to cover its window. The second, whole tag would serve as the background; I glued craft super-mini glass marbles to it. I added my colored ornament on top of the marbles. I aligned the first tag with its window to the second and glued them both together.

    Make a cut-out in one paper tag and layer over another with choice of embellishment. Make a cut-out in one paper tag and layer over another with choice of embellishment.

    The snowflake cross stitch gift tag was completed using a Burlap Tag; it was backed with another burlap tag.

    A simple cross-stitch design on a Burlap Tag does well as the foundation for other dimensional tag effects. A simple cross-stitch design on a Burlap Tag does well as the foundation for other dimensional tag effects.

    Now it's time to wrap some boxed presents. HMM...how could I make the box itself a little more interesting. I went to Pinterest to get some ideas on how to decorate gifts using yarn -- other than using pom-poms. This image caught my eye immediately with its yarn woven decorated present.  Did you know Leisure Arts carries Lion Brand® Yarn?

    To decorate packages with yarn, I followed the directions as outlined in the above-mentioned pin and gathered two yarns from my stash.

    Share your love of crafts by adding yarn as part of your gift wrapping. Share your love of crafts by adding yarn as part of your gift wrapping.

    Here I am beginning to weave the second yarn - in a different weight and color as suggested.

    Starting to weave the second color in a different weight yarn. But wait; I think I'll make a change to two strands of medium weight yarn per row -- see the finished package! Starting to weave the second color in a different weight yarn. But wait; I think I'll make a change to two strands of medium weight yarn per row -- see the finished package!

    I liked the variation that I made to the initial set of instructions. I just embellished the embellishment!

    Simple brown paper is a complementary back-drop to the warmth of the yarn and use of a paper gift tag. Simple brown paper is a complementary back-drop to the warmth of the yarn and use of a paper gift tag.

    So I had half of my package of Kraft Paper Tags (30 tags / pack) unused. I wanted to find something additional to do with my remaining tags; I happened to fan mine out when it dawned on me.  With simple additions of several pipe cleaners, I had a wreath. What a great idea to do for younger kids to decorate. What would you do with your extras? Make a deck of cards with two packages of paper tags? What about any extra Burlap Tags (12 tags / pack)?

    Get creative with your tags! I made this wreath by adding pipe cleaners to the fanned paper tags. Get creative with your tags! I made this wreath by adding pipe cleaners to the fanned paper tags.

    I'd love to see your ideas come to life! Post some images of your packages and projects. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season -- keep it creative with less stress and more merry!

    Martha

     

  • Heart Basket Using a Coloring Book Page

    Love is all around us - but more so this time of year with Valentine's Day fast approaching! You may share your love, appreciation, kindness and friendship with others by giving them a special handmade paper heart basket. An especially personalized feature would be to use one of your favorite coloring book pages to make a heart basket. Here's how to do it...

    You will make your heart basket from two folded pieces of paper. So your initial step is to choose two pieces of paper. My suggestion is to choose one page from a coloring book and the other from solid colored papers such as construction, writing or printer paper. Papers have different weights, so you may have to decide which works best for you. My coloring book page came from the Art of Coloring Patterns. I then used red construction paper purchased from a craft store chain as my solid color.

    6808 - Art of Coloring Patterns 6808 - Art of Coloring Patterns

    Make a decision whether or not you want your coloring book page to remain as a black and white patterned page, or colored with some portion of the page colored. I chose to put a little color randomly on the page.

    Add a pop of color here and there to the page, from 6808 - Art of Coloring Patterns. Add a pop of color here and there to the page, from 6808 - Art of Coloring Patterns.

    Next, I chose two solid colors: red and black are perfect complementary colors!

    Experiment with solid colors to be used with coloring book page from 6808 - Art of Coloring Patterns. Experiment with solid colors to be used with a coloring book page; this page from 6808 - Art of Coloring Patterns.

    After choosing your papers, fold each page in half lengthwise. Each half of the basket measures 2.25" wide, each with three strips for weaving. Each strip measures 0.75" wide x 2.5" high (not the entire height of the folded piece of paper).  Measure along the folded crease and make very light pencil marks to assist you when cutting.

    All pages have been measured and marked; let the cutting begin! (Hint: see how the coloring book page was temporarily turned inside out for measuring, etc.) All pages have been measured and marked; let the cutting begin! (Hint: Temporarily turn the coloring book page inside out for measuring, etc.)

    Now is a good time to erase any pencil markings. Turn your coloring book page right side out with the printed side visible.

    Cut all the halves and each strip for every basket; erase any pencil marks. Turn the coloring book page so the right side is facing out (from 6808 - Art of Coloring Patterns). Cut all the halves and each strip for every basket; erase any pencil marks. Turn the coloring book page so the right side is facing out (from 6808 - Art of Coloring Patterns).

    Select the two halves you have chosen, and turn the folded edges away from you. Work with each half at an angle as you begin weaving.

    Choose two halves, face the folded edges away from you and start weaving. Choose two halves, face the folded edges away from you and start weaving.

    I learned how to make Norwegian Baskets like this one as a young girl sitting next to my Grandmother. Since we can't sit next to each other, watching this YouTube video will be most helpful since the written instructions can get cumbersome.

    Each folded strip is woven this way: Looking at the example, start by weaving the inner most strips first; you will always work with two strips simultaneously. Because you are weaving, each strip of one color/side will pass through the inside, or around the outside of those strips of the opposite color.

    For instance, weave the first red strip and the first coloring book strip: the slightly 'opened' red strip is on the outside going around the outside of the first coloring book strip; then the first red strip goes through the inside middle coloring book strip; and finally, the first red strip goes around the outside of the third coloring book strip.

    As you are working, slide the woven strips towards the top of the cut strips making more room for the next strip to be woven.

    Start weaving the second red strip in an alternate pattern from the first red strip. For instance, weave the second red strip through the inside of the first coloring book strip; then, around the middle coloring book strip; and, finally, through the third coloring book strip.

    The weaving alternates with each strip; you will see the pattern develop as you progress. The weaving alternates with each strip; you will see the pattern develop as you progress.

    After all of the strips are woven, you will be able to open your basket. If you can't, then an error has been made in the weaving. Try undoing carefully and start over. Now get a sharp pair of scissors.

    When your weaving in complete, turn the heart basket around with the point facing towards you. When your weaving is complete, turn the heart basket around with the point facing towards you.

    Round the square edges by gently holding the two halves together while cutting; this will create the heart shape. From your saved 'extra' pieces of paper, cut a folded strip to use as the basket's handle. Remember, a handle is optional.

    To give a heart-shaped appearance to the basket, round the tops by cutting away square edges. An optional handle is cut from the extra solid paper; secure it with tape or glue. To give a heart-shaped appearance to the basket, round the tops by cutting away the square edges. An optional handle is cut from the extra solid paper; secure it with tape or glue.

    Secure your basket's handle with tape or glue. As a young girl during Christmas, I would make these Norwegian Baskets annually from the opened presents'  wrapping paper. As I got older, these baskets were fun to make for college friends, then I taught Girl Scout troops how to make them and my women's group to make as part of a service project. Now I am sharing both my heritage and love for coloring with you. Relax, enjoy, color and create!

    Happy Valentine's Day --

    Martha

     

     

     

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