cotton, knitting, Sewing, Spinning, Uncategorized, Weaving

Whatever Your Hand Finds to Do

I’ve been making. Yes! my crafty fire still burns as bright as ever. I feel like I am in such a whirlwind of ideas at the moment. Inspiration to create new things is flooding me from all directions. I want to do more and more. This year has been filled with unexpected changes both at home and at school. I find myself struggling for my craft time more days that I want to count. With teaching summer school for the first time and a new school year underway, I have my hands full. That, and having my little nephew move back into my home has really kept me hopping around. Yesterday I was scrolling through my pictures and realized that although it feels like I haven’t made much I really have.

Look at all this handspun yarn I finally skeined and washed up!

Some projects that I started in the winter have become finished garments that I now wear and use over and over again. I’ve been spinning yarn, sewing, weaving, batiking, and block printing. Yes, I  have discovered some new crafts. Lately, I have been carving rubber stamps, burning rubber mats, stitching, and melting wax to add color and pattern to fabrics that I’ve been sewing.

I can’t even begin to describe the adventures I’ve been on in creating these items. Hopefully, these pictures will share the thousands of words I should’ve, would’ve, could’ve been sharing over the months on this blog.

I wove my first set of towels using a monk’s belt threading. There were 10 of them, no two are alike in true Melvenea fashion. I forgot to take a picture before I gave a few away and started doing dye experiments on them. I also finally got around to sewing myself a new cross-body pouch to use at school using a tablet woven band for an accent and colorful matching key-fob.

The printmaking idea hit me on a chance visit to the public library. Jen Hewitt’s Print, Pattern, Sew book was the springboard for my block printing binge. The book is filled with information presented in the clearest and colorful way. I immediately purchased a copy for my collection and got to work on making my own stamp collection.

The Spinner’s challenge project I did for Duneland Weaver’s Guild was a success. I created a yarn that was wool, space dyed, and chain plied with sparkle. I was intrigued by the resulting shawl. It is full of dimension.

There was also the natural colored cotton sampler yarn I spun at the Lindenwood Winter Spinning Retreat. It was fun meeting all the new people and I got to see my pal Kathy who I met at the Sauder Village Fiber Fest again. I am still amazed at all of the subtly different shades that can grow naturally.  I spun each color in a 2-ply yarn one after the other and eventually wove a shawl out of it. The light blue is the last of my recycled blue jean cotton fiber stash😢. The finished shawl actually has cowrie shells sewn into the border to add weight. It needed a little extra funk in my opinion. Those cool, calm colors of nature pair really well with the shiny shells that occasionally clink together as the shawl hangs.

I am not sure where the batiking shenanigans came from. I’m just doing it. The dyeing experiment eventually led to me making some pretty cool shirts. I find the Nigerian Adire cloth tradition especially alluring. Can you tell?



As a bonus I got to teach my guild friends over the summer what I had learned so far about the technique. We made some pretty eclectic scarves.

This past spring I somehow got myself drafted to be the fashion show chair for my guild. I challenged myself to do a full handspun, handwoven outfit for the show. I used a mill-spun cotton warp and handspun weft. This was the last of my homegrown stash. I ended up not having enough of one fabric to make anyone garment. The whole project was a patchwork that is basically a bunch of rectangles sewn together until it all somewhat fit. I wanted to do my version of a South American hupil blouse and got this.

I like it! See, even when I plan ahead I end up taking a gazillion detours. I guess that’s just me.

This project was long-going with no real plans but a pretty awesome outcome. The yarn was spun from a silk/flax blend I bought from Inglenook Fibers. It got woven, sewn, and block printed with my custom blocks.

I made a tote bag

Now that that’s taken care of there is this cool new loom Glimakra Ideal loom I got myself for my birthday. I am playing with rags at the moment on it.

Alas, there are cotton plants in the ground too. Hopefully, soon there will be more homegrown cotton to spin😊


2 thoughts on “Whatever Your Hand Finds to Do”

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