Saturday, November 21, 2015

African printed and dyed textiles

Africa is a great and varied continent of wide horizons and clear blue skies, which has long held a fascination for those born outside its bounds. Over the centuries its wealth of minerals, animal products and manpower has drawn in colonists and traders, slavers and missionaries alike. Its huge population is of diverse origin: people of Arab and Berber descent in the north, Khoisan-speakers and European colonists in the extreme south, Nilotic-speaking peoples in the north-east, and south of the Sahara a rich mix of groups who speak one of the Bantu languages.

Although the African textile tradition attracted  little foreign academic interest until the 20th century, African textiles found their way into European collections long before then. At the Ulm Museum in Germany, for example, there have been garments made of strip-woven cloth, the characteristic weave of West Africa, since the 1650s, and woven raphia cloth of the Kongo people (decorated with patterns similar to those of the modern-day cut-pile embroidery of the Congo’s Kuba tribe) has been held at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford since the 17th century.

Nigerian indigo dyed cloth

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How to hand pictures on the wall?

One thing that is more sad than blank walls in ones house is to see a single lonely picture in acres of space. Especially if it is hanged so high up that nobody can see it. It does'nt have to be like this. And you don't have to be in the possession of valuable pieces of art. Family photos, childrens' drawings, posters or emerging local artist's work - everything can look great on your wall. There are loads of different ways that you can hang pictures. Here are some ideas and methods to inspire you.

hanging posters

Clear your floor and lay out everything you have to put up on the walls. Now try out various arrangements of your items before you start banging nails and screws into the wall. bear in mind that small pieces work well when grouped together, whereas larger items might need to stand alone to look their best. Experimenting will point you in the right direction.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Beautiful Braids Every Weaver Should Know

Braids are a byway of weaving. One of the many journeys weavers can go on. In amongst tying knots and intertwining yarn, we use braids to embellish our unique woven textiles. Weaving braids is addictive, puzzle-like and absorbing. Whether it’s for a trim, edge finish or a closure, braiding techniques are an essential tool in a weaver’s skill box.
Braids and ways of braiding have developed in the most extraordinary ways around our world. Japanese Kumihimo braiding is done on a Marudai stand but can be explored on a simple cardboard circle or square. Andean sling braiding is a fascinating method of doing very tight complex braiding in the curled fingers of a fist without tension. And of course there are countless ways of using our fingers to build braids.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Crocheted coasters

These crocheted coasters are simple to make and will jazz up your coffee table. Make matching sets in a range of shades to suit your home decor or make them as a gift to dear friend. These colourful coasters are an ideal present for any occasion - birthday, Christmas, happy retirement... It is small, unique and house-warming gift. Pretty and practical, these coasters take less than an hour to make and even include a useful crochet holder to keep them tidy.

Material you need
- cotton yarn in four colours (eg Rowan Handknit Cotton)
- 3.75 mm (UK 9) crochet hook
- 50 cm length of ribbon (colour should match with one of yarn colours)
- daming needle
If you are new to crochet, this is the perfect project to take on if you want to have a go at working in the round.

ch = chain
dc = double crochet
dcblo = double crochet  back loop only
htr = half treble
tr = treble
sl st = slip stich
st = stitch


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