Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Looming + Odd & The Nimble

Hello, just a quick post about my first weaving - Co keeps mixing it up and calls it looming, hehe - project on the rigid heddle loom I received for my birthday (thanks M!). I love puzzles so had a fun night assembling it. I was a little impatient and didn't follow the instructions properly and bought knitting yarn (which I was told expressly not to use) as I could easily buy some nearby. The end result is a scarf that looks and feels a bit like a hessian sack! Luckily after a wash it has softened a bit but I'll be sure to source proper weaving yarn for the next project.

Our good friends Sam and Esther have also just launched their new online store, Odd and the Nimble, selling lovely handmade jewellery and home wares as well as prints. Please do check it out!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Gusto Gusto!

There are a handful of words to describe rice in the Filipino language. There's a word for unmilled rice, milled rice, cooked rice, rice porridge, burnt rice, leftover rice, fried rice, and rice muffin...but today's post isn't really about rice. It's about a play on words. Well actually just the one word. Gusto.

Our new embroidery is Gusto Gusto! (pronounced goo'sto gus'to!) and it's a play on the Filipino word gusto (want) and the English word gusto (enthusiasm, zest, energy).

"I want energy" sounds a little lame, but Gusto Gusto! has the right motivational tone don't you think? This was a little phrase I had written down in my notebook a while ago and is another motivational typographic piece along the lines of "You Gotta Keep Cheering". Sometimes you need a little helpful reminder to keep going, don't give up, be persistent. One day Ca and I will create a series of these type pieces and we're going to call it "Say SO'S".

Anyway I've rambled a bit, here is the finished piece which is available from our Big Cartel store. And below are some pictures of the tools we've used. Most of the process we share on this blog has focused on the creative side of things but I thought we'd share a little insight into the equipment we use to create our sewn illustrations. People have asked if our embroideries are hand sewn or machine done (every piece is entirely hand sewn) so we thought it might be interesting to share with you the tools we use.

We began sewing using an embroidery hoop, crewel needles and cotton embroidery floss and calico. And this really hasn't changed much, save for a couple of modifications to the hoop. We've also just bought an embroidery stand and a larger scroll bar frame which we've used for a recent project but most of the time a simple embroidery hoop has been adequate. In the process photo below you can see the hoop clamped onto the frame which is an Elbesee Posilock standing frame.

One helpful tip with the hoops is to bind them, we found the tip through Mary Corbet's site Needle 'n Thread. This is a great site for anyone learning embroidery and as self taught embroiderers we've definitely found it useful. Binding helps protect the fabric and prevent it shifting as you work. We still use the first plastic hoops we learnt on and while they're cheap and great for beginners, they have a tendency to mark the fabric which doesn't come out after washing. Perhaps we pull the fabric too tight and damage the threads in the weave, but sometimes a ghost of a circle is left on the fabric even though we have made sure to take the fabric out of the hoop after each sewing session. So to avoid this marking, wind ribbon or scrap material over the plastic and it's good to go. No marks and the fabric fits more snugly in the frame without having to pull on it too tightly. A bit of a geek confession but we feel a bit bad-ass wrapping our hoops like we're preparing for a boxing match :)