Saturday, June 29, 2013

Moroccan Wedding Blankets

I want to share something with you that I think are some of the most beautiful pieces of handmade artwork - Moroccan Wedding Blankets or Handira. Here are a few that are for sale as of right now from Beyond Marrakech.

H639 € 225

H641 € 275

Aren't they stunning?! The sequins are a shiny metal that make a jingling sound when the blankets are moved. Some of these beauties are amazingly heavy at over 10 lbs for a single blanket. They are made from wool and cotton that the Berber women weave by hand. Each blanket is begun at the birth of a girl child or when the girl is very young by the women of her family. These blankets can take a very long time to complete and each one is unique. The sequins and kilim bands are said to ward off the evil eye and bring good luck for the bride and her husband. The bride wears the handira on the day of her wedding as a cape over her head and shoulders to keep her warm on the trip to her new home. The mountains there can be very cold in the winter time, so some of the blankets are extra thick to keep the bride warm. The shoulder straps are for her to hold on to keeping the blanket in place. Here are a few more that have been sold:






I have an unhealthy obsession with these beauties and own a few of them myself. Each blanket has it's own story and a history rich with family tradition. The blankets shown here are all vintage blankets, meaning they are about 20 or more years old. Some have spots on them, some have tarnished or rusted sequins, but they all have a story to tell and each and every one of them was worn by a woman for her wedding day. Different tribes, sometimes, have different variations like the blankets below. These are from the Beni Ouarain tribe, who live high up in the Atlas mountains. The wooly side was worn facing out to allow snow to fall off of the tips of the fringe instead of soaking into the blanket.
Side of blanket facing bride:
Side of blanket facing out:

I am, by no means, an expert on these blankets. I'm just someone who loves them and wanted to share. There are other places online that sell handira, but Danielle has the best prices in my experience.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Roving target acquired

Ok, I have continued to search for large quantities of wool roving in order to do the granny squares and have come across The Sheep Shed Studio who have a variety of colors of brown sheep superwash. They sell it by the pound.

Halloween Knitted Shawl

I've been looking online for some knitting projects for Halloween this year and have come across a new pattern (new to me) call Dancing Batty by Meta Libenter  from Ravelry you can find the free pattern link here. While looking through all the lovely photos of this pattern completed I came across this one

that even has beading for the eyes and extra long lace. Love it! This version was done by Triple S and D Ranch in a shadow gradient called Witches Revenge which can be purchased here: desertvistadyeworks - ArtFire Seller Shop.
Witches Revenge Shadow Gradiant Fingering Weight-Approx. 490 yds.

I just love the color gradient on this shawl and I love the extra long lace. I'll be adding this to my list of Things To Make. I will do a different color for the beads however, the blue just doesn't match very well in my opinion. Like this version, the beads look great against the black.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Huge Granny Squares

I just had to post this. Dana Barnes is so inspiring! I stumbled upon a blog about her from 2010, but the granny squares are still amazing and I totally would love to have one (or two!). Just look at those color blends!

You can tell how much work it is to wrestle with the roving - just look at her arms! You can find out more about her here.

This really makes me want to buy a super huge yarn like this stuff (Bagsmith Big Stitch Bump):
Big Stitch Bumps in Natural Creamy White
and make a lovely rug for beside the bed or to put in front of the kitchen sink. At one stitch per inch, you can tell it really is BIG! My hubby is going to make some US50 size knitting needles for me out of dowel rods and I'll just screw in some wooden drawer handles to make them look like these (which are $46):

I've been looking around for roving like Dana used on her granny squares and have yet to find any. I'll keep looking and post a link here if I find some. ;)

Starting out

I've decided to start a blog about my crafty endeavors. I can tell you are excited. ;)

I've started a new obsession with weaving, thanks to a certain friend of mine who let me borrow her Ashford rigid heddle. It is a bit of a pain to set up a loom, but the weaving is so relaxing! Here is the first shawl I worked on. It's made with 100% alpaca in a natural brown - it's so soft! There are 4 rows of leno on each end of the shawl. I was on vacation in the Smoky Mountains when this was done and after pulling it off the loom, I dipped it in the creek to settle the fibers.

Now I want a loom of my own and picking out the right size and loom type can be confusing. What do I want to weave? Shawls mostly, maybe some towels and a blanket or two. That means I'll want more than a 30" wide weaving width. I want it to have a small footprint, so that when I'm not weaving it doesn't take up an entire room all by itself. I might want to do a rug, so I need a floor loom instead of a table top. How many harnesses do I need? Well, at least 4 to give me as much variety as possible for getting a first loom. I don't want to outgrow it within the space of a year or two.

What did I decide on? A Schacht Mighty Wolf, and because I'm spoiled I'm buying a brand new one in cherry! It's on order and should be delivered in September/October this year. The cherry version has 8 harnesses, so I have no fears of outgrowing this baby. It also folds up and is only 18" wide. I can hardly wait! (this is a baby wolf in cherry to give you an idea of what it will look like.)

I have been pouring over books and websites looking at all the tips and tricks on how best to set up the loom and if I should weave front to back or back to front (apparently this is a big deal).

I have soo many ideas on what I'm going to weave - iridescent silk fabric, chenille shawl, color block shawl, placemats, napkins... the list goes on and on.

With today being my birthday, I got the joy of opening a few packages of yarn I'd ordered in the last week. I think my favorite is the Pagewood Farm - Ringlets in Lavender Fields. The others are Malabrigo - Aquarello in Coronilla and Great Adirondack - Fluff in Black Orchid.