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The Butterfly Loom

The newest addition to the Casa Marengo Collection of looms is the butterfly loom. The loom measures approx. 5.5″ x 4.5″ and is cut from 1/8″ birch plywood. There are so many ways to use this loom:

  1. Weave a grouping for your wall
  2. Makes a great gift topper
  3. Add it to your macrame hanging
  4. Clip it to your curtain
  5. And, of course, it makes a great ornament for the holidays.

The first photo is my sample that I painted and wove in the colors of the Monarch Butterfly. This year the number of western monarch butterflies hit a historic low for the second year in a row. So even thought this isn’t their exact shape, I wove it in their colors to honor their beauty. Thankfully, there are several organizations committed to restoring their population.

Looms and loom kits are now available in my Etsy shop. Here are some of the other mini looms available in my shop.

OrnamentGroupshotHappy weaving!

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Christmas in July

WHAT?!? I know, nobody is ready to think about Christmas yet, but if you want your product or gifts to be ready for the holidays, you have to start early. Starting in May, I began developing my idea for mini, single-use ornament looms and they are now ready!

Above and below are samples that I designed. You can totally make these your own heirloom ornaments to keep or give as gifts or you can give the kit to your crafty friends. Paint them or leave them raw, back them with felt, fabric paper, etc., embellish with sequins, beads, puffy paint, embroidery and/or crochet, drill a small hole(s) to hang beads, tassels, etc. Limitless possibilities, really. They are also a great way to use all those yarn scraps!!

Blue_Green_comboI have two kits available in my Etsy store:

Full set includes: 4 mini looms, tiny beater, warp string, 2 tapestry needles (straight and bent tip), felt backing and glue.

Basic kit

The individual set includes: 1 mini loom, tiny beater, warp string, 2 tapestry needles (straight and bent tip).

single set

I will also be releasing a larger version of the tree. Instead of a wreath, you can weave a unique decoration for your door.

Of course, as a pet lover, I had to work up some dog and cat ornaments. I will also be making larger versions of these that can be used as wall hangings to honor or memorialize a pet. You can even drill a small hole to hang their tag!!

Dog_catloom

Also, in the works are a butterfly, a monkey and a nursery set (sun, moon and stars). So much work to be done still, but I think you are really going to like these. Follow me in Instagram @casamarengostudio for updates and design ideas

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Weaving the L.A. River

River Weaving_sm

I was going to write Part 2 of my spinning adventures, but I really wanted to write about what I have been working on the last two weeks. Some very dear and long-time friends are designing a permanent installation of a Day of the Dead altar for the Natural History Museum and commissioned me to weave the LA. River as part of the piece. It was a great project, so of course, I said yes, then I found out the short deadline and the size. It needed to be 6-7 inches tall x 10 feet wide which ordinarily wouldn’t be a big deal, but in this case the waves need to go horizontally and I couldn’t use one of my regular looms. I decided to build a loom. I made it 12″ x 5 ft. figuring I could weave the piece in two sections and then splice them together. It was a little more work than I thought since first I had to measure 1/4″ marks on both sides and then hammer in 600 nails. Yes, 600 NAILS!!  Here’s a pic of me starting the piece on my homemade loom. Please ignore the mess in the background, there’s no time for housework when working on a project like this, lol!

IMG_3226_starting

I jumped right in and didn’t even take the time to make a sketch. It was design on the fly! Not the way I normally work, but time was short. The loom was a bit cumbersome, but worked great!

IMG_3217_panel 1

After many hours and late nights of weaving, the first panel was done. It was a great feeling and I was pretty pleased with how it came out, until I realized I needed to weave the other panel. I was pretty exhausted from running my graphic design business during the day and then weaving into the wee hours every night. But, I had to buck up and weave part two, which thankfully seemed to go a bit faster.

RiverWeave_2

I finished it in time (whew!) and here is a pic of the piece just installed on their altar.

Of course, I now keep wondering if it would have been easier to weave it on my Saori loom using the comb reed. Best not to drive myself crazy and think about that too much, I guess. It was a challenging project and I am happy with the result and so were they. I also like knowing that I contributed to this representation of a tradition in my culture that will be part of a permanent installation in a museum.

Yes, I needed and deserved a long sleep after this.

 

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So much going on in the studio…

that it looks like this is going to another mostly picture post. I’m trying to make work for my Etsy shop, so I’ve been pretty busy and not much time to blog, so photos with captions it is.

First up, I’ve been making many necklaces, both tassel and woven. I am also working on some bracelets, but don’t have a photo to post just yet since they aren’t quite finished.

 

Next up is clothing using a combination of weaving and sewing. I’m still working on a vest and camisole in this same yardage, then moving to a black palette.

 

This is a linen cross back apron commissioned by a friend some time ago and I finally finished it. I have one just like it and I love it!

IMG_1869

 

And, last, but not least, I found time to do a study for a painting for my Jazz Series. This one is based on Thelonious Monk’s “Well, You Needn’t.” I think it would also make a great tapestry, but that would  be challenging and perhaps drive me over the edge, lol!

IMG_1856

More to come soon!

 

Have a great day everybody!

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WIP and misc.

Fabric_1Making fabric on my Saori loom for crop tops and vests. Mostly cotton and silk yarn with a small amount of wool, linen and acetate yarns.

 

Feltcoasters_WIPFelt coasters. Rust dyed, handpainted and embroidered.

 

Spinning_kalesaladMaking purse insets with yarn I hand spun from a hand pulled roving by atapestryofgrace. It is a combination of hand dyed wool, bamboo and flax. I’m a beginner, but I think it came out okay as an art yarn. I think it looks like kale salad.

 

And, lastly, here is my new box tape loom made by Janet of HandyWomanShop. I think it is quite beautiful. I am reading a book on tape looms which is more fascinating than it sounds. It’s filled with the history of tape looms including great photos. I also learned where the term “red tape” likely comes from.

Okay, that’s it for today, folks!

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Woven pockets

Here are two, not so great photos, of what I’m working on at the moment. The chambray peasant skirt with soari woven pockets is something I am developing for my Etsy shop. I love this skirt. It is super comfortable and very cool for summer. The only problem with this one is that the weave on the pockets is too thick for the chambray, so back to the loom. I am going to try weaving the pocket out of linen or cottolin. Maybe even some recycled sari silk.

The linen “elephant” pants are something I made for myself. They are kind of like very loose bloomers. I work at home, so comfort comes first. The pockets are woven out of strips of linen and wool roving with a cotton warp. I really like them, but I had to alter the the pattern I had adapted from an existing pattern. It had the crotch hanging very low. Kind of like the old M.C. Hammer pants. Not a good look or at all comfortable. These were a little more labor intensive, so not sure if I will have them in the shop or not.

I also am working on some slow stitch and block printed pockets. Will post pictures when they are done. If any of you sewists out there are interested in one-of-a-kind pockets for your sewing project(s), contact me: val@casamarengo.com.

Have a great day everybody!

 

 

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Wall weavings and a new loom

Montage

I’ve been working on small wall hangings using various recycled and natural elements. The pine needles are particularly tricky to work with. Clockwise from top right: 1) cotton, wool, pine needles, wood, leather; 2) Wool pine needles, leather; 3) hemp, cotton, wood; 4) Wool, pine needles, leather;  5) Wool, recycled sari silk, recycled tea bags, raffia, nettle yarn, handmade paper and watercolor. All are now available in my Etsy shop.

The big news is that I finally got my Saori loom. I am so excited and can’t wait to start using it. Will post photos soon of new projects.

saori loom

Lastly, I finally finished this felted/linen/wool-embroidered and leather wristlet. Now available in my Etsy shop.

It sat on my work table for weeks just waiting for me to put the strap on. Sometimes things just fall by the wayside.

Well, that’s it for now. I hope everybody is having a great week.

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Saori weaving

saoriclassSpent a lovely morning at Laura Roveda’s Saori Studio LA  where I got to try out this lovely saori loom. I had a feeling that I was going to really like it and I did. Sadly, it’s out of my budget at the moment, but definitely something to save up for.

SAORI WX-60 Loom

I can easily do free weaving on this and being an abstract painter, this is right up my alley . I plan on producing pieces for bags, pillows and whatever else I can come up with for my Etsy store. Here are a couple of things I made already using my rigid heddle loom. The top two pieces are linen with handwoven wool insets. The bottom piece is linen with felting and sashiko stitching. The yellow cross body bag has grey linen on the backside and the closure and strap are still to be added.

saoripurses_1

I really need to finish up some of these half finished projects and photograph them, so I can put them in my store. Slow going, but having so much fun!

 

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The weaving madness continues

Well, I have to admit it–I am addicted to weaving. I have been taking a class once a week to learn how to use my Glimakra rigid-heddle loom. My first complete project was a houndstooth wool scarf. A little hot for it now in So Cal, but I will appreciate next winter, I’m sure.

I also have a nice collection of frame looms that I am using for more artistic pieces: wall hangings and tapestries. I just ordered an inkle loom to make straps for my purses and if that isn’t enough, I have just discovered Saori weaving which is a Japanese contemporary hand weaving program founded by Misao Jo in 1969. She started weaving at 57 years old and created her own loom and style, free from the traditional concept and rules of weaving. Now, this is right up my alley. I am going to take an intro class, but in the meantime I’ve been experimenting with Saori style on my rigid heddle loom.

I am going to use these panels as insets on my purses and pillows.  Of course, I am dying to get one of the Saori looms, but they are quite expensive. If after I take the class, I can’t live with out one, I will start saving my pennies to buy one.

Needless to say, I am having a great time! 🙂

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Weaving madness

Weaving, my new obsession. I love all the different textures and materials. The artistic possibilities seem limitless. I just started a tapestry based on one of my abstract paintings. It is extremely challenging and painting now seems so much easier. I have to say that I prefer weaving on a frame rather than my rigid heddle loom, but this is probably due to the fact that I am not very proficient yet. I am taking a class and maybe as I learn more, I will like it more.

On another note, I just finished the Liesl + Co Gallery Dress. I went with the Kaufman Rustic Chambray Linen in Indigo. And, I have to say, I love, love, love it! I will post pictures soon.