Handmade: Maybe it's time to learn a new fiber art
If you're a longtime knitter or crocheter, chances are you have more leftover yarn than you care to think about. Your stash of bits and pieces continues to grow with each finished project. You keep telling yourself you're going to do something amazing with them one day, but so far that day hasn't come.
Well, what better time than now to learn a new craft that will have you eagerly rummaging through those scraps of yarn in search of the perfect combination to create a one-of-a-kind piece of fiber art?
Maybe you've always wanted to add weaving to your skill set but just never took the time. Well, with all this unexpected 'stay home, stay safe' time -- now might be the time to steer your creative juices in a new direction! With the necessary tools you can teach yourself the ins and outs of basic weaving right in the safety of your home. And, who knows, it might help ease any boredom or stress you may be experiencing.
To get started, you'll need a weaving loom, tapestry needle, thread for warping the loom and instructions. All these items, plus yarn and maybe some roving, are included in weaving kits put together by Detroiters Clare Fox and Wayne Maki, the husband and wife professional woodworkers who, in 2012, founded Mutual Adoration, a woodworking company. Five years later, they opened POST, a retail shop and contemporary craftwork studio in what was once a U.S. Post Office on Detroit's eastside at 14500 Kercheval, where they do all their production work.
To make the looms for the kits, they cut the wood, assemble, and sand each frame multiple times before adding a finishing stain.
The idea behind their "DIY Weaving Kit" developed after they held a basic weaving class at their studio. "We started making the frame looms in the spring of 2018, and we started doing the classes with Julia Targus of Plymouth later that year," said Fox. "We invited her to come and teach a weaving class here, so it made sense for us to partner-up. Julia would come in and teach the class, and after we held two or three classes, we saw the need for customers to have looms at home as a make-at-home kit."
The frames measure 12 by 12 inches, and Fox stated, "Each kit is unique, and that's why on our website they're up individually, so you can shop for it by picking the one where you like the color variation. The yarn includes everything from fingering weight to bulky, and some include roving, and some don't have variegated yarn. Each finished piece will have a different look, and if someone has yarn at home they can add that."
The weaver can create their own pattern design as they work, however, included in the kit are basic instructions and a link to their website (mutualadoration.com) that offers more detailed information. Fox noted, "The free-form nature of it is very open to interpretation, and you can look to Julia's instructions to see how to do everything from flat weave to soumak, and adding fringe and braids." The finished project can be displayed in the frame as a wall hanging, used as a pillow cover, etc.
What type of wood is used to make the looms? "It's similar to our picture frame line. We use all reclaimed wood -- some is coming from homes and buildings in the city that are either being renovated or reconstructed," said Fox. "We use a variety of wood, and it depends on what we have in stock -- oak hardwood flooring, and sometimes we have pine and maple, but 90 percent of the time it's oak."
Their weaving classes have attracted both crafters and non-crafters. "We definitely get a population of knitting and crocheting enthusiasts, but we also get a lot of folks who don't have crafting experience of any sort." she said.
Weaving classes are $75 for a three-hour beginner session, and $120 for a four-hour advanced level that's taught on a 16 by 20 inch loom. The fee includes light refreshments, coffee and wine, and the maximum number of students per class is 15 to allow each student one-on-one attention with the instructor. Weaving classes are usually offered once a month and tend to fill quickly. Once they're able to reopen, a complete class schedule will be posted on their website, including those for woodworking and printmaking.
For now, customers are either placing orders by phone on their website. "We're doing free shipping for any order over $25, or you can opt to pick it up. You can pull up and we'll put it right in your car." To purchase a "DIY Weaving Kit," or any of their other handmade products (furniture, trays, small housewares, etc.), visit mutualadoration.com, or call (313) 939-2172.
Detroit News Columnist Jocelynn Brown is a longtime Detroit crafter. You can reach her at (313) 222-2150, firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/DetroitNewsHandmade.
Contact Mutual Adoration (Post, 14500 Kercheval, Detroit) at (313) 939-2172 or visit mutualadoration.com. Email: email@example.com.