I love weaving. This may not come as a shock to you, but it hit me really hard this past week how much I actually love the process. I finished one project (that had been languishing on my Schacht Baby Wolf Loom for a year) and decided to warp up a new project immediately.
I just recently had finished my Neat or on the Rocks shawl using Anzula Luxury Fibers Gerty, a 100% American Targhee yarn they released this month, and calculated that I had enough to weave a decent sized scarf.
I had one skein each of Sexy and Shiitake, and less than half a skein of Black. I nearly decided on a randomly striped warp and then do stripes in the weft, but I figured that Sexy and Shiitake had enough contrast that I could do a subtle color and weave pattern. I settled on a 4 X 4 houndstooth (in a 2 X 2 twill) pattern framed by black borders.
Shiitake is a more variegated colorway than Sexy, and alternates between some lighter areas and some darker patches. In the houndstooth pattern, the areas where there were higher contrast, you can really see the pattern, but when the contrast is lower, the pattern disappears. What I loved about this fabric, is that the pattern is easier to see further away, and is so squishy!
I'll be exploring more variegated color and weaves in the future, so watch this space!
When Tahki Yarns unveiled their new yarns for Spring/Summer 2017, I absolutely fell in love with Skinny Jeans, their new denim yarn. This cotton/nylon yarn comes in 3 shades of denim blue, and I knew that I wanted to work with all three colors in a gradient. I wanted to go a bit further than just a gradient, and decided that introducing log cabin into the mix would be the great way to do this.
Here's what you'll need:
6 balls of Skinny Jeans, 2 balls each of color (Light Denim, Denim, Dark Denim.)
15" Cricket Loom (or other Rigid heddle loom with at least a 12" weaving width
8 Dent reed
Warp your loom with the warping peg 3 yards away from our back apron bar.
When you sley your reed, be sure to use the following pattern.
16 ends DD
DD, D, DD, D, DD, D, DD, D
D, DD, D, DD, D, DD, D, DD
DD, D, DD, D, DD, D, DD, D
D, DD, D, DD, D, DD, D, DD
LD, D, LD, D, LD, D, LD, D
D, LD, D, LD, D, LD, D, LD
LD, D, LD, D, LD, D, LD, D
D, LD, D, LD, D, LD, D, LD
16 ends LD
Leaving about 12" of fringe at the beginning then hemstitch.
Plain-weave in the same manner as you warped your loom.
Hemstitch, remove from the loom, leaving the long fringe at the end.
I was able to get 7 full repeats of the pattern out of my warp, meaning the woven fabric is about 7 feet long, plus a foot of fringe on each side.
Cut the rest of your yarn into lengths of about 16" to use as fringe along the bottom edge of the scarf.
Start on the edge by crocheting the fringe onto the fabric. Work with the Light Denim on the outer edges, move from the center with the Dark Denim, then fill in the gaps between those colors with Denim (mid tone.)
If you make one of these, please tag your photos on Instagram with the hashtag #benjaminkrudwig.
As I have been delving into sewing more while I have been focusing on a career in fashion, I have been making some pieces for my own wardrobe. I am currently focusing on t-shirts, as it has been unseasonably warm in Colorado. Last week, I focused on a traditional t-shirt, using my measurements and the style of one of my favorite t-shits that I already own. I used a light weight jersey fabric and a new serger sewing machine. Over all, I really like the fit of that t-shirt, and will be making more like it in the future.
This week I focused on re-drafting my t-shirt pattern into a raglan-style t-shirt. I prefer this look, as it looks a bit more sporty and fitted. I got my fabric from Crosscut Sewing Company, a shop based in Melrose, MA with an extensive selection of fabric, notions, and thread in their online shop. I purchased some knit fabric designed by April Rhodes for Art Gallery Fabrics. I chose a print named Mesh With Me that has a charcoal base with white hatch marks on top that look like a mock weaving. This is my style, not just because I am a weaver, but also because I love the punky-goth look.
I should have tested, but this knit was not as stretchy as the knit I used in my first shirt. Using the same measurements caused this shirt to be slightly tighter feeling. In my next shirt, I'll be sure to add a bit more ease into the armholes. Though it's a bit tight, I love the look of it, and I feel like I understand my serger much more than before.
A little bit more about Crosscut Sewing Company!
The ordering process was very easy, and the photograph of the fabric swatch is accurate to the actual fabric. I enjoyed being able to track my order, and my package once it had shipped. The shipping was fast, and before I knew it, I had my fabric in hand, and a complementary tool called a Bobbin Buddy, that attaches a spool of thread to the coordinating bobbin. I didn't know that I needed a tool like that until it was in my possession!
I would highly recommend ordering from Crosscut if you are looking for designer fabrics that you may not be able to buy near where you live. Also, if you do live in or near Melrose, MA then you should stop by their shop and say hello!
Late last year I was approached by Brooke at Sincere Sheep to design a collection of woven projects in the three different weights of her Cormo yarn: fingering, sport, and worsted. The other purpose of this collection was to be able to weave all of the projects on a rigid heddle loom. All three of these patterns were woven solely on a 15" Cricket Loom from Schacht Spindle Company. This collection quickly became a collaboration between me, Sincere Sheep and Jennie the Potter. I noticed a theme before I even started weaving, intersections.
I saw the intersections between me and three other American-made companies, coming together to create something wonderful. Thus was born the Intersections Woven Collection.
The first pattern is the Plaid Bib Scarf; a unique take on a simple scarf. This plaid scarf uses the Cormo Sport Weight yarn, and is a breeze to create. The crocheted details make the buttons pop, and add a bit of structure to the fabric.
The second pattern is the Double or Nothing Cowl, an oversized infinity cowl that is oh so squishy! Made by doubling the yarn in the warp and weft, the fabric created is dense yet pliable and has a ton of visual texture. Sincere Sheep Cormo Worsted adds to this texture and the loft.
If larger projects are more your speed, and shawls are your go-to accessory, then the Intersections Shawl is the project for you! Two panels woven on one warp with Cormo Fingering Weight yarn, and then seamed together, creates a large piece of fabric that drapes beautifully. This project can also be worn as a poncho, utilizing the buttons and clever button hole technique.
I hope you enjoy this collection as much I do. I am so grateful to Sincere Sheep, Jennie the Potter, and Schacht Spindle Company for creating yarn, notions, and tools that helped to make this collection pop. If you have any questions about the patterns or collection as a whole, please contact me.
If you make any of these projects, use the hashtag #benjaminkrudwig on your Instagram posts so I can be sure to see them!
Five months ago I first blogged about this project, designing, weaving, and sewing a Victorian style topcoat. After co-hosting a Victorian make along with Kristin from the Yarngasm podcast, (I didn't finish the coat by October 31st for those keeping score,) I did however end up finishing the fabric, which I talked about in the second part of this blog series.
I learned a ton of lessons while working on this coat, which I will discuss after the image gallery. This coat ended up being about 5 inches shorter than I had planned, but I added a hood and different closures, so it all evens out. Please look at the photos below and then skip to the bottom where I talk about the process, and the lessons I learned!
At first, I was intimidated by this project. I had just woven yards and yards of fabric using a yarn with blend of wool and alpaca; not cheap stuff. I wasn't intimidated by cutting into the fabric, but was terrified of sewing the pattern itself. I think after the weaving, the next part that took the longest in this process was finding a pattern for me to use.
First Lesson: There are not a lot of men's sewing patterns out there, especially for outerwear, and even more so when it comes to Victorian patterns. There was a wealth of patterns for women's patterns, both modern and Victorian.
After realizing that I wasn't going to find a men's Victorian topcoat pattern I was going to have to find a suit-coat pattern and then alter it.
Second Lesson: There are a few suit coat patterns out there, but many of them are pretty expensive. I also learned that I could easily draft my own pattern based on my own measurements. So I decided to find an online tutorial and went to town.
I started by taking my measurements twice, just to be sure that I was going to get a good fit. The drafting process wasn't hard, though I wish I had bought drafting paper. I used pieces of sketching paper taped together which worked just fine in the end, and the resulting pattern pieces are more durable now.
Third Lesson: I used the cutout piece of the arm pattern piece to frame my fabric since it was two-sided to decide which pattern I was going to use for the right-side of the fabric.
Once I cut all the pattern pieces out it was time to move to sewing.
Anytime you work with handwoven fabric I would HIGHLY recommend using fusible interfacing to stabilize your fabric, I decided that my current skills were high enough that I didn't need to do it for this pattern. I decided to use the reverse side of the coat as a finished object as well, but with a punk twist, so a rough finish inside was going to be ideal!
I cut the pattern pieces out of the fabric with a generous 1" seam allowance.
1. I didn't want to screw up and ruin my fabric.
2. This was going to add to the punk look later.
Fourth Lesson: Lay out your pattern pieces on the fabric one more time before cutting. When I added the extra seam allowance this shifted my pattern pieces significantly, so I ended up having to piece together some pieces of fabric in strategic places.
Once I sewed the pieces up, It was just a matter of sewing in darts and finishing the punk side.
Fifth Lesson: I think overall, the lesson I learned from this project was "Be Fearless." I know I have mentioned this before, but when you're about to cut into fabric that took hours of preparation and creation, it means a little bit more. When you have a big idea, go for it with fierce intention.
Read Part One here. Read Part Two here.
Ever since I was a child, I was obsessed with the cowboy life from the mid to late 1800’s in what is now Colorado. Thoughts of cattle-drives, horse-rustling, and all the John Wayne-esque gun-slinging raced through my mind. Now as an adult, I am revisiting some of these memories. This kerchief plays with the traditional triangular shape of a kerchief, but takes a modern turn. I used Mountain Meadow Wool Powell for this project, a 100% American Grown, Milled, and Dyed yarn, made in Wyoming.
Download a PDF of the pattern
Yarn: Mountain Meadow Wool Powell - Worsted
MC: 90 yards (82m) - Natural
CC: 110 yards (100m) - Fern
Needles: US Size 7 (4.5mm)
Gauge: 18sts X 30 rows = 4” square (10cm)
Finished Measurements: 31” X 15.5” (78.75 X 39.5)cm
4 Stitch markers, button (optional) I used one from Balwen Woodworks
Sts - stitches
p - purl
k - knit
yo - yarn over
CO - cast-on
BO - bind-off
M - Place Marker
pm - pass marker
Using MC, CO 5 sts
Knit 5 rows of garter, pick-up 5 sts along one side, then 5 along your cast-on row. 15sts
Continue in MC, alternate MC and CC every 8 rows from here on.
Row 1 (WS): k3, M, p4, M, p, M, p4, M, k3
Row 2 (RS): k3, pm, yo, knit to next marker, yo, pm, k, pm, yo, knit to next marker, yo, pm, k3
Row 3: k3, purl across to 3 sts from ends of row, k3
Row 4: k3, pm, yo, knit to next marker, yo, pm, k, pm, yo, knit to next marker, yo, pm, k3
Repeat rows 3+4 for 20 more rows.
Powell Kerchief Shaping
Note: We will not be using stitch markers in the center portion of the curved panel, but each row is written out. The yarn overs will line up throughout the piece. You can put stitch markers in if it helps.
Row 1 (WS): k3, purl across to 3 sts before end of row, k3. (63sts)
Row 2 (RS): k3, yo, k2, yo, k3, yo, k, yo, k2, yo, k, yo, k3, yo, k, yo, k2, yo, k, yo, k3, yo, k, yo, k2, yo, k, yo, k3, yo, k2, yo, k, yo, k28, yo, k3
Row 3: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 4: k3, k44, k, yo, k30, yo, k3
Row 5: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 6: k3, k44, k, yo, k32, yo, k3
Row 7: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 8: k3, k44, k, yo, k34, yo, k3
Row 9: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 10: k3, k44, k, yo, k36, yo, k3
Row 11: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 12: k3, k44, k, yo, k38, yo, k3
Row 13: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 14: k3, k44, k, yo, k40, yo, k3
Row 15: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 16: k3, k44, k, yo, k42, yo, k3
Row 17: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 18 (RS): k3, yo, k4, yo, k3, yo, k3, yo, k2, yo, k3, yo, k3, yo, k3, yo, k2, yo, k3, yo, k3, yo, k3, yo, k2, yo, k3, yo, k3, yo, k4, yo, k, yo, k44, yo, k3
Row 19: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 20: k3, k60, k, yo, k46, yo, k3
Row 21: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 22: k3, k60, k, yo, k48, yo, k3
Row 23: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 24: k3, k60, k, yo, k50, yo, k3
Row 25: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 26: k3, k60, k, yo, k52, yo, k3
Row 27: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 28: k3, k60, k, yo, k54, yo, k3
Row 29: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 30: k3, k60, k, yo, k56, yo, k3
Row 31: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 32: k3, k60, k, yo, k58, yo, k3
Row 33: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 34 (RS): k3, yo, k6, yo, k3, yo, k5, yo, k2, yo, k5, yo, k3, yo, k5, yo, k2, yo, k5, yo, k3, yo, k5, yo, k2, yo, k5, yo, k3, yo, k6, yo, k, yo, k60, yo, k3
Row 35: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 36: k3, k76, k, yo, k62, yo, k3
Row 37: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 38: k3, k76, k, yo, k64, yo, k3
Row 39: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 40: k3, k76, k, yo, k66, yo, k3
Row 41: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 42: k3, k76, k, yo, k68, yo, k3
Row 43: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 44: k3, k76, k, yo, k70, yo, k3
Row 45: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 46: k3, k76, k, yo, k72, yo, k3
Row 47: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 48: k3, k76, k, yo, k74, yo, k3
Row 49: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 50 (RS): k3, yo, k8, yo, k3, yo, k7, yo, k2, yo, k7, yo, k3, yo, k7, yo, k2, yo, k7, yo, k3, yo, k7, yo, k2, yo, k7, yo, k3, yo, k8, yo, k, yo, k76, yo, k3
Row 51: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 52: k3, k92, k, yo, k78, yo, k3
Row 53: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 54: k3, k92, k, yo, k80, yo, k3
Row 55: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 56: k3, k92, k, yo, k82, yo, k3
Knit two rows even, on the second row, take out all stitch markers.
BO using a traditional but loose bind off.
Optional button closure:
On the triangular half of the shawl chain stitch button loops on the top edge to fit your chosen button.
Sew your button on the tip of the curved side.
Soak and Block to measurements.
As we learned in part one, I am a crazy person. However, I love a challenge, and sewing a Victorian Topcoat out of handwoven fabric is just the challenge to currently keep me going. I started this project in June, and while it is October, I haven't been slacking off, I have just been busy weaving.
I think this is a good time to talk more about the actual process behind my Victoripunk Topcoat, as we got more into the why in part one.
Let's first start with the yarn choice.
I picked out Blue Sky Fibers Extra for this project for a few reasons; I have knitted with it before and enjoyed it, I love alpaca fiber, I had quite a bit of Marsh leftover from a previous project, and I knew it weave up into wonderfully dense and warm fabric.
Next, the weave structure.
Knowing that this was going to be a garment (though it is outerwear) I decided that a twill would give me the flexibility and movement necessary for a comfortable coat. I also needed the twill to achieve the conceptual part of this project. Ivy snakes up the sides of buildings, and I wanted to replicate that look in fabric. The twill made that possible.
The fabric itself is actually quite fascinating. The right and wrong sides look different (which makes sense) but they really do give a completely different effect when looking at them. One side seems to show off the green more, and the other side, the green is more muted. I think I am still going to use the more bold side, but I am not going to make any final decisions until I see it on the mannequin. Another aspect of the fabric that I was not expecting, was that depending on the angle in which you view the fabric, the pattern changes.
If you look at the sketch, the overall effect looks more muted and blended, which will be the case from far away, but up close the fabric will be quite striking.
Stay tuned for part three when we get into sewing.
I have been fascinated by the Victorian era ever since I was a kid. The scientific Golden Age was happening, Industrialism was taking root, and British fashion was an overall romanticized "gothiness". I remember going to an art show at the Metropolitan Museum in 2006 called Anglomania. This was a pivotal moment for me when it came to my understanding of fashion. This exhibit highlighted many eras of British fashion, but I was most drawn to the Victorian and Punk rooms. Each room had original outfits/costumes as well as "re-imagined" modern pieces that drew inspiration from the Victorian era.
This particular exhibit has stuck with me for over 10 years, and continues to influence how I think about fashion. In this edition of what I am going to call "Slow Fashion", I will tackle one of my most ambitious projects yet; a victorian style topcoat made from handwoven fabric.
Over the next few weeks I will be posting various aspects of my design process with this particular garment, and will walk you through all of my successes and struggles,
A huge thanks to Blue Sky Fibers for providing yarn support for this goliath of a project. I will be using their yarn "Extra" in this project in the colorways Fedora and Marsh.
A long time ago...
in a theatre far far away,
Benjamin Krudwig viewed
one of the best movies in his time;
Star Wars IIV - The Force Awakens.
The rebel forces continued
to battle the First Order.
Meanwhile, Benjamin had
many thoughts of textiles from
the Star Wars universe....
There may be movie spoilers in this post for those people who haven't yet seen the newest installment of Star Wars.
In most movies (especially if I have seen them more than once) I am inherently drawn to the costuming and design . What does it say about the character, the time period, the setting? I find this extremely fascinating when it comes to science fiction and fantasy because the whole world is made up from scratch. I like to imagine somewhere in Middle Earth, Asgard, or the ice planet of Hoth that there are textile mills creating the fabrics of the universe.
I find movie empires like The Hunger Games, Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars have really taken the thought behind costume design to heart, and it shows in the success of how each of those films make audiences feel.
The wealth of imagery in my head concerning the textile industry in Star Wars is as large as the Empire... I think of sturdy Tauntaun shepherds, gathering the undercoat, (I imagine it is much like yak fiber,) taking it to the village and letting the spinners make the yarn who then give the cones of yarn to the weavers, knitters, etc. to make the garments that people wear. I imagine the textile artists in Kamino use some sort of synthetically created and manufactured material for their outfits. The Gungan spinners from Naboo have been taking kelp from their vast seaweed forests and processing it into a lovely plant fiber.
On a more focused level, my head swims with the thoughts of where did this textile come from, and why does this character wear it? What does it all mean?
In Episode VII, the new 'bad guy' Kylo Ren wears the traditional black, donned by many movie baddies, including his grandfather, Darth Vader. What struck me as the most interesting aspect of his regalia, costume, whatever you might call it, was his hood. There were enough close-ups of him during the film for me to get a closer look.
The piece of his outift that was most compelling to me was his hood. This had elements of his personality scattered throughout, and whether or not the costume designer purposefully did this, much of this character is represented by this hood.
Here is a break down of the hood and what it means to me about Kylo Ren.
It's a hood - Though a few Star Wars villains have sported hoods in the past, I like to think that this one holds some significance in the fact that he still has a little Jedi in him.
It's black - He leans towards the dark side, obvious.
There are flecks of silver-grey in the threads - He has hankerings of going toward the light side.
The weave structure is a 2X2 basket weave (overlaid on top of another fabric it appears) - this shows the structured side of him, his need for order.
It's frayed at the ends - his temper frequently gets the best of him and he lashes out. Better yet "He is rough around the edges"
Having been so inspired by this garment, and that I happen to also wear a lot of black and grey, I felt the need to make one myself. So Long story short, I will be going from raw fiber to finished woven hood in a series of 3 blog posts (2 more after this one.)
If you would like to make your own along with me, you will need:
8-10 ounces of Alpaca Fiber - black. I found mine on Etsy, but you can contact a local farm or yarn shop to see what they have in stock.
I chose Alpaca due to my desire to make this project without using dyed fiber. I have wool sensitivities to medium-coarse fiber, however you may choose any fiber you like.
<1 oz of Silver Firestar - this will be used sparingly. I got this from Greenwood Fiberworks
Carding equipment, hand cards would do just fine, but I will be using my Strauch Drum Carder.
A device to spin all of this lovely fiber, I will be using my delightful Schacht Matchless.
A tool to weave the wonderful hood, I will be using a Schacht 15" Cricket Loom.
A sewing machine or a needle and thread. (Black)
Scissors or a Rotary cutter.
Join me in the next post to see the process of spinning the yarn for this project!
Is there anything else you'd like to see me tackle? Let me know in the comments below!
A few weeks ago I was asked to review the new book by Rohn Strong on Crochet Socks!
Of course I obliged and was so thrilled to delve into a world of crochet that I normally don't do. The book is comprised of a few sock patterns to fit different styles and applications. This book is meant for women's socks, so I wouldn't necessarily wear them myself, but as quickly as they all work up they'd make great gifts!
This review will follow the same formula as my other BEnjAMIN reviews.
B - If I saw this book in the store, I would definitely pick the book up, flip through it, and probably put it in my cart. There are enough projects in this book that anyone could find something to love in this book.
Enj - I enjoyed this book immensely. The colorful photographs and designs are fresh, modern, and completely wearable. The charts and images in this book are well-placed and very easy to understand, and are a big help in some of the more complicated designs.
A - There are 12 sock patterns in this book, ranging from the "Basic Sock" to some lace and cable techniques. This book is jam packed with new sock patterns and great crochet techniques, which could easily be translated into other patterns!
M - I plan on altering the basic sock pattern to make a few pairs of my own. I also think these would make great Christmas gifts this year.
I - The most interesting part of this book is the use of traditional lace techniques in the sock patterns. The falling pineapple sock is fascinating, and would make a great spring/summer house sock.
N - I don't make many sock, so I am not sure I NEED this book, but this guide on constructing crochet socks is a must have for anyone who wants an alternative to the knit sock.
Rohn's other books are also great innovative resources for the crocheters out there who are looking for new things to do with their hooks.