The Trim Shoppe

I don't know how to life.

PersonalJenn Tong

I need to make it known before I start that I love being a mom and that I've tried this blog thing like a thousand times since college and it's never stuck. So, there's a huge chance that I'll probably delete this. I've thought about this a million times, talked about it hundreds of times, but maybe typing it all out and seeing it all there will help. (Also, don't make fun of grammar, I know it fucking sucks.. you don't have to read it ya know)

Like EVERY parent out there... it's so tough maintaining your own identity. It's extremely frustrating when you don't have your own space, when you don't have your me-time. I graduated from college in 2011 with the hopes of returning to school to get my masters two years later, MAX. It is now 2017 and I just recently emailed admission questions to two schools I'm interested in.

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I started my visual merchandising career straight out of college and it's been great however, I've always felt a part of me is missing. I feel like I jibbed myself. I still don't know who I am as an artist which means I still don't know who I am. When I realized a couple years ago how long it's been since I graduated, I told myself that I will work on side projects and figure all this out, it might be harder, but I'll do it. It's been a very slow process. This year, I finally started making "art" again, but I still catch myself crafting to sell at handmade markets. I promised myself that I will limit to one craft fair a year, but am hoping I won't go back (have your fingers crossed that I'll continue to try to list on Etsy, but it's not my thing). Today, I even created a new Instagram account just to post all the crafts for sale for a stupidly cheap price because I need to declutter my life man! (@trimshoppesale)

SO, so far the progress has been that I've reached out to schools about their masters program, I'm getting rid of my crafts and I've actually continued to make some art. There's a call for artist for political pieces and I'm hoping I'll create some good enough work that will get accepted. If not, I at least tried. It's something, right?

By the way, I'm not saying that I'll stop crafting. I catch myself doing it ALL the time. It keeps my hands busy which I love and it gives my mind a rest. I think that's why I've done nothing, but craft for the past six years. I turned my mind off and wasn't working from my heart. I was making "quick" and cheap things. Crafting quickies for money isn't worth it and I truly envy people who have found their niche (not saying they don't create from the heart and mind, I haven't been and you can tell) I'll continue to craft, but I plan on making better pieces. I'm still figuring out what that is, but one thing is it has to be fun. The art I create can be freaking depressing and heavy, but it's therapy so crafting will have to be rainbows and farts.

I constantly find myself trying to work at night after the child is asleep, but that takes away from my own sleep before I go to my 9 to 5 OR I work on what I can during my lunch break at my 9 to 5. It is extremely exhausting. She won't leave me alone, haha. I mean, it's not too bad right now. I've been able to sit with my laptop for a good hour playing on Pinterest and now blogging. Ruby found me and actually doesn't want to play with my computer, but has been laying on the floor next to me. We're both chilling while listening to the Moana soundtrack... okay, so I had the intent to vent about parenting, working full-time, and finding your identity because doing all three has been my crisis and she's actually chilling right next to me as I type this. She's making me look like a liar...

Whatever, man. I know I have to stay focused and stop distracting myself with projects that strays from my plan. I want to be limitless, but right now I need to have structure otherwise I really will be a "jack of all trades and master of none".

Ruby Monday // Weaving Tutorial

Jenn Tong

Let me first off say that this is the way I weave on a lap loom. There is the regular method to warp the entire frame found here on Loom & Spindle's site.

What you'll need:

- Lap loom (Mine is 12x16")

- Yarn (I used a total of 6 colors, 5 of them were actually woven and the last 1 was used to tie rya knots)

- Yarn/thread for the warp (Your warp is what you set up on the loom and the yarn that you weave is called the weft. I usually use household twine from the hardware store)

- Stick shuttle (This is optional. In the photo I have it shown because it came with the kit, but I am difficult and like balling up my yarn)

- Scissors

- Measuring device

- Shed stick (Optional)

- Dinglehopper/comb (Optional)

- Stick to hang the weaving on (Mine is 12")

- Needle with big eye

The first thing I did was cut 10 pieces of sting, each 38" long.

I warp my pieces on the lap loom differently. I don't like the hassle of tying off ends and then stitching the the hanging hardware on. "Fold" the string in half and fold again with the loop over the front side of the stick. Then tuck in the tails and tighten. It should look like a necktie with the knot in front.

Repeat until all 10 are tied on.

My next step, I tied the stick to the loom and tied the warp strings together under the pegs. I tried to do this as taunt as possible.

The weaving I did was a plain weave, placing yarn in and out of every other warp. I used my ruler to show the benefits of a shed stick only my ruler is skinny and a bit difficult to do this with. A paint stir stick from your local hardware store would work.

With my lap loom, I turn it upside and weave. That's right.

Weave the stick in and out every other warp and with the stick placed all the way across, turn it so it opens up pathway for the yarn. Then repeat, only weave the opposite every other warp. This does make it easier to weave. Again, Loom & Spindle has a great example with photos of a plain weave.

When I'm starting and adding new weft, I always leave at least 2-2.5" of tail out to tuck in later.

You can use your dinglehopper to help you pack your weaving.

I wove 3 times across and on the 4th time, I turned it around and left out 1 warp.

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Before you get too far with the blue yarn, you want to add the grey.

When adding another weft, you want to interlock both wefts to the same warp so the weaving isn't split (unless that's what you're going for).

Make sure to keep your edges straight. It's really easy to accidentally have an extremely tight tension especially since the way I warp bows out.

So lets go back to the first wefts. I wove back and forth three times before turning around to skip one warp. Then I wove again three more times before skipping another warp. If you look at my weaving, this creates "steps".

My grey part has 8 steps, mustard 5 steps and coral 5 steps. My blue triangle has a total of 19 steps, but before I added the baby pink, I weaved across three more times. Then I finally finished it with 12 wefts of pink.

Don't forget to tuck in your tails. This is where your needle will come in handy. (I admit, I don't always do this).

Lastly, I wanted to add some fringes to the bottom so I measured off some yarn using my loom. I wrapped it around 5 times before cutting one side of the bunch. I did this 19 times.

These fringes are called rya knots. I place the yarn under two warp threads and pull the middle of the yarn through. Then I grab the rest of the yarn and pull it up and through.

Remember that I am doing this with the loom upside down.

Need another example? Click here.

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I doubled up on the fringes by knotting every warp twice (The rya knots are linked together with each sharing a warp thread). As I went along, I also cut loose two warp threads at a time and tied them off.

Ta da!