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Silk and bamboo are very different January 21, 2017

Posted by ionagiddings in Post-Apocalyptic, Research, Spinning, Weaving.
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This morning I’m drinking tea and gathering my strength for this weekend. I’ll be marching in my hometown with the Women’s March sister-march just after noon. Then hoping in the car to drive to Chicago for one night to see a fancy Broadway show about american history. You’ll never guess which one…

But as I am getting ready I found myself checking on my Etsy shop and thinking about how my ways of thinking about my weaving have evolved over the last ten years.


working on my Earlham weaving senior project. 2008

When I started in college I knew that I wanted to be conscious of the ways that I was doing a traditional craft. I wanted to deal with the fact that I was coming to this art-form as something to do as a hobby, an extra, something to study and learn just because I was interested in it, not because I needed the skills to survive.

My senior project looked at various ways that loom-shaped cloth had been used in societies and places where it was important not to waste any resources. Where woven cloth was precious and treated accordingly. Cut only sparingly, using every scrap, weaving to the exact dimensions needed to prevent any waste.

Senior Show with me

Me with my Senior Project, “Loom Shaped Clothing” in 2008

What I didn’t look at was the larger, zoomed-out picture. I wasn’t interested in how the yarn was produced, just how it worked in the piece. It has taken me years to grow my understanding, to appreciate the ethics of production, the toll of using materials that are mass-produced and harmful to ecosystems and the people making them.


Bamboo Scarf 2016


I am still learning, still trying to find my place in all this. Lately I have gravitated towards bamboo because it has the “green” label, but it is far from perfect. I don’t know how much water and energy it takes to turn the bamboo plant into yarn, and if the renewable-ness in any way balances out the negative effects on the planet. I know that most bamboo is grown in China and so I can’t be sure, from a human-rights view, if bamboo is ethical at all.

Wool is the only fiber I can work with straight from the source. But I can’t only weave, purchase, and wear wool from animals that I know.

Spinning two 5-8-11

I don’t have answers, but I’m doing the best I can to question, and keep questioning the choices I make as a creator.


Bamboo Scarf 2016



Fibers, going “green” and paying myself minimum wage October 27, 2016

Posted by ionagiddings in Research, Spinning, Weaving.
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*I have so much more to say/figure out on this topic. This is probably part one of a series of posts on the cost/ethics of handmade goods*

I’m trying to steer my weaving in a particular direction but I’ve been pondering the best way to do it for a while.

Detail of Silk Gold Scarf 2010

Detail of Silk Gold Scarf 2010



I want to get more “green” by using fibers that have the least detrimental impact on the environment. But I’m running into some road-blocks as I look for the most current and undisputed research about this stuff. There are some pretty intense arguments in the world of fibers about what is better/best.


I’ve found some very pro-bamboo camps and some very anti, Same goes with hemp and organic cotton

Wool White & Grey Scarf 2011

Alpaca Overshot scarf with hand-spun yarn

The environmental costs of animal-raising is a concern for me, so even though wool seems like a pretty standard fix to this problem, it isn’t on a large scale.

I guess my main problem is that nothing is really sustainable on a large scale. I’m tempted to go with second-hand and reused fibers, but that makes it really hard to follow my vision for what I want my work to look like.

I recently sent some bamboo and linen yarn off to a dyer friend(Grace from Black Walnut Collective) to get it colored with natural dyes. They use walnut, avocado pits, safflower, and indigo and I’m excited to see the results.


linen and bamboo skeins pre-natural dyes

Using natural dyes will make these yarns more eco-friendly than my other yarns that I buy pre-dyed but they will also make my final products more expensive. The labor involved in natural dyeing cannot be over-looked.

As I experiment with what works for me and what sells at what price I feel more and more of two minds. Part of me leaning toward the simpler, pre-dyed, and cheaper finished yarns and materials that can appeal to a wider range of customers. I want my handmade things to be accessible and affordable.

And the other voice is pushing me to hand-spin, hand-dye, recycle, upcycle, and work with only fibers that I can be sure are up to my ethical/environmental standards. Of course in order the do all that and eat dinner at the end of the day I’d have to charge significantly more.

This is an ongoing process of learning for me and I can’t wait to see where my research and experiments take me!

Names Part Two May 16, 2014

Posted by ionagiddings in Research, Spinning, Weaving.
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Okay, I’ve got three names that I like. not sure which I want… here are the things:


Heddles and Treadles

Warp Curve Weaving

Cotton Combs


I like Heddles and Treadles for the sound of it mostly. It is pretty generic but simple enough for my taste…

I like Warp Curve for the sound and for the extra “warp” meaning from star trek. Sounds space-y and nerdy. That’s so me!

I was thinking of honeycomb and bees and I think there might be some really nice design options with Cotton Combs. And I loved learning about beekeeping last summer so, applicable to my interests. And they are also carding combs for spinning fiber which I also do. so.

Hmm. more pondering to be done.

And it’s called… April 5, 2014

Posted by ionagiddings in Research, Shows, Spinning, Weaving.
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I working on it, my new artist name.

Slow, slow going.

So, this post is a brainstorming session. No ideas will be left out until I come up with a nice list to narrow down

I want this name to reflect something of the feeling of the cloth items I produce. I don’t want it to be about my name but rather reflect a quality or material that evokes the physical items that I sell.

materials: wool, silk, linen, rayon, acrylic, bamboo, acid dyes, cotton, indigo, and alpaca

stripes, plaid, tartan, huck lace, overshot, reversible, buttoning, open weave, finger-picked lace, houndstooth, knotted lace fringe, washable, borders, clean lines

Cozy, clean, and useful. Natural, basic, and complimentary. That makes it sound boring doesn’t it? there is color and variety too, but I value the use-ablility and wear-ablility of handmade objects.

Okay. Names. I just looked at Etsy shops that list handwoven as one of their key words and there’s a shop called peskycatdesigns. I’m never gonna think of anything unique that isn’t already done. although I wouldn’t want that name. to silly. Someone did have the name cottoncocoon which I like but maybe it’s not specific enough? or not quite the right mood?

Okay for real now: Simple Silk Studio, Cotton Crafter, furry feline fashions, washable wooly weaver, okay okay I know enough with the alliteration… the gentle weaver, cotton lace studio, heddles and treadles studio, wooly warp creations, sticky warp studio, slippery weft, triangle weft weaving, circles on the graph paper, bending the squares, Mathy-art, curving the line, washable wearable pretty things, cozy creations, comfort buttons, nice things for your neck, weaving light studio, cloth for all occasions, hipster scarves (oh no I don’t make infinity scarves or keffiyeh so that would be false advertising) (might work tho)

okay, that is a list. At least it’s a start. I can work with that.

Re-branding, re-evaluating: Oh, what’s in a name? February 6, 2014

Posted by ionagiddings in Sewing, Shows, Spinning, Weaving.
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I’ve always been unhappy with my Etsy shop name, Ionart. When I started it selling on Etsy I used the first thing I could think of, assuming I’d think of a better “business” name before I got serious about stuff.

Now, I’m not sure I want to get too serious about selling my woven pieces.  I like to weave. I know I’ll never be able to support myself through weaving but I will always continue to do it for the joy of making. So I wouldn’t mind of the things I sold made enough to buy materials for the next project.

But back to the name; every time I think of promoting my shop, or printing business cards, or applying to craft fairs, I hesitate. I don’t want to have Ionart on my banner, or my business cards. I don’t want to create a logo for tags or signs that relates to that name. But I just haven’t been able to think of anything better.

The task I am setting for myself is this: find out what ties all the things I weave together (besides me). What makes my stuff unique? Let the brainstorm being!

Alpaca Overshot November 8, 2011

Posted by ionagiddings in Spinning, Weaving.
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Slow going…

considering buying a spinning wheel.

Here is  scarf number two

It’s blue! but It looks grey because everything is grey today.

I am currently spinning more blue yarn (one handed) in the hopes of finishing the second scarf tonight and maybe starting the third and last overshot scarf on this warp.

Next in line: Silk!

Overshot Hand-spun Alpaca scarves October 16, 2011

Posted by ionagiddings in Spinning, Weaving.
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This is what I’m working on:

Slow going. I have to spin constantly to have enough yarn for pattern.  Maybe someday I’ll own a spinning wheel.

Whenever I get enough quarters together to wash the bamboo fabric I’ll post it!

Yarn for the Summer May 9, 2011

Posted by ionagiddings in Spinning.
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Spinning Pictures:


Spinning in the sun May 8, 2011

Posted by ionagiddings in Spinning.
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I spent a good amount of time outside today. It was so sunny and beautiful.
I brought my drop spindle out with me and made some blue yarn while I soaked up vitamin D.

That’s all for today. Photos tomorrow.

Finished Fabric! February 28, 2010

Posted by ionagiddings in Spinning, Weaving.
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Ah Sunday! The perfect day to make an omelet and finish a piece of fabric.

I have been slowly but surely inching toward the end of this very long and very fine warp. Today I saw the knots come up over the back beam.

The end of the fabric!

I after I finished the piece I had a couple more inches of warp to play around with. I used some hand-spun (by me) thicker wool just to see what it would look like. It looked like this:

Then the most exciting part, cutting it off the loom!

It is quite a piece of fabric:

The  dimensions before washing are:

length: 135 in. or 11 ft. 3 in.

width: 14.5/15.5 in.

Now, on to the washing!