Textiles are having a huge moment right now, and I for one couldn’t be happier. The yarn section in the craft store is like a little slice of Heaven. And it’s not only the rainbow of color or the myriad of hues that delightfully assaults the senses. It’s also the texture. Silky soft strands running through my fingers like water, soft and fluffy chunky wool you want to run against your cheek, the uncontrollable urge to extend your arm and run your hand over everything as you walk slowly down the aisle exactly the way you did as a child shopping with your mom.
The fact that we have moved away from paintings and prints and on to more unusual objects to adorn our walls is very exciting to me. Not that I’m knocking paintings. I live with a painter after all and I find his colorful work intriguing and exciting. But there’s just something about the phrase “wall candy” that sparks the imagination and gets your fingers itching for a hammer and some nails. Then, the other morning I was browsing the internet after dropping off my kiddos at school and I found this project on http://www.maptote.com (link) and was inspired. You can click the link above for the original project and tutorial. Now, usually I don’t post about trying out another sites project, but this was also my first try at a dreamcatcher, and it was easier than I thought! I had always been slightly intimidated by the idea of all those little knots and getting the spacing just so, but to all my fellow dreamcatcher newbies, don’t worry. It is actually a fairly easy practice. This is a relatively simple project, suitable for any beginner!
You begin with the 6 inch brass ring inside the 10 inch brass ring, pushed against the right side and slightly upwards. You want the shape to mimic a crescent moon so play around with it until the shape is pleasing to you. Then you take your yarn, tie it off and wrap it around both the 6-inch ring and the 10-inch ring where their sides touch. You continue to wrap it around both rings clockwise until you reach the point where the gap between the two rings begin to widen.
At this point I switched it up from wrapping across the rings to wrapping my yarn through both rings in a figure 8 pattern. This gives it a little more texture I think. The original tutorial used embroidery hoops instead of brass rings and the height of the embroidery hoops made for a more pronounced figure 8. Continue weaving the yarn in a figure 8 pattern all the way around the ring until you end up back at the beginning. Tie off.
Now for the dreamcatcher. I have included a diagram I found on the internet that was extremely helpful. At first I was very confused because I was expecting tiny actual knots, so I was sure I was missing some critical step. But it turns out what looks like little knots on dreamcatchers are actually more of a twisted loop around the previous string! After I figured that out, it was pretty easy.
I used a cream colored embroidery thread for my dreamcatcher, and I strung it on an embroidery needle so it was easier to stick through all the yarn. Cut off a nice long piece of string for your dreamcatcher. The whole net is one long piece, and how long you need is based on how many rounds there is going to be on your dreamcatcher net and it’s better to have too much rather than too little, so keep that in mind. Tie off around the 6-inch ring. Now take your string and pass it up through the yarn from underneath, and pull tight. Then run your string back down through the inside of the loop you just made, keeping it taut, and repeat about 3/4 inch down the ring, passing the string through the yarn up from underneath, then threading it back down through the loop you just made, so that your string is looped around the brass ring and twisted back across itself.
It is very important to keep your thread tight throughout this whole process. You can make the distance bigger or smaller than the 3/4 inch that I tried to stick to, however it is pleasing to you. And once you get all the way a round the brass ring back to the beginning you keep repeating this technique, this time looping your string around the middle of each of the previous “stitches” you just made. And you continue round and round, making the net as big as you wish. You can also add charms or beads to your dreamcatcher net if you are so inclined. I know it sounds confusing, but it’s really not! It’s not knots! Haha. Play with it a little, refer to the diagram if needed, it didn’t take me long to get the hang of it, so I’m positive you can do it!
After you finish the dreamcatcher itself, it’s time to add the dangles. This is really where you can go nuts. There are any number of materials you can use: a waterfall of contrasting or matching yarn, beads and charms, ribbons, lace, feathers and leather, strips of fabric, bells, vines of silk or paper flowers, the original project eveçn used driftwood. You can really choose any material you like. There is no wrong answer!
Feathers are a common element in dreamcatchers and luckily for me I have a feather collector right here in my very own home. So I asked my youngest if he had any feathers he could contribute and he brought me a selection to choose from. (There may have been a negotiation for root beer floats for dessert first, but I will pretend he did it to please his poor mother). I also had some really pretty crackled glass beads and silver star charms for my jewelry making days, and some pretty crystal pebbles left over from a polymer clay penguin sculpture I made. I strung on the length of string with the feathers attached first. I just eyeballed the length until I liked it. Then I put together the strands that have the beads on them by cutting off a length of embroidery thread and adding a bead or charm here and there and tied a knot above and below the bead to keep it in place. Then I added some simple tassels made using more embroidery thread and bam! Done.
I love the texture of my yarn art dreamcatcher and the interest it adds to the room. And I felt like I learned a lesson during this DIY. I have always admired dreamcatchers, I think they are just gorgeous, not to mention the history and culture these come from is absolutely fascinating. But I always have shied away from making one, thinking that it was too hard, too complicated, too intimidating for me to accomplish. But when I finally braved the travail I found something amazing: it wasn’t nearly as complicated as I had built it up to be in my mind, and it was definitely within the realm of my abilities. And that discovery led me to beg the question: what else could we accomplish when we gain confidence in ourselves and open ourselves to all the possibilities we are capable of and have a little faith in ourselves? It really was an ah-ha moment. What about you? Have you ever tackled a project and come away feeling like you had learned a valuable lesson or learned something new about yourself? What was it?
As always, have fun! Get messy! Go nuts! Amazing things can happen when you do! Xo- Caroline
P.S. Here are the fun parties I link to!