∗ I got this title from using The Best Title Generator, and it both made me laugh and felt like I could write a real blog post around the feelings that July gives me, so here we go!
In the Northern Hemisphere, July is known as the hottest month. We have been having some stupid hot temps here since July started, though today is actually really pleasant – mild and rainy, and the garden and local creatures seem very happy about that.
As a fiber artist, July is often a challenging month. I’m not always thrilled with touching wool when it’s 90+ degrees out, and sales slow waaaayyyyy down because I’m not the only one who feels that way. Motivation can go out the window as the temps rise, and I actually often get ill from the heat and find myself stalled in creativity and production because of that.
So what’s a fiber artist to do?
I love the start of wrapping a copp on the spindle. That orderly line up of the yarn on the shaft makes me excited to work into the next colors and see how they look, laid out next to what’s gone before. I also like behind able to check myself for consistency as I get started. This is a happy place. #teamnevermore2018 #tourdefleece2018 #threeravensstudio #spinninginpublic #spinnersofinstagram #spindlespinningismyjam #tinyowlyarn
One of the reasons that I do Tour de Fleece is to keep myself motivated to create during the month of July. I am much better about spinning when I have a set goal in mind – that’s usually not a specific yarn, but an end goal of getting a set amount created. Doing it in a team setting is always more inspiring for me, too. I feed off the creative energy of my teammates as much as I encourage them to keep going. It’s great!
I know that not everyone is doing TdF this year, though – and not everyone reading this is a spinner. [gasp!] So what can you do to get through July, and still be creative? I suggest a regimen of rotating projects, trying something new and fun, and indulging in a heavy course of self-care that’s fine-tuned for hot weather maintenance. I’ll share some of my personal recommendations with you!
♥ Small Weaving ♥
This is a great way to play with fiber and texture but not feel like you’re covered in fuzziness. Also, you can do a couple of rows at a time, then set it down, and not feel like you’re going to lose your place or your groove. A bonus: small looms are a great place to use up all your cool yarn scraps that you just couldn’t throw out. Most of my tiny weavings are comprised of spindle spun yarn and thick textured yarns that are left over from other projects.
Another great thing about small weavings is that they are the perfect place to try out new techniques. If you hate something, ripping it out is fairly easy, and there’s little commitment to a complicated design. And small weavings look great with additions like beads and crocheted embellishments!
Here’s a few links for small & portable weaving looms:
Bracelet loom from Slimchicken – https://www.etsy.com/listing/522166567/new-bracelet-loom-kits-or-wooden
Weave-A-Round loom from Wild Hare Studio – https://www.etsy.com/listing/247962198/circle-weaving-loom-weave-a-round-kit
Pocket Tapestry Loom from CraftSanity – https://www.etsy.com/listing/566384376/craftsanity-pocket-tapestry-loom
♥ Botanical Dyeing ♥
July seems like the perfect time to indulge in dyeing that uses the sun for heat and nature as a palette. This summer, I’m starting an indigo vat for experimentation, and I’ve bought some books to teach me further about natural dyeing. I am very excited to try this out!
A couple of years ago I tried indigo dyeing at a DIY festival and loved the simplicity of it. Natural dyeing feels to me like you can get as stripped down or as complicated as you wish, and that appeals to my innate sultry-heat laziness! Here’s some links that can get you started on natural dyeing or just learning more about the interplay of plants and textiles.
For reading, dreaming, and inspiration, you can’t beat Rebecca Desnos’ Plants Are Magic magazines. These are delightful eye candy! https://rebeccadesnos.com/plants-are-magic-magazine/
For practical instruction on botanical dyeing, look to her book Botanical Colour At Your Fingertips. Both paperback and digital are available here: https://rebeccadesnos.com/shop/
If you want an all-in-one kit, this one from One-One Thousand has everything including a Turkish towel to dye with indigo in the shibori style. https://www.amazon.com/One-OneThousand-indigo-turkish-shibori-creative/dp/B077L6QC4D/
If you’d rather try a different hue, you can purchase a variety of botanical dyes online – Jacquard offers a nice sized jar of cochineal via Amazon.https://www.amazon.com/Jacquard-Products-Cochineal-Natural-1-Ounce/dp/B00GJRSDMK/
Another book that’s both beautiful to look at and interesting to explore, The Modern Natural Dyer should keep you inspired while trying to stay cool! The Modern Natural Dyer: A Comprehensive Guide to Dyeing Silk, Wool, Linen and Cotton at Home
♥ Self Care ♥
Hot weather self-care for me is all about taking advantage of the parts of Summer that I really do like, and hiding from the parts that stress me out. I am not a hot weather girl, so easing the effects of the heat is a high priority for me!
Here’s a list of things that I use to take care of myself during the summer:
- gardening – I like getting out there early, before the sun gets high, and taking care of everything. I use my hands, even though it’s a little rough on the nails, because dirt has been said to be great for depression. I grow herbs and veggies that I use in my meals and skincare, and a few plants that just look pretty.
- fruit smoothies – I indulge in the bounty of summertime by putting as many seasonal fruits [and veggies!] into smoothies as possible. My general recipe is a couple of handfuls of chopped up fruit, a couple of ice cubes, and a glug or two of coconut creamer. Sometimes I sub out vanilla yogurt instead of the coconut creamer. Half the fun is going to the farmers market and choosing the ripest fruit. You can always cut up too-ripe fruit and freeze it – just leave out the ice cubes in your blend!
- extra attention to my skin – summer often leads to bug bites, breakouts, and – surprisingly – dry lips, thanks to the hot weather. Luckily, the fresh things growing are great for making masques and scrubs, including these excellent lip masks from Hello Glow. Strawberries are great for helping skin to be clear and bright – just mash, add a little honey, and apply, or mix with some plain yogurt also. Try this on your feet and hands for a special lift!
- DRINK MORE WATER. Add fruit slices if you can’t handle plain water. Have you tried adding a little kombucha or shrub? That’s a nice way to pump up the flavor. Bubbly water counts, too.
- Early morning or evening patio crafting. I like spinning or weaving out there – it’s screened in and covered, so I won’t get attacked by summer – and I get to watch the birds and squirrels at the feeders at the same time. Sometimes I just do a little yoga or meditating.
If you have a LYS with good AC and a knit night or spinning circle, that’s also a great way to get out and get crafty instead of sitting at home feeling unmotivated. I find that I often will get much more inspired when I’m out with the community. There are also a lot of great workshops that happen during the summer months – and if you can’t make it to one or afford to take one, what about arranging one with some friends? The more the merrier, right?
So that’s just some of the ways that I beat Summer, especially during the July doldrums. What do YOU do? I’d love to hear more in the comments!