Sunday, February 22, 2015

Long Time Coming




Back last November I placed a silk warp  on the Louet Spring, wove in a header and then a few inches to see the pattern develop.... then I stood up and walked away.  I thought about it for a time wondering about what was ahead for me before I could sit down here again and pick up where I had left off.   Through it all, I kept one thing as my end goal.  To be weaving again! (That bit became a sample as I went with different colours)

Besides a "pat on the wood" a couple of times, my first time sitting to weave was six weeks post surgery where I wove for about 10 minutes and I had about an  inch to show for it!   Go me!



It was a busy time with physiotherapy and doctor visits and all the other things that had been put on hold for the past six weeks.   I would weave a bit but gradually increasing the time as muscles and even the bones adjusted to the new activity. It didn't help that the silk is quite fine and so there's a lot of treadling to get some mileage to show!


Then one afternoon I enthusiastically put in a long session and the following day, I had some serious pain difficulties and so had to take a week off to rest and heal. Then I started slowly all over again. Live and learn huh?   :)

So with a new understanding that this was simply going to be a slow process, I just wove a bit every day or every other day.   There was a huge victory cry when the scarves and samples were finally finished!!

Fringe twisting got under way the following day as well as adding some fresh water pearls to the plum paid version.  Nothing added to the black scarf as it could be either masculine or feminine. How do I know this? My husband did some serious 'jonesing' for it until I pointed out he has several scarves in a drawer!






They got a gentle hand washing in the laundry tub and a night to drip dry.  Next day they pressed up nicely with some steam and I nipped off the excess fringe from the twisted tassels with a rotary cutter.

Then came the beauty shots...   some project details for you.  I used 30/2 bombyx silk, tussah silk, and silk yak blend, all approximately 30/2 in weight as my warp. The sett was 36 epi. I used a twelve dent reed and three ends per dent. The black weft is 30/2 silk commercially dyed for a deep even black. It showed off the "boxes" nicely!  The second scarf took on a different look with a cotton silk blend I bought from Treenway many years ago and hand dyed it myself. It was an uneven dye job so the colours vary from soft plum to a touch of eggplant. This effect created an almost plaid like effect in a soft way.


You can see both sides of the scarf in these shots. One side favours the cream and the other the silver beige of the silk yak.  So you can choose depending on your outfit and mood.  :)




The black scarf is 7 by 68 inches  and the plum plaid is 7 by  72 inches and both are very light in physical weight as the silks used are fine.   (Both were woven to 74 inches so you can see the shrinkage in the length.  They lost half an inch in width.)  I even managed some samples for my files as well.





The next warp or two have been planned and one is well under way.  I discovered that standing still at the warping board really hard on both my new hip, but in particular, my left knee which has been complaining loudly of late.   I would stand and wind like a fiend for a few minutes, then sit down to rest and repeated the process. This seriously hurts my bones and so I turned to the internet and started looking for a warping reel.

Schacht has a horizontal model for $399.00 USD .    *gulp*    Too rich for my budget.  I looked for Canadian alternatives and drew a blank. Then I realized I was staring at the Woolhouse Tools Loom and then turned to their web page to see what they have!   They are winding down their business and so if there is an empty blank line after the product name, it means its sold out and not being replaced.  Well imagine my surprise when I saw they have a two yard vertical warping reel and it was on sale!
My lucky day...  

From ordering to arrival took three days and its now assembled. It can hold up to twenty yards +/-  which is six yards better than my existing warping board.   I completed my ongoing warp on the warping board, but I will give the reel a whirl for the next!



A chuckle for you:  I got the next new warp set onto the lease sticks at the back of the Louet earlier today and was getting ready to spread the warp in the raddle...... and then noticed I had forgotten to take the apron rod up and over the back beam. Oops!   Four months since I beamed a loom and I'm back to square one!   :)

I would also like to announce that Handweaving.net has just relaunched their web site and it's a tremendous improvement over the old. Fast, colourful and just plain fun to go and play with the drafts.   I left a small donation via paypal to help with the web fees to show my appreciation. Its a wonderful resource for weavers of any level!

A Reversal of Plans....
We had our realtor in place, downsizing underway and even a possible interested buyer but we soon realized that we simply don't have enough time.  I had a call from my surgeon's office last Monday and it seems that they want me to start my pre-op tests as early as  first week of April and I see the surgeon the third week of April.  My knee replacement can come as early as June...or... as late as October.  We had a discussion on the news and we decided with a time spread like that, a move is not a good idea right now.  (Too much stress as well.)  Another year here will give us time to get things better prepared, and hopefully sell the big loom and a bunch of other stuff!

It does mean I will be coming home to a flight of stairs which doesn't thrill me too much but we'll figure a work around.  Might just move the looms to one side and sleep in the studio?


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Retail Therapy


I have a confession to make.....

I have indulged in some retail therapy in the past couple of months when in recovery mode.  I may not have been able to weave but I was indulging in some mental future plans! I had some Christmas money, and some sales at my Etsy store burning a hole in my "digital pocket".   Browsing, I found some nice deals on line..... and some pretty things

So here's some show and tell....



Here's a painted cotton and  rayon warp I got from Blazing Shuttles. I can see two delightful scarves coming from this!  Great colour combination, and the rayon shiny 'blips' will add some interest!


This is another one of Blazing Shuttle's painted warps called "Black Opal" and was based on an actual fire opal's intense colours. I see it paired with black and.... well, that's top secret for now!  Let's just say I have  big plans for this!  It's 10/2 rayon and so quite fine.


 So with that in mind, I went looking for my black weft. This is Bambu 12 and in colours Onyx, Truffle and China Red. The black is for the Black Opal project, the truffle beige I thought would be lovely paired with cream silks  and the China Red was an attempt to find a replacement for a lovely deep red shade I had in 10/2 tencel called Persian Red. They don't make it any longer and my searches for any residual stock somewhere have failed.  China Red bambu is lovely but its not the same as the Persian Red.   Bambu 12 is 6300 yards per pound.  The three colours together would make a lovely turned twill arrangement wouldn't it?  


Cotton Clouds also sent along a colour card for the various colours they carry. I can see a few colours I would like to get in the future..... and three I wish I had now!  


I love the three colours on the bottom right: willow, blue mist and blue mist.  The double asterisk means "available seasonally"..... but which season?    I'll be asking soon!



This was actually a "get well gift"!   Nice huh? Deep purple and a colour called Algae silk hand dyed by Dye For Yarn at Etsy. The algae is like a bronze and I think I will pair these colors together. The 20/2 skeins are 50 grams each so there's enough for warp and weft.  Silk is lovely to work with.



  Now this is my "new" old, gently used Royal 500 gram ball winder.  I found it on a sales page. I had another large wooden ball winder but the handle for turning was set horizontally and I found it hard to use with my arthritic hands. It was awkward on the wrist as well.  So I put it up for sale and it went to a new home to a happy new owner.  Then with the sale proceeds I bought this used winder that has a vertical handle, and even has a tension device to boot to give you a neatly shaped centre pull ball, up to 500 grams (or just over a pound).  I have a Royal ball winder for smaller amounts but if you are tempted to push it to its limits, the ball come flying off and goes across the room!  Well, I guess if I ever push this one to the limit, it might be spectacular!

So I've decided if equipment fails me in some way, then move it along and find one that works!  This swap came out dead even $$$ wise but I feel like its an improvement and so I'm happy!
(There was a couple of bits of equipment added to the sale page as well.)

Weaving: well,  I over did it one day last week and so had to take a few days off to rest and ice some tender muscles.  I'm happy to report that as of today I have finally finished the fine silks scarves on the Louet Spring.  I have to weave some samples for my files and then it will be cut off and finishing will begin. So I hope to have some actual finished weaving to show you next time!

I have some projects 'pre planned' on paper and the warp winding will be begin in earnest soon. Standing still in one spot for any length of time is a problem so I will have to do it in stages.  There will have to be a tie up change which will also be a step by step thing too.   I'm learning the limits of my new inner metal bits!

Since I last wrote, we have also had a fast trip to Vancouver as my father has been quite ill and it seemed touch and go for a time. Three hospital moves later and he's now in good hands at St Paul's in downtown Vancouver. BC's premier heart hospital.  Now we wait...

Speaking of waiting.... our daughter in law is due March 10th so not too long to wait.  We hope to go over soon, if not for the birth, then shortly after to meet the new addition to the family!

In the mean time, we continue to go through closets and our 'stuff' and downsize as we prepare to list the house for sale.

Nothing  like a quiet recovery huh?
Now you know why I indulged in some calming retail therapy.   :)


  Happy Valentine's Day!    

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Rolling Stone...



There is one thing all this recent medical stuff  has shown us, is that we need to shift ourselves to a place where all the main living is on one level.... and a much smaller yard.   Right now our home is a two storey place with main floor up and we have 2.25 acres.   Some is natural, and another section is meadow with an orchard and an organic garden area. Lots of mowing and yard work!  The plus side is that the house is fully private and we have a delightful stream running through the property with all kinds of fish and crayfish, otters and even a muskrat.  



We've been here seven years and its time to move and let another family enjoy the property and improvements we have put in.   So it looks like the house is going up for sale and downsizing our "STUFF" has begun.  We are going to go with a full pack by a moving company due to my recovery and joint issues. We'll unpack ourselves in our own sweet time. We have some interest in the house which is very encouraging!



So now that I'm more mobile and in the studio some afternoons again (with short periods of slow weaving!)  I'm culling books and such and will be listing them for sale on the Sale Page which you can find at the top of the blog. I change the date as things are listed or sold so you can see the turn over.   Perhaps book mark it and check often to see if there is something you might like to add to your library or stash? Vintage items (1996 and older) will be listed at my Etsy page too.

I also still have the big Woolhouse Tools CM loom for sale and I need for it to find a new home. There is a sale page at the top of the blog with full details.  I have dropped the price to $4,500.00 which is half the price of a new one.   Pick up is still here at Duncan as I'm not able to do the dismantle myself.  The buyer will benefit from the educational dismantle as it will help putting it back together again!  There is a full manual of course too.


I'm continuing to improve and have some days that are pain free.... and others not so much. I have to take it day by day.  I'm weaving but slowly and for short intervals so that's not too shabby to have started again at 6 weeks post op. ( I'm now 7 weeks post op) Last surgery in 2001, I only could start at 12 weeks post surgery.  The knee is a real issue though and while the 'cure' is in the works, it takes time.  We hope to use the window in between to line up our ducks and take the next logical step.



Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Small Big Thing

Just wanted to say hi .............and guess what I did today?


I sat down and wove about six and half inches, or seven repeats on my scarf!  It felt great to be holding shuttle again.   I haven't lost my technique thankfully . 


My progress today is shown here from the gold marker and up!   I went slow and was careful not to twist my leg or over reach the treadles.  Its a small, but big first start!

I'm six weeks post operative now and this time with my last hip replacement I was still hobbling around on crutches. Things have gone much better this time round.   I started weaving last time at about three months after surgery.  

I'll see how I feel tomorrow and not overdo  such things too much. I have been using my spinning wheel in the evenings so maybe that's helped?


I know someone else who is happy I'm back in the studio! Call grabbed a toy and waited patiently for the game of "you cover my eyes and throw it.... then I track it down, and bring it back ten seconds later."


Its a start!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Drum Roll Please! The Winner is......



So, I wrote down every name of people who wrote a comment on the December 21st post and very scientifically, shook them all up in a sealed container and drew one out.... and it was......


Here's Barbara's comment:


Blogger barbara said...
Hi Susan - Congratulations on reaching your 7th Anniversary of your blog - I have enjoyed every posting, and have learned lots from your writings. I am so pleased to hear that your recovery is coming along, and you are even thinking of go out to see a movie "The Hobbit", I too plan to see that as soon as Christmas is over. I have really tried to focus on the true meaning of Christmas, and am fortunate that I don't have to get all involved with the "commercial" end. This makes for a very relaxing time, spending time with whom I want to spend time with. Nice to see that you are starting to think about weaving again, and things will fall into place when your body is healed. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and Bruce. Enjoy the holiday season! Weaverly yours ... Barbara



Barbara has won the 12 shaft kitchen towel!   Its a rather interesting twill. Its a twelve shaft draft, threaded like a turned twill.  White cottolin sett at 24 epi and the weft is 8/2 cotton in pink. There is two distinct blocks (treadles 1 to 6, and, treadles 7 to 12) What you see above is a simple treadling of 1 through to 12 and repeated. Optically its a brain teaser! 



Please email me with your mailing address Barbara  to weever at shaw dot ca .  Its all wrapped and ready to go!

I find it hard to believe that I have kept this blog up for seven years as of today. I also know that some of you have been reading it all that time too. Thanks for hanging in there for the weaving content and also for enduring home renovations, new well being drilled, trees being felled,  trips away and baby arrivals!   Many of you have come along in the years since and live in many diverse places all around the world.  Great to have you all come and visit.

I have heard from many of you via email and sometimes run into you at places like Ravelry (where I am weever) and Facebook (where I have a page called Thrums Textiles ) and enjoyed chatting with you.  I have handled questions on looms, sources for yarns and such. The one thing I have noticed is just how much we have in common regardless of where we live.

Besides busy lives with children and grandchildren, we all share a love of weaving and working with fibre, of challenging ourselves to do more and better.  How to fit more weaving into our lives and how to make beautiful, functional cloth.

On the home front right now, I am making my way slowly with a cane in the house and the walking is getting easier as 'things' adjust to the new reality. My physiotherapist is quite pleased with my progress.   I even sat in the studio yesterday and spun on my spinning wheel while I waited for laundry to run its course. It felt great and it exercises the lower legs nicely.  So the wheel has been promoted to the living room to keep me busy and I have some lovely fleece from New Zealand on the go right now.

I did get to the movie, "The Hobbit: The Five Armies" and loved it.  I sat on my four wheel walker with a cushion and kept shifting my legs to keep things happy.   The length of the film was the only challenge but I survived! The multi-plex theatre has eight individual theatres and our film was in number 8.... the farthest away (of course). So Bruce suggested I sit on the walker and lift my feet.....and he pushed me down the long hallway and saved me many, many steps!  What a guy huh?