Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A Ray of Sunshine

The trouble with winter snowfall and rain is it brings many cloudy days and the sun can be a rare commodity.  Well, I had these finished runner set aside and I was waiting for the sun to appear. I was ready, camera in hand!

I was able to weave three runners, and all finished up as sixty inches long and fifteen inches wide. Two have hems and one has a twisted fringe (for variety).  This time I wove a much longer hem allowance and after doing my usual turn overs, I must say I like it much better.  I will add this to my repertoire for the future. 

The warp was 10/2 mercerized cotton (Valley Yarns from Webs) in a natural colour. My sett was 28 epi.  It had some extra twist to it and was a bit energized when it came time to beam it, and again later when twisting the fringes.  Smooth, no knots and held up well under tension with no breakage.  All in all, a good experience .... which is good as I have ordered some more!  😁

The draft is a twelve shaft design based on a variation of M's and W's and I have used it before with great success. Normally it produces a series of medallions but I have isolated a portion of the treadling and repeated it.   Its fully reversible.  Hemstitching and a neat tight hand sewn hem means you are hard pressed to see which is the 'right side'.  Does it matter?   

The weft used in this runner is taupe 8/2 tencel. Its suits the natural cotton but gives good contrast to show the pattern.

The table runner below is also fifteen inches by sixty inches but has a three inch fringe.  The weft is tencel again, this time one of the newer colours "birch". Its a lovely soft silvered green.

The contrast is softer too. I really like this one!

The last picture has the cloth flipped to show the reverse.

The last runner was woven with 10/2 UKI Supreme mercerized cotton in a medium grey.  Crisply twisted cotton makes for a totally different feel to the cloth and also a sharper definition of the pattern.

Again, the larger hems.

Below is the reverse pattern. Both sides looks equally good to me! Both the taupe runner and the cotton runner are sold already so the new owner can decide which they like more.

The studio is all set up now and I must say that my knee replacement (and other joint replacements) are feeling pretty good now and so I have returned to twelve shaft drafts again and the heavier treadling with few problems.  My problem now is getting more weaving done and so have more inventory.  Rather embarrassingly, its selling as fast as I make it.  Nice problem to have huh?   Better get busy.....

I have a new book acquisition; a belated Christmas gift. My daughter and SIL had given us an Amazon gift certificate and I chose this book based on Frances L. Goodrich's studies on early American  Coverlets and Counterpanes.

As with the earlier book: Frances L. Goodrich's Brown Book of Weaving Drafts  it shows the old draft and a clear modern version that is easier to read, and therefore, easier to weave and reproduce yourself.  Its wonderful so much effort has gone into preserving these old drafts and weaving history,

Its well thought out and printed on quality paper. My book is a gently used one but apart from a few minor scratches on the cover, its as new. I'm looking forward to making my way through and admiring Frances's work.  That's her in the last picture. Her research efforts help  us to understand our collective weaving past, and to know where you're going, you have to know where you have been.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

So... this happened.

So, week ago we had lovely sunshine, warm temperatures and we were sitting outside sunning ourselves. Bruce did some small yard tidy up and we noticed the golfers were back on the course again.  It was feeling like spring here on the Island!

Then in the past two days, this happened

There's the BBQ that was fired up just three days before and we cooked supper on. 

With a large pot of home made soup simmering on the stove,  we are now back to perfect weaving weather and I have been busy in the studio. You can't tell by the picture below but there are good tunes playing and weaving going on!

There are newly completed table runners in to soak in the laundry room (show and tell next post!) and below is the warp for a new project for the Spring loom. 

Judging by the depth of the snow, we aren't going anywhere for a day or two.   My husband just informed me he's run out of gas for the snow thrower too.  This could get interesting......

Edited in later:   Oh, it did get more interesting !  We have received an official total of 44 cms here and its still lightly falling....  24 hours after the first snow pictures shown above were taken, it looked like this:

Hubby was going out at all hours trying to keep the driveway clear, especially after the plow had been through and buried the end of the driveway!

All kinds of winter weather records are being broken all across BC as it turns into a winter to remember!

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Intricate Tiny World...on my Dresser

My dear husband Bruce was born into a railroading family. In fact both sides, paternal and maternal, had ties to Canadian National Railway.

His mother's Italian immigrant father laid track and raised twelve children on a section man's pay. On the other side his paternal grandfather (also an immigrant, and one of twelve children from the UK) was a car painter and had the honour of painting the fine gold leaf filigree art work on 1939 Royal train cars for King George Vth and Queen Elizabeth (we knew her as the Queen Mum).   Bruce's Dad ran steam engines for his career and Bruce's mom's brothers were locomotive engineers and track supervisors.

So it came as no surprise that Bruce took up a railway career (after a short trial period in a Sudbury nickel mine underground).  He worked in Ontario, Jasper Alberta, northern BC, the Okanagan Valley, Vancouver, and at Victoria on Vancouver Island.  Bruce ran freight trains, passenger trains for VIA Rail and a private tourist train.

First paying trip at age 18

Bruce in Jasper 1966

Bruce running the VIA Rail passenger train Christmas 1984
Engineer Bruce on the Okanagan Valley Wine Train 1999
He retired in 2000. So I have asked him if he misses running a train ?    He relied "not the early calls or the long, long hours... or the cold weather, rock slides or avalanches. But the rest of it, yes....."

He has written many of his railway stories and has even been published. I believe there are more stories in him still but these he may have to change the names to protect the guilty!

Has he satisfied his need to "get it all out there" ?   Nope... not even close.

Bruce was long ago bitten by the model railroad bug.  He enjoys creating miniature worlds in HO scale, or 1/87.    I found these pictures he had taken in a recent camera download and was amazed at the perfection of these tiny models. These were all sitting on top of his dresser on a handwoven runner.

Yup, even a tiny outhouse!

This model of a snow shed was created by a friend of Bruce's and you can see how intricate it is and the amazing amount of detail.  Look at the crib work of 'old railway ties'. 

The picture below is Bruce and my son on a road trip Christmas week 1984. They rode together in the engine's cab for a good portion of the trip while my daughter and I sat in the First Class dining car having breakfast.


Roll the clock ahead more than a few years and now my son's son has discovered Thomas the Tank and all things rail.  He regularly builds railway tracks that run all through the house.

The only thing that rivals the imagination of a grown man, is that of a little boy.  Our grandson Ethan is train crazy and here's Grandad helping get a train up the hill.... where they had a head on collision.... 

....and resulting disaster at the bottom of the hill! 

and so it continues..... Bruce plans to build a model layout in a portion of the garage and no doubt Ethan and other 'boys' will be over to help build a railway dynasty.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Snap Shot

So today is supposed to be the most depressing Monday of the year.   Weather is dreary or downright cold. Christmas bills are rolling in.   Its the time of year where you just get on with getting on....

Unless you're a weaver.... then this is the prime weaving season! No holidays to prepare for,  no garden or yard work to do..... and you can sit and weave 'guilt' free.  

So call this a studio snap shot of today:

Cup of coffee and ready to start !

The Megado has had some action and a 16 shaft double plaited twill is quite eye catching.  I can see some beat issues but put that down to my bench. Its too low and so I had a double cushion on the wooden seat. It was wobbly and I kept sliding off.   Hubby has raised the bench height up for me and we'll see how that works soon.

The table runners are proceeding on the Spring loom and I'm midway on a long runner. This time I'm using a soft taupe tencel weft with the natural mercerized cotton. Its a nice combination. Definite clear pattern but not overpowering.

I'm doing some sewing and mending that have been waiting for some months.   I'm not a fan of hemming slacks and I'd rather pay someone to do it.  But its falling to me this time and like a good procrastinator, I'm here blogging rather than make a start.  (Yup, its that bad!)

I also had the warping mill set up and whirling away as I wound this warp.  Its 8/2 tencel and that's all I'm saying about this.   😉

So, I hope you are managing to avoid the flu making the rounds and staying healthy. Enjoy this weaving time..... and don't worry about other stuff going on right now.  Weave some sunshine in your studio and be creative

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Good Things Happen in Threes

This is as close as I can come to a spectacular finish to a year of blogging and the start of another!  I like to do an annual draw by way of thanking my faithful readers.   I know you are out there and sometimes you do a quick dash in and out.... sometimes, you settle in for a good read of past posts.

I have 'met' some of you via email and correspondence and shared in your successes and helped with some weaving problems.    Weavers everywhere seem to be a great bunch of resourceful friendly people, no matter where in the world we live!

Today its snowing at a steady pace and starting to add up.   No sunshine for some of these pictures to come so my apologies for the darker pictures. I tried to brighten them up on the computer.

I sat and read through each and every comment on the last two blog posts and wrote down everyone's name, or in the case of a few 'unknowns' I also added a bit of their comment so I could separate them. One weaver wrote twice and there's only one entry per weaver, and another commenter is a friend who is not a weaver, so the samples would not be of much use to her.

That brings the count to 47 names in the draw. They were folded in half and placed in a basket and shaken up well.....

I decided since I had eighteen samples to divide them into three lots of six .....

Then I placed them into three brown envelopes and had Bruce randomly number them.   Then we shook the basket once more and pulled three slips and tucked them under the number tag as drawn

Drum roll please!

Billie Weaver lives in the "Australian Capital Territory" of Canberra.   She also refers to it as the "Black weaving hole of the Universe".  I will leave it to Billie to explain that one....

Second slip drawn is for Karen Moore, a Canadian weaver in Ontario.

Third draw is for Capt. Dave and I have no idea where in the world Dave lives.... but he's clearly a weaver!

Congratulations to you all and please contact me via emmatrude at gmail dot com with your addresses and I will mail your sample prizes off to you sometime this week (after the snow stops)

I would like to take a moment to thank you for taking time to read my blog and following along as I get through my daily shenanigans and try to weave in between.  I never thought this electronic journaling would last this long but here we are at nine years and counting!
All the best for the coming year, Susan