Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Well, That Didn't Go According to Plan

So things were going well and then Bruce came down sick with a cold and cough.  Three days later, I got a sniffle.... then a sore throat and the cough came on.  There were two weeks where I coughed my way from day to day.  I sat up in a chair to sleep some nights and other nights Bruce slept in the chair to escape my coughing (where I sounded like a barking seal.)

There was a third week where we felt well enough to be functional but very tired.  We actually took naps  sometime planned.... and some others just snuck up on us when we took a break.  I've never had that happen before!   I'm still coughing but not as much.   It just doesn't want to leave me....

There is an additional problem for me.  The week before the cold and cough hit me, I got a tooth ache and took antibiotics for an abscess and booked a time for a root canal with a new dentist.   Well, you can't do one of those for two hours and have a bad cough..... so the appointment was moved to April.
 That was okay until this past Friday when the tooth woke up again and so now I'm back on the antibiotics again.
There was NO weaving for at least three weeks. I had zero interest and we found that we both were too tired to focus on things.   Eventually, we have slowly come back to life and some lovely sunny days really helped cheer us up.  We have made plans for the garden tidy up, what needs pruning, replacing and maybe even new patio furniture?    Now the rains have returned but it was sunshine enough to know its spring and we'll be back in the sunshine again soon.

Life has gone on around us and very nicely left us alone while we were sick.  I have been weaving two concept shawls  (both the same) and have one finished but not pressed and the other is just as it came off the loom. So they need to be completed and photographed for show and tell.  This is all I can give you for now.

Just as I completed the first shawl, I received a request to weave a special shawl for a client who has three weddings in May. So I got busy winding a warp and here we have 700 ends  of 10/2 tencel being beamed this past week.  Weft will be ivory silk.

So sleying is well under way and then a 12 shaft tie up to be done...therefore nothing to show you there yet.    I sold two of the four recent table runners, and two kitchen towels to one weaver, and also a silk scarf to another weaver!  This must the kindest compliment a weaver can get.  😊   Then I got another commission to weave two silk scarves for Christmas 2017 gifts (so no great hurry)!  So I had better shake off my cough and fix this %$#&  tooth  and get BUSY!

Other fibre news:    I bought some 30/2 silk in what I thought was a clear red or a little to the blue side.   Nope!   Its a rich red with an orange undertone and I will use it. Its a lesson in not trusting pictures on computer screens.    So this....

..... was actually this upon arrival :

The picture doesn't do the depth of shade justice.... its lovely, but not what the client wants for a red. 

The next  bit of news is one of those "special person",  and a "special moment" kind of thing. I frequent (mainly lurk) at some Ravelry weaving groups and follow along. One is a page where people reveal their finished projects and do some show and tell. One weaver, also named Susan, posted about her newly finished  turned taquette towels and I was quite struck by them.  I cheekily suggested she could mail one to me and asked if she would like my new address?   Susan said YES!   I said I was only kidding and she said she wasn't.    Oh, my!

So  big thank you to Susan in Staunton, Virgina!  Its not going to be used as a towel of course and will be in my studio. Fully reversible and impeccably woven on her Glimakra.... and with hand sewn hems!

I was caught a bit short of full sized towels to do an exchange but I did have one guest towel left in the huck lace diamond pattern from this older post and she liked it very much!  I wish you could feel how soft this towel is. Susan used 10/2 American Maid cotton from Lunatic Fringe.   If the dollar ever goes to par again, I would order some and give it a try myself.

Birthdays came and went....  Bruce turned his odometer one more turn, but we were both too sick to do much other than to write a rain check for a better time for his birthday dinner and cake.  

I must say that he did a fine job of  celebrating my recent birthday with me and I had a lovely day and received many calls from family and friends.   But we both agree that the numbers are starting to pile up and there are moments when when you find yourself wondering "where the heck all the time went!!"  I thought it would take far longer to get old. 

Another birthday at the opposite side of the age spectrum is this little cutie patootie, our grand daughter Madison who just turned two. 

I love phone calls with her as she says "hi Nana"..... and then tells me all about everything!

Ethan will be five in April and is very much an active boy and into all the boy toys. Here he is last week helping Dad at a pin ball conference. He's pretty good at it!   That's also the most stationary I have seen him as he's usually a blur!

Well, this post is a mixed bag of news and such and hopefully I will have things back on track for more show and tell and weaving related.   I'm hoping to show you my birthday present to myself as well.  I have a new traveling spinning wheel on order and on its way to me.

I have a lovely Majacraft wheel at home but its heavy and a bit bulky for taking to spinning days at the guild. I also worry about it getting bumped and banged around being lugged around so haven't bothered with it except at home.   So I researched my light weight travel options, took a look at my well made Louet looms and went with the 6.5 pound  Louet Victoria wheel (and carry bag)

It comes in either beech (shown) or oak and I won't know until it gets here! 

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.