Friday, April 29, 2016

A Class Act

I'm weaving classy "classic Drall weave".... in between tax prep, yard work, window cleaning,  and catching up on Life.  One side effect of deteriorated joints and surgeries is that sets you on the sidelines and you watch other people doing things and going places.   Like you used to do.

Well, I'm feeling stronger and more myself again and I have some serious catching up to do! Some decisions to be made.

Like what colour weft to use with grape 20/2 silk?  How about mint fine bamboo?    These are going to be nice once washed and pressed up. You can see the silk's sheen coming through already as it turns the corner on the breast beam.

Next scarf? I'm staying with fine bamboo and either an old gold or ??   I'll show you what I decide next post.

I'm losing ground on the stock situation as my neighbour came over and bought two scarves for his mother and aunt both turning 90.  I'm very pleased he thought my scarves worthy of a special gift like that.   I'm going to have to keep plugging away and try to get my sales chest built back up again!

I need towels, runners and shawls  so check in from time to time and see what's being dreamed up and made real.  

That's what we do you know.... take an image from our mind and make it real.

With help from your friends of course....

Its only fair as I helped him at his job some years ago....

This is how I spent two weeks over Christmas 1984. The Via  passenger train.  The engineer, my husband Bruce,  sits on the right hand side. Everyone thought I was running the train and I was happy to let them keep thinking that!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

... And Sometimes More is Better!

That last project was fun.... and I *loved* the results. So why not do it again?   Some changes to the project this time round:
  • I increased the size of the 'boxes' width by four ends per box. The overall width went up by half and inch to 7.5 inches
  • I added an extra black warp thread to the selvedges, so when it gets compacted its still the same size as the central dividers. Nit picky I know....
  • I changed two colours to brighten things up, but left three as they still complimented the colour scheme.
I'm like this when I follow a cake or main dinner recipe too. I follow the rules and recipe faithfully the first time, then I make adjustments to suit me.   It works....

This was not a complicated weave to treadle but this one took time as I had hurt my new knee and so I had to be more careful and weave only in small timed sessions.  After months of pain and recovery, I do not want to mess it up!   Spring has also arrived here and so we have been tackling other jobs such as taxes, yard work,  spring cleaning in the house and our ever present "downsizing stuff".   Its an energetic time of year and the outdoors beckons again.  The calendar is also starting filling up with plans for trips,  house guests and summer events.   

Finally, the scarves were all done, the fringes twisted, hand washed and dried over night. A good hard pressing and fringe trimmed up neat.    I dragged Madge back outside again and she and I did some poses.  She's a rather wooden and stubborn model but the only one I have. Next gal will hopefully have arms!

Hanging straight to show over all length.

Then some flips and folds for flare....

... and in this one below, I turned the centre to show the opposite side. Its fully reversible.

Then I got my own private black  rain cloud and so we dashed back inside and shot a few more.  I used every light I own, a white back ground and a flash so sorry if these are a bit dark.

They do show how rich the colours are! Tencel is super for the rich deep shades they have, plus black does make the colours pop.

Here you can see the reversing twill more clearly. 

These two (above) show the finishing details: small neat hemstitching to secure the edge threads and tight twisting.   No beads this time as they are busy enough as they are.

So now what?  I have some 20/2 silk just beamed on the Spring loom and I'm two thirds through the threading for classic drall.    Here's my other studio helper, Bruce.  He's right there when ever a new warp needs beaming or loom needs lifting. That's the  drall silk in the picture.... a nice grape purple!

An upgrade in computers means the Megado is waiting for  reloading of USB to serial port drivers... again.   So that's on the 'to-do' list and will be done shortly.

I'm slowly working through more family photos and work on them at night as we watch the TV.  I'm somewhere in the range of 1500 scanned now and probably as much again to do.    "Eating the elephant one bite at a time"   I must state for the record that no elephants are harmed here and I personally like them.   🐘

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Sometimes Less is More

I spent the entire day today on computers.   Setting up a new Mac and preparing my old one for Hubby Dearest  to use.   We 'migrated' stuff using Apple's programs and troubleshooted some other issues.   Such as this one:  I've been using a program called iPhoto to do all the hundreds of old family pictures and apparently  Apple has dropped it from their roster. I clearly did not get the memo.  I have a back up drive with all the pictures as saved in iPhoto.... but where do they get to go??  The new Mac didn't come with iPhoto so I had a moment of panic.  As luck would have it, we found that I could download the program from the  'previously purchased' list at the App store, and after that download, they all went like homing pigeons into their folders!  iPhoto won't receive updates anymore so I will have to work out where to shift them to next, but I'm putting out one bush fire at a time !

So I'm using my new Mac for this post and hubby beside me is happily on his learning curve with the MacAir as he's a newbie. ( iPads and iPhones don't really set you up for a full on Mac).  His other PC laptop died after only six months, which is just crazy.  Its a lot of money to be out after a few months, not to mention the aggravation factor!   The Apple conversion in this house is now total and complete!     He was a tough nut to crack but like water on rock.......     :)

I had four or five cones of 8/2  (or 2/8) tencel sitting on my desk for some time.  Old gold, mineral green, taupe, Pompeii, and slate gray. There was something about the colours that drew me and they seemed to just go together but what to do with them?   I wanted to use all of them and try to keep the colours separate and distinct if possible.  I spent much time looking through old drafts, old samples looking for inspiration.   Then in a stack of old drafts  which I call my 'some day' pile I found a 6 shaft reversing 2/2 twill.   Then I found some similar colours in my Fiberworks. Not accurate but close enough for me.

Aprox 200 ends, 24 epi and 6 yards in length. I wound the warp and it hung  around awhile waiting its turn, but at least it in the queue now!

After the ombre scarves came off, the warp went on and Bruce was there to help.  Here he is all set to use his new trick of a pvc rod in the paper roll to stop it from going wandering while being wound on. It really seems to help!

Then I used my usual lacing on and two stick start. It really reduces the loom waste.  I only nip off the knots later and all that becomes my twisted fringe later  instead of going into the trash bin or thrums bag (which I don't keep).

I checked for mistakes, prepped my floating selvedges and got busy.  It met all my desired criteria of keeping colours separate and altogether, fully reversible, and having visual impact but simply done.  It sure looked better than I expected!    

There was a nice 'melding' of the colours, which are all of a similar value and depth of shade.  The black dividers nicely pop the colours, as well as the little boxes shine through.

I wove two in these colours and I can't say how important pressing is to the final wet finishing at the projects conclusion.   Its the shine on the apple.     I hope you can see these two examples clearly.... maybe enlarge it to see better, either by clicking or spreading with your fingers.  One scarf is washed and dry.... the other washed, dry and pressed.

The cloth becomes softer,  more drape to it, beautiful sheen, and ready to go somewhere!

Showing the length.

Here the fold has been turned to show the reverse side.

I was thrilled with how they turned out!   So I wound another warp to do it again.... next post will be the second warp and how getting excited about weaving again, did me in   :(      But I'm doing okay and ready to start again but in a more sedate fashion.   More tortoise, less hare.   

Speaking of rabbits, I hope you had an enjoyable Easter.   

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Down the Rabbit Hole

Where did a month go?    I'm still here...... honest!

Well, it seems that my getting back into weaving that fast was perhaps a bit too much, too fast and I have been resting my knee and leg (other than the mandatory exercises).  

I fell down a proverbial rabbit hole!

Paternal great x3 aunt, only known as Ms Bowers.

I started sorting and scanning old family pictures instead to be useful with my time while my knee settles down.   Its like an old murder mystery but minus the murder part and you track clues and family trees.... and oh, look its midnight!

Olive  age 3, 1924

I have  family pictures for both my sets of grandparents and even some of great grandparents, then add to the mix one paternal aunt and her two marriages, and also two maternal aunts and their spouses  and all of the pictures taken by my father and mother over their lifetimes and I have literally thousands to sort, identify and scan.

Twins 1934
Twins approx 1937

Twins approx 1940-41

Twins approx 1948-49
I have an account with Ancestry and so can double check years and dates, family connections and then I have been sending these out one by one to family.   I had thought that 12-15 per day would take me 2-3 years but I decided to speed things up a bit.     So long as they sort using my subject lines, then all photos will group together as an individual or family.

Paternal great uncles Bill and Fred
Its fascinating seeing Life in another place and time, from their births to their old age. Its been a quite cathartic experience and it sure puts what's important .... truly important into perspective.

Paternal great aunt Hilda 
I'm doing my best with each and every one I handle as now that my father has passed on,  I'm the eldest in our family and for some of these people, I'm the only one to have met them or know their names.  

Unknown family member... no one recorded his name on the back. 

I just didn't want them to remain nameless or end up in a garbage bin or second hand shop someday. That is so sad.  

Family weddings....

If you have old style paper photographs, even if you don't organize them, at least write names on the back so someone one day who does organize them has names to go with faces.  Its one of those jobs that everyone says they must do sometime but it never seems important until its too late.

and funerals

Trust me, we all become a line on a family tree someday and with the technology around now, you can add pictures, stories, and even video's.

Consider it a gift to the future family.....

new babies
I did manage to ever so slowly weave off the last portion of my recent  scarves and they are threatening us with some sunshine tomorrow so I hope to put Madge Mannequin outside for some beauty shots.

Meanwhile we had an overflow from our four year old dishwasher and so our four year old hard wood floor is being lifted in places and  replaced with new boards this weekend.   The offending dishwasher is still here and we are hand washing until we decide which route to take: repair or replace.  Hand washing is a very time consuming job.   :(

Then there have also been some mysterious plumbing 'issues' downstairs which has four plumbers scratching their heads while we search for solutions.  

Now you know why the Rabbit Hole has been so appealing....    next post, weaving.... promise!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

New Tricks

This is Bruce, my husband, doing his old job.... as a locomotive engineer.   Thirty eight years passed by, although it felt slow at the time! Those days and weeks do end up reaching a goal eventually.   He did work at another job in a different field for approximately ten years and is now fully retired.  He has a birthday with a zero in it later this month and it gives you a pause to think on it. I know, I have my own 'zero' coming up too in March.  He keeps busy on line doing consignment sales for people downsizing their model railway hobby (or expanding it)  and he also keeps a blog where he write his (98% true) railway stories.  Its been a while since he last wrote but several people, including me, are nudging him back to the keyboard.

He's a wonderful supporter of my weaving endeavours, and also an invaluable help in the studio and lends a hand when it comes to beaming a warp. I get everything all set up and ready. Then he winds the back beam and I tension and detangle. We usually have a good chat about what ever is going on, or listen to some music and sing along.

We use brown wrapping paper as our separator (which we buy at the post office as it seems to be the right size, price and is sturdy). It gets to be a 'personal challenge' to see if he can get the paper on and keep it winding straight.  Many of you might know how frustrating it is to have it going off wildly  off track.  I would cut it off, fold the edge over to straighten and carry on.    Bruce got creative!

He noticed I had a length of  half inch PVC pipe which I normally use to hang up and dry shawls over standing in a container.

He placed the PVC rod through the centre of the roll of paper and then nudged it back against the edges of the down treadles.  He has the leading edge folded perfectly straight and uses the apron rods to line up and we start to beam.

Bruce uses his feet and toes to gently tension the rod and the paper slides off under control and no wandering!  He's such a clever clogs!   We decided to take photographs and show the technique to you. This was 100% his idea and I must say it really works. No fighting with the paper and the six and a half yard warp went on very quick.

So what was that warp you say?     Have a peek..... 

There's going to be some colourful show and tell soon.... stand by!