Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Summer Snow


Happy Solstice every one!  I'm a couple days late...

I would have posted yesterday but I took a day off and went to the beauty parlour and got a trim and something they call 'glazing' done.   I decided for my past birthday in March where I turned 60 that I would embrace the grey and cease hi-lighting and semi permanent colours.   The semi colour fades away over three to four months and leaves a slight trace. The grey areas were refusing to take any effort on the part of my hairdresser to discreetly be covered with a semi colour and I won't go to a permanent dye. The time had come to become a full on crone.    This sure came along before I was expecting it....      Anyhow, the glazing is a clear semi permanent that gives your hair body, conditions it, tames the unruly white ones and gives it lots of shine.  It also involves a head massage that lasts twenty minutes.  Need I say more? 


I want to get the second half of my snowflake scarf project up here for you to see ahead of what promises to be some very busy days.  We're  listing our house and property for sale and we also have some over night guests coming  and everything that is entailed by this.    

I'm calling this one Summer Snow although I have used the new ecru 8/2 tencel as my warp (24 epi) and the un-dyed 8/2 tencel  



The pattern can be quite busy for some and so by using the two shades together it gives a neutral shade and uses the play of light on the yarn to reveal the diamonds and graduated "x's".   I also think it will move through the year as a wearable ... and lend itself to what ever colour you team it up with.


Here it is on black, but it would look equally fabulous on a deep red suit or  chocolate brown coat.  


This picture really shows how the white tencel picked out the pattern



It measures 8 inches wide by 76 inches long and a generous fine twisted fringe.   I'm so tempted to keep this one for myself but it would be months before its cool enough to wear it... and I can weave another.


These pictures are taken on our back deck against a rough stone wall. You can see the  lush west coast vegetation in behind.  Just a bit higher up above the fern was a small doe watching me...


They come through the property several times a day ( and night) and nibble away.  We gave up long ago trying to have a decent garden or flowers here....



Here's an inside shot where with incandescent lighting, and so it looks more cream.   Its also as soft as butter and drapes beautifully. I have recently seen posts by weavers saying they haven't tried weaving with tencel yet.   I think "what the heck are you waiting for?? "


This draft was modified by me to suit my needs for size and sett.  The original design similar to this one was seemed to come out at roughly the same time by Jane A. Evans (GCW master weaver, and author and published in Weaver magazine) and also Gudrun Weisinger (German master weaver, author in Weaver & Handwoven magazine... and my dear friend)  who passed away this time last year.  I don't know who was first.... but if you use it, please credit them.  Its a simple thing, doesn't take away from your project and means a great deal.   Also try to modify if you have enough experience with drafts.... and use different colours, yarns etc.   Making modifications is how you learn and grow as a weaver.  ( Copying exactly is not flattery...)  I have been experiencing some 'flattery' of late and so please note that I won't always share a draft every time.  This one has been published in more than a few places and easily found. 

A tip or hint:  this is as large a yarn size as I would go using this pattern. It has long floats and becomes a more friendly item to wear or use if you use a finer grist yarn.   10/2 tencel at 28 epi... 16/2 cottons or bamboo at 36 epi.   If you use a weaving design program, check the float length and then work out how long they are over an inch. 


Now, in the last weaving related post I promised a visit by an antique!   Many years ago I was quietly walking around a very large barn shaped building that houses antiques and collectables. You could spend hours in there pouring over all the items. I had an eye out for textiles and unusual china.  I found some absolutely lovely fine singles linen handkerchiefs with hemstitching and bobbin lace edgings for 50 cents each.  A large dining room table cloth that is pure linen, hemstitched on four sides for $10.00.... which only needs all the hideous embroidery removed and washed to be a useful beautiful snowy white table linen.    And I found this:


Yeah, orange stripes.... but look at the snowflake twill!   Its a fine cotton plied yarn or singles and the weft is a singles natural linen.  The linen is like two or three flax fibres spun together its so fine.  Its also very soft which tells me it was well used and washed often to be like this now. Linen only gets better with age!



The weaver made a simple rolled hem which has held nicely on one end but is slipping its bonds on the other.  I would love to use this somehow... but how do you lose the orange?    Over-dyeing might work.... but I suspect the striping effect would always show through regardless, and the orange will alter the colour chosen there. 


I hope you are able to enlarge this and see more detail.  I would love to have this analyzed and work out the draft. I'm pretty sure its an eight shaft. *fingers crossed*.   

Oh, and it cost me $1.00.    The bargain hunter in me was happy.... but the weaver in me cringed. 


Finally... a teaser for what's to come.... eventually...   

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Not just One Day...





 Dad and I went back sixty years together.  Here we are in the back garden in the UK playing together.   We had a close bond more than the usual 'father-daughter' bond. My mother was ill after I was born and so he looked after me as a newborn for the first  four to six months until my mother was better.



Dad was in the Royal Navy and so was away on tours for months on end, but we had that great first start.    He did have an extra long tour of twelve plus months and so when he came home, he had to peek through the letter slot and ask me to open the door.  I wouldn't let the strange man in!



Then my parents decided to emigrate to find a better life in Canada. It wasn't their first choice but New Zealand was too far away for their parents. That must have been hard to leave behind family, friends, and a way of life and living.


Here we are sitting by the Thames estuary shortly before we left the UK.   I'm four years old.  I can recall being on the ship (S.S. Empress of Britain) and I can recall the large engine of a train.


We end up in Saskatoon on the Canadian prairies and lived there for ten years.  Dad was a Police officer.    Yes, winters were that cold!


 In the late 1960's, after tight tough times and long cold winters, life turned a corner again and they decided to give New Zealand a try.

Dad in the early 1970's 


NZ was beautiful and it was weird having picnics for Christmas day dinner at the beach!   Sweating in the heat of summer and exchanging cards with snow scenes and putting up Christmas trees.  It wasn't a British lifestyle, and it wasn't a Canadian lifestyle either.... it was like going back into a quaint other world.


 This is Dad's old car... a 1958 Ford Poplar in 1972.  

Mum quickly decided that Canada with all its modern comforts was a much better place and so we returned to Canada. This time we stayed on the warmer west coast!


The Vancouver area seemed to work very well for my parents raising a family.   Dad moved from being a Deputy Sheriff to a Fraud Investigator.


 Here he is after officially donating his 100th pint of blood for the Red Cross in the 1980's. He was very service minded but in a more official capacity.


Poor health forced an early retirement in the late 1980's, which after my mother's sad passing in 1995, he spent alone.  He traveled back to the UK and did jaunts to Europe with his sister as well.  He visited us on our various shifts in home location around southern BC.  He was the family's anchor, our glue that pulled us all together... the Dad.

This time last year he was in hospice care and so we knew it was our last one with him.   There were cards, flowers and tears...   hugs and smiles.



This Father's Day is our first with out him. It would be so nice to pick up the phone and hear his voice.   But not just today, but any day....

Father's day, like Mother's day, is *every* day!  Its a 24/7 commitment from the first day they bring you home, until their last day.    And beyond....




Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Weaving Zen

The snowflake twill warp is now off the loom and complete. 



I feel very pleased with how they turned out.  There were two scarves but I'm only showing you one today.   If I showed you both, then one would be your favourite and I think they both are lovely and deserve equal billing.   This one is the  brash, louder version. The "show off" if you like....


The warp is the new ecru shade of 8/2 tencel at Web's, sett 24 epi and despite the complexity of the pattern, its only eight shafts and eight treadles.  The weft is 8/2 tencel in silver.  In the picture above, it almost looks like it has a touch of blue to it. While weaving it I was amazed at how blue it did look... almost a wedgwood blue. That was indoors in warm lighting and outdoors, it turns silver.
  


 Its a twill progression, with point twill in-between and on the borders.  The first I saw of this design it was being used by Jane Evans and Gudrun Weisinger and I fell in love with it. You can find the design in Weavers Magazine, or in their compilation "Twill Thrills". I modified the draft to fit my scarf  dimensions.    If this sort of twill is something that you like and want to learn more you can find information in:
  • Weavers magazine issues 13 and 18 ( and maybe more! ) For those of you with access to older copies as its now out of print.
  • An older post of mine here   (have you checked out Topic Shopping above?)
  • Heddle Craft  is a new online weaving publication by Robyn Spady, which features twill progressions, or advancing twills as come call it in her first issue. Check it out!
  • Twill Thrills and Madelyn van der Hoogt's  Complete Book of Drafting for Handweavers


I have woven many many projects of snow flake twill over the years and so now have the treadling run embedded in my brain. I don't need a cheat sheet any longer.   It does seem like I must work to keep my attention on the task at hand though!   Have you ever driven a car and got to your destination and then realize that you can't recall how you got there? You did it on "cruise control" of the brain?  

I did that with weaving this time.   I was saying the twill runs out loud and had a good pace going.... and then I zoned out (or zen as some weavers like to say). When I came to again by repeating some numbers which to my zenned brain were too soon to be repeated again, I stopped and really looked down at the cloth. It was quite something and none of it resembled a snowflake or even twill.

OOPs.....

I had to cut the weft out as I would have to step on almost every treadle, every time to find the right one.   Sadly I forgot to take a picture.   I can't recommend weaving on autopilot unless you have a dobby loom.

So this scarf measures 8 inches by 76 inches and has a long delicate fringe.

Next time.... its quieter cousin ......and a visit by a genuine antique.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Sudden Summer

I have a fan running in the kitchen to cool me while I work. My naturally curly hair has connected with the overall humidity and springing back to life after being blown dry straight. What a wasted effort that was!     We seem to be "enjoying" a heat wave here. Summer arrived.   Suddenly.

Just last week, it was cold, a bit of rain and wind and I was wearing woolies to keep warm.

The yard has been full of swallowtail butterflies and they fly (flutter?) right up to windows like they want to come in...    Bruce took these lovely pictures of them feeding. He could get very close!



There were three of them on this one basket but these two ran it off!  It also seems I choose flower baskets they really like too as we have three of these.    We also have many dragonflies and damselflies flitting around.  No luck getting pictures but here's one from two years ago:


The basement is cool and I can even get a hint of breeze through there between a fan and the patio door.   I just pulled a completed warp off the loom just late yesterday and have one of the two scarves pinned out on the styro-foam board for fringe twisting.  I should have them done and ready shortly. They certainly will dry quickly!   Hubby is ready to assist with beaming another warp.  (what a guy huh?)

Here's a peek of the completed project:



Yes, snowflake is back.... its like an old friend!

I have one more picture for you.  I know I posted about being in Cathedral Grove last post and how huge the trees are. I found one that helps give perspective....


So there's the merry little band walking through the trails. Me in the red coat (it was cold and windy!) Daughter and SIL (who is 6' 8" tall!).... and look at the girth of some of the *younger* trees that are approx 300 years old.  It amazes me that this island used to have trees like this all over it at one time.

As Joni Mitchell sang: " you don't know what you've got till its gone..."

Sunday, May 29, 2016

On the Wing


As promised, here's the second scarf from the grape silk warp. I think you can see now why I separated their debut's! Its dramatically different from the first scarf  (in the previous post). Definitely fraternal twins with a common warp, but the similarity ends there.


I had a hard time deciding whether I liked either scarf as I wove them as for a time I could catch glimpses of both and it really confused the eye.  I was committed to the weft colours and so soldiered on.


The change happened once they came off the loom and cut apart. I left one on my work table and set the other scarf down elsewhere to wait its turn for fringe twisting.  One scarf by itself was stunning.... as was the other.  But close together?   Not so much!


So here we have 20/2 bombyx silk which has been hand dyed a grapey purple and I purchased it from Jane Stafford Textiles earlier this year. The sett is 28 epi but I now feel 24 epi would be better next time round.   This weft is 8/2 tencel from Webs called deep teal.


This picture shows the overall length before any twirls around the neck.  It was woven to approx seventy four / five inches and it wet finished out to seventy two plus fine fringe.  The width is six and a half inches. 


The is a natural shine or sheen to both fibres and together they just glow! They go that bit further and create an iridescent  effect like on a butterfly's wing. Both colours have similar depth of shade or intensity of colour.  A good pressing encourages the sheen and maximum refection.   Its magic!



Another warp went on straight away and is progressing nicely.  Yet another old classic, by request, to be revealed next post.   

We have had some special house guests for the past four or five days and had a wonderful time with them.  My daughter and her husband came from Colorado  and fly home out of Vancouver tomorrow.  


.....and then stopped and admired the gentle giants in Cathedral Grove.
There's a tree there that 20 people can stand and hold hands around the base. Its 1000 years old.  It was 300 years old when Columbus came to the New World in 1492.  Its a very humbling experience to stand among the trees and survey all the huge tree trunks surrounded by five- 6 foot giant ferns on the forest floor. The trees are so tall you can't view the entire tree if you look up.   Here's a brief video:

video

This is Colin, our son in law, and our daughter Carrie  along with Calli our Airedale, checking out the 1000 year old tree.  Colin is 6 foot 8 inches (no kidding!) for some perspective.... you can see where many people have climbed up on the fallen 'younger tree' and touched the old giant.



I'll leave you with some more wild wonders.... first, a tiny brown bat who has tucked himself into the crack of the garage door today.  We are very happy to see him and his friends on the property as they eat a ton of bugs!   White nose fungus has appeared to the south of us in Washington state, so hopefully this little fellow stays healthy.


Then this is the view from my kitchen window this morning as I was hand washing dishes:


Her boyfriend came along about five minutes behind her.... he has little 'prongs' started, still in velvet.