Monday, February 8, 2010

In 'Lotus Land'

White Hellebore
These images are for Lynnette... I promised to show them to her to prove I'm not kidding about spring being here. We are experiencing the warmest winter in recorded history. From the newscast reports of the snow fall in Washington, D.C. being five times the normal recorded snow fall, I think we can all agree that we are now in uncharted territory!

This one is for Dorothy. Its our lightest coloured heather, a soft pink.

If anyone knows the name of the shrub that produces these little perky blossoms, please let me know!

This is Pieris Japonica (aka lily-of-the-valley shrub) with a nice display! New leaves come in salmon pink and turn green slowly over late spring to early summer.

Then one of the true signs of spring... a crocus.

Early returning hummingbirds can feed here... quince blossoms are budding up!

The small but elegant snowdrops...

I normally think of winter as 'prime' weaving weather and this time last year I had a great start on the inventory box. This year? Not so much. I'm finding that the renovation disruption and a chaotic home is not conducive to feeling connected to the loom and projects. Granted, since I reached a 'certain age', being able to mentally focus some days can be a challenge all in its self!

This past week ended with my old kitchen being ripped out and right now we're somehow managing to make coffee in the morning, the toaster is set up in the bedroom and we dine out nightly. Since there's no sink anymore, I wash up dishes in the bathroom sink. Rustic is a good word to describe our situation.

Once I have served up coffee and treats, double check the work on the agenda for the day, I find that its best to leave the tradespeople to do their work. So I retreat to the studio where I now balance the check book, call more tradespeople, fold laundry, do ironing and, oh, yes... weave! Every room is now multi purpose :)

Since the work upstairs can get noisy, I plug into my iPod and I'm enjoying various podcasts, avariety of music, and I have downloaded my first digital books. The current 2/8 cotton towel project on Emmatrude, previously described in my last post, is under way and the treadling is blissfully simple: one through to ten and back again. Another variation is simple one to ten and repeat. Not complicated and that's a good thing! I'm not doing contrasting borders as the pattern and stripes are busy enough, so my challenge is to find good weft colours to coordinate with my warp stripes of plum, moss green, salmon pink, melon and taupe.

Challenges? Some of you may chuckle when you see this:

Yup, I forgot to take the apron rod over the knee beam. I had the warp all nicely tensioned and good to go too!

That's better! I call these 'keep me humble moments' :)

Blogger is turning pictures again so just imagine them as vertical stripes! The dark weft is a slightly lighter moss green than the stripe green and it really shows the pattern in the stripe boldly. The lighter weft is a pale pumpkin and it really mutes the entire pattern. There are some weft pics that look like a double weft throws but there is a subtle difference between them. It appears to disapear with the dark weft. One of those neat optical effects! Last time I wove towels in this pattern, the most popular were the ones woven with a dark royal blue. One commenter said they looked like fun peasant ribbons!

Here's a shot of the moss green under way. I've used the same plum as in the warp as weft and have tried a neutral taupe as well as the pale pumpkin. I'll rummage through the stash for some other options.

I've enlarged and framed the hearts that are back to back and below is the neutral beige for a softer look. I'll only do one as I prefer the effect of darker wefts.

It's gone all quiet upstairs so they've gone for lunch... time to make a dash for my fridge or I'll not get a snack till supper!

I'll leave you with a picture of my guest room. Yes, there is a bed under there, somewhere... and a floor too. Note the (rapidly aging) Christmas shortbread tin is within reach as emergency rations!
Its a dirty job but....someone's gotta do it!
Edit: I have photographed the paper draft I have here and dropped it here for those inquiring about the pattern. This was created by Laurie Autio for a compilation CD for Complex Weavers.
I hope you can make out the colour sequence: 3 beige, then 3 pink, 2 mid peachy-pink, 3 soft yellow andthen reverse from the yellow. There are 5 beige between groups. I would recommend the addition of extra beige on the selvedges so they draw in and look similar to the beige between stripes. I didn't and wish I had now. Next time I wil add at least 4 to 6 extra. I am using a floating selvedge either side. Susan Feb 9/10
*click on image to enlarge*


Lynn said...

I'm jealous of your flowers! Do you suppose your mystery pink blossoms are a daphne? Your towels are just as lovely, btw!

Theresa said...

LOL, I've done the knee beam thing, or not as the case may be....:-)
Lovely towels, is the draft already posted somewhere on the blog?
It HAS been a warm winter, lets just put it this way, a few more of these mid winters and I am going to demand we move to New England.
How much longer on the kitchen reno? It will seem like forever no doubt.

barbara said...

Hi Susan,
Thanks for sharing your "touches of spring" - will be awhile yet, before we see such things on the East Coast! Though, I do not have construction going on at my place; I am trying to clean out/clean up, and get some renovations done to the duplex next door. My Mom moved to Community Care, so I am dispersing things to family members, and packing things for family to pick up this summer. I am cleaning and painting, and ordering flooring and a kitchen counter ...... It will all get done, and my back is not to the wall (thank goodness), to have it rented.

I also became the "mistress" of a 9 1/2 year old Shitsu; which is a lot more work then the cats I use to have. So, now I only get to stand in my weaving studio, look at the wonderful yarns, drool in my box of newly arrived tencel .... and know I will get to a loom in another month or so. Oh yes, I have to clean out "stuff" in my place, along with furniture to make room for "stuff" and furniture from Mom's place. I feel like a juggler with 10 balls in the air at all times. Even missed a dinner invitation tonight!! So Susan, hang in there, and do go out and enjoy your spring type weather.

My new mantra is: "It is all good". Weaverly yours ..... Barbara

weaveblah said...

Hello; I'm jealous of your flowers too! Your photography displays them all to perfection, but the shiny purple crocus is stunning.

Your current weave project is very pretty indeed, and I'm wondering what the weave structure might be.

I trust your kitchen refurbishment will be completed soon, although you seem to be managing resourcefully without one. It reminds me of past holidays with kids, camping in a tent.

Synnøve. said...

I like the flowers you taken pictures of.
Nice to look at when the temperatur is down on minus 18 degeres celsius....

Hugs Synnöve.

marion said...

Hi Susan,

I love your spring photo's. Here in the Netherlands we have a winter like we haven't had in soooooo many years. About 6 weeks of snow! I can't even remember when that happened before!
I believe it was 1963.
I love your towels, that pattern is gorgeous.
And I hope your kitchen will be ready soon. I know I cannot handle (well ofcourse I can, one sometimes just has to) but I hate things like redoing a kitchen or anything like it for that matter.
So, good luck and keep weaving (sane, that is).

Louisa said...

Not sure what the pink flower is (need to see more of the plant) but the one underneath is a Pieris japonica - aka lily-of-the-valley shrub. They do very well here and look good in most seasons. My tallest one is about 4 metres high! BTW here in Vancouver we have frost this morning for the first time in ages. Don't count winter out quite yet.

I too have done the missed-knee-beam trick. Luckily Woolhouse looms have an easily-removable one. Just lift it off and pop it back under the warp!

bspinner said...

Since we're suppose to get more snow today I am so JEALOUS of your pretty flowers!!

Towels are lovely!!!! I love the pattern-strip weave.

Kitchen remodels are no fun but I'm sure the results are be wonderful. Hang in there and I can hardly wait to see photos of the finished kitchen. We're just putting in new counter tops and I'm dreading the mess of cleaning out the cupboards to do it.

Sue said...

The second mystery plant is an andromeda, or Pieris.

charlotte said...

Your flowers are really amazing! I love your towels, it's a very pretty and decorative pattern.

Susan said...

Thank you for all your comments (and sympathies). I'm sure that many of you have enabled comments by email so I'm using this post to let you know that I have added a copy of the draft at the end of the post. I'm sure if you click on it to enlarge, you will see everything better! Please recall that this is a 10 shaft pattern. You may be able to adjust it down to an 8 shaft. (Please give credit to Laurie Autio for the draft if you use it... thank you)

Thanks for helping with naming some of my garden plants!


Life Looms Large said...

It's great to see your burst of spring photos!! We've got warm sun (relatively) but snow-covered ground so it will be a while yet here. Weird that it's much snowier far to the south of us.

I sympathize about your kitchen even more now. This week mine has been out of commission for 4 days - today is the day Jim is grouting the new tile backsplash. I know that 4 days and a backsplash are nothing in the scheme of things! I like that you're going out to dinner every night! That sounds good!!

Great job weaving anything at all during the chaos!! The towels look great! Gotta run....our kitchen is briefly open for lunch!


Stephen said...

Hi Susan,

What a cool draft for towels. Lots of room for creativity. Just curious about the tabby treadles int he draft. How are they used?


Susan said...

Hi Stephen,
Thanks for writing! The draft has tabby treadles but I never tied those up or used them at all in the weaving of my towels. Some weavers like to do weave plain weave hems but I prefer to simply treadle the twill. Plain weave hems spread out and make doing a neat hem hard due to having more interlacements than a twill. I simply don't bother with them anymore.

Does this help you?