Saturday, March 27, 2010

Moths and Camels and Yaks... Oh My!

Okay, this doesn't look too different from my last picture of this scarf warp. The difference is this is scarf number two and the weft is a soft creamy beige. It's a blend of bombyx silk and soft camel top that I bought at Diane Sanderson's Studio on Granville Island in Vancouver two years ago.

Even with a reduction in the size of the images, Blogger liked it better this way and it works for me this time as I want you to notice the selvedges. I'm loving it! I have the treadling memorized and keep the shuttle moving in a steady rhythm and my edges are beautiful! After all that trouble with the previous pattern and not being able to remedy it, this is proof that rethinking a pesky project sometimes works out for the best! I'm actually enjoying the weaving now and look forward to sitting down at the loom.

The silk warp is 2/30 grist and is sett at 36 epi. I'm not sure of the yardage of the silk camel blend but it must be identical. I'm getting 36 pics per inch and a perfect 45 degree angle line. So nice when that all comes together. I have zoomed in (above) to show you the orderly little world you find when you look at close-ups. Let there be no doubt that I'm a structure weaver first... colour second.

So despite cutting off a ten inch length of the older abandoned project, I seem to have scads of warp left. That would be the bonus of factoring in 12 inches each time for samples. I may get a third scarf, weft undecided right now, but no new samples to share. I'm sure my friends will understand....
Not sure what to put on Lilibet when this is done, so must mull over some ideas. I will be turning to the 'experiment' on my big loom which is stretching my colour boundaries and then some!

Reno report:
So we have some new trims and moldings as of yesterday and should be finished next week, to follow with more painting. The stairwell now has skirting and is waiting for the 1930's style bead board paneling and then paint. This is the one other area in the house that has had a big change from when we moved in and will get a post later when complete.
Kitchen is waiting for the staining and assembly of the wood wrap for the centre island and you can't rush that process. All is contingent on the weather and humidity for how long each layer of finish takes to dry.

Laundry room now has a ceiling and now, even new stipple texture applied as of yesterday.
The short story is: we went from no ceiling after the dishwasher overflow...
To a new ceiling with it getting better day after day (it seems to take forever!) Mind you, they might think the same about my weaving!

{My loom is about 15 feet from the laundry room door and the young man doing the work loves to listen to Euro-techno beat dance music while he works. I found the pounding 'boom-boom -boom of the bass beat helpful to develop a rhythm on the loom, but I eventually put my iPod on and went for something more my style! } Next, the sanding of the walls in the laundry area and perphaps progressing to paint this coming week. I get to do my laundry once a week when they kindly slide my washer and dryer back in!

Our dog Connor who used to bark at a squirrel in a tree now ignores the endless progression of people trooping through my house and naps through the whole thing. Smart dog....

Geesh... I have never vacuumed and cleaned up so many days and after so many men at any time in all my life! :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

One Door Closes, Another Opens


Another renovation post but at least I intersperse them with weaving reports!

We changed out our old single pane windows last March/09 (and posted about in April) and the patio doors had to wait a bit longer. The new energy efficient windows reduced our monthly heating bill by $30 a month. (That's $360 a year!) We have three patio doors in the house and two are regular six foot doors. Both of these were single pane so we were looking forward to getting rid of those. The big eight footer was double pane but simply dark and nasty looking. Also very heavy to roll back and it had no screen door anymore.

So, here are the new doors waiting for installation:

We also ordered three new doors for the front and back door to the house and a new door for the garden shed. This past Wednesday, three nice fellows showed up, Sean, Al and Bill, and started to work. In short order they had all the doors off and the new ones ready to go in. It was a darn good thing it was a nice day and reasonably warm! I still wore my fleecy vest to keep a chill at bay! Our poor little dog spent most of his time stuffed in a room with the door closed wondering what the heck was going on out there??!! At nearly 13 years old, Connor means well but he gets under foot and being deaf, he can't hear anything... so a guy has to get his nose in there to check things out close up.

Our old front door was straight out of the 70's with its textured glass in a lovely amber colour. Turned everything in the entry way yellow gold and since the old wall covering in the stairwell was dark cedar, it had all the appeal of a cave! ( more on stairwell in the future...)

Here's the new front door with an art deco pattern glass panel:

They ran out of the new cedar trim in the burgundy stain so that will be added soon. The front step is going to be scraped down and repainted but we couldn't see the point doing it with all the traffic going in and out right now. It will most likely it will match the new cedar trim and we have the 25 year guarantee stain already.

Here's a close up of the glass as it waited for installation in the morning sun.
Now onto the patio doors. I found this older picture taken during the start of the kitchen reno to show the older door just off the dining room area. The total length is eight feet. Dark, heavy and out of date:
Here's the crew shifting the new patio door into place. Nice guys and they worked hard all day doing the six doors. Looks brighter already!

This picture below is the door in the living room. I sit near this one and could feel the cold radiating off it when we watch TV at night. No lap throw in use since this went in! Now the room is looking a little bare as we are prepping it for painting. Shawn our painter is coming tomorrow and will get the first coat on. We have to be more neutral in the colour choice in here as we aren't sure what our future furniture will be. We are going with the same colour as the kitchen cabinets 'hazel nut cream' by Behr Paint. At least there will be continuity between kitchen and living room. It works well with the carpeting and the golden paneling around the fireplace.

The last door went in by my loom in the studio. No more chills here either! Its also nice how much sounds from outside are now reduced. We live on a curvy road that seems to be on the motorcycle circuit when the sun shines....its like putting a muffler on the house :)
The doors still have to be properly caulked and then trims replaced. We need quite a bit of trim and moldings and that seems to be a problem right now for an unusual reason! With that terrible earthquake in Chile recently, the import of 90% of Canada's ( and maybe the USA's) trims and moldings came to a halt. Seems Chile had cornered the market on providing the building industry here all of its interior trims and moldings. Prices have gone up 20% already and we must decide tonight which ones we want and move quickly to get what we need. I think this demonstrates how we are truly a global economy now and all inter-related!
I'll leave you with a picture of our little yard rabbit. Naturally, he (she?) is called Peter and the tail is a fluffy white.
Next post, back to weaving...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

When to Throw in the Towel

Blogger is turning things sideways again... sorry 'bout that. Do you recall this one? I posted about it here, with a further link in that post back to Nov 15th! Wow, now that's some time ago! I managed to ignore it quite well huh? That's because I had trouble with crummy edges and nothing seemed to work to fix it. I doubled the floating selvedges and added extra weight... nope! I tried many other wefts and they all looked the same. Lynnette suggested rethreading the edges and I tried various combos and .... all looked crappy. So, I got busy elsewhere and ignored it. I had plenty of legitimate reasons to 'be busy' but in a recently posted blog picture I saw my Lilibet Louet with a sheet over her and realized it had gone far enough. I don't normally do warp avoidance so this was unusual so its time to get this puppy off the loom! I'm not cutting it off but rethinking the project and reworking it. I now have a 10 inch long sample and I'm left with 8 yards of 2/30 silk.

I slid a lease stick up and under the warp and then used a smaller stick to push down on the warp and pull the ends out of the heddles and lay nicely. I can reach for a few ends at a time and keep a fairly orderly sequence.

Okay, that's done. Now what pattern to use? Given the edge issues, I thought something with plain weave for at least half an inch on either side. The warp appears shiny in this picture but in reality, not so much. Its also fine and subject to static and clings to every little bit of roughness on my fingers. I flipped through all my sample binders to review what I have done before and from my weaver friends....but nothing spoke to me. I have a love of complex twills and suddenly I recalled my iridescence scarves. Why not try that draft with the silk and some interesting silk blend mixes?

I went slowly through the threading but apparently I did make some silly mistakes so after three tries, I finally got them all corrected. Then I accidentally snipped a warp thread with my new super sharp embroidery scissors and had now had to place a repair end. What is going on? so many darn mistakes? Oh, well... take a deep breath and carry on.
I sure hope this works!
So what do you think?


The weft is a pewter coloured silk yak blend. The back side shows the pattern as black. I tried to get a picture of it but perhaps later when its heading to the cloth beam. Here's a close up:


I'll leave extra length for fringes and longer scarves... and get two off this warp, plus samples.
This is a compromise I can live with! It was good to change horses in mid stream. :)

Reno News:
Well, it was a relatively quiet past week. We now have matching trim around the dishwasher and microwave. We have also made a choice of stain for the wood parts for the island this past weekend. That red tone radiating up from the walnut floor confused things, so we are holding our breath to see what will happen next!

Our new painter Shawn has been here and repainted the skylights so they are the same colour as the new cupboards. Looks way nicer! The 'green faux wall of shame' in the stairwell is now properly painted and a thing of the past. Now the paneling of the lower portions can go ahead soon, as well as the new stair skirting.

The paint job (done by the other painters) in the kitchen must be redone as it has gazillions of fibre bits from a (cheap?) roller that stick up everywhere! This can't be done until the new patio doors go in and that's happening today and will be a day long event. There's three patio doors and two entry doors, plus a new door for the garden shed. Then they must all be trimmed out and then painting can recommence. We have decided to go ahead and paint the living room as well as the existing paint is tired looking. We may as well just get it done now as its no extra difficulty. The house is already a total mess and I'm sure that later won't happen. Once this place is back to normal, I don't want to see another can of paint or brush for a long time!

Having said that.... a reality check.... and now back to the laundry room! (which suffered the most damage from the old dishwasher overflow last November) is close to be worked on! The plumber came yesterday and again this morning to reposition some pipes and move the laundry tub. When done the restoration company has the green light to come in and get busy! A new ceiling will be going in and then re-stippling... followed by patches/ repairs and paint. They won't be trooping through the house but coming and going by the back door directly into the room so that's a huge relief. They will even do the clean up!

Slowly but surely we're inching our way back. What a winter this has been!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Comfort Towels

Here's a sight for sore eyes! A nice stack of towels, fresh off the loom! These lovelies kept me sane (?) during the past few weeks while the reno was under way. I was right to keep it simple and keep all colours and complications to the tie up and warping board. I was pretty tired most days and a simple treadling was best. Either 1 to 10 and repeat, or, 1 to 10 and back, then 10 to 1 and back. Even that was challenge some days as I did find two treadling errors later and those towels are now 'mine'. I don't think I have one towel that I have made that doesn't have an error! I guess weavers are the same everywhere... keeping the seconds for home use.

Brief project overview: a 10 shaft, 10 treadle towels in 2/8 cottons, sett 24 epi. 10.5 yard warp and I got ten generous sized towels that I wove to 34 inches each, then turned a small hem and hand sewed. Even hand sewing was calming and as Martha says "it's a good thing" :) Oh, they also measured 24 inches in the reed. Pattern by Laurie Autio and came from a Complex Weavers Compilation. If you'd like to see a closer look at the draft, please click here and scroll down to the draft at the end of the post.

I got a few colour choices for weft but found it was difficult to vary much from the same dark green as in the warp and also the same plum shade. I was trying hard to use stash yarns and not succumb to buying more! I got two olive green towels that finished up an old cone (stash reduction!) and I tried a burnt peach ( ...its just okay...) The lighter shade of ecru in the warp perked up nicely when I used a more neutral beige. Both front and back of the towels are nice. The fronts show little hearts and more of the weft stripes and the back the pattern looks like x's and o's. One treadling variation looked both sides like little chevrons or ceinture fleches. See this in the picture below.

Another thing about this chevron variation was the crazy optical illusion that is going on! Those stripes are equal distance from each other and the same width, but look how the pattern makes them appear wider in places and narrower in others! Its like that in person, whether you hold them up or lie them down.

Here's one side of the plum weft towel as it was rolling up onto the cloth beam. It looks like diamonds with a circle in the middle but is two sets of hearts touching at their bottom points.

Here's a close up view to show the hearts. Darker wefts showed the pattern off best and with more neutral or lighter shades, it was more of an overall patterned look, much like a petit point.

These are the two 'seconds' for our new kitchen! The olive green and burnt peach. Goes nicely with the cream cabinets and walnut flooring.
Reno Report:
Things have slowed down quite a bit and we find ourselves in limbo. Someone today called it 'reno-pause'. You are done, but you are not. Our biggest problem has been the painting aspect. The painter said to me one day "I'll see you tomorrow at noon" and never showed up. It took 10 days and a few calls left on machines to get a call back. Then he failed to show again early yesterday. I guess you can see where this is heading and the new painter starts later this week. I guess people get overloaded and some jobs run over time and over quote .... but....still !
Other things that seem to be going backwards is our weather! Call everyone back for Olympics again, cause it's snowing here! This will put a damper on the colourful showing of spring flowers outside. The Para-Olympics are about to start in the Olympic venues so the snow will be a welcome sight.... it is afterall supposed to *winter* games!

I'll close this post with a shot of the new warp going onto Emmatrude. Its an experiment and already I'm thinking I should have waited a bit before leaping back into something more mentally challenging! 2/8 tencel, alternating colours iris and coral, sett 40 epi. Yes, you read that right.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Crowning Glory


Our little Hellebore flowers are straining to lift their heavy heads. They seem to produce sturdier than normal flowers and leaves. Determined is a good word that for them.

Here's that shrub that produced those small small pink blossoms I showed you in an earlier post. I'm hoping that someone can tell me the name of it. It sends up green leaves at the end of the stems as it flowers and later produces red berries that fall off easily in late summer, early fall.

Things are *slowly* progressing in the kitchen. The dark panels or 'kicks' have been applied to the bottom edge of the lower cupboards and yesterday, the crown molding was added to the tops! It took our carpenter much longer than he had originally estimated as we seem to have a ceiling that has some high and low spots! The joys of an older home...

Here's the small cupboard above the dishwasher. Trim for the dishwasher is next and our microwave will be raised and trimmed out as well. I think the whole room will look more complete when the tile and window trim work is done. There is more to add to the centre island but we are having some difficulty deciding on what stain to use on the wood. The colouring of the new floor has thrown things off from our original plans and we want to get it right.
The Painters are back Monday and so hopefully things will progress on the stairwell. Once the new paneling is installed, I'm going to primer and paint it myself. It will be the same cream colour as the kitchen cupboards.
These doors were delivered yesterday! The three patio doors will be installed next week and will complete the window upgrade we started this time last year. We also have new front and back doors coming as well. We should be quite snug inside now and should see some big improvements when they come back to re-do the energy tests on our house. Oh those goverment energy grants will help ease the $ pain!

On the fibre front: I have been hand hemming my hearts kitchen towels and busily rewarping the loom. My next post will be weaving related and posted soon!
I have noticed that Blogger isn't updating other member's bloglists to show my newest post. If I check today at Lynnette's blog over at Dust Bunnie's , it shows my last one published as 'Silk Purse: 2' and I have done another one since then (see below) and it simply didn't update your lists.
I have reported this glitch to the Blogger help forum but so far, no response. Has any of you had this trouble before? I'm hoping its a passing problem and resolved once I have hit 'publish' on this one! *cross fingers*

Monday, March 1, 2010

Silk Purse: Getting There!

Look at this crowd! That's two plumbers (Phil and Bill) and two electricians (Phil and David). Just missing the photograph was the carpenter Tom who snuck out. The painters (Keith and Clay) came later the same day. So it seems to be either feast or famine?! I relay messages, offer coffee, clean up, stay out of the way, clean up, write the cheques, and do more clean up.... and try to weave in between!

The electrician hung the new pendant lights above the centre island.....

The plumbers were tackling the installation of the dishwasher and new sink and faucet. Once the dish washer was in place, Bill went onto other jobs. Phil got all his gear set up for the work ahead. Notice the new countertops, with large hole for the sink!

Here's my Cosco deal sink! The plumber Phil said that it was $75 under what he could get it for! It's the same size as my last one but much deeper and has racks or grids that fit the bottom to prevent scratching the steel. Nice but not realistic given the work that goes on in there! I'll try them out though...
Meet Phil... I always ask before taking pictures and so far, no one has said no. They don't always look comfortable but they strike a pose. That and I haven't paid their invoices yet :)

Here's the new faucet which we put a lot of thought into before buying. The high spout means out of the way of plates and such, swivels for either sink, the on/off is easy to reach with wet hands and it has a pull out sprayer which you can adjust to increase flow or reduce according to need. There's a nifty soap dispenser too. Best of all, it also doesn't wobble like my old one or leak!
So what do you do to celebrate a new dishwasher, sink and faucet? You hand wash dishes! This is my first load through the sink after two to three weeks of doing them in either the bathroom sink or laundry room tub. The dishwasher is not secured to the cabinet it sits in and when I slid out a rack, it tipped forward! I will have to wait a bit longer....but that's okay. The new sink is pure luxury now compared to my alternatives (bathroom sink or laundry tub!)
Here's the new LG dishwasher which plays a cute tune when turned on and when the load is done. The start of endlessly cleaning the stainless door begins sooner than it did cleaning my dishes I see... *sigh*....
So while we aren't finished yet, lets do some comparison pictures and see how things are looking!

Before...

... and after.

Before...


....during.....

... and after...
We still have drawer fronts to come, crown molding and the island wood wrap is being decided. Also the tile work and window and baseboard trim must be done.
We took advantage of our empty linen cupboard to paint it white and freshen it up. The attic access is in there so we had to unload it anyhow. We had the electrican install a new light in there... huge improvement! I spent today reorganising the linens and reloading the cupboard. The piles of stuff squirreled away are starting to diminish. The stairwell painting should be completed soon (one wall has proved to be a challenge and story on that to come) and then we're onto the other projects on the list: new patio doors, paneling in the stairwell, and paint the living room... closely followed by restore the laundry room, but this is being handled by insurance and their work teams. I think we might even survive this after all! (touch wood!)
More to come... of course...