Monday, March 31, 2014

Signs of Life

I haven't fallen off the face of the Earth....  I'm still here and hobbling around. Its a bit troublesome coming up with some weaving for you when I'm so slow now and this is a weaving focused blog!  Mind you in time, you will be learning all about knee replacements and the road to recovery later this year  :)

With longer days, more sunshine and things starting to grow again (well, here at least!) our attention has been diverted by annual events such as taxes,  and some early spring clean up around the house. With my wonky knee, I'm close to useless outside and so have to learn to 'not see' stuff outside that needs doing.  (Hard for my personality type to do!)

All in our garden at present. (including the weeds :)

Last fall we debated what to do with our car and its elderly age. We decided to leave it till spring. Its a 2001 Toyota Sienna and has over 260,000 km's on the engine. It's been a totally reliable car, no major issues, good on gas and room for the stuff and dog kennel we  travel with.

The car started making noises late fall and earlier this month it started a front end wobble so we suspected the wheel bearings. The trouble is, the repair would cost more than the vehicle is worth and we'd still have an older car with other expensive issues starting. We were grateful it lasted the winter months at the least!   So Bruce started looking around at our options. We had to have a similar seat height arrangement due to my joint issues (my hips can not be lower than the knees so many sedans are out). We need room for Calli and that means a kennel.  She is not a "just jump in the back" kind of dog. She gets all silly and wants to climb around, bark at other cars and stuff going by.  No, she goes in a kennel and it also keeps all the associated dog mess in one spot too.

Here she is with her fresh new spring hair cut. Don't let that innocent look fool you!

On  March 18th, Bruce found this beauty here locally:

A 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe LE, with low mileage, just brought in as a trade in the day before.   On the 19th, it was ours!  That's our old Sienna in behind the new vehicle. The Santa Fe is higher and although narrower than the Sienna, its roomier inside.   Its very nice to drive too.  So no more over heated me when we drive to the Okanagan. We have AC again now.   So pardon my excitement at a new car. It doesn't happen around here very often and the last time was fourteen years ago. We literally wore the last one out. She was destined to be recycled for parts as there was no value to selling her again.  Sad huh? 
I must admit that it feels good to have a new ride.  We signed the papers on my birthday and Bruce tried to say it was my birthday present, but I straightened him out on that point!

I have been able to spend some time in the studio but once again I have been setting things aside for more downsizing. I will be setting up a separate sale page and advertising items for sale on it. Watch for it very soon just under the Thrums banner and along with the other page tabs.  There will be books, various magazines, some yarn, and small equipment as I photograph and set them up.   Its now clear that living in a two storey house with a flight of stairs to the main floor is not going to work all that well (plus the acreage) and so we are voluntarily downsizing and getting ready to put the house on the market next year in 2015. Its just too much to sell and move now with an operation coming at any time.  So we will be having garage sales this summer and paring down.  (That's the plan....)

After wading through all this personal stuff, if you are still with me, you deserve some weaving content now!   In my last post you read all about the slow start to this current silk shawl project. The beaming was an education in patience for both myself and my helper Bruce.

I'm using a fine 30/2 Italian tussah silk that I bought from the Silk Tree at Diana Sanderson's Silk Weaving Studio at Granville Island. (Yes, those are three separate links for three locations. Check them out if you have time to browse. )  The sett is 36 ends per inch and I used a 12 dent reed, with three ends per dent. No problems with the threading, none either with the sleying. So nice when it all works out like that!  Its a twelve shaft, twelve treadle twill pattern that I received from my friend Gudrun. She found the draft at from an old German manuscript.  Gudrun modified it and so did I a bit to suit my needs.  I had the information, even a copy of the draft she sent me but in the transfer and set up of Fiberworks between three computers being set up and decommissioned, its gone missing!  All I have is the single sheet hardcopy paper variety sitting on my desk. It will have to be re-entered all over again when time allows.  Its a combination of point twill and network twill in both the threading *and* the treadling.   Where you have point twill and treadle point twill, you get stars and diamonds, and where there is network threading you get this interesting design. Network on network is another look altogether...   Sounds confusing huh?   You can see the point twill with network sections in the draft below:  

The warp was planned for two shawls and to economize on warp, I laced it on and got under way using the two stick method. I used a fine 55% silk / 45% yak blend that I purchased from Treenway Silks when they were still on Saltspring Island.  Its a lovely soft grey beige and works so nicely with other colours. The tussah is a mellow gold tone and the two looked great together. This project cleaned me out so I did place an order for more silk yak blend from the new Treenway.  Great service and quick delivery.

I wove a border using a half run of one through to twelve for a few repeats, then I moved into some point twill runs of one to twelve and back down to one again.  Then I shifted into the network twill treadling which is a series of twill progressions. The border and network section measured roughly twenty eight inches. I wove  point twill runs again for roughly thirty two inches, back into the network twill again and shifted into a short run of point twill for the border and finally with  half runs of one through to twelve to complete  the eighty five inches for the shawl.  The shawl design is in three sections with a slightly larger centre section. I pictured that on the wearer's back and the two other reversed sections draped in front.   Clear as mud?   Here's a picture (please click on it to enlarge and see better):

Here the shawl is folded in half on the ironing board. At the fringe end you can see the border section and then the network twill portion and then near the iron, half of the centre section of stars and diamonds.  I was experimenting when I wove it this way. A concept project.  A calculated risk I know but if it works out, it will be great!.  At the very least, it would make an amazing table runner for a large dining room table. (Sorry the picture is so yellow... not sure what happened with that!)

It looked a bit 'blah' so I added some sparkle:

I had a box of beads in a tricolour arrangement that picked up the grey beige, cream and the centre bead is more amber in tone. Just small groupings between the fringe. Adds a little something but doesn't over power. Due to fine silks being used, its not a heavy shawl at all and somehow the beading needed to reflect that.  (If it does end up being a table runner, they can be easily removed.) 

Gentle hand wash in warm sudsy water, with a steady squeezing to help threads to shift about. Three ends per dent can give you some reed marks for the first wash or two.   Two rinse water changes and much  squeezing. I hung it over a rod to dry overnight.  Then my gut told me to go back and give it a pressing while still damp to remove crease lines!  I'm glad I did as the next day, I gave it a hard pressing and it was smooth, smooth, smooth! Any lines or creases can seem to sett if left to dry first.

It measures nineteen inches by eighty inches plus a six inch fringe. I lost an inch in width and four inches in length *more* than I had planned on for shrinkage! The tussah silk wasn't finished being annoying it seems. I have made notes in my records to allow greater shrinkage than 10%, and also about the cling problem!  I still have some left for future projects, so forewarned is best!

So, hopefully my grand experiment works out okay? What do you think.....

The network section on the left hand shoulder

The center section

The border and beads.

Bruce says that from a distance it looks a bit like snake skin.  There are shifting patterns all over it so it plays with the eye! Its light and neutral in tone, but the pattern is definitely there but not overpowering.   Its going into the Etsy store and so we'll see what happens from there.

The second shawl is underway....and it will be a slow time of it again.  Made some changes to my treadling plan and also my weft yarn. I'm using hand dyed silk / cotton blend in a plum tone, also from Treenway Silks from my stash. 

I hope you are all enjoying the extra daylight  and looking forward to more spring-like weather.... and for those of you with snowbanks and blizzards,  want to buy our property on Vancouver Island?


barbara said...

Hi Susan - another stormy day on PEI, and the Island has shut down - schools have been closed 5 days straight; needless to say, it was a welcome change to read your latest blog. Great news about the new vehicle, wow, you guys are set to travel when need be! You certainly got your monies worth out of the Toyota - they are great vehicles. On the weaving front, I have to say your latest shawl is so beautiful; and I do agree with Bruce that it has that beautiful snake skin appearance. Wow, it won't be long on your Etsy site. Good for you to continue downsizing ...... I need to start thinking about that, I have so much stuff in my weaving studio and I probably will never get around to using it. I must start thinking a little harder. Take care and do enjoy your spring weather, we can only hope here in the East that Spring will soon appear. Weaverly yours .....

Cindie said...

The shawl is stunning!

Carla said...

Hello Susan. I love reading your blog, even while your in repair. I too have similar body issues and life situations....old car, two story house, etc. My weaving has slowed; I've just sold my AVL but will continue with my Norwood only. It's o.k. I'm a grand mother. That's my mantra these days and as my brother says "it is what it is". Acceptance is the key. Your work is beautiful; I enjoy it and it does inspire me and oddly, your body faults help me accept mine also. I'll keep reading! Carla Rollins

Flyin Bobbin said...

What do I think? I think the shawl is amazing. And that you can do such work when not in perfect health must mean you are amazing, too.

Susan said...

Thank you for all your thoughtful comments!

Barbara: We have been watching the bad weather just keep on rolling through your part of the world! Winter just won't quit there.
Keep up the efforts with downsizing. Its quite liberating to have extra room and freed up from STUFF! :)

Cindie: coming from you, that's high praise!

Carla: yes, I have an age thing happening but it would seem that both Mother Nature and Father Time are playing havoc with me. In addition to my age, I also have Arthritis Lupus (or SLE) Its nibbling away at the cartilage in my joints. I have talked with other weavers who have had knees, hips and shoulder and even feet done. They are all weaving (with some adjustments) again. I've had one hip done in 2001 and now need a knee, a second hip plus a mid foot fusion. It will slow me down but hopefully not stop me for long or entirely!

Flyin Bobbin: Thanks for the boost.... much appreciated!

Take care, Susan

Hildred said...

I think it is amazing and beautiful and that you are a weaver par excellence, Susan! Take care, - hope you will soon be more mobile.

Susan said...

Carla: I found this information that explains my condition...

Did you Know? Lupus SLE

The symptoms of SLE are different for each person and may be similar to those of other medical conditions, making diagnosis difficult. These symptoms can be mild or severe and may include:

• General flu-like symptoms (fatigue, fever, loss of appetite, aching muscles and joints).
• Red rash over face and/or on sun-exposed skin.
• Sudden, unexplained weight loss or gain.
• Chest pain, with shortness of breath in some positions.
• Headaches, with clouding of consciousness.
• Hair loss to the scalp.
• Change in the colour of fingers and toes when exposed to the cold.
• High blood pressure.

Once your diagnosis is confirmed, there are many treatments that can help you manage the symptoms of lupus. Treatment is based on the type of symptoms and their severity. You can live well with lupus, but a treatment tailored to your lupus is extremely important. This is why regular check-ups with your doctor are necessary.

Unknown said...

Hi Susan.
Great to see that you are still producing your amazing quality weaving despite all your health issues! The shawl looks great, and yes, due to the fine yarn the pattern does look so small that from a distance it could be seen as snakeskin! A snakeskin I would not mind wearing close to my own skin :)
Sad when you have to downsize, but better to do so while you can be in charge yoirself, I guess. As to the car, your situation looks much like ours, we bought a car brand new, - ahhh, lovely "first" experience for me - fourteen years ago, so we are watching out for those telltale signs to get moving. Great that you found such a good deal. Congratulations.
Silk/yak yarn sounds extremely expensive! ? ! Never come across it over here.