Thursday, April 13, 2017


 Lusekofte What's that?   Well, its pronounced "Loose-coff-ta" or so the  online audio Norwegian translator told me.   If I'm wrong about that, please let me know ....  They also said it means cardigan in Norwegian.  I've also seen the term Mariusgenser and also Selburose So why are we discussing foreign words and meanings?  Because I saw the most amazing Nordic sweater in a movie one night and I was driven to learn more about them!   

You may have seen them on skiers and other people enjoying a frosty winter.  Stunning knit sweaters, some with sliver clasp closures, some with zippers, some are pullovers and some are cardigan style. All speak to the craftsmanship of the knitters and their designers.  They also indicate a proud tradition among Scandinavian countries.

Now, despite my mother's best efforts, I am not a knitter. Oh, I play at simple patterns but all the fun comes to an end when I drop a stitch.   I am a weaver and so this is my medium to express creativity.  So with a quickly jotted down pattern and colour arrangement on a scrap of paper, I went looking on line and found these two images. They are close but not the stunning sweater I saw (and sadly I can't even recall the movie's name now)

(I'm not crazy about the orange or green accents, so ignore those!)

This one is lovely but not enough red.

Eventually I rediscovered an old draft I found years ago at  A twelve shaft Gbrochene hind und under that I modified to fit my shawl and concept.    So far, so good.

I went through my tencel stash and found the black, and undyed tencel which is just off a pure white. I had four reds to choose from: fuchsia , ruby, burgundy and a newer colour called new red.  Fuchsia was too pink, burgundy too plumy, and I found the new red unappealing.   Ruby conjures up that deep gem stone richness. This ruby red has a slight orange undertone when seen against other reds, but paired with the black and white, it has a warmth to the bright tone.  It was perfect!

So I worked out my project details and started to wind my 700+/- ends on the warping mill and soon they were hanging about waiting their turn on the loom.

Then after the table runners had had their debut, this warp was beamed and during threading I discovered that was short a few ends (oops). Even allowing for two black floating selvedges, I still needed two more blacks and two more reds.  Not entirely sure how that happened but it made for some interesting  stretch breaks.  Rolling up the paper, unrolling canisters, weave and then do it all again.

Below is one full repeat of the pattern before starting again. I used a 15 inch Schacht end delivery shuttle with great reach across and bobbins hold a good portion of weft yarn.

....and here's a six inch ruler to give some perspective of size.

In this picture (please enlarge) and you'll see the intricate pattern work that reminds of the pattern in the sweaters.

The weaving went along just fine and after eleven repeats, plus a portion to balance the pattern, it was done.  The wet finishing was done in the bathtub allow some wriggle room. I generally keep the fringe off to one quiet corner and out of any agitation.   After a good rinsing, I spun it out in the washing machine.   I laid it to dry over a towel on a drying rack.

The next day I brought out the steam press and warmed it up.  It won't do the entire job but it would get 95% of it pressed and my arthritic hands would be very grateful.  The only spot I have where I can use it is on the kitchen counter, which got a thorough cleaning beforehand!

It takes a big of planning and finagling, but you can get a long shawl in behind and onto the pad, and not burn your fingers! Its the top part that heats up. It would be easier if it opened up more vertically.

I had it laid over the left hand side and gently pull it across and onto the pad.   I couldn't do near the fringes and you inevitably get a pressing lines.

So out came the ironing board and my handy T-Fal steam iron.  This flattened and produced the deep sheen I was looking for and I'm able to work the iron from the centre to the edges and generally improve the over all appearance.  I hand sewed on my label and trimmed up the fringe tassels.

Madge wears it well!

The finished dimensions are 22 inches by 86 inches; the fringe is finer and 8 inches long

Here's a close up of the pattern area, after wet finishing and pressing. Its much clearer now.

....and don't ask me why, but I wove two of them! so this is the other one hanging around.

I'm back weaving yet another shawl but this one is a special commission and for now, secret!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Good to Go!

 It took a couple of weeks to arrive but my birthday present to myself has finally arrived! 

I took my time 'un-boxing' (as its now called) and savoured the event.   Everything was packed in Louet's usual professional manner, with very sturdy boxes,  and clear instructions.

She has a nifty carry bag.  It has handles or can be worn as a back pack.   I found a video on Youtube on how to open her up and set her up correctly.   Its amazing how light and compact she is. When closed up and tucked into her bag, she can fit into the overhead bins on a flight.   She weighs only six and a half pounds.

Its hard to convey her size in these pictures, but she's tiny! She a fully functioning wheel and has three ratios (1:6, 1:8.5, 1:13), has a traveling kate and three bobbins.  She just has big feet for a little lady.

She's made from beech and in time will mellow to a light golden colour.

I'm so looking forward taking her along for spinning days with the girls at the cottage.  We also have the  Vancouver Island Fibre Fest being held here on May 5-7th. She will be out on the town quite a bit.

Its a different feel to my other wheel and so I have been spending some time playing with the new baby and adjusting the scotch tension and finding my groove.

I'm spinning a very pretty merino silk blend in a pink red..... which is more red than pink.   I have quite a bit of it on hand so I'm glad I like it!   I found I wanted to hunch forward over the wheel so I purposely positioned myself back into the chair and didn't worry where the orifice is located and focused on my hands and the drafting.

Next thing I knew, the bobbin was filling in nicely!

Its hard to convey the overall size with no reference points, so I thought of my old fashioned yard stick. So here's the measurements:  it comes to 23 inches to the top where the stick is and then the flyer and orifice angles upwards from there.

Here's the depth of the wheel and as I mentioned, she's all feet!   Cute ones too.

My other wheel? Its all set up and we sat outside today and watched ducks on the pond.  It was lovely!  

Tomorrow another spring storm is rolling through with high winds, so that will be a weaving day.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Well, That Didn't Go According to Plan

So things were going well and then Bruce came down sick with a cold and cough.  Three days later, I got a sniffle.... then a sore throat and the cough came on.  There were two weeks where I coughed my way from day to day.  I sat up in a chair to sleep some nights and other nights Bruce slept in the chair to escape my coughing (where I sounded like a barking seal.)

There was a third week where we felt well enough to be functional but very tired.  We actually took naps  sometime planned.... and some others just snuck up on us when we took a break.  I've never had that happen before!   I'm still coughing but not as much.   It just doesn't want to leave me....

There is an additional problem for me.  The week before the cold and cough hit me, I got a tooth ache and took antibiotics for an abscess and booked a time for a root canal with a new dentist.   Well, you can't do one of those for two hours and have a bad cough..... so the appointment was moved to April.
 That was okay until this past Friday when the tooth woke up again and so now I'm back on the antibiotics again.
There was NO weaving for at least three weeks. I had zero interest and we found that we both were too tired to focus on things.   Eventually, we have slowly come back to life and some lovely sunny days really helped cheer us up.  We have made plans for the garden tidy up, what needs pruning, replacing and maybe even new patio furniture?    Now the rains have returned but it was sunshine enough to know its spring and we'll be back in the sunshine again soon.

Life has gone on around us and very nicely left us alone while we were sick.  I have been weaving two concept shawls  (both the same) and have one finished but not pressed and the other is just as it came off the loom. So they need to be completed and photographed for show and tell.  This is all I can give you for now.

Just as I completed the first shawl, I received a request to weave a special shawl for a client who has three weddings in May. So I got busy winding a warp and here we have 700 ends  of 10/2 tencel being beamed this past week.  Weft will be ivory silk.

So sleying is well under way and then a 12 shaft tie up to be done...therefore nothing to show you there yet.    I sold two of the four recent table runners, and two kitchen towels to one weaver, and also a silk scarf to another weaver!  This must the kindest compliment a weaver can get.  😊   Then I got another commission to weave two silk scarves for Christmas 2017 gifts (so no great hurry)!  So I had better shake off my cough and fix this %$#&  tooth  and get BUSY!

Other fibre news:    I bought some 30/2 silk in what I thought was a clear red or a little to the blue side.   Nope!   Its a rich red with an orange undertone and I will use it. Its a lesson in not trusting pictures on computer screens.    So this....

..... was actually this upon arrival :

The picture doesn't do the depth of shade justice.... its lovely, but not what the client wants for a red. 

The next  bit of news is one of those "special person",  and a "special moment" kind of thing. I frequent (mainly lurk) at some Ravelry weaving groups and follow along. One is a page where people reveal their finished projects and do some show and tell. One weaver, also named Susan, posted about her newly finished  turned taquette towels and I was quite struck by them.  I cheekily suggested she could mail one to me and asked if she would like my new address?   Susan said YES!   I said I was only kidding and she said she wasn't.    Oh, my!

So  big thank you to Susan in Staunton, Virgina!  Its not going to be used as a towel of course and will be in my studio. Fully reversible and impeccably woven on her Glimakra.... and with hand sewn hems!

I was caught a bit short of full sized towels to do an exchange but I did have one guest towel left in the huck lace diamond pattern from this older post and she liked it very much!  I wish you could feel how soft this towel is. Susan used 10/2 American Maid cotton from Lunatic Fringe.   If the dollar ever goes to par again, I would order some and give it a try myself.

Birthdays came and went....  Bruce turned his odometer one more turn, but we were both too sick to do much other than to write a rain check for a better time for his birthday dinner and cake.  

I must say that he did a fine job of  celebrating my recent birthday with me and I had a lovely day and received many calls from family and friends.   But we both agree that the numbers are starting to pile up and there are moments when when you find yourself wondering "where the heck all the time went!!"  I thought it would take far longer to get old. 

Another birthday at the opposite side of the age spectrum is this little cutie patootie, our grand daughter Madison who just turned two. 

I love phone calls with her as she says "hi Nana"..... and then tells me all about everything!

Ethan will be five in April and is very much an active boy and into all the boy toys. Here he is last week helping Dad at a pin ball conference. He's pretty good at it!   That's also the most stationary I have seen him as he's usually a blur!

Well, this post is a mixed bag of news and such and hopefully I will have things back on track for more show and tell and weaving related.   I'm hoping to show you my birthday present to myself as well.  I have a new traveling spinning wheel on order and on its way to me.

I have a lovely Majacraft wheel at home but its heavy and a bit bulky for taking to spinning days at the guild. I also worry about it getting bumped and banged around being lugged around so haven't bothered with it except at home.   So I researched my light weight travel options, took a look at my well made Louet looms and went with the 6.5 pound  Louet Victoria wheel (and carry bag)

It comes in either beech (shown) or oak and I won't know until it gets here! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A Ray of Sunshine

The trouble with winter snowfall and rain is it brings many cloudy days and the sun can be a rare commodity.  Well, I had these finished runner set aside and I was waiting for the sun to appear. I was ready, camera in hand!

I was able to weave three runners, and all finished up as sixty inches long and fifteen inches wide. Two have hems and one has a twisted fringe (for variety).  This time I wove a much longer hem allowance and after doing my usual turn overs, I must say I like it much better.  I will add this to my repertoire for the future. 

The warp was 10/2 mercerized cotton (Valley Yarns from Webs) in a natural colour. My sett was 28 epi.  It had some extra twist to it and was a bit energized when it came time to beam it, and again later when twisting the fringes.  Smooth, no knots and held up well under tension with no breakage.  All in all, a good experience .... which is good as I have ordered some more!  😁

The draft is a twelve shaft design based on a variation of M's and W's and I have used it before with great success. Normally it produces a series of medallions but I have isolated a portion of the treadling and repeated it.   Its fully reversible.  Hemstitching and a neat tight hand sewn hem means you are hard pressed to see which is the 'right side'.  Does it matter?   

The weft used in this runner is taupe 8/2 tencel. Its suits the natural cotton but gives good contrast to show the pattern.

The table runner below is also fifteen inches by sixty inches but has a three inch fringe.  The weft is tencel again, this time one of the newer colours "birch". Its a lovely soft silvered green.

The contrast is softer too. I really like this one!

The last picture has the cloth flipped to show the reverse.

The last runner was woven with 10/2 UKI Supreme mercerized cotton in a medium grey.  Crisply twisted cotton makes for a totally different feel to the cloth and also a sharper definition of the pattern.

Again, the larger hems.

Below is the reverse pattern. Both sides looks equally good to me! Both the taupe runner and the cotton runner are sold already so the new owner can decide which they like more.

The studio is all set up now and I must say that my knee replacement (and other joint replacements) are feeling pretty good now and so I have returned to twelve shaft drafts again and the heavier treadling with few problems.  My problem now is getting more weaving done and so have more inventory.  Rather embarrassingly, its selling as fast as I make it.  Nice problem to have huh?   Better get busy.....

I have a new book acquisition; a belated Christmas gift. My daughter and SIL had given us an Amazon gift certificate and I chose this book based on Frances L. Goodrich's studies on early American  Coverlets and Counterpanes.

As with the earlier book: Frances L. Goodrich's Brown Book of Weaving Drafts  it shows the old draft and a clear modern version that is easier to read, and therefore, easier to weave and reproduce yourself.  Its wonderful so much effort has gone into preserving these old drafts and weaving history,

Its well thought out and printed on quality paper. My book is a gently used one but apart from a few minor scratches on the cover, its as new. I'm looking forward to making my way through and admiring Frances's work.  That's her in the last picture. Her research efforts help  us to understand our collective weaving past, and to know where you're going, you have to know where you have been.