Monday, January 1, 2018

2017: A Year in Review

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!
Taken Dec 30th, 2017 by Bruce Harvey

2017 was a strange year for many reasons. The election of Donald Trump as the American President seemed to set off a surreal year as many, around the world, dealt with mixed emotions as they watched the daily debacle unfold. It has literally affected every person on the planet in some way.  It took some weeks and months before people resumed (sort of) normal lives after.

I found weaving was a great cure when you needed to de-stress. Even my weaving year was different as I took on more commissions and they in turn took me back to old drafts. These drafts are 'old friends' but my hopes of retiring them for a 'time out' was  not to happen this year.  The interesting detail about my weaving commissions is, that they were for other weavers ! A very flattering compliment.

We had a busy year working on projects to do with upgrading our home and so when I did weave, it was on the commission projects mainly. I was given plenty of time to complete them but I'm not a fan of deadline pressure and would prefer to be done well ahead and happy, then rushing to the end of the line and not doing my best.

Did I mention that they were for other weavers? People who know how to look at cloth and see the imperfections, and 'design elements'.   So the short story is, not much was woven for my Etsy shop and so if it wasn't for me downsizing my library and some yarns, it would be all but empty.

So, for 2018, I have decided to decline commissions for the time being. I also learned that I need more variety in both drafts and colours. Shorter warps?  Anyhow, I need to get back to what calls to me and throw in a dash of colour for 2018!   Speaking of colour....

The Pantone colour of the year is ultra violet so it will be interesting to dig out my Itten Colour Star and see what other colours work with this electric violet!

So lets review ... first up for the New Years day loom peek:  my looms have warps on them currently.... cotton for tea towels on the Megado and this bright linen on the Louet:

9/2 French linen "'brick", sett 24 epi, 8 shaft huck lace
Then  onto a review of what I was able to accomplish for 2017....

January / February:

I started the year with four table runners in a familiar twelve shaft twill I have used before.  10/2 mercerized cotton warp, 28 epi and I used 8/2 bamboo weft in cream, 10/2 mercerized cotton weft in grey, and 8/2 tencel in birch.  The cream one had a missed treadling error  so now graces my bedroom dresser and the others sold pretty much right away.

On a personal level we coped with the largest snowfall here in over 30 years.....


I had seen a gorgeous Nordic sweater in a movie we were watching one evening during the snow events. I got the idea of trying to duplicate this but using weaving instead.

I turned to an old draft, also previously used by me, a twelve shaft "gebrochene hind und under" to get the complexity and the star shapes.  8/2 tencel had the colour ranges I was looking for and also the shine and drape for a dramatic shawl.  I actually wove two of them!  Both sold right away.

lovely pattern work that resembles the sweaters.

Personally, we both had head colds and I developed a tooth ache. This was the start of my summer and fall of getting to know my new dentist very well, and paying for his Australian Christmas holiday. 😳


My slightly delayed birthday present to myself arrived! A Louet Victoria spinning wheel.  Weighing in at only 6.5 pounds, its travels well and is lightweight. I'm ready to join the other spinners in our guild and put some miles on her.

I was asked to weave a special shawl for a wedding commissioner  who was not only performing marriage ceremonies but attending some family ones as well.  The warp was a glossy white 10/2 tencel, sett 28 epi, and weft was a beautiful off white Bombyx silk, which came to me via Scotland and where from before that, I have no idea!

The twelve shaft draft that was chosen by the (weaver) client was another old favourite. It relies on a play of light to reveal the pattern and so would not over shadow any brides, and go with any outfits the client decided to wear.   I also beaded the edges with seed crystals and tiny fresh water pearls.

... and personally,  I had a root canal. 🙁


There was warp enough for one more shawl, but only one pirn of the silk remained. I chose a fine silk yak blend in a natural silvery beige and started treadling, and treadling...   Being finer than the advertised 30/2 , it took more weaving to get an inch!   So it took a while to weave off.

I also beaded this one too

I must have been very generous with my warp length allowance because even after two 85 inch shawls and long fringes, I still had enough warp to weave a small table centre cloth of 22 by 37 inches!  No wonder it seemed to go on and on!

Personally.... I got my very first dental crown!


I had an idea to utilize the 12 shaft tie up once more and re-warp with some bright colours and try for iridescent scarves. Judging by the pictures, I think it worked!   8/2 tencel sett 24 epi, tencel weft.

Then I tried another more muted colour combination and it was a success too.  As you can imagine, I'm retiring this draft for some time....  I can thread, and treadle this one in my sleep now!

Then we found out our girl Calli had a pre- cancerous lump which had to come out.... so she had surgery. Here she is modelling her onesie. Very stylish!  It seemed like it was a long time before those stitches came out as we had to keep a close eye on her!

Personally.... I broke a tooth and had to get another crown made and fitted.  ☹️ 💲


I had accepted another  commission back in late spring for two, all silk fine scarves as surprise gifts for Christmas 2017.   I had them all done in August and if the pattern looks familiar, it should, I used it to weave table runners at the start of the year! It was specially requested by my client.

The gentlemen's scarf is black 30/2 silk and a natural 30/2 silk weft, with a shorter twisted fringe.

The woman's scarf was the same warp but this time a deep cherry red 30/2 silk and a different treadling variation, longer scarf and twisted fringe. Beautiful colour!

The third scarf I used silk yak again (hey, I had pirns all pre-wound so it made sense to use them up). It could be uni-sex and had a lovely drape.

I held my breath as I mailed them away.... insured and trackable until they arrived at their destination. The client liked them so much she bought the silk yak one too.  The gift recipients apparently loved them!  They came as quite the surprise....


We finally got a trip away for a few days to see our family and the grandkids. We arrived at their home on Friday evening and saw this on the sidewalk waiting for us....

It was a good thing Bruce took this picture when he did because the next morning it was raining and the chalk art was all gone!

Little Miss "Oo La La" showed us her ballet moves.

... and her brother showed us, for the first time ever, how still he can be when he's watching a movie about trains.

Once home again I got to work on some runners, again for the shop.  10/2 mercerized cotton, 28 epi, tencel weft,  and taking advantage of the tie- up in place for the previous scarves.  One for the shop... and...

I wove two cloths for the large night tables.... and another two cloths for the  small end tables. They had been waiting for years to get fitted out properly.  (I'm going to bury this draft!) 😜

On a personal note: I was eating something soft and I had yet another tooth fall apart and so this month saw me getting my third crown prep work being done. 💰💉


My third commission for the year was three huck lace runners for a (yet another weaving) client who bought my original blue lace runners a couple of years ago. She loved the draft, the linen and the colour and wanted more runners.... two- 55 inch runners and one- 76 inch runner for her home. Naturally I wove another 55 inch one for the shop.  

So here's where I have to confess to you that I did not blog about them or even take pictures.  They needed to be off the loom and so I could empty out my studio and be ready for painting.  I hand sewed the hems them while sitting in the middle of the chaos I called home for nearly four weeks this fall.  Once the crew had gone home for the night, I washed them and hung them to dry.... then the next night I would find space and used the steam press to get them looking their best.
Wrapped in tissue paper in a sturdy box, they winged their way to their new home.

These are pictures taken from the first  blue runners woven a few years ago.

November / December:

We finally got our house back and then had a fair amount of deep cleaning work to do.  We still have pictures to hang and some drapes are out being cleaned, with Christmas fast approaching.

I started the brick coloured linen runners you saw at the top of the post and simply stopped weaving over Christmas. I didn't feel much like weaving to be truthful.  I didn't bake, we didn't bother with a tree and after rats ate some very expensive cables in our car, we didn't bother with exchanging gifts.

I had had x-rays of my achey feet done this fall and I'm being referred to an orthopaedic surgeon sometime this spring for a consultation (regarding mid foot fusion and a possible ankle replacement).  It would seem that my OA and Lupus hasn't stopped and is soldiering on.  I'll find my mojo again soon and today is a fresh clean slate.

scarves: 5
shawls: 4
runners: 14

root canal: 1  
crowns: 3
.....and one very happy dog!

Calli playing in the snow

Our back yard after a midnight snow fall
Wishing you all good health, much happiness and prosperity in 2018!


Hilary said...

One thing: nothing has been normal in the USA since November 2016. Nothing.

Susan Harvey said...

I hear you Hilary! I don't normally make political statements on my blog but I felt that this particular event had consequences for not only the American people, but neighbours such as Canada, allies and enemies.... and right down to the last child born a moment ago. Destroying national parks, obliterating science and ignoring climate change is one thing, but nuclear war is a whole planet problem. As you know I have family living in the USA and so keep a close eye on American politics. All I can say on behalf of them and my friends in various states is to hang on and get the vote out in 2018!

Oh, and "go Mueller go!" (hurry huh??)

Dianne said...

What an impressive year of weaving, dentists holiday fund and house renovations. Every piece a work of art. I think I may have inadvertently stollen your treadling for some of the pieces I've been working on recently. The world needs to know I sometimes stand in the shower and draw on the walls and our ideas are very similar though mine is echo. Good luck for a wonderful 2018.

Peg Cherre said...

Your wonderfully designed, carefully treadled, and beautifully finished weaving is always an inspiration for me. Thank you for sharing your work. And your life.