Sunday, September 22, 2019

Cabbage Rose

Some time ago, and most likely last spring, I was browsing on Etsy and I saw this painted warp by Carr Park Artisans and fell in love. I liked the softness of the colours, the gentle merging of greens, then into cream, then peach and pinks. 

Some warps out there on the internet are sharp with jarring colours.  Now I like bright jewel tone colours but sometimes they can lack finesse.    Some add in some streaky black and it ends up like looking like something from a Killer Zombie movie.

But this appealed to a softer side of me and next thing I knew, it was paid for and being shipped!   200 ends of  8/2 tencel.... and 5 yards long.   It was going to mean two shorter scarves and no samples, plus shorter fringes.


It reminded me of these soft peonies and greenery gifted to me earlier this year.   The painted warp's name is Cabbage Rose and it fits well. 



So I went looking for a nice draft to use and one that would have the same tie up as my last project so to save some time and energy.    I found the Maltese Cross, or # 168 in Carol Strickler's  Weavers Book of 8 Shaft Patterns and I played with the draft until I got this:


Its difficult to convey a painted warp so I just used a generic soft pink for the 200 ends in the middle and added olive green, shale grey and lemon grass 8/2 solid dyed tencel for the edges.   I made some changes to the border threading. You can also see my starting border, and reversing that border treadling would be used at the end of the scarf.

It seems some newer weavers these days are not framing their work or have not been taught to do this and they simply weave the draft 'as-is' and while that's okay... it looks like something is missing to me.    Playing with a weaving program (any of them!) can go a long way to trying things like this out.   Watch your float lengths!  Be sure to check the back view as well.

I also used a soft grey colour as the weft above as I wanted to see details clearly. I knew my first colour choice as weft would be olive and that would obscure my view of the edges.

My second scarf? I went with a rich dark purple called amethyst as it worked well with all the colours.



The weaving went well and soon I was twisting the fringes, or 'twizzling' as my dear friend Wayne would say.  Washed, pressed and trimmed up all went as per usual but then they sat and waited out one of the first bad weather fronts of the fall to roll through. Then it seemed every sunny day we got, we had business away from home and the rain settled back in again. So finally I just turned on every light in the studio and got the camera out to see what I could get.


This scarf is shorter at 58 inches in length and I call it Lilypad.  The colour shifts in behind the pattern are soft and subtle and add to the iridescent effect.



Then this moody little number is called Twilight . Its longer at 69 inches.  I thought of summer sunsets on the back pond behind our house, complete with frogs, fish and dragonflies.


The soft green hues of 'cabbage' definitely come through the amethyst !



I have ordered another cabbage rose warp, much wider and longer this time and I think Christine will be doing several of them in short order due to demand.  Send her a note as to your desired length. I found 5 yards a tad bit short for two scarves, and it was too long and skinny for a shawl.


Every pond needs a faerie princess right?  Here's my 4 year old grand daughter Madison who is now kicking butt at her beginner Brazilian jujitsu classes (along side her older brother Ethan).    She got her very first stripe on her belt.




Sunday, September 1, 2019

New Toys

Last December I saw a post on my Ravelry group "Warped Weavers" about a new miniature electric spinning wheel that was part of a kick starter program.  Curiosity took me to the link dreamingrobots.com  and I watched a short video on the little purple wheel featuring its designer Maurice.

Most e-spinners are quite spendy and beyond my reach. Okay, if I could try one and then decide it might not be!  Motivation is everything isn't it?

As word of mouth spread, they quickly had their four thousand units, then five thousand units all on preorder.   As more were ordered, then more do-dads could be added based on the monies being raised.

A basic electric eel wheel came with three bobbins and a choice of purple, or black and cream. I ordered the purple "deluxe" which meant it came with 7 bobbins, orifice hook, orifice reducer, USB cord, and wall plug.

Roll the clock ahead to last week, and it finally arrived! I had been watching many others receiving their units and posting them to the Facebook group or the Electric Eel Nano group at Ravelry.  Lots of videos posted, hints and tips  and yes, some complaints, but many very happy people too.


So here's my new gadget.... and it worked right out of the box.  Speaking of the box: I must say this is my one pet peeve as it came damaged.  It is far too light a grade of cardboard for sending a delicate little wheel like this through the postal service, with just a small sheet of bubble wrap around it.  Ultimately, all was okay but here's the box before opening:



Some parts were loose, some were in a small plastic bag and thankfully all were present and unbroken. 


This e-spinner is very small and light. It can be used with a cord plugged into the wall, or a USB cord to your computer or phone.  I bought one of the recommended power packs on Amazon:

TalentCell Rechargeable 12V 3000mAh Lithium ion Battery Pack for LED Strip, CCTV Camera and More, DC 12V/5V USB Dual Output External Battery Power Bank with Charger, Black

You can see it in the photo above and its about the size of a pack of playing cards.  I'm totally free now to spin wherever  and the power pack lasts for hours and hours. Incidently, it can be used to recharge your phone, Kindle, or be a back up power for your computer.  Hub like the fact it can power his telescope and might borrow it. It takes 6 hours to get a full recharge, so basically overnight.

If you buy an Electric Eel Wheel  yourself and want to use an external power pack, be sure to read their recommendations as its possible to burn the motor out if you use the wrong device.  (Yes, they sell new replacement motors).

I plan to either get some rubber suction cup feet for the wheel or have it mounted on a wood base, or ?   Right now I use a corner of the power pack against the back corner to weigh it down. Tensioning is done with a stretchy elastic cord and I must say it works fine, but I have seen some wheels with home made scotch tensions after they have found parts at the local hardware store to make one.   Non skid matting or kitchen silicone hot pads are popular underneath as well.

There are two very small magnets set into the shell and they hold the little orifice hook in place so it doesn't disappear. I lift one end of the hook and tuck my end of the fleece / yarn under the hook to hold it.  Nifty!

So if this is a portable wheel and its meant to travel, then it better have a case. I have seen makeup bags, travel cases,  and even old 1950's style overnight bags used.  One thing they all had in common was they were either hard shell case or well padded so to protect the wheel against bumps.    So I went looking around at various on-line retailers and finally settled on this and its being made up for me:


It will hold the wheel, spare parts and bobbins, and lots of fibre to spin.   As for spinning: what you see on the bobbin currently is a fine silk merino blend by Louet.  I think this wheel would be ideal for spinning uber fine silk and other fine exotic blends. 

Oh..... I am weaving still. Its not all about the new toy in the house!    

The weather here has taken a decided cooler note at nights and there are a few leaves turning on the chestnut tree already so autumn is here.  I'll close for now with a picture or three of our summer baskets.






Sunday, August 18, 2019

Bohemian Gypsy


I had seen many woven versions of # 728, from  Carol Strickler's " A Weavers's Book of 8- Shaft Patterns".  It went onto the 'to-do' list, someday.   It seemed the perfect combination of pattern and potential  exploration of colour a weaver could find.  Endless possibilities!

I planned for and wound a 8 yard warp of 8/2 unmercerised cotton on my warping mill and that was a major commitment in itself.  So many cones of yarns, tracking the colour order..... and it took a few afternoons. It was also great for using up small part cones and stash bust as well.    Then it hung around for a couple of months while other projects jumped to the head of the line up as my interests changed.

As a warp just hanging there, it somehow wasn't as appealing. Sort of a congregation of dark broody colours. I had used three shades of purples, a magenta, medium blue and a cinnamon with a dash of off white as the glue between stripe groupings.   Along with the cones of warp yarns I had tucked in a cone of bright raspberry pink as a potential weft yarn..... and that is what saved the day.




I got it wound on along with my trusty helper, Bruce, and soon I was threading away.   Tricky threading to keep track off, plus watching for the colour changes to happen in the right spots! It seems I had the bright idea of making some changes in colours while winding the warp and the next day forgot I had done it. So long story short, I had to flip out 4 ends and hang 4 of the new and improved colours. It meant I had 6 weighted film canisters hanging off the back to adjust.    Reminder to self: make notes and read them!


So, the bright pink raspberry apparently did the trick and transformed this warp into something very special.   Its a party for the eyes!  


I end up with 6 towels (finished dimensions 20" x 29"). Three in the raspberry, one woven with the darkest purple in the warp, one used the magenta from the warp and another I used a soft lime green.  It sort of fades away next to the brighter ones, but when viewed alone and by itself, has a charm all its own.




Soft lime weft:


Magenta weft:


Raspberry weft:


Dark purple weft


... and a bonus table runner with short fringe!






About the time I was hand sewing the hems on the towels, I found this skirt being advertised for sale on FaceBook as 'Bohemian Gypsy".    Well, how about that?   My little kitchen towels are a fashion trend.


Here's my "Patron of the Arts" actually weaving!  Its taken me 23 years to get him to try throwing a shuttle and he did very well. "Over and under" the floating selvedges,  and marching along the treadles.  So one of the towels had a small section he wove and I left it in.  It was simply perfect, in all ways...   💖




Tuesday, August 13, 2019

A Tiny Perfect World



Sanne of  Mölnbo, Sweden found this sweet little find at a flea market and snapped it up.  Some person spent many hours creating this little Vavstuga. Click to enlarge and see the special world and be sure to count the cats!











Don't you wish you could join them? You get the impression you'd be welcome!


Friday, August 2, 2019

Cloud with a Silver Lining


I look around the world with its fires and floods, extreme hot temperatures and I'm quietly grateful for the mixed moderate weather we have been having here on Vancouver Island. Rain fell yesterday and today there's broken cloud and sun, and not too hot.  I'll take this over a heat wave and drought any day.

So we've had a lot of cloud formations rolling over us.....



These are 'stock photos' but are lovely none the less.


It would have been my father's 89th birthday on July 31st and he loved clouds, particularly at sunset. He would watch the skies and if there was clouds off to the west, he'd go to one of his favourites spots and take pictures, like the one below. Its one of his beautiful shots. Alouette Lake at sunset.   If there were no clouds, he would stay home. "What's the point" he'd say....

So everyone needs some clouds in their lives, particularly with a silver lining.  😊


I was weaving a shawl warp and you have already see the first off the loom here.  (If you visit that link, there are further links to the 8 shaft draft.) The second took a bit longer as life has been busier and it is summer after all. Lots to see and do outside.  I've not been in a hurry and enjoying the process more rather than feeling constantly harried to produce. Who needs the stress huh?  This is supposed to be fun...


So the second shawl is all 8/2 tencel: undyed tencel warp and silver tencel weft. The silver has ever so lightly a hint of blue to my eye.  It picks out the pattern nicely but is quiet about it.


Its soft as a cloud and the drape is lovely. Neutral colours that will suit anyone, any outfit, any occasion.


I took Madge outside but the sunshine just bleached the shawl right out so I put her in a bright spot here in the house.   Bear in mind that Madge tries to do her best..... she has no arms to elegantly drape the shawl over but she stands still for me and doesn't slouch.


Closer so to see the pattern better.



I rolled the neck line to soften the look.


I loaned her one of my lamp work bead pendants and it might look better on her than me!  So now its time to move onto something new.... some more towels and a couple of scarves are on the looms now.


Meet 'Fred' below...


I name my plants after the person who gave them to me, or in the case of Fred, where it came from. In 1994 / 1995 I worked as a receptionist at a physiotherapy clinic in Vancouver. The owner and chief therapist's name was Fred  and he had a huge basket hanging from the ceiling in his office with a hoya plant draped all over. It was one of my duties to water it occasionally and once I knew we'd be moving away to the Okanagan Valley, I took a snippet to start my own plant.... hence Fred.


I decided that Fred was really a male plant as it really didn't seem to do much at all. It would send out a runner that seemed to want to dive behind the bookshelf unless encouraged to come out to the light.  It has competition in the house as I have a second hoya with small tiny leaves named Gudrun, that blooms at the drop of a hat. Stick a cutting of that one into water? It will root nicely and then bloom.....all with no soil!

So someone else must have felt the pressure to perform..... see the runner that hangs down to the right....


It has this flower ball on the end tucked out of sight between the book shelf and a rolling storage cart.  It was the sweet perfume that gave it away last evening when I came to the studio after dark. The room smelt wonderful and I went looking for the source.     That only took  24 years.    But some are late bloomers and the flowers are just as sweet.


Encouraging isn't it?