Saturday, May 18, 2019

Flower Petals and Lace

Its a busy time of year, with gardens, annual house and yard chores,  and I'm not "nose to the grindstone  or loom" quite so much anymore.    Besides, Hubby hurt his lower back and so there's been that to deal with.  Its had work convincing a hurt man to stay still and let his back heal!

Spring chores sort of ground to a halt but we're planning on resuming what we can soon.

the rhodie on the verge of blooming (taken last week)

So enough of all that.... lets talk some weaving shall we?   This draft below is a blend of weft floats that produce flowers and areas of 3 thread huck lace (or mock leno).  I've had this draft for years and not entirely where it came from originally.  It uses special denting and sleying to open the lace areas more.
  • using a 12 dent reed, sled two ends per dent in the plain weave and flower sections.
  • in the lace sections, sled three ends to a dent, *plus* leave an empty dent on either side of the three end grouping.
I'll tell you that it does make predicting how wide your warp will be a tad bit difficult but from this project and past ones, it adds  1 1/2 inches to every 15 inches planned, so 17.5 inches in width for my current project.  There's a bit of 'fudge factor' with this one. 

Then there's the plain weave treadles.... both far right treadles are for plain weave. This would be your hem allowance or small border before starting the main portion of the draft.    You see, treadle 3 is also a tabby treadle too. Yup, confusing as heck.    Its meant to used as part of the treadling sequence for the lace squares. You treadle lace squares and go directly into weft floats.   You can make the flower larger, or the lace squares bigger, but go directly from one part to the other and do not hit the far right treadles along the way!   Clear as mud? 

8 shaft draft- basic
Draft showing empty dents  between lace groups
I've woven this before....  here it is in  20/2 silks. 

Here is 10/2 cream mercerized cotton and a light moss green silk/ flax/ acrylic weft, with little flecks of colour.

... and here is the same weft used with a 10/2 ink blue mercerized cotton warp in my recent project. It changes the whole look huh? This is on the loom and so under tension ....

Also, same warp but this time I used a dark navy blue 8/2 tencel. You can clearly see the effect the empty dents have on the look.

I also used a silver blue version of the silk flax acrylic yarn I have in my stash  and it gave a more denim loom. It was also a bit slubby  and I went ahead with it, but its not my favourite.

The cloth roll had some distortion where the lace areas collected on each other and so I cut off after 3 runners were woven.    They were secured, washed and pressed, then made ready for hand hemming.

They are all nice but lacking something.... so I decided to try a different colour for the fourth runner.

Our back patio is summer ready now....

A lovely place to sit with a cool drink and spin, or twist fringe on runner number four! The mat on the table is from Nepal and is needle woven by using chain stitch into intricate patterns on a cotton backing cloth.  My brother bought it from a woman along a Kathmandu road side for me some years ago.

This runner is my favourite and has some pizzaz!  I used 8/2 tencel in dark teal and the cloth comes to life with this blending of colours. In the plain weave sections, there is an iridescence effect.  The weft float flowers are a burst of teal green. The over all effect is light and lacy.  It's 17.5 inches by 54 inches. Fringe is 2 inches.

I also used Italian hemstitching on a whim instead of the usual basic hemstitching. The little row of boxes along the edges are quite sweet and compliment the lace boxes.

Yes, more flowers and garden shots. This is my garden's prime time of year, so I'm showing it off!  The chestnut tree is simply loaded. The hummingbirds and bees are giddy with excitement and there is a cascade of flower petals under the tree so it looks like pink snow.

chestnut tree flowers

Not sure that this is but they are happy to be out!

 ...and finally, this is a rock garden plant (again nameless) and there is a literal cloud of tiny flowers on long stems above the little tight leaves.

The loom is being reloaded as I write.... and some threading is under way.  All the doors and windows are open and there is a delightful breeze.   We waited all winter long for days like this....

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Petal Storm

What a difference a few weeks make....

Late October 2018
January 2019
March 2019
May 2019.... today in fact!

This is a chestnut tree and it has glorious pink blossoms.....

which are just forming up ......

...and some are in a hurry!  
When they are fully open, you can hear the tree literally HUM with all the bees that visit.

Meanwhile in the front yard, the cherry tree is in full bloom and there's a blizzard of blossoms everywhere. Every house on the street has one in their front yard and so there's a drift of petals on the sidewalks.

Thick and lush petals!

By the front door a double pink camellia is just finishing up its bloom.

I believe this is another version of a camellia which resembles an orchid.

... and since its almost Mother's Day, its time to go and find my hanging baskets for the season.
This is last years  model.....

Back soon with weaving news.....  

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Caribbean Beach

It was either a television show featuring far off golden beaches and turquoise waters, or a travel ad luring you to the Caribbean for a 'sun-cation', but the nugget of inspiration for this project was conceived on a cold, dark night in early January.   The driving wind and rain, or the cold sleet and snow, combined with the short days getting dark so early had me thinking of warmer, brighter times to come!   

The image I saw on the telly was much like this one below. This is a beach on the Coromandel Peninsula on the north island of New Zealand.  It best demonstrates my design concept with its curving arrays of waves on a golden shore.   My mind mentally ran through my stash and I realized I had the colours on hand!   

Now the search for the right draft started. Over a few days I spent much time cruising through drafts on Pinterest and and scrolled through scores of drafts. I went through all five of my sample binders, and various books.  I went back to and eventually found this draft there.  Now, I must 'fess up and say that I either didn't record the draft number or lost it.  I don't have it , so sorry about that.... but you do have the three screens of the draft below.  This is what I call an extended twill progression.  The twill progresses along but there are many repeats at any given point, in this case four and then it transitions to the next, creeping up or down the run. There's 349 steps to one repeat, which in the case of my 8/2 tencel measured 14 inches on the loom.  Five repeats  equals 70 inches.  Scarf done!  Okay, so the in-between part is mind boggling but works okay  with no interruptions (of any kind) and a well caffeinated mind.  Its a good work out for the head, arms and legs.

I had used my Fiberworks program (for Mac) and played with the gradation feature. I tightened up some of the gradation but the draft is as it was as I found it at the website.   I was able to print off the threading by itself and then use little mini post it notes to isolate the sequence and so work my way across four colours and reverse again on the warping mill.  With the post it notes left in place, it meant I always knew where I was in the sequence and so could leave it for a break and a stretch.

I used 8/2 tencel from Web's  in dark teal, greyed teal, straw and finally 'tussah' coloured tencel from Textura Trading. It has been in my stash for a few years now and was perfect for the centre colour. It wasn't until I was starting to wind the straw colour and needing to add the lighter tussah that I found the tussah was actually 10/2 and not 8/2 like the others. I had put it on the wrong shelf in the storage closet!  I thought about it for a few minutes and decided to go ahead and use it anyway and keep my sett the same at 24 epi. *fingers crossed*  😳

I could see right away this was going to be special...

The colours worked so well together and the shift from one to another was  great.

As luck would have it my  scrap  filler yarn to use at the start was a medium purple and it suited the warp so well. I  decided to try amethyst as weft for the second scarf and I liked it a lot.  Think "twilight time at the beach".

It also picks out the pattern more clearly than the dark teal and so has a whole different feel.

After several days of rain and cloudy skies, the sun came out this past weekend and I got busy with the camera.  This one shows the 'wave' effect I was going for nicely....

The colours in this photo more closely resemble the real colours used..... (pardon the fold lines! I did get out there quickly to snap the pictures). It clouded over and started raining again shortly after I finished.

This one below shows a full repeat of the pattern. The scarf was woven to 70 inches on the loom and was 66 inches when all wet finished and pressed.  Four inches lost seemed a lot to me....
The final width is 9 inches.

Then there's what I call the Twilight version, with amethyst weft:

 This time the pattern takes centre stage.

One full repeat again.... plus a close up shot for you to enlarge and see the pattern.  I also want to add that the slightly smaller grist 10/2 tussah tencel in the centre wasn't an issue at all. It behaved just like the rest and you wouldn't know there was a difference at all. (Phew!)

So that 'cold and dark' night is far behind us now and spring is here in all its promise.  Daffies,  cherry blossoms and green leaves are budding and the yard is full of nesting birds competing for worms and bugs to feed their broods.    Lots of fresh starts... and speaking of which....

Our local guild, The Midnight Shuttles, held a 'learn to weave' one day short program at the local community centre this past weekend and it was great fun. It was a 'taste test' of various methods of weaving  and we had participants of all ages:

Two serious students hard at work. 

One of our members, Jeanelle, working on a tapestry loom. 

Val showing off her tapestry samples.

Joyce showing the workings of a table loom.

All in all, it was loads of fun but I came home very tired and ready to  relax.  They wore me out... 😊