Friday, January 18, 2019

Friendly Fences

Its January, and winter.
In Canada no less.

Yet here we are replacing two runs of fencing on the east and west sides of our back yard in January with relatively mild temperatures for this time of year.  We had a fence panel on the east side blow down last winter and its been 'juried rigged fixed' for some time.  It was all due to start last fall, but it got too late in the season.  So now we are ahead of the curve for 2019's busy spring season and fencing contractors' schedules and also before the gardens spring to life again. (Which is any time now given how mild it is!)

Below is the west side of the yard, shared with our neighbour Dave. Its a nice open look as they remove the old fence panels which are well and truly all done. Most likely the original fence from 20 years ago.

The east side has been cleared, new cedar fence posts set into concrete, and five foot cedar boards installed.  It goes quite quickly once the posts are in place.  They have connected it nicely to our run of black picket fencing across the back, and also the side gates near the house.  I took this picture while they were at lunch yesterday.

close up view

An old tired panel waiting to be taken to its final rest

 Then this picture (below) was taken about 3:30 pm yesterday ....and the east side is all done.  Just finials for the post tops to be added.  Our neighbours on either side have been great and participating in this project fully.  The fence is a foot taller than the old one and we'll adjust quickly to the new view.

 Meanwhile I kept busy inside the studio with Bruce helping me to beam on  an eight yard warp of 8/2 cotton for some tartan towels.   I haven't woven towels in some time so this will be fun.   'Dress Stewart' anyone?

All good to go!  By the days end, we had it all loaded onto the warp beam. I'm going to weave it as one long piece and then cut apart into towels later.

Meanwhile over at the desk I'm busy twisting fringes on the completed scarves.   Its been really hard to get a decent picture so I'm hoping for a sunny day (sunny moment?)  once they are complete and pressed.

Purple weft above, and black weft below

So, who's this I hear you asking?

This is a stock photo I found on line of a young Irish Terrier pup.   We are hopefully expecting to be new parents to a pup to be born in March, and newly homed with us in May.   We have requested a female and now wait to see how this all works out. Irish terriers have 4-6 pups per litter and we are on a list with other prospective parents...... so *fingers crossed*!  The kennel where we are dealing, raise both Airedale and Irish terriers and it just so happens that the Irish mum is first to have her litter and the Airedale pups won't be ready until late October.

Our love is for Airedales  but no new Airedale could replace Calli and so I had concerns on that score.  Irishes run to about 25-27 pounds which is half the size of Calli but have all the heart and love, plus quirky  personality  that terriers have.   Here's a link to more information on the breed.
They are known for being healthy, few issues with genetic type conditions, hyper allergenic and good temperaments.

Now you know why the fence must be tight !

A link to a short video on the breed:

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2018: a Year in Review

Happy New Year!

Its hard to believe that yet another year is coming to an end, but 2018 is in it final hours for us here on the west coast of Canada.  We are just having a lazy day hanging around the house and no plans to go out or 'party-hearty'.  We leave that for the younger set. We're more the 'jammies and TV' types now.
We do have a bottle of Prosecco chilling and plan a roast beef supper.   

But this is all in 2018 and this is being posted on New Year's Day.  So basically old news! 😁
2019 right now in its early days is a fresh slate and everything is possible.   So lets start with what's on my loom as of today:   This is the best I can do with my lighting situation this time of year.... its a subtle pattern with this colour mix!

Its 8/2 tencel,  24 epi, warp colour is Pompeii and weft is Amethyst, and this is a six shaft crackle weave for two scarves. I'm undecided as to my second weft colour will be right now.  The draft is from

So how did 2018 go for weaving results?  Well, my personal feelings on this is I was not as active or productive as in years past and this was due to many reasons, mostly personal.  We had a death of a family member,  a health crisis and then a cancer diagnosis and treatment (still on going in fact),  the emotional toll of all of this and then a death of our much loved dog Calli.  We'll be a long time getting over that one, if ever.

We felt the need to slow things down and restore some calm in our lives and so we stayed close to home, but took some nice day trips around our area and south of us to explore our part of the world.  That was great fun and went along way to helping us feel better in ourselves. No doubt we'll do this again in 2019.

Due to my husband's treatments, my foot surgery was postponed and finally dropped. It seems I must first determine why I'm so intolerant of post operative opiate pain meds first and what, if any, alternatives there are before going ahead with any foot reconstruction. To that end I have been going to pain management sessions and will continue on in 2019.  Arthritis is something I will have to learn to co-exist with for many years to come.

Of course my favourite loom, the Louet Spring, is the one with the foot treadles. I feel more connected and totally 'all involved' when weaving on that little loom.  Best decision ever to buy that loom back in 2008!  Heck, it was ten years old this past October.... time is flying by!

So what's ahead for the coming year?   well, nothing concrete as yet.  I want to play more and be more inventive with colour, and weave what speaks to me.  To try to avoid getting into the 'production mode' state of mind because it then becomes more of a job and not so much fun anymore.  I much prefer shorter warps where I can play for a time and then move onto something new.  It means much more warping and beaming but that's okay as the Spring is easy to load up.  I also like all the weaving steps and find them satisfying.

I used much of my 2018 weaving yarns from my stash, with only a few painted warp purchases. I'm not set up currently to paint my own warps right now as Hub is working on sorting out his models in the garage space.  I'd like to carry on rediscovering old friends (yarn) stored in bins and let them see the light of day.   That leaves more money for other fun purchases such as books ("Stubenisky Code" by Marian Stubenisky and the new, soon to be released new book by Laura Fry "The Intentional Weaver").  Thanks to some enabling at my Warped Weavers group at Ravelry, I got involved with a Kickstarter project for a electronic spinning machine called an  Electric Wheel Eel Nano which won't be shipped until August.  More information and video here Yes, I have two spinning wheels already but with my feet, it would be fun to have something to play with while I recover from the inevitable surgery down the road. ( I'm to be "no weight bearing" on the foot for three months!)

I will take a hiatus from commission projects for the coming year. They take a large chunk of my time and so nothing else gets done that is on my to-do list. I like to revisit old drafts from time to time but even old favourites will loose their glow if done to death!

I want to go and see the grand kids this spring in Vancouver,  also possibly visit an Airedale breeder down island this spring as well.  We acknowledge its time for another pet in our lives but still making decisions about the size and breed. Something half the size of Calli would be more practical and still have all the love! Its all under discussion....

So the year in review as follows....

January & February 2018

The 9/2 linen huck lace runners were fun to weave and I love the crisp hand of the cloth...... but out of three runners woven, two had treadling errors that were missed on the loom.  Bummer....

March 2018

These two scarves used a very old draft from the 17th century and the warp was a champagne coloured silk from the stash.  They are very pretty!

April 2018

Two more scarves using a painted warp from my stash from Iridescent Fibers.  Its fascinating to weave with a painted warp as the weft looks different with each colour change!

May 2018

Hub had his surgery.

June 2018

Calli died

Then we started doing our day trips and you got my travel posts.

Deep Bay, BC

July 2018
Cape Lazo, BC

Finally some weaving again with the Chocolate Cherries scarves.  The darker tones suited me at the time. That will tell you something of my mood.....

August 2018

I was finally inspired to weave something colourful and fun again with two Fire Iris shawls.  Again the painted warp was by Iridescent Fibers and I incorporated it into shawls.  They are my favourite item of the year actually....

Another drive and a post on Discovery Passage and our summer forest fires.  There is a uninhabited island on fire and burning off in the distance, with the blue smoke blending with the heavy cloud.  The clouds never did send a drop of rain to help.  They left it to burn and I wondered about the animals living there.

September 2018

These two scarves were fun to weave and the pattern is very satisfying to build. I can see using this 8 shaft draft again for a shawl?

October 2018

Then in the spirit of playing with string and 'what if' came these two colour gradation, braided twill shawls.   Three colours in the warp and two very different looks!  Both shawls were sold to one customer. I like to think she couldn't decide which she liked best either.   😊

Then there was a shawl commission where we revisit a popular past favourite. My blog post had a confusing title of 'going south' but it was the shawl that went and not me unfortunately!

.....and that led to a small but equally happy project of my sister Melinda's table square:

November & December 2018

The year concludes with this (newly purchased) painted warp shortie scarf..... plus the resulting solution to a problem. (to come next post!)

So let's tally things up:

  • runners: 4
  • scarves: 9
  • shawls: 5

Total: 18 completed woven items, plus a further 15 from the mystery project
( and,  actually a further 26 more on top of that!)   I'll share what this is soon..... but I will tell you now it was great fun!

Happy New Year !    (click to enlarge)

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Summer Brights During the Winter Dark

I fell in  love with this 8/2 tencel  200 ends / 4.5 yards painted warp from Carr Park Artisans on Etsy. Before I knew it, it was paid for and the order placed.  Oops....

I chose an 8 shaft point twill draft and the treadling was a twill progression. My Fiberworks showed it as a reversible draft which is what I look for!   I added some complimentary colours for the edges in black, old gold and olive green and we got it beamed with no issues.

The tie-up went okay and I used my method of using the numbers for the upper lamms and the blanks squares for the lower lamms on my Louet Spring countermarch loom.

Finally I was weaving away and I thought.... "looks a bit dark on this side".... and sure enough, this pattern does have a darker view on the side facing me, and a brighter, more colourful warp faced side on the under side.

Well, it wouldn't be the first time I have woven something 'upside down' and decided to go ahead with it as is.    Now this warp is only 4.5 yards total so this was going to be two shorter scarves with shorter fringes and no sample.  So it didn't take me long to weave up the first scarf.

The second scarf? not so much!  First I decided to change the treadling and I used a 'snowflake twill' treadling and it created lovely diamonds and was a nice change.   Then there were medical appointments, shopping trips, trips for the post office, writing the Christmas cards and all the other activities for this time of year.  So weaving on scarf number two was hit and miss and I just didn't have my heart in it.... but I soldiered on.

Finally I cut the scarves off the loom and turned to see  my handiwork right side up. First scarf was lovely and finished up as 8 1/2 inches wide and 60 inches in length.  Looks great as the picture shows below.

Second scarf?  well I wove as far as the warp allowed but it measured as 51 inches (woven on the loom) which is too short!  Then I turned it over and found not one, not two, but THREE obvious treadling errors.   Ah, crap....

For some reason I wasn't upset and actually felt calm about it.  I think I had already disconnected from the scarf when it took so long to weave it up.

I got the fringes twisted on the first scarf and gave it a good soak and a pressing. It took a while to get a sunny period to take some pictures but I got the following:

Of course its hard to say if you are actually seeing the colours as I have them here due to differing computer monitors/ screens and my camera etc. Its a lovely blending of raspberry plum, old gold with a hint of green and a dash of coral.    Its quite pretty and for a young lady or a diminutive woman.

It took me a day or two to come up with an idea for the failed second extra long sample (I can't really call it a scarf!).  I placed an order on a Sunday evening, it was processed Monday and the mail lady handed the solution to me at noon on Tuesday.....

But that's for another post   😁  📦  📬

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas 2018: in which we detect a theme....

 Merry Christmas Everyone!

While I must admit the list is slowly shrinking,  each year we send out the old fashioned, and apparently out dated, Christmas card.   I ran short this year and discovered they can be hard to find in fact.  I'm wise to the "extra postage may be required" oversized cards and avoid those. I also leave the foil and glittery ones alone too. Not very environmentally friendly.

Yeah..... I know..... but at least paper or card stock is recyclable!

There are many themes to cards: serious religious ones, Santa and his reindeer, snowmen are popular and then there are snow covered homes and villages from a fantasy world of idyllic times long ago.
I normally go for natural scenes of birds, trees with a dash of snow.

I sent out roughly 40 cards this year..... and as of yesterday's mail we got eleven.  I like to reach out to friends from past years and places we have lived. Some are distant family and some are new family we have recently got acquainted with.   I love to read the  letters, the emails and enjoy the phone calls that come in close to Christmas, and the week after.

The gingerbread house came from Australia and was our first card of the year (Thanks Billie!) Each card is placed to its best advantage.    After a week or so of adding the new arrivals to the display, I noticed a trend....

Out of eleven cards, seven or eight have the snow covered home or village scene!   Now did so many of  our family and friends all feel that this best expressed their feelings for the season?   What ever the reason I have never had this happen before!

I have a weaving related post for you.... and then there's the annual NY's day post.   So I'll be back soon. Hope your Christmas was special with good food, family and friends.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Going That Little Bit Further

So it wasn't too long ago I was looking at this colour combination and hoping my warp was long enough, and it seems that it was. In fact after weaving my planned shawl and fringe allowance, plus a sample for my records, I was looking at a length of warp still.   Not a lot mind you, but enough I couldn't write off simply as 'loom waste' as that would be.... a waste!   I had paid $27.99 USD a pound for this and I was going to get something more off the warp before calling it a day.

I had no idea how many full repeats of the pattern I could get off the remaining warp but I would get a least a couple 6-7 inch repeats at least. It would make nice card inserts at the least!  It turns out that I managed three full repeats plus a small hem allowance for either end. I wove right down to the wire....

I choose royal blue as my weft as I wanted something to go nicely with the teal green but add a calmness and depth to the pattern.   I found myself thinking of my younger sister as I wove and it came to me that this was hers!

I secured the edges and hand washed it. Then steam pressed it up and turned the hem and hand sewed then using a running blind stitch.   Wrapped up neatly and parcelled it up to mail away. 

Then, after it was gone, I realized I had forgotten to take pictures!

Sister to the rescue..... and here are a few pictures she sent me last night.  (click to enlarge)

Trying out different placements on her table...

It turns out that her new decorative glass bowl fits with the table 'square' perfectly!

Some close ups to show the pattern and the amazing iridescence!

This picture shows a bit of a picture on their wall and again, the teal will work with their art. 
Almost like it was planned or something  😁

I call these bonus projects and its always a surprise when they appear and seem meant to be!