Monday, August 25, 2008

Flowers and Lace: Part 2

I have a nice stack of new handwovens off the loom! Remember the project with mock leno and warp floats? Well, it's now a stack of two full runners and two smaller side table cloths, plus four generous samples for swapping with friends. I was given a handrawn draft for this pattern from a friend but I now understand that a version of this appeared in a Handwoven magazine years ago. I don't have it in my collection, but I'm reasonably sure that I have made alterations to the draft and used my choice in yarns. I finished weaving this warp yesterday and released the tension over night. Today I was happy to see the pattern had really appeared and took it off the cloth beam. I spent time today using the serger and securing the edges:

This picture shows both sides of the cloth. The side I looked at during the weaving has the cream warp floats; the underside has green blend yarn weft floats. If the hemming is done neatly and by hand up to the hemstitching, the cloths can be reversible.

I took several shots and managed to get one where the areas of lace and floats show nicely. The 'lace' is actually a three thread huck emphasised by empty dents in the reed. I'll show you a final picture of the runners after washing and pressing. I think they will turn out quite nicely. A runner and a small cloth is for our living room and the others are for the sale box. The samples are for weaving exchange that some friends do from time to time. We make up a record sheet using our weaving programs along with samples of the yarns used and any notes that may help someone in the future to weave it again. Stuff like beat light, denting and reed recommendations. What you'd do different... or what you like to try next time. Perhaps baby blanket next time instead of table linens? You get the idea...

We will be away for just under two weeks, leaving after Labour Day for a little trip to BC's Okanagan Valley. I plan to prep the hems and hand sew them 'on the road' as something to do. Reading while moving in the car is *not* a good idea for me. We'll see how this goes as a replacement activity! I'm going to look up some other projects to take along like my small beaded wrist bands that sell well at Christmas sales. (yup, I used the C word!)

So I was also busy today winding on a 2/16's warp for the GCW weaving exchange and so tomorrow I will be threading that. I'll bring you up to date on this new project in my next post which I hope to upload before we go. I need six guest towels for the exchange and I've put on an eight yard warp to do an even dozen towels. I need to recharge my sale and gift stash!

I leave you with a picture of a wee chenille sweater that a friend made and sent to me as a gift. It must be two to two and a half inches across through the arms. The coat hanger is also hand made too. It's really sweet.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ceinture Fléchée

Please see additional post on Ceinture Fléchée here

Ceinture fléchée were sashes wore by French Canadian's to prevent the cold from penetrating beyond their coats and cloaks. Click on the links here to read the entire history. It is now part of the Québécois costume and also the Métis. Traditionally these sashes are hand manipulated weft twining, but later were woven on looms and known as arrow sashes. The traditional weft twined sashes are still being produced and a google search will locate them. With the 400 year Anniversary celebrations in Quebec this year (2009), I'm sure they are a hot item!

The pictures are of a woven arrow sash that is approx 30 years old. It's a blend of fine wools and some acrylics. The long fringe is approx 10-12 inches and a bit frayed and slightly felted as they cling to each other. Despite my carefully hand washing it and then a gentle iron, the edges still curl near the fells from use as a costume sash. I would say the yarns used are commercial as the spinning is too even and the weaving is a 2/2 twill. All the pattern is in the colour arrangements.

I found this sash at a local antique store when we were out discovering my town with our friend's Lynnette and Michael recently. I have since talked with the store owner and it seem that the consignee who brings these in, has a cottage in Quebec and brings back items to sell. They will give him my phone number when he comes back and I'll have an opportunity to talk with the gent and see if he can find me a traditional weft twined sash in his travels. He may well bring one back from this summer's holiday! Now, wouldn't that be nice?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Its Like Winning the Lottery!

This will get your attention.... a loom! ( not painted walls and decorating....)

See this Louet Spring Loom? Well, one is coming to my house and my friend Lynnette's as well. It gets better though...

This is a prototype of the new Louet table loom called the 'Jane'. It's based on ideas submitted by Jane Stafford to Louet and they built her one. We're getting one of each of this loom too when they come out later this year.

How the heck did this happen? Pour a cup of tea and sit back....

My best friend Lynnette and her hubby Michael came to stay for a visit and we had an enjoyable week together touring around the area and seeing the sights. They landed at Victoria airport and drove the Malahat highway. During their time here we did Cowichan Bay, Cobble Hill, Duncan, and Shawnigan Lake. Lynnette had an itch to go to Salt Spring Island ( and who could blame her?) and visit fibre places there. We hopped on the ferry which is very nearby where I live and took the short trip across to Vesuvius Bay on the island. Jane's Studio is on the north part of the island and so we went there first. The lovely studio space is nestled in the trees and ferns and there isn't a weaver around who wouldn't give their right arm for a place like that. Totally dedicated to weaving and away from the usual family stuff and chores.

I once owned an older Louet Kombo table loom but I'm not overly familiar with their big floor looms. A friend has the 32 shaft Megado and runs it with a palm pilot and another friend has the same loom but with a compu-dobby. But I have no real experience weaving on them. Jane took us through all the looms there and explained all the differences and why the looms have a small footprint but give you huge sheds with easy weaving. We sat and tried them out and loved it.
This, and a space filled with books and brightly coloured yarns was like inhaling an intoxicant! Yep, we're definitely hooked on our 'habit' :) Here Jane is explaining the Megado's dobby system to us.

In this one Lynnette and Michael are being shown the Louet Spring parallel countermarche. It's amazingly small but has all the potential of my big framed, high castle loom. Jane explained the circular texsolv system that means every shaft, every lamm is perfectly positioned. There was *nothing* out of place and all lamms were straight and even. Both Lynnette and I like this sort of precision being neat freaks!

Here Jane is showing us a multi shaft huck lace in silk with amazing patterning! Done on the Megado I believe.

Jane demonstrated the simplicity of the new Jane table loom and both our husband's placed an order for one right away and we were *thrilled*. I added a stand for mine so it's at the right height for my back. We started to browse in the books and yarns and left the men asking more questions about the mechanical workings of the looms. When we walked back in they were tucking their credit cards back into wallets and holding receipts. They had just bought us each a 36" 12 shaft Louet Spring countermarche. Lynnette and I stepped into the next room and did a wild 'n crazy 'happy dance'.... then walked back in all dignified but with permanent grins on our faces. Here's Lynnette's!

And with the sale of 4 looms and one stand, here's Jane's!

I'm sure she did a happy dance too as drove away.... (there is a link to Jane's web page on the links section. She is an amazing teacher, good sense of humour and loves to travel.) That's ten bucks Jane ...

We had to do a group shot and my grateful thanks go to my hubby, Bruce for manning the camera that day. I was too jangled to man one myself! Yup, that's me in the green.... and I don't step in front of a camera all that much so don't hold your breath waiting for the next one anytime soon. :)

We had every intention of going to Treenway down on the southern part of the island but we were hungry and dined Mexican in Ganges. We had gelato from Harlan's after and sat in the park near the harbour. Lynnette snapped this one of my hubby dearest, Bruce and I.

We were strangely quiet afterwards as if we couldn't fathom what had just happened. Gobsmacked?? But then our brains started to tick over and we mentally started the sales ads to reduce our loom inventory !

{*If you want a list of what is for sale for both of us, email me!! my email address is on the right hand side bar*}

Anyhoo, we decided that we couldn't risk spending any more as were now 'broke' and so decided to visit Treenway another day. It's a good excuse to go back to what must be the most beautiful of the Canadian Gulf Islands.

The time went quickly while they were here. We laughed, chatted and had a super time. The last night before they went home, we dined at a local restaurant called 'The Grapevine on the Bay' and sat overlooking Maple Bay and ate wonderful food like: halibut with champagne sauce, Artic char, seafood pie and Cowichan chicken vol au vent... all washed down with an amazing Australian Stickleback red wine.

Earlier during the week we had visited Cowichan Bay which has a row of shops, restaurants and marine traffic at the harbour:

It's an active port for lumber shipments and deep draft ships come in as well as this ocean going tug heading out.

An active anchorage for boating and float homes. This one is a real cutie patootie:

This shot is really neat. We caught a glimpse of people relaxing on their boat while their Jack Russell terrier caught a few winks. A tough life! ( Actually my husband and I lived aboard a boat for 5 years so we know this lifestyle well. No room for looms though... )

There is a maritime museum there with all sorts of boats and motors and all things nautical. Even boats being actively restored and under cover. Inside was a display of ship models and we have a great interest of the vessels of the Royal Navy during the battles with Napoleon. Here's a frigate of the 'first rate' My memory is faulty here, but this may be the HMS Victory

Everyone has a passion for something art like in their life... for us, it's weaving!

Speaking of which, I must get to work as there is a project on every loom, all at the beginning of warps too and I must wind on one more and complete a weaving exchange before the looms go out the door!

At least my posts will now be weaving related now... lucky you!