Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Pause in Production

It hasn't been one of my better weeks. My weaving and pretty much every thing else came to a full stop. I developed the mother of all migraines and it stayed for four long days. I did manage to get 80% of my Christmas cards done (slowly) so it wasn't an entire bust. Today is the first time I have felt okay, but still a bit fragile. After seeing our doctor I'm now armed with new migraine medicine which must be taken at the first sign as the head pain starts as later is ...well, too late!

So early last Tuesday, before the headache hit me, I changed colours on the towel warp and this is the start of towel # 7 of 8.

This towel has a bright violet weft. It's some 2/8 cotton that I bought for a song as it's too softly spun to be used as warp. It's perfect for weft though and this is the first project to come along where it can be used. The yarn actually makes a 'zip' sound as it runs through the end delivery shuttle!
I have something like four or five half pound cones of this, so best think of some other uses for it. The sale tag is still on the bag and I spent $2.00 for 2 1/2 pounds of yarn. Not too bad huh?

I'll get back to weaving tomorrow on both ongoing projects. But I went looking for the calendar that I contributed to with the violet silk/ wool blend that I mentioned in the last entry. I found it finally and I almost had the year right.... it was actually 2001. The Kelowna group: Ponderosa Weavers and Spinners Guild had produced a calendar with one sample for every 2 months. It went very well, and raised some needed funds in the bargain. Now, I was going to show you the cover of the calendar but Blogger simply will not load the image without turning it sideways. *really annoying* I have no idea why it does that! But here are some of the samples featured in that group effort:

This sample is 100% linen and woven by Linda Heinrich ( author of The Magic of Linen) It's threaded and treadled in rosepath with alternating colours in warp and weft.

This is the sample that I made. It's a 60/40 silk wool blend, sett at 32 epi and a classic colour and weave check or pin wheel. I dyed both the colours. The yardage was beautiful and I had an offer from a neighbour to buy it from me and have a tailored jacket made from it to go with a charcoal wool skirt she owed. I was tempted!

This classic 2/2 twill colour and weave was woven by Christine Kirtz in 2/12 merino wool. She was also the calendar project organiser.

The sample above is an alpaca 'log cabin' and was woven by Ellie Morstad. I believe the warp and weft was handspun and there were some difficulties with weaving it due to separation under tension.

This is a shadow weave woven by June Kiewitz and Lyndsay Topham. They used orlec in two colours that are quite similar. It has a much more subtle effect over the usual very dark and very light contrasting colours normally used.

This last sample was woven by Julia Proulx and is featuring (mostly) naturally coloured cotton and I suspect that Blogger has turned the image on me! You don't hear too much about Fox Fiber Cottons anymore. Do any of you know if they are still in business?

I'm a big fan of samples and swatches and have four 3 inch binders full. I like the way they stir up the creative process. For injecting more colour into my projects I love looking through National Geographic magazines. When they feature a spread of full colour photos taken from Nature, it always amazes me the colours that coexist side by side in Nature....

Buyers of our handwoven goods and weavers in general are drawn to the colours for the energy and lift they provide but we tend to wear neutrals ( such as beige's and blacks) and be quite conservative in our homes. I'm sure this would be great material for a study!

News about the sale I participated in: Nothing sold unfortunately. It seems that people are really reconsidering what they are buying and how much they are spending this year for Christmas.

Are you adjusting what you are weaving as a result? I think I will weave what I normally do and worse case scenario, I will have a good war chest for sales down the road when purse strings loosen up again.

See you in a few days when I'm back up to full speed again!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Smooth Sailing

The next scarf is being woven with a silk/wool blend from Treenway that I dyed some years ago. Lanaset acid dye in a violet shade. This is left over yarn from some yardage I wove in 2000 using the violet and a charcoal gray (same fibre blend, also dyed by me) It was a fine pin wheel colour and weave and then was cut up into small little squares for a guild calendar project. After all that work, I drew the line at cutting it up... someone else got the honours!

Back to this scarf: I have some great beads to add to this one when it's off loom!

Otherwise not much else to report.... I haven't heard (yet) how my items fared at the sale this past Saturday.

The towel warp on Lilibet is progressing nicely and I'm three quarters through the warp. After the last neutral cream towel, I'll be back to bright colours again for towels seven and eight. I'm hoping there will be warp enough for samples!

My six towels from the GCW weaving exchange are on their way in the post. You'll be seeing those here very soon.

Back soon with an update!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Half Time Show

I have been spending time for the past few days weaving most afternoons and realized that I'm half way through the first scarf and half way through the towel warp. The scarf is slow going and I must be *very* alert to the treadling plan! I weave at that loom first while the light is better and I'm fresher :) Remember this draft ? Look at the star burst in the centre...

Blogger turned the picture, but here it is on the loom:

The star burst is the only part that is still giving me trouble treadling and I must be extra careful with the centre. But it sure is worth it! I'm looking forward to trying another colour or a silk weft.
On the towel warp, I have four towels done and now starting a new colour. It's a soft creamy beige with a hint of yellow undertone. I wanted to have some more neutral colours and I'm quite amazed at the effect. Rather than the hearts being the focus, they have receded and the emphasis is on the total look. It has the look of a tapestry or upholstery. I hope this pictures captures some of this 'look'.

I also have two new additions to my library! A weaver and friend is downsizing her weaving inventory and I bought two of her books and I'm looking forward to reading them over the coming winter. I have a love of ancient textiles and so eager to review this one:

And with the recent passing of Peter Collingwood, I'm looking forward to reading this:

I'll do a review of these sometime next year....or 41days. Which ever comes first! Yes, 41 days till 2009....

Sunday, November 16, 2008

This 'n That

Its been a busy weekend around here. I have worked in the studio all weekend as we plan to take Monday off and go shopping.
I got busy with threading the 10/2 tencel warp which consist of 246 ends over 12 shafts and will be sleyed 30 epi. ( 2 per dent in a 15 dent reed). I'm using a 23" shorty reed as these are to be narrow 8" scarves. Skinny dents and a black warp.... and quickly fading daylight. These old eyes simply can't be trusted! So I got out my new toy that I bought at Woolhouse Tools in September when we were in the Okanagan.

Right at this minute, I can't recall it's proper name ( or who makes it) but I'm calling it the auto reed hook. Slip it into one dent *ahead* of where you want to start and push forward till it 'clicks' then slip the yarn ends over the bottom hook and pull back through the reed. The ends simply drop off and the tool moves forward into the next dent as if by magic. Honest. I never took the hook out the entire time and every dent was filled!

Now what it doesn't do is ensure that you have two and not three ends in your hand and later when I had to unlace the warp the bouts again for the second time, it didn't help me with the crossed ends behind the reed. Geesh. I haven't done that in very long time. In my defence, it is a black warp.... and its tightly sleyed. That's my story.

The draft for this project is in the last post and I'm starting to realize how ambitious it is. 12 shafts and 12 treadles... okay. But the treadling plan is 'tromp as writ'. Take a look at that draft again. There are 83 ends to the main pattern, with an additional 39 for the centre bit. Okay, no phone calls and no talking to anyone. If someone comes in, their hair better be on fire! These are my cheat sheets for treadling. There are another two for the start and finish of the scarves as well.The pattern does runs in threes, but *backwards* and the odd one or two thrown in for added confusion. It means you are glancing at the treadles to see where to place your feet all the time. So for the first time ever owning this loom, I placed large number stickers on the treadles to increase my success rate. I normally can keep them worked out by simply placing a thick rubber band ( like you get on broccoli) on the mid point. My foot feels that and knows where it is in the scheme of things.

I must admit the pattern is stunning and the scarf is going to look wonderful. Here's a sideways shot of the early portion. Blogger has turned my picture sideways for some reason. The hemstitching is done every 4 ends and I plan to twist the fringes every eight. It will be a fine fringe and be a bit more 'lady like'. I may add beads if there are any in my bead stash that will be just right. We'll see about that later... much later.
There's a lot of shine with the tencel and I'll try to get another shot to show you.

On Lilibet, the heart pattern towels are coming along. I'm on number four now and using a muted purple. The pattern doesn't jump at you quite as much as with the bright blue but really nice just the same. I must agree with Lynnette about the cloth beam filling up quickly and it does look like ten yards will be the limit using yarns this size. Never thought to ask about a thing like that when we were buying the looms. Fortunately for me, I get bored quickly and so ten yards should be plenty.

On my other loom, I have a sectional and so not dealing with sticks or paper. Just some sticks to help ease the bumps on the cloth beam for a turn. Having paper unrolling at the back is annoying as the treadles bump and hit it. So I hit upon a solution to the rustling paper. Two mini bull dog clips from my hubby's office supplies.

I'm going back there to unroll floating selvages anyhow......

So my mind is starting to turn to what's next after the towels are done. I'd like to try some spider weave or cannelle. I'll play with some drafts and get back to you....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Humming Along

So what is exactly on the new countermarche loom, Lilibet? It's a 10 shaft point twill and basically all the pattern is in the tie up. It makes for easy weaving and this is what I wanted so I could get used to the loom and it's 'feel'. Here's a close up where I have done some more complex runs through the treadles and the main pattern that appears is a small row of hearts.

The warp is 8/2 cotton and right now sett at 20 epi ( due to my mathmatical error... see previous entry for the sad, silly details). The warp is a blending of colours that repeat every 18 ends: 5 beige, 3 bright pink, 2 salmon pink, 3 melon, 2 salmon pink, 3 bright pink..... and back to the 5 beige. It's fun and fast and I can get a good rhythm going.

I found the draft on Complex Weavers compilation CD and it is credited to Laurie Autio. I like the way it makes such perfect shaped hearts!

I hope you can see the blue version below as it is the treadling I have shown in the towel above. I have another 9 yards to go!

Meanwhile on my other countermarche "Emmatrude", I pulled off the finished warp of the guest towels. Six had been mailed away for the GCW weaving exchange. The four left will be going along with a shawl to a sale in the Shuswap. I am filling the warp beam again. Eleven yards of 10/2 black tencel, 30 epi.

Then wound onto the sectional, one inch at a time:

Here's the draft I created with Fiberworks-PCW :

I was playing around with an advancing 12 shaft twill and with a black tencel warp and then the sheen of , oh, let's say... this for weft. A rich red 10/2 tencel, for starters! I've put enough warp on for 4 scarves so I'll be able to try different options such as silks. Should be interesting!

So I'll be completing the beaming and threading on one loom and weaving away on the other. See you again in a few days....

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Lilibet's Debut

I wasn't too sure of what to weave for my new Louet Spring's first warp. I have come up with a name for her, 'Lilibet'. I was thinking 'towels' as I have sold all but one of from my last batch and I like to have some on hand at all times. They are great gifts as well as good sale items. But which pattern? I reviewed some of my magazines for inspiration and then moved to some of my cd collections. I found a sweet little heart pattern from a Complex Weavers collation. Laurie Autio's 10 shaft point twill threading with an easy treadling run. All the pattern is in the tie up. You will have to bear with me as I'm still learning how to take a draft and import to here. ( any advise, please share!) Worse case scenario, I'll photograph the paper copy and edit in here later!
So I got busy winding my warp. The warp is 2/8 cotton, planned sett is 24 epi and here's the warp under way:
Blogger really doesn't show the true colours. Hope they fix that one day! It's a soft neutral beige with three ends of a deep pink, then 2 salmon pink, three in a melon yellow, and reversed from there. I took my warp bouts, 4 of them all beautifully 'crochet chained' to the loom and inserted the apron rod through and secured to the back beam. Then as per Jane's warping demonstration, which I kept handy to review from time to time, I beamed the 10 yard warp. I used brown paper and tugged at it to tighten the roll and strummed the warp at the raddle every turn. I kept releasing warp and pulling to tighten from the front and then pull the paper roll down. It must be the best beamed warp I have ever done! Tight, smooth and flat. Wow!

I then got ready to thread the loom which in this case is a simple 10 shaft point twill. The heddles were *very* tight and hard to move so it took time to do. This should be less so next time as they stretch a bit. They say texsolv doesn't stretch, but it does.

Note the nice and tidy 24 one inch bouts across the lease sticks. More on this soon. Now here's the finished view from the front with the front breast beam off for access

I'm using an Ashford spinners chair as it's sufficiently low enough. The treadles don't part to slip the feet in though so I had to sit farther back.

Here's the warp roll and my floating selvedges in place. I couldn't quite get that paper on straight! Next time perhaps. It took 2 full rolls of best post office brown wrap, but I think it could be thicker. Tugging downwards on the paper needs thicker stuff.

Now I tied up the treadles, put on the breast beam and tied on the warp! Last detail is the new floating breast beam adjustment.

Here you can see the front legs are out of alignment due to the tension on the warp. I must go down and shorten the texsolv cord attached to the front legs on both sides. This means when I set the tension, all I must do when I advance the warp is to use the front lever to 'pull' the legs back into position and my tension is exactly where it was before the warp was moved. I'm new to this system and will be learning as I go! But here's a closer look at the adjustments:

Before....then tighten....

So back to those 24 bouts.... When I wound the warp I was thinking "24 epi" and so when I counted 24 of my colourful stripes, I thought I was done. I had my 24 inch wide warp ready to go. Well, imagine my surprise when it didn't work that way at the loom when I was sleying. My colour repeat was based on an 18 thread repeat, not 24. Oops. A big 6 inch oops.....

So right now I'm trying 20 epi so it's 21.6 inches in the reed. A bit open I know but my last false damask towels are sett at 20 epi and work, so??? Worse case scenario, I'll resley to 22 epi and try that. But if these towels are narrower, then they'll also be shorter in length. I might get another towel off as a result! Trying to make lemonade here!

Also life intrudes on the weaving time. Between dental appointments and a shaggy, over heating 'indoor' dog, I had to stop my loom set up to settle these other details! Here's one job done:

Before: ( he knows what's coming! That table only comes out for one reason!)

And after (which couldn't come soon enough for either him or me):Have you ever seen such a pathetic face? We're still not on speaking terms yet.