Friday, July 31, 2009

Another Voice on Colour

Recently, I did a post on colour theory. Today, Syne Mitchell at Weavezine has published a wonderful article by Barbara Walker on this topic and and it demonstrates the theory beautifully. She even uses Itten as a reference so I know that I was at least on the right track!

Please go here to read Barbara's thoughts on the 'wow' factor!

I feel that if you can do the homework on colour theory, then you can better team up colours in your projects and give your weaving more 'punch'. Look what my friend Lynnette did here with her echo weave! I have seen these scarves in person recently and they are stunning!

It will mean buying some colours out of your comfort zone, but you may not need to use much of them in a project. Can you imagine going to a yarn store (real or on line) and actually having a plan? Lynnette had the answer to that as well! ( Now to find the time to add my stash to a record binder) Again, an investment in yarn sample cards from your favourite shopping places is important.
On the personal front:
I hope to commence threading today on the shawl with a fan blowing on me! It has been literally too hot here to even think, let alone move! Records have been broken with the current heat wave and we don't have AC. This region where I live normally doesn't get heat like this beyond a few days. I have closed up the house and have fans running, along with an air cooler in the living room. That makes this the one room in the house that is actually bearable to sit in! The humidity has been extremely high, which is also not normal for our area.

I'm doing quite well otherwise. My ankle seems better, recovery from the dentist visit on the way and thank you for your well wishes.
Heat is hard on old our old duffer, Connor laying with in reach of the air cooler.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bird's Eye View

I think you could imagine a huge sigh of relief when I put the scissors across this! Twelve never ending yards of 4/8 cotton for place mats. I got these cut off the day before my brother arrived and so they sat while we visited. All neatly piled up waiting...

The serger made short work of cutting apart and securing edges. The stripy part in both pictures is my 'sample section' for friends.

Here's a closer look at the sampler showing the three treadlings I used. Using the classic bird's eye twill threading of point twill, over 8 shafts: top row is treadled 1 to 8 continuously to produce zig zags. Section 2 is treadled 1 to 8 and back to 1 and produces small diamonds. Section three is treadled 1 to 8 and back to 1, then, 8 to 1 and back to 8 again as a full repeat and this gives you the larger diamonds.

It was a close sett of 18 epi for the 8/4 cotton and here you can see the 10/2 mercerised black weft. There was some sticking of opening the sheds and all weft picks needed a double tap. No doubt the reason why it took so long!

There were some impressive optical illusions created while still on the cloth beam. These appear to be 'ridged' But it's completely flat!

The place mat warp was 12 yards and took far too long to get off the loom.... In my defence, I have been having difficulties with my right ankle so I just plodded along. ( X-rays seem okay and physiotherapy lined up) I don't know why this warp, which seemed like a good idea at the time, just didn't inspire me once on? The bad start of rethreading/ resleying three times was probably a good start down the road to official 'dog on the loom' status. It wasn't going to get the best of me though and I carried on. There were lots of interruptions as life 'happened' plus we've been out and about more.

One more picture of the warp winding onto the cloth beam. This is the large diamonds and the view gives you a look at both sides of the pattern. One being darker, the other lighter. I'm hand hemming them right now in pairs. Final pictures to come when washed and pressed. Two darker, two lighter to make a set of four in each pattern. I already have chosen the larger diamonds for our table and it goes well with our new cream china setting!

Meanwhile, the loom was *covered* in black lint and also black smudges from the dyes in the cottons. {note to self: wash mats separately and use a dye catcher!} I used a dampened Magic Eraser to lift the marks off the wood. Very gently!! I don't want to raise the wood fibres.

Then another bonus feature of having a 20+ tie up assist is this neat trick!

I pulled all cords as tight as they would go and raised all 16 treadles....

Then I'm able to vacuum under the loom to get the lint and dust. I do this after every project comes off the loom and in some cases, if the lint is excessive, I vacuum during as well. You don't want to breathe this stuff, along with dye particles!

Now the loom is clean and ready for the next project "Elena's shawl". Elena is a client who has commissioned me to weave her a shawl and she will be watching the steps here along with the rest of you! Lilibet/ Spring loom still has the runner exchange ongoing and I'll be to that soon.

It's been extremely hot here. History making hot and dry! We're baking, while back east they are drowning in rain. We'd gladly share if it were possible. Lynnette has been keeping me up todate on the fire situation there in the Okanagan as the one last big fire {Terrace Mountain} would have had hubby and me evacuated if we still lived there at Estamont Beach. We watched the fires in 2003 and were on notice to leave our home three times that summer. We are also just as dry here where we live now and so being careful here. We watched them fight the fire of the steep slopes of Mount Maxwell on Salt Spring Island not too long ago, just off the coast from us.
I had a neat visit from my brother last week and we got out and toured a bit. Here's a shot taken at the Crow and Gate Pub near Nanaimo. It's a real slice of England out in the countryside!

Then just as I said good bye to Kent, I developed a toothache and spent the past weekend on pain killers. Monday I was at a dentist bright and early and had an infected wisdom tooth removed. I feel like a mule has kicked me but it can get better now without further intervention.

Hope you are all enjoying your time despite the weather where ever you are!
Back soon....

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Summer Reading

Looking for a good book? Then consider this one....

Job well done! My hat is off to the ladies of the Rhode Island Weavers Guild!

Bertha Gray Hayes was an amazing member of that guild and obviously loved to weave and had a passion for overshot. First of all, I must admit that I have to dig deeper and learn more of the overall story but basically weaver Bertha Gray Hayes left behind an amazing collection of 72 sample cards, all her notes and papers to her guild. She had her own sample card stock and each had a lovely miniature sample. The ladies of the guild took all 72 samples, plus an additional 20 they found later and reproduced them here in this book in their entirety. Then they take the samples and had them reproduced in a more modern format using a weaving program, and then presented them...all 92... again. There are historical notes such as Bertha's letters from Mary Meigs Atwater, copies of her lessons from the Shuttle Craft Guild Weaving course of instruction, circa 1939. In short, it's an amazing body of work, both Bertha's collection and the efforts by the Rhode Island Guild to preserve the collection. If you like overshot, miniature overshot in particular and also the past history of weaving revival, then consider adding this book to your library. { I got it for under $30 Canadian! }

So while you are laying at the beach, traveling, in between house guests....pick this lovely book up and enjoy! Weaving titles don't seem to stick around very long so don't delay....

These pictures show some of Ms. Hayes sample cards with her draft and woven samples. The last picture shows how a draft has been updated with a modern computer draft.

You can see by the size of my hand that these are lovely big pictures, good quality paper and a hard cover edition as well.

These pages show some of her early weaving lessons that she did through correspondence.

All through out you can see dozens of hand done draw downs, usually in coloured pencils.
She even played with images for greeting cards. These delightful drawings show some of her 'doodles' and they eventually became reality at her loom and cards in the hands of friends.

So, I'm back to reading further.... and awaiting the arrival of my brother on Monday. I might be able to squeak in some weaving today. We are having a heat wave here and the studio is so much cooler! We've had 2 or 3 days of rain in the past six weeks.... very dry here!
Hope your summer is a good one and for our friends 'down under'....our turn for wool sox and drinking a hot toddy is coming...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

An Adventure or Two... and Summer Friends

One of my goals 'photographically' speaking was to get a shot of our black squirrels....well, I haven't had much luck but my husband got a great shot of the chubby little guy, plus a Blue Jay as a bonus. There are actually several squirrels here and they chase each other through the trees.
So I returned the favour for hubby by taking his picture with his new acquisition: a Kubota tractor, which we are calling the Kub (sort of obvious but works for us) We won't be house bound this winter like the last! This area normally gets light snowfall that quickly melts but the last two winters have been nasty and the snow just kept on coming. We feel a trend is happening and so preparing! Also it's needed for various jobs around the property and we can add a mower if our other mower fails, needs repairs or dies. Hubby is one happy fella! As a friend said, it pushes all the 'guy buttons' and is just plain fun to use.

As you can imagine, with beautiful weather here, we have been out and about. On the Canada Day holiday period (July 1st), we took a short cut ferry ride from Mill Bay across Saanich Inlet to Brentwood Bay on the Saanich Peninsula. It's supposed to cut an hour off a trip if you were to drive around, but since we sat in the ferry line up 40 mins, we couldn't see the time savings. It was also not cheap, so we reckoned it was cheaper to drive as well. Oh, well... we did it the once! We weren't there for that reason anyhow, we were there for the experience and to see the sights. It had been years since I had seen Sidney and the Saanich area so we were simply exploring. Here we are coming into the ferry slip at Brentwood Bay:

It's a small open air ferry that has been working this route since 1924. (I dare say there has been a few upgrades and new boats along the way.... :)

It was a great day weather wise and we found a neat place for dinner and made our way home. Summer is my husband's busy season at work, so a day trip like this is a great way to have a break together.

Summer also means 'house guest' season too and so for the past week we have had good friends Lynnette and her husband here. The time flew by and we saw the sights from Victoria in the south to Qualicum Beach in the north and over to Cathedral Grove on the west. The weather was cool and wet at times but we didn't let that bother us. (We have been having fabulous weather here with virtually no rain for 6-7 weeks, and I was happy to see some rain.) They are from a very hot region of the Okanagan Valley, so they felt the cold far more than we did unfortunately.
Lynnette and I didn't weave while she was here but we did discuss weaving, weaving and more weaving while she was here. We yapped till the wee hours and spent time in my studio exploring yarns, beads, the colour wheel and my books. I got to see and touch the first echo weave scarf she wove and its a stunning combination of colours. Simply gorgeous! When we were not talking, we were shopping! We visited my LYS, aptly named The Loom (but is primarily a knitting yarn store). There was some stash enhancement of course... I bought these skeins to make black braids with my lucet.

It's called Seduce by Berrocco and is 47% rayon, 25% linen, 17% silk and 11% nylon. I thought it would make some beautiful braids. I also picked up a Spin Off magazine for my daughter in NC and that was it for me. Lynnette made a few purchases and later gifted me with 2 skeins of sugar cane yarn from Chile! What a sweetie...

Size wise it is about the same as Bambu 7 and so I will have to think about something very special for these gems. I guess they have come up with a great way to utilize the fibres left over after the sugar is extracted and is more environmentally sound than burning the waste.
The next day we headed to Victoria and our goal was 'Beadworld' at the Johnson Street Market. Sounds kind of lofty to call yourself bead World huh? Well, the place is huge and the selection is amazing. Both Lynnette and I like to add some special touches to our work and this was the place to find those special somethings! I brought home a selection of deep reds as I will be beaming a red shawl project next for a client and it made sense to find something related to that over indiscriminate buying.... okay, I did some of that but not anything I couldn't envision using !
I'm sorry the reds don't show up as well as I would like. I had lights on and the camera flash but it doesn't do justice to the clear vibrant ruby colours. The top three on the left are some lovely soft terracotta, opalescent, and plum beads. Just too lovely to leave behind and quite inexpensive.
They had a great selection of small metal emblems such as star fish, butterflies, bees, stars, and small Chinese coins, pins (to which you add beads) as closures for shawls or scarves, and bought some cones for sliding over knots on fringes. You don't know until you give it a try!

Then our guests were gone and the house was very quiet...

So now while the washing machine hums along, I'm keeping busy next door in the studio and plan to get some weaving in today. The weather has warmed up again and is hot again so a cool place to weave is fine by me! I'll be concentrating on getting the mats done and so I can load this:
It's 2/8 tencel for a shawl commission for a client. I will be featuring it a bit here as she is following the weaving along as I go. Kind of neat to watch it being made for you!

The red is actually two shades wound together..

We have about a week to get caught up and back to some semblance or normal and then my brother is coming for a few days. Really looking forward to seeing him! That will have made three sets of company in less than 30 days... but that is it until October now. We plan a time away in September (still in the planning phase) but August should see us here.... but it's all subject to change of course!
Hope your summer is going well ....back soon!