Friday, October 28, 2011

Late for the Party

My big loom 'Emmatrude' has been very patient this year. (She is a Woolhouse Tools floating parallel countermarche, model name Gertrude) Not much happened on her while I dealt with life issues such as my cranky lower back. I found my loom bench aggravated my sciatica and my 'fix', the big black chair has been working  very well and I find I can weave longer sessions which is fantastic! I'm under no illusions and I listen to my back and rest when it tells me to.

My Louet is busy right now... but more on that next time!  :)  I am keeping the other loom busy with a series of three scarves. The warp is 10/2 tencel and the weft is 30/2 silk; sett is 28 epi and it's approx 7" in width. I was given a dusty rose pink skein of tencel some years ago and I was challenging myself to team it up with other colours and put it to work (stash busting?) Perhaps I saw too much dusty rose and sea foam green back in the 1980's and so the rose skein has sat a long time waiting its turn. I found a mineral green, violet and black that seem to work nicely. The colours are all medium hues and so of similar values.
The threading is a fancy 8 shaft point twill and here's the draft for scarf number one (which I'm still weaving on the moment, but in the home stretch!)

The scarf in the picture at the top of the post shows it being woven 'as drawn in' or the old fashioned 'tromp as writ'. Since its boring to do the same thing over and over, the second scarf will look like this:

Same threading but now the treadling will be network. Changes everything doesn't it?  I love to be able to play with the treadling possibilities on a screen. I can even view the back of the work and then check for  overlong floats in warp and weft!  The colours are much brighter than the ones actually used but I was okay with 'close enough!'

I have been playing around with variations for the third scarf and thought this one is a good contender and may happen. We'll see. I'll continue to play with choices while I work through the first two!

This treadling is is a twill progression such as you would find in a snowflake twill. I'll have to try a sample to see how it works with the real cloth and colours to see if its a go.  Its too bad that these weren't ready in time for the coming sales, so they are officially late for the party!

So if you have a long warp on and want to change the project, try changing your treadling sequence! Its amazing what appears when you dance the treadles!

I have also been busy preparing for sales like many of you are doing as well. I spent time going through my hand wovens, tagging and making up inventory sheets.  Happily, they are all coming at easily to handle intervals this year! I divided my items into two groups with newer items going to be set up on display with other guild member's contributions at a month long sale in Mill Bay, BC. It runs Oct 30th and closes Dec 1st. I'm on the list to sit a couple of shifts at the sale, but not until the 17th and 30th of November. I'll have to go in much sooner than that to photograph the entries before they all sell!

The balance will be mailed off to a one day sale in Salmon Arm which is in the south central interior of BC, held by a guild that I'm still a member of despite having moved away. They are such a great bunch of ladies !

Last, but not least... one of the benefits of my recent stash collection clean up was the rediscovery of an antique! I bought this from a friend some years ago and the general consensus is that it was new in the late 1950's or early 1960's. I'm the third owner of this little machine since then. It still has the original cloth wrapped cord which makes me a bit nervous! I did replace the rotting cotton cloth on the roller with some new cotton ticking.

When plugged in, the roller turns and I believe (if my memory serves me right) you pull the lever on the right to to snug up the curved metal plate  at the back. It holds the cloth between the metal plate and the roller and presses it in a continuous rotation, with the cloth being slipped in the top and rolled out the bottom. No steam but I can recall that two or three pressings gave good results.  I guess you could mist the cloth before slipping into the roller!

 Hubby watched me trying to hard press towels this week on a conventional ironing board and hinted that a steam press might be in my future. That sure would be sweet but with a new well and plumbing, I think it might have to wait a spell.

As a parting shot, one of the items being pressed up and prettied for the sales is the 12 shaft snowflake twill shawl. Rather than fold it up, I thought it might be nice to look at it for a short while until it ends up around someones shoulders for Christmas!

10/2 undyed tencel, sett 28 epi, silk seaweed blend is the weft so its buttery soft. There's hundreds of twinkly crystal beads along the edges. Madge Manikin looks like she's ready to party now   :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

And a Good Time was had by All !

This very large old tree is at the entrance to the  "Island Savings Centre" where the Cowichan Fleece and Fibre Fair was held today. I can't say that I'm a fan of naming buildings after businesses but it seems to be done everywhere now.
I can recall seeing this tree just as it was beginning to leaf up this past spring and now suddenly its autumn and down they come.
There is something special about this tree....

Its hollow! Click to see better.... it doesn't seem to interfere with it's annual duties....

Inside the Centre it was a sea of people and kids and they were there for the fibre and fun!

Alison was in a corner with children and parents everywhere and they were busy creating masterpieces on their "L" looms.

Janette (left) and Karen (right) manned the table for the guild and what you can't see here is the baskets and bins with yarns for sale below the table. Jan was there too but I think she had gone on her lunch break.
{There wasn't much left to my stash goodies! In fact by the end of the day, I have a few books left to come back home and there are the larger cones of  mixed acrylic/ cottons which I have now donated to the guild. That's it!}

I bought some gently used, one pound cone of 10/2 mercerized cotton in a soft robin's egg blue at the guild table and two older Handwoven magazines. I didn't have my list with me of what I need to complete my collection so I went on the basis of 'I don't recognize these covers'  and for $2.00 for both, I couldn't lose!

Humming Bee Farm had a lovely display and I drooled over the (not for sale) shuttles and old bobbins.

Near by Leola was having a great conversation with a (new? old?) friend...

Her booth / table looked great! Her studio spaces is amazing and she must have close on 40 (yes, forty) looms all warped up and ready to go in the three studios. I'll have to do a feature on her activities one day soon...

At a little table I spotted this young lady, Nancy, and her amazing needle felted creations!

She had little owls, dragons and even a mouse or squirrel with life like eyes. Check her blog out! There are great pictures of the owls and creatures she makes.

She also had this grand old man  " King Winter". I wondered what the Queen will be like one day soon?

I couldn't see a business name here but there were many colourful  projects at this rug hooking display. They are like paintings with cloth!

Jeannette (in red) of Hummingbird Fibre Arts was busy! There was a veritable kaleidoscope of dyed fibre all around her. It was hard to resist! 

Michelle (left) and friend was wearing a big grin as she told me that seven  large bins of fibre was all gone to new homes. That's the last of it on the table. The *serious* shoppers were at the door at opening and knew what they wanted!  I turned up in the lunch time lull so I wasn't all that serious   :)

Heather, of Conheath Farm,  took a moment to pose for the camera. We exchanged cards....

While Heather wrote up sales, I noticed the needle felted nativity scenes tucked in the corner. Christmas is not that far away after all!

The crowd in the hall started to pick up again and the vendor's attention turned to customers once more. I decided it was time to make a graceful exit. It had been raining earlier in the day and now it brightened up and the sun was trying to shine through.

I made my annual stop to photograph this row of trees that I call the "Dancing Ladies". They are not in full colour as yet so I may stop again in a few days time. The property where they line the drive is now for sale. Its 33.5 acres with a lovely home and out buildings and no neighbours near by. Oh, and this is their view:

Please click to enlarge and see more detail in the picture. The turn off to my street and home is just down the road from here and I never tire of coming over the hill and seeing this view open up to the east. The two distant peaks are actually on Saltspring Island, with Mount Maxwell on the left. The dip in between is where the little community of Maple Bay sits.

The view at home isn't shabby either.... our Japanese maple is so bright red, the leaves look like they are floating on air! The darker green foliage frames the tree nicely. Complimentary colours at their best!

Now, to take these colours and move them to a loom!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Clearing out the Cobwebs

Hey! Yarn alert!    But this is actually leaving and hopefully going to new homes.  Strange concept huh?  There is a  fleece and fibre fair tomorrow and one of the organisers asked me if I had anything I would like to add to their sale table. My contribution went from a few odd and ends to 64 items!  Its a blend of some books, yarns and small pieces of equipment.

I have been in gather mode for years and eventually you begin to realize that you tend to weave with certain types of yarns and some cones just sit and gather dust. You will never use them.

It all started innocently enough.... I'll just look through these here.... oh, look at the dust balls.... next thing you have the vacuum in hand and the entire stash is being dusted, reorganized and the orphans are in a box for the sale...  It took me two days (yes, I do have a lot) but I was rethinking every single ball, cone or skein. Getting familiar with them all again and finding some I thought lost forever!    :)

Some were hard to part with. They came from friends who have passed away. Some were guilty of being synthetic, some are simply too lumpy..... others too fuzzy. There are some I regret sending off  but the inventory sheet is done and they are beyond my reach now.

I found I have more room for new yarns now!  If all this banished yarn sells tomorrow, then I can afford to refill the empty spots, but I will resist the temptation as I have a better goal for the funds.   There is a spinners and weavers retreat being held the end of March in 2012 that I have booked a room and reserved space at the events for both myself and Lynnette.   The last one we attended was back in 2006 and we had a blast!

So with this retreat in mind, I was guilty of reaching for yet more cones and viewing them  more critically and "when in doubt, then toss it out!".  I was motivated!

So it was a hefty load and I noticed that my friend who was taking the boxes was busy checking things out as she's walking them to the back of her car. It was hard to get her attention to say good bye..... yarn does have that effect on us doesn't it?  :)

So my stash is still on the crappy shelves I don't like (to be resolved at some point later) but its better organised, dust free (for now) and set up in categories that makes sense. (well, to me it does!)

Well, it's clear that I have S.A.B.L.E. disease.... you know "Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy"
If that's the case, I'm going with a smile!

Next post... pictures from the sale!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Arrived by Snail Mail

Do you recall this picture?

 I wove up these bookmarks as part of the annual weaving exchange with the Guild of Canadian Weavers, with Lynnette as the hostess. This is her last one as she gracefully 'retires' from organizing them. She has done an amazing job! I have been participating in them since they were resumed by Carolyn H. back in 2006 (I'm guessing at the date right now!)  They are so much fun to do. You have oodles of time, very clear parameters, minimal costs and it's like Christmas in October when the parcel arrives in your mail box!
For details on my book marks, draft and information,  please read here

I mailed four bookmarks away, complete with the draft  and project information and yesterday I received my package in the mail! It felt a bit bulky for book marks but I was eager to get home and open it up.

The first I saw was a very pretty pink lace. Click to enlarge any of the pictures. This weaver had just come from a lace workshop with Jane Stafford and so was clearly inspired! The weaver used 16/2 orlec, which is an acrylic, sett 30 epi, and wove it on four shafts.

Then there was this elegant silver and black one! Its a point twill that is 'tromp as writ'. The warp was a cotton/ acrylic blend from Italy and the weft 16/2 cotton.  Here's a close up:

Next up was this bright and cheery book mark! It's an eight shaft summer and winter. No information was provided about yarns used or setts. Very pretty though....

The last one was by Lynnette herself and its my favourite (even before I knew it was hers! True Story!  :) She chose a 12 shaft rosepath treadled as threaded. A fine 20/2 cotton warp, sett 36 epi and 8/2 tencel as weft

Click to see the close up!

Then I discovered why the package was a bit bulky! Inside was a lovely gift - a 'souvenir' from their travels in France.  Lynnette and her hubby, Michael had almost a month long stay in the country.  I do hope she writes a few tales of their time there and share some pictures!

It's a 100% cotton jacquard woven kitchen towel and is *very* generous in size. Larger than my big towels actually!  I find myself thinking " but it's too nice to use as a kitchen towel" (sound familiar?)

Lynnette said that it was the only textile she found in her time there that was actually made in France and she bought it in Pontivy , which is in Brittany. When I look at the jar of strawberry jam, or "confiture de fraise des bois", I can't but help think of Michael! (private joke... sorry!)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Seeing Stars

Its the Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend and I hope my Canadian readers are enjoying family and good food!  Its a busy time of year with getting  the flower beds and gardens cut back for winter and other preparations. We were both inspired to get out and get busy one day and it seems our timing was perfect as its rained ever since!

I have been soldiering on and finally wove off the last of eleven yards of kitchen towels. The first post is here  including the draft and story. Since then that loom has been busy every day with weaving the yardage off and makes for dull reporting! My Louet has been sitting idle and 'naked' (horrors!) but that's changing soon.  More on that another time.   :)

Since this warp was all white with a few stripes, I can recall going through 3-4 cones of 8/2 cotton while winding the warp and about the same again as I wove. Once the warp came off the loom and I carried it all rolled up to the sewing table I was quite taken with the sheer weight of all that effort!

This is nine of the ten towels all rolled up beside the serger, with the first towel stretched across and being trimmed up on the serger. I usually cut and tie onto my new colour of serger thread and pull through. An acceptable cheat I think given the dismal all black and white hand drawn sketch of where the threads go for all four cones! Well, I forgot to take off the tension and some threads broke mid way. Two hours later I finally had it rethreaded and now my machine and sketch are colour coded against future faux paus. Something I should have done years ago! 

So here they are all folded and piled up waiting for the hemming !

I didn't think you'd want to wait another week or so while they are hand hemmed! They'd look like this after anyhow  :)

They are quite different from my other towels I've woven up in the past two years. Simpler pattern, and colours. They were easy to thread and treadle and I wove one up every day at 34 inches (okay most days!)

They are also a bit different in how I placed my pattern stripes. Its hard to show you clearly so I got out our little step ladder and took this picture. Not very artistic but it gets the point across!

(Click to enlarge)  The hems will be a small rolled hem so they are generous sized towels. I'll have to check the shrinkage once wet finished.  There are blue stars on the front and yes, it finally worked out right so they are reversible and have white stars on the back:

Once the holiday weekend is over, all heck is going to break out around here (again) as the work will begin on hooking the newly dug well to the house which is 300 feet away. Our driveway will look a bit rough for a few days. Three days if things go well and five if not! Wish us luck! I am so looking forward to a shower with full normal water pressure again...

Oh, and our new well is  'artesianing'  as we found to our surprise! The water level had filled all 182 feet of the pipe, plus the two feet above ground and has been trickling out the top cap. This caught our plumber by pleasant surprise and apparently its a good thing!  We will have lots of water for all our needs.  

Something to be thankful for....

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Done Like Dinner

My bright idea of getting some more mileage from tie-up's on the Louet loom were brought about due to a cranky lower back. A great idea in theory! I would do one project and tie-up and then go looking for another, usually modified, project and use the same tie up again. When you come to think of 12 shafts and 12 treadles and 144 ties, it's a reasonable concept!

The book mark project was the instigator (see picture on head of blog!). I played with the draft in my PCW Fiberworks and changed a few things. Here it is again:

I had two ways that I liked to treadle them. One as shown and the second is to add the diamond and a half between repeats. Okay, so two scarves! I beamed a 10/2 tencel warp at 28 epi. I have more details on this at this post.  My weft was uber fine 30/2 black silk and one full repeat was a lot of treadling! I recall the first scarf progressing well and no difficulties but things went far slower on number two!  The  floating selvedge edge thread on the right hand side kept letting go and breaking every six inches until I finally accepted it was going to happen regardless and kept the T pin handy. My final fix for this was in my last post. My problem was boredom!  The book marks had been quick and fun but this was dragging for some reason. I found myself avoiding the loom and weaving more on the blue and white towels! (they are coming to a conclusion soon... patience grasshopper!) I did force myself to sit down and weave so many repeats before I was allowed to weave on the other loom.... and when it seemed like I would be having a student come soon and use the Louet, I got busy and wove the last portion and got started into the finishing. The loom sits empty for now now... geesh!

I had difficulty getting decent pictures for you as the scarves are black and a deep red, with a silk weft which all reflects light when my flash goes off! So please bear with them ... trust me, these are the better ones!

Here they are on the fringing board. I did a nice firm, rounder three stand cord using my triple twister. Twisters make the work go so much faster! Next up, beading and bling!

Click to enlarge for better detail. It took me a pleasant two hours yesterday to do the four scarf ends and then I lay them and my samples to soak while we made our dinner.

Since our summer seems to have moved on, they hung for the night in our shower stall and then out came the ironing board this morning!

So with diamonds in between repeats.... (wow, great sheen on that silk!)

... and without! There was just one complete box or square to start and finish and the rest was all undulating pattern repeats. They are not as shiny in person as they appear here. I'm an automatic 'point and shoot' type so the more technical side of all things camera are not my forte! The scarves are now tucked away with the rest of my inventory for the coming sales.

With those sales in mind, I did something special to get ready. My very first professionally made business cards!  They also serve as my hang tags so there is a small hole punched in one corner and care instructions on the back. 

The image is  the echo weave scarf I wove using Lynnette's unique computerized draft.  The first cards I didn't make on my little printer with little perforation marks all around the edges!