Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bookmarks: The Important Little Something

While not every one is an avid book reader, those who are, *love* their books!  They read them on Kindles and other e-book readers and even the old fashioned paper variety!  They (who ever 'they' are)  thought the paper ones would go out of style with the advent of e-readers but sales are even better than ever!

The coming summer is traditionally the reading season.  Kick back on a summer day and read a book! (these people must have maids, gardeners and a terrifically organized life is all I can say)

I have a love affair with books too and we have them scattered through out the house and in various stages of being read.   I had never given much thought to book marks other than you need one over turning down the corners of the pages which is BAD form!

Then last year I participated in the Guild of Canadian Weavers exchange where book marks were being featured and I wove off just enough to fulfill my requirements and a couple to spare. ( There is a copy of my 12 shaft draft there at the older post) It was quite an eye opening project. It made me consider miniatures in general and what type of pattern makes a good miniature or reducing a draft to bare minimums. Fine threads and close setts. What type of yarns would be best to use? I didn't want a limp book mark that flopped about so I chose fine cottons and linens. It was a great project where you had a lot of things to consider!

It took very little time to wind the warp, beam and thread it. A nice  little project and done in a snap. The resulting book marks were little works of art and the spare ones I had became much treasured gifts.  I decided to make some more  and wound this warp some time ago.  Other projects squeezed it out and it hung patiently waiting its turn in the roster.

After all the baby related items were woven off and gifted, it was time for the book marks. So I went from weaving  a wide warp of thirty six  inch wide warp down to a two inch wide one. From twenty four epi to fifty epi! The warp length this time was about four and a half yards and I planned on roughly nineteen or twenty bookmarks. I had increased the sett from forty seven epi at the last time, to fifty epi as my materials were a bit finer.  I used 20/2 black mercerized cotton and 40/2 Belgium natural linen as warp and the cotton also served as the weft (except for one where I tried sewing thread as an experiment... that one is mine!)

I got a nice fat cloth roll that looked as cute as it was satisfying! I was proud of getting the most from the warp as I had laced on and woven the warp right to the nubs! This is the back view behind the twelve shafts.

When the warp was unwound, it was a surprise as to how many I had as I had lost track. I played around with treadling variations and kept on going!  The result was twenty three book marks and one 'novel' sized for a total of twenty four.   

So what did I get? Glad you asked....

A bunch that are woven as threaded!  Dorothy says a gallery owner in the UK says this pattern looks like a 15th century reproduction textile!   Cool...
Then I started playing around with the treadling...

Here I abbreviated the treadling a bit....

This one is my favourite... I focused on one section of the treadling and repeated it...

Then I tried doing doubles of some portions!  I'm having fun now...

This is network treadled which is a twill progression. A lot of to and fro on the treadles and no interruptions!

This pair look more masculine for the men out there....

My husband admired (and got) one of these!  I hope he remembers which book he's left it in!  :)

I would like to mention that if you like any of these, I have placed them for sale on my handwoven sales page (see tab at the top below the picture).  I have been sorting through my studio and as a result I also have set up another page for gently used books and equipment for sale. I swear the stuff breeds and there is only so much room for it all!  I place the refresh date up there when any changes are made, either additional uploads or removals after a sale. The book marks are limited in number and I will keep a running tally of what is available.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Pond

If you are a regular reader of Thrums, you may recall a post where I featured a friend, Gudrun Weisinger, who had just completed an amazing tapestry.   Can I ask a favour of you and please read this post first.   Thanks!  We'll wait for you...

For those of you who are in a hurry, then read this bio:
Gudrun said:
My training:
My first year, I was an apprentice in a oriental carpet studio, repairing and weaving oriental rugs. After that year I went to the trade school in Sindelfingen, (Meisterschule fuer das Weberhandwerk) near Stuttgart in Germany for two years, finishing the journeyman certificate. Later I have been in several studios in Germany learning to weave on a Damask-Jacquard loom, designing home textiles, clothing and weaving with linen, and using all different fibers. I have been a weaver in an convent in Baden Baden weaving tapestries and ecclesiastical items. After three years I went back to Sindelfingen for one year finishing my master degree in weaving and designing. In 1966 I immigrated to Canada.

We used to live nearby each other and exchanged dinners to and fro. The meals were great fun and I still make Schnitzel like a pro, thanks to Gudrun, at least once a month.  We also talked 'shop' and would look at weaving drafts and various projects, either on paper or on the looms. If I wasn't sure of something, Gudrun would say "oh, that's easy...I"ll show you!"  She was (and is) so generous with her time and knowledge.

Well, recently we have been exchanging emails to and fro on the benefits of being grandmothers and she suddenly writes " Have  I shown you my new tapestry?"  Here's a picture and a close up:

"The Pond"   tapestry woven by Gudrun Weisinger 2012

details from "The Pond"

Well, I was gobsmacked!   It's beautiful and the intricate details...the light on the water....
So I asked Gudrun if I could  feature her creation here and share it with you all. What was her  inspiration, her materials?   To tell us anything she felt would help us to understand the process behind her master piece.

  Hello Susan,
Yes, if you like, write another story about my tapestry.
The inspiration came also from a calendar picture which was in my folders for years.... water.. I always like to put in into a tapestry.  Will it work out? Well, I tried and hoped it will turn out. I started weaving with 20/2 fine wool taking 3 strands together in different shades, I used linen, a boucle, a rayon for the white particles, I used odds and ends from colour cards out of the Borg's linen samples,cotton and just many other colours and textures.

While I was weaving it, I had no idea how it will turn out because I wove the tapestry sideways, will the shading for the water turn out as I planned? I used a lot of fine lines, dots, hachure's, weft blending , sometimes eccentric wefts and other techniques.

The time weaving? I started to make notes every day, but gave up.  It took about a year (approximately 2 to 3 hrs. a day, sometimes even 4 hrs).

It is always a surprise when a tapestry is woven and rolled off the cloth beam. It feels almost like Christmas, and hopefully it will turn out the way I planned it.  When weaving a tapestry, I only see a part which is in progress, (about 20 to 35 cm) and the finished part is rolled on the cloth beam.

To change something afterwards? (like a colour or unevenness) It is not possible. Painters can just go over with a brush.
 (Her husband) Alfred always said, yes it will turn out, do not worry, but I was not sure.
I was surprised myself, yes it turned out well.
I will send pictures while the tapestry was on the loom and some close ups.
We miss you both,
All the best from Gudrun.

Two to four hours a day for a full year and you don't know, won't know if it will turn out till it come off the loom?

I feel rather inadequate to carry on a further commentary so here's the work in progress:

Don't forget it is also woven with the wrong side facing the weaver, in addition to being sideways as well! Please look at the enlarged pictures and see the cartoon in behind. Such fine details to become reality in wool and silks!

Please leave your comments and compliments for Gudrun and if you have any questions, I'll do my best to relay answers for you.   For those of you who skipped the older post, you might want to go and take a look now! Its equally amazing!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Embracing my Golden Years

We have a cactus plant with fine branches that once in a blue moon produces stunning pink blossoms. Well, it took a super moon but we have ten blossoms this spring. The camera sucks the colour out of the flowers so imagine them at least two to three times more pink than they show here. They are also only just under half an inch  across and so quite dainty.

I promise no baby pictures this time. I don't want to become one of those annoying old ladies who talk non stop about their grandchildren, but there will be an odd picture now and then!  :)

I have always resisted learning to knit for some reason. My mother was a beautiful knitter and tried to show me, but she always went too fast for me to keep up and then she'd get fed up trying to slow it down and show me over and over. I was a teenager then so that should explain 99% of the problem! Sadly she passed away young at age 61 in 1995 so she never did see any of my weaving.

Me, at the back left, along with my other brother and sisters on a white sand beach in Dunedin, NZ in approx 1972 or 73. I was about 16-17 years old and was crocheting and doing needlepoint as taught in my school, Otago Girls' High School. That beach was as amazing as it looks!

I have learned to crochet, do needlepoint including drawn thread work and hardanger, kumihumo, dye my own silks, bead and oh, ya... weave!   But no knitting.   I had told a dear friend some years ago that I was saving it for my "old age".

Oh, I have been tempted along the way! What to do with all my hand spun yarn? Since I weave by day, knitting would be nice in the evenings. Go to a guild function and everyone was knitting and I sat empty handed.  
But I resisted.   (Hubby dearest would throttle me if I took up yet another activity!)

Then this past weekend I looked at my grandson and realised that my "old age"  had just arrived!  I was going to pin it at age 60 in the future, but the kidlet arrived sooner than the birthday.  So while we were in Kelowna I went to Kelowna Yarn and Needlecraft and had a great visit with owner Ann, and the afternoon knitters and came home with this:

Two sets of Hiyahiya interchangeable circular knitting needles with bamboo tips. I went for the bamboo over metal as the metal seemed so cold to my hands (and I also have acidic skin and turn needles black in time!) There is also a Hiyahiya group at Ravelry

Since I'm new to knitting, I labeled all needles with the metric, Canadian and American sizes. They are quite different so its a big help to me at this stage.

The case comes with four varying lengths of cable and connectors and a storage pouch for stitch markers and such.

As you can see I have a set in use already. I have been working with a 'sacrifice' ball of Paton's Astra yarn and practising. I can do a long tail cast on now, and provided I don't drop a stitch, I'm knitting up a basic lace scarf using KidLin by Louet.

This is what I have accomplished as of today and I'm quite enjoying this.  Thank god for You Tube videos is all I can say! It turns out that I sent all my "how-to" books to my daughter and so got caught flat-footed. What was I thinking!?   :)

I picked up some basic brochures at the LYS  "The Loom" (yes, that's its real name!) :

and because my heart lies in this direction... (sorry about the flash flare)

So my lace is really basic:
Cast on 37 stitches
row 1: knit
Row 2: knit 1, *YO, k 2 tog*
Keep going till the length you like, cast off.

I can do that!  (till I drop a stitch that is...)

Next post will be extra special.... I will have a friend along as a guest.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

From Here to There and Back Again

So, for those of you who visit for the weaving and such, then the post is not for you this time. On the other hand, if you like road trips, babies and beautiful BC, Canada... then grab a beverage and settle in.

Okay, first up:

Ethan at two weeks old

You had to know that we wouldn't be staying home for too long after the birth of our first grandchild!  We made calls, some plans and soon after, we hit the road! Okay,  the ferry first...  we left via Nanaimo harbour since we missed the message the closest terminal at Duke Point was open again (after a ferry some months ago 'rearranged' the berth structures...oops!)

We are going to slip between the two points of land and then turn to starboard, with the Coastal mountain ranges across on the other side to frame the view.

We made good time through the city and out towards the Fraser Valley and we were at Ethan's house in no time. Before I could even get my purse down, shoes off and generally in the door, I turned around and saw this scene:


Ah, male bonding! Being a Grandad looks good on hubby Bruce.

Not to worry, I got my cuddles in! It was amazing how all the right moves came back to me and I was burping him like a pro! (feeding was up to his Mum, which happened right after this picture as he was hungry!)

It was a low key visit as it was still early since his birth.  His Mum is working on keeping him to a schedule and Ethan didn't get the memo! We did what we could to help  (cook, laundry etc) and there was a night out at Ethan's other grandparents for a birthday supper for my son. A big family dinner with kids and crying babies, loud chatter and laughter.... and lots of cameras flashing!

It might have been his father's birthday but this little man was the centre of attention. He seemed to take it well but before too long, he started to be a bit cranky....but we weren't finished snapping pictures of everyone!

A finger was okay for a while.... but he soon realized he was being duped...

So after some quiet snuggle time with his Mum and he reappeared composed, with a full tummy and ready to party!  Okay, he fell asleep....

We enjoyed our time there and hoped we were of help. Before we left, we made sure that this little boy gets a good start and made sure he had his very first..... TRAIN! His Grandad was a railway engineer afterall,  so its mandatory.

There is a button to press under the 'smoke' handle, the face lights up and it whistles and goes toot-toot. It will be awhile before he can get his hands on it, but you know we have sowed the seeds for a train crazy toddler!

Time to hit the road and head to the central southern interior of BC and go to Kelowna to see Hubby's mother for a few days.  The trip is about 4 1/2- 5 hours by car through some spectacular scenery. I had my camera ready and snapped as we drove. I knew we were heading to Avalanche Alley and its still semi winter in the mountains. Before Hope, BC. we saw Mount Cheam (click to enlarge!)

We pulled over at the Floods- Hope road and behind the Husky truck stop there was an amazing waterfall cascading down the hillside..

From there we were on the Coquilhalla Highway and  well on our way.... and soon at Avalanche Alley!

Here's just one of many we saw and also concrete platforms set by the road where they  set up howizters and shoot shells to trigger avalanches to safe guard travelers.   Next up, the Great Bear snow shed:

I wonder what it would be like to be in the shed and have snow, rocks, trees and debris hitting it and going over the edge? Probably crossing your fingers and hoping it wasn't built by the lowest bidder!   :)    On the other side, there were more mountains, some with stunning cornices of snow and glaciers.

... and then the Big Rock I was waiting for.... Yak Mountain.

It is granite rock in many layers like slate (but on a grand scale!). We reached the Merritt  Visitor Centre rest stop and stretched our legs. Then, onto the 'Connector' as its called and in the final run. The terrain up here is high altitude soft rolling hills, lots of trees and small lakes. This one is Corbett Lake:

Its a great fishing spot and there's a lodge. We often see people in 'belly boats' trying their luck.

The next view I was looking for was the distinctive big mountain that was caught up in the nasty forest fire that swept Okanagan Mountain Park and down into Kelowna, where it burnt homes (five of many which belong to friends and weavers). When you see the mountain, the lake is right there!

A few more miles and the view opens up....

Around another corner and there was Kelowna's new floating bridge....

We could see many new buildings and home built right to the  hilltops! Things are booming in Kelowna and the traffic rivaled Vancouver's at times. The most noticeable new feature?  This walkway across the six lanes of traffic.

We spent an enjoyable time visiting with 'Granny' and she enjoyed the fresh pictures we took of her step great grandson. Our visit coincided with a turn in the weather and we enjoyed toasty days on her patio admiring her garden of flowers.  I did squeeze in a yarn store visit but I'll save those details for the next post.

Soon it was time to leave and head for home.....we had glorious weather for the road back through the mountains and they put on a grand show with blue cloudless skies and white, white snow!

Yak Mountain doesn't look quite so brooding this time round.

Mount Cheam usually with  cloud cover most days, sat proud in the sunshine.

The trip home tends to wear after a bit and so we were glad to get on the ferry and get back to our Island. I napped in the car and Bruce took a picture of the brown silty waters of the Fraser River showing a clear line across Georgia Strait, or the Salish Sea as it is now called.

The spring snows we saw up high in the mountains will all make their way to the sea here. This was midway on the two hour ride.

Since getting home there have been the usual chores to tackle and catching up to do. I sat and wove a book mark yesterday but it was a happy but brief twenty minutes while I waited for laundry..  Today was groceries and tomorrow the dog goes to the beauty parlor and then.....

Well, life should be back to normal soon.... right??