Sunday, July 27, 2014

Round two... and this Time Blue!

Sorry to keep you waiting for a post. Its just *that* time of year when everyone is distracted by summer, traveling and guests. Its a slower time of year.  No rules, and no agenda for many.  We have also just come through a nasty heat wave and the much needed rain that was promised, only fell lightly here and far too much elsewhere !
 We are very dry and you might have heard of our forest fires.   Besides the Okanagan fires, the far north is burning, and there's a huge fire that has taken over one hundred homes south of us in Washington State. 

I also have had another new distraction!

I was doing some updates for my computer one morning and found this program and saw that it was on sale for 50% off. Who doesn't love a sale???  Doing up a family tree is something I have wanted to make a start on for some years now. I have 'special boxes' with letters, cards, photos and mementos.... all with bits of family history scattered throughout.  Printed emails from my Dad with his stories of family long since passed,  and many memories of days and times long ago.    I have dug it all out and organized it into folders based on the families that intersect with mine and starting adding in what I have to hand. Even something as simple as an old letter from a family member gave me a name of a family member and when they died,  an address and a date.  Its all gold on the genealogy trail !

Its also *very* addictive...and it eats time like crazy! You are a super sleuth and solving a mystery.  Next thing you know, you find yourself calling relatives who haven't heard from you in a decade or longer.  Now you suddenly want to know them better  :)

Eventually it cooled down enough here that I felt like weaving again. Yeah, it was *that* hot here. My studio was 86 degrees and that's the above ground basement where its supposed to be cool.

I just kept treadling away and two days ago I pulled off three runners and some samples.  I have one more warp wound to go for third linen runner warp and after that, I'll be hanging up huck lace for while!  I can do this pattern in my sleep now.  Its just more proof that I could never be a production weaver. I like variety too much.... I get BORED !

On the loom and under tension.

Hemming with linen is great. Fold into thirds and press.  The linen simply fold neatly, unlike cotton, or tencel where it can spring back on you unless you press at every move.

Press flat...

Fold one third over...

Fold again to the bottom edge of the hemstitching and press, then pin. {Excuse the nasty ironing board cover. Its time to buy a new one.} I quite enjoy the hand sewing as we relax in the evenings. The longer daylight is a nice bonus.

I filled the laundry tub with hot sudsy water and soaked them for half an hour. Then I rolled up my sleeves and got to working the cloth with my hands to encourage the threads to shift into their groups and also to reduce the reed marks.  I think we are harder on the cloth than the final owner will be as manipulate and press the cloth into its final look!

After gently squeezing out water I lay them onto  older towels and fold it all up like  a parcel. I pull and shape as I go.... it all helps with the pressing to come! ( Heck, I knew of a weaver who would pin out a damp piece until it dried to keep it to a preset size she needed. "All's fair" she said. Since knitters pin out their work after washing, it seemed reasonable to me!)

The big work out is the pressing. Hot iron, lots of steam and a whole lotta muscle!  It seems to have been worth it. I got two all blue runners and one longer one that I mixed with natural coloured linen again. 

9/2 French Linen from Brassards en Fil in Quebec, Canada
Sett 24 epi ; colour is "Vieux Bleue"

8 shaft huck lace diamonds: nicely balanced fabric. 

This runner is 72 inches long and is just lovely!

I also found a source for uber fine Japanese silk in a stunning array of colours, sold by the ounce. They are leftover yarns from a Kimono weaving house in Tokyo that was in business in 1920. These silks are close to one hundred years old.

I thought a penny might give some perspective to the fineness of the yarn.  I think I might ply the silk on my spinning wheel. The sheen is amazing! Hauser Gallery  They even have gold wrapped silks. Take a peek at least....

I hope your summer is going well! Friends, family, BBQ's and sunshine.... Its what we waited all winter long for so enjoy!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Friends From Afar

There are many options out there on the internet for weavers to enjoy each other's company,  their latest projects and share helpful advice on social media. One is Ravelry which was originally set up primarily for knitters and crocheters and somehow weavers carved out a little niche on the web site.   There are many groups of weavers gathered by area or region, associated by a particular yarn store or fan of a weave structure. Some are groups set up by and for a weavers guild from varying locations around the world. Its quite amazing what you will find when you do a search!   Then there are the projects which you can isolate either by 'friend' status or simply by category of 'weaving'.   Pure eye candy!

Then there are the people!

I have 'met' and made friends with so many either by my blog or by also interacting with them at Ravelry.   I reckon I could travel across Canada or the USA simply going from weaver to weaver..... and also include the UK, Scotland, Denmark, NZ and Australia.  Though, I might start with Hawaii first   :)

Through this blog, I get nice emails from many people all over and sometimes even pictures of their latest project.  Its all a wonderful connectedness that simply would not have happened if not for the Internet.   I love it!

I met Wayne, or rather, Padre Wayne in the group "Warped Weavers" at Ravelry.  Wayne is an enthusiastic weaver who is also an Episcopalian  Minister in a small community in Michigan.  We have exchanged  messages and occasionally Skyped.  He would complain about the snow and cold in Michigan ......and I tell him all about the annual flower count in Victoria in February.

So when I heard that Wayne and his partner Harry would be coming out to the west coast on a sabbatical  I hoped my surgery would not conflict with it.  They were staying at a place near Port Townsend and planned to take the ferry to Victoria, then drive north to our place in the North Cowichan Valley.  Home to the world famous hand knit Cowichan Sweater

They arrived last Monday and after lunch we had a tour of the studio and Bruce's train room. We then drove to a place a bit south of Duncan called Whippletree Junction. Its a collection of funky little shops. We visited a yarn store called "The Loom". Now you could be forgiven for thinking its all about weaving, but it isn't. Maybe one day in the past it was but it now features yarns mainly for knitting, with some spinning fibre, and a few cones of yarns. Wayne is making unique scarves on his rigid heddle loom and so bought some lovely colour ways to make some more while they are vacationing.  I was a good girl and resisted temptation.

Leola had a double building that are interconnected inside. There are teapots in the garden out front.

In behind the shops are even more shops and home to Leola's weaving studio.  We sat and waited for Leola to return from her break taking in all the flowers and water fountain. There is also a tea pot garden. Old tea pots of all sorts and sizes are tucked into nooks and crannies and filled with flowers.  I didn't have my camera with me so sadly, no picture (this time).  Its a fun and funky place literally FILLED with dozens of looms of all kinds, all with works in progress and Leola has students from the local colleges and Shawnigan Lake School there, as well as interested members of the public who want to try their hand at weaving.  There is even large outdoor dye kitchen in the back for colour experimentation too.   Wayne and Harry enjoyed the ambience and of course Wayne found some yarn that called to him and followed him home!

We had supper at a restaurant called The Rock Cod Cafe down at the shores of Cowichan Bay. Specialty? seafood of course and the majority of it is local.  We had a view of the marina with its sailboats, power boats and floating homes.   The local Dragon boat racers were out on the bay practising and it was a beautifully calm evening for it. Across the bay is Mount Tuam on Saltspring Island. After dinner we took a pleasant stroll on the pier at the Maritime Museum.  The marina is getting ready for the wooden boat festival in Maple Bay near where I live. The boats are looking grand. With it being Canada Day the next day, there were flags flying everywhere!

Later at home we cracked a bottle of bubbly and had dessert. You see, Wayne and Harry had just got married two days before in Washington prior coming to see us!  We had to celebrate and wish them well!

The next morning Bruce made a wonderful omelet breakfast and then we headed to the studio.  I set up my spinning wheel for Harry to play with. He was taught to spin by Judith MacKenzie no less!
Wayne and I each took a loom and we all started to  play!  Bruce took pictures of us.  The morning light filled the room and so they turned out great!

Wayne weaving on the Woolhouse

Harry testing the ratios on the Rose

...and me on the Louet Spring

Wayne and Harry also brought a little heat wave along with them and so it was quite warm. We had been unseasonably cool until then so it was an adjustment to make in a hurry!

All during the time Wayne and Harry were with us, Harry was folding Japanese origami paper cranes.  (The link is to a video how to guide) A friend had asked them to visit a memorial tree planted for a lost loved one in Oak Bay, Victoria  and so Harry had a plan.  He was folding cranes every chance he got and soon had a box full of them. A quick use of my hole punch and  Wayne had a cone of bamboo yarn to hand.   

After we said our good byes and they headed south to Victoria where they did locate the special tree. They later sent us this picture:

There must have been some curious people in Victoria when they found these cranes hanging in the tree later!   While Wayne and Harry are heading back to Michigan and home later this week, I somehow suspect they have fallen in love with the west coast of either country.... and we haven't seen the last of them!