Thursday, December 27, 2018

Summer Brights During the Winter Dark

I fell in  love with this 8/2 tencel  200 ends / 4.5 yards painted warp from Carr Park Artisans on Etsy. Before I knew it, it was paid for and the order placed.  Oops....

I chose an 8 shaft point twill draft and the treadling was a twill progression. My Fiberworks showed it as a reversible draft which is what I look for!   I added some complimentary colours for the edges in black, old gold and olive green and we got it beamed with no issues.

The tie-up went okay and I used my method of using the numbers for the upper lamms and the blanks squares for the lower lamms on my Louet Spring countermarch loom.

Finally I was weaving away and I thought.... "looks a bit dark on this side".... and sure enough, this pattern does have a darker view on the side facing me, and a brighter, more colourful warp faced side on the under side.

Well, it wouldn't be the first time I have woven something 'upside down' and decided to go ahead with it as is.    Now this warp is only 4.5 yards total so this was going to be two shorter scarves with shorter fringes and no sample.  So it didn't take me long to weave up the first scarf.

The second scarf? not so much!  First I decided to change the treadling and I used a 'snowflake twill' treadling and it created lovely diamonds and was a nice change.   Then there were medical appointments, shopping trips, trips for the post office, writing the Christmas cards and all the other activities for this time of year.  So weaving on scarf number two was hit and miss and I just didn't have my heart in it.... but I soldiered on.

Finally I cut the scarves off the loom and turned to see  my handiwork right side up. First scarf was lovely and finished up as 8 1/2 inches wide and 60 inches in length.  Looks great as the picture shows below.

Second scarf?  well I wove as far as the warp allowed but it measured as 51 inches (woven on the loom) which is too short!  Then I turned it over and found not one, not two, but THREE obvious treadling errors.   Ah, crap....

For some reason I wasn't upset and actually felt calm about it.  I think I had already disconnected from the scarf when it took so long to weave it up.

I got the fringes twisted on the first scarf and gave it a good soak and a pressing. It took a while to get a sunny period to take some pictures but I got the following:

Of course its hard to say if you are actually seeing the colours as I have them here due to differing computer monitors/ screens and my camera etc. Its a lovely blending of raspberry plum, old gold with a hint of green and a dash of coral.    Its quite pretty and for a young lady or a diminutive woman.

It took me a day or two to come up with an idea for the failed second extra long sample (I can't really call it a scarf!).  I placed an order on a Sunday evening, it was processed Monday and the mail lady handed the solution to me at noon on Tuesday.....

But that's for another post   😁  πŸ“¦  πŸ“¬

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas 2018: in which we detect a theme....

 Merry Christmas Everyone!

While I must admit the list is slowly shrinking,  each year we send out the old fashioned, and apparently out dated, Christmas card.   I ran short this year and discovered they can be hard to find in fact.  I'm wise to the "extra postage may be required" oversized cards and avoid those. I also leave the foil and glittery ones alone too. Not very environmentally friendly.

Yeah..... I know..... but at least paper or card stock is recyclable!

There are many themes to cards: serious religious ones, Santa and his reindeer, snowmen are popular and then there are snow covered homes and villages from a fantasy world of idyllic times long ago.
I normally go for natural scenes of birds, trees with a dash of snow.

I sent out roughly 40 cards this year..... and as of yesterday's mail we got eleven.  I like to reach out to friends from past years and places we have lived. Some are distant family and some are new family we have recently got acquainted with.   I love to read the  letters, the emails and enjoy the phone calls that come in close to Christmas, and the week after.

The gingerbread house came from Australia and was our first card of the year (Thanks Billie!) Each card is placed to its best advantage.    After a week or so of adding the new arrivals to the display, I noticed a trend....

Out of eleven cards, seven or eight have the snow covered home or village scene!   Now did so many of  our family and friends all feel that this best expressed their feelings for the season?   What ever the reason I have never had this happen before!

I have a weaving related post for you.... and then there's the annual NY's day post.   So I'll be back soon. Hope your Christmas was special with good food, family and friends.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Going That Little Bit Further

So it wasn't too long ago I was looking at this colour combination and hoping my warp was long enough, and it seems that it was. In fact after weaving my planned shawl and fringe allowance, plus a sample for my records, I was looking at a length of warp still.   Not a lot mind you, but enough I couldn't write off simply as 'loom waste' as that would be.... a waste!   I had paid $27.99 USD a pound for this and I was going to get something more off the warp before calling it a day.

I had no idea how many full repeats of the pattern I could get off the remaining warp but I would get a least a couple 6-7 inch repeats at least. It would make nice card inserts at the least!  It turns out that I managed three full repeats plus a small hem allowance for either end. I wove right down to the wire....

I choose royal blue as my weft as I wanted something to go nicely with the teal green but add a calmness and depth to the pattern.   I found myself thinking of my younger sister as I wove and it came to me that this was hers!

I secured the edges and hand washed it. Then steam pressed it up and turned the hem and hand sewed then using a running blind stitch.   Wrapped up neatly and parcelled it up to mail away. 

Then, after it was gone, I realized I had forgotten to take pictures!

Sister to the rescue..... and here are a few pictures she sent me last night.  (click to enlarge)

Trying out different placements on her table...

It turns out that her new decorative glass bowl fits with the table 'square' perfectly!

Some close ups to show the pattern and the amazing iridescence!

This picture shows a bit of a picture on their wall and again, the teal will work with their art. 
Almost like it was planned or something  πŸ˜

I call these bonus projects and its always a surprise when they appear and seem meant to be!  


Thursday, November 15, 2018

Heading South for the Winter ?

I got roped in.....

I agreed to a weaving commission to revisit an old favourite pattern again.  My client was agreeable to all my conditions and in fact, she made only one request and that was the warp be the dark teal this time and magenta be the weft.  The shawl would look the same as the one woven a few years ago, but the fringe would be teal.

I got her request about a week after Webs had concluded their annual tencel sale, and they had NO stock left.     Ah, bad timing..... but I worked up an order and placed it anyway so that once more stock arrived it would be shipped first thing. Normally they are out of stock only 2-3 weeks.

Roll the clock ahead three months and I decided to call Webs to see when it was likely to be filled.  They had some new stock but were holding up my order waiting for a cone of ecru coloured tencel.   I chopped it from the order and asked them to ship asap.   It finally arrived!

Oops, cancel the party..... they only shipped one cone of dark teal when I needed two, and I'm certain I ordered two.  The dark teal was the whole main point of the order!

No worries, I would order another cone, trying to get matching batch numbers  and get it rush shipped.   The customer service rep told me it was  out of stock again.   Oh, crap.....

So my planned two shawls is now reduced to one and I'm hoping the one cone will be enough.  As luck would have it, there was probably about two to three ounces left on the cone when I was done winding.  Cutting things really close!   It was beamed onto the loom and once the 12 shaft tie up was finally in place, I got things underway.

The pattern repeat is quite long and is in fact almost six and a half inches in length, but you don't notice it all that much as you throw the shuttle. You are caught up counting and watching the pattern grow.   Its so pretty!  Its much like snowflake twill in some ways as its another draft I never get tired of!

Weaving went well and as for the length, I had to somehow time it to end with the end of a pattern repeat so to balance at either ends of the shawl.   By my reckoning I wove it to 90 inches. Yes a bit long but its length what the client wanted. 

But off loom it measured 85 inches. I double checked my notes where I keep track of my weaving measurements and it seems I made a five inch error.... oops!    So it was actually woven to 85 inches which is still nice and long.   Then it had the fringes twisted and then into the laundry tub for its hand wash and  lay flat to dry.

It now measures (after being steam pressed and ironed) 80 inches in length.   I can only assume that it relaxed and took up more length, then shrunk  again with the hand washing.... but five inches is a lot! The width went from 23 inches on the loom to 21 inches finished.  All things considered, it still a beautiful shawl  but not the length the client asked for.   Now if I had been able to weave a second shawl I would have had a choice and been able to give her the longer of the two. 

So it came back again to my shorted yarn order.......   Plus my addition goof! But in my defence, I had very little warp left and couldn't have woven another full repeat anyhow.

My client lives in California which is literally burning up right now and I haven't heard from her. πŸ™ I do hope she is okay.   Meanwhile I have hung the shawl up and it will wait till we hear some news.

On the personal front:   About two weeks ago hubby asked me if I knew how old our hot water tank is?  He couldn't find a date on it any where.   No idea!  I mentally made a note to dig out the house inspection report from two years ago..... and promptly forgot.

Last Thursday I woke early and decided to get up and went straight into the shower. Normally I have a coffee first and check my email, but not this day.    Hubby went out to the garage to get something from our pantry cupboard out there and discovered a puddle of water and an over flowing hot water tank!  Nothing too large fortunately and a bucket and mop soon had it cleaned up. As luck would have it, we had a plumber coming that day to repair an outside hose bib and indoor shut off valve that wasn't fully closing off ahead of the coming freezing weather.... in short a "small job". I called and informed them we now had a "big job" and they arrived that afternoon with a new tank and set about installing it.  Installation took approx three hours due to reworking of gas pipes and such but we had hot water and lots of it before the afternoon was done.    We haven't seen the bill as yet but we know its best to view it sitting down first.

So, we are giving each other a hot water tank for Christmas!   Its that special?   I bet you haven't got one tucked under the tree.      Our best wishes to Van Isle Plumbing for sorting things out in a timely manner!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

A Tale of Two Shawls : part 2

It didn't take long to finish the second shawl.  I have memorized the treadling and can do it in my sleep and so I shuttled on merrily !  

This version is quite different, all because of the weft colour.   My first choice was to use the slate grey as I had used the opposite ecru on the first shawl, but it just didn't do anything visually satisfying at all. Too blah.  

That left black as my weft yarn choice.  It gave the plaited twill much more definition across the entire warp, even the darker section.  It created more "colour and weave effect" and so there were some interesting colour chevrons where the warp colours alternated one for one.  

Changes? Again, I would have taken out the farthest colour stripes in the transtion zones. I also would have added a shot of colour, such as a deep red at strategic point for some 'punch'.  That concept occurred to me much to late to do something about it .... this time.

I hauled Madge outdoors again on what was to be our last full sunny day as fog banks have rolled in as the weather pattern undergoes a change.

Its pretty in its own fashion and perhaps not for everyone. I have learned over the past 25 years of weaving that there is a buyer for everything out there. Someone who will just gasp, and have to have it! It may take time though....     

Don't you just love the drape? You can almost feel the silkiness through the screen ....

The opposing sides and colour play make for some nice eye play..... and....

Then there's the chevrons that make you doubt its a plaited twill, but the plaited twill is there.

I have been playing with making a shawl neckline on Madge..... and I guess I should try it on a human soon.

I'll repeat the draft here  from part 1...... but you really should go and see the first shawl if you are new to this blog

Changing topics..... here's our back yard taken a couple of days ago. We have had a marvellous run of nice weather. Sunny and warm by day and crisply cold at night.  I saw some meteor showers the other night with the clear night skies.   The leaves are changing but with no wind to speak of, the trees are (or were) clinging to them and looking picture perfect.   Today I can barely see the chestnut tree due to fog!

I have the house all to myself this week as Hubby is away visiting his Mum.  When your 95 year old mother says "come and see me"......  You go!  So my dream of having all kinds of free time to play in the studio is here and all I can feel is the empty house.    Its our 33rd wedding anniversary on Thursday and we're apart for it.   I think this relationship is maybe working out okay after all ! 🍾🌹

Monday, October 15, 2018

A Tale of Two Shawls: part 1

Sometimes I get ideas for weaving and make notes to myself.  Those notes usually get buried or discarded. One of them reappeared when I was searching through old samples from past projects. It was a plaited twill I had made tea towels from many, many years ago for an exchange. I had really liked the  symmetry to the pattern and wondered what it would be like in a colour gradation.  Going from one colour through to another on the other selvedge?  Geesh, that would take some work and then some....   So it was filed away.

I found the note last spring and decided to play around with the draft on my computer to see if I could do it. Fiberworks (Mac version) has a colour gradation feature that I have used before with some success.  So choosing the colours (in tencel from Webs) ecru, taupe and shale, it turned out something like this:

I used colours that would be easy to identify when winding the warp as I followed along, advancing my post it note.  The two sections represented two different weft choices, with the bottom being the ecru as weft. It showed the pattern is there on the cream edge but not visible unless you look closely and then as the colours shifts and changes, more and more is revealed until you get the full plaited twill on the darker edge.

The weaving was going well; it was just there was a lot of it and the treadling is a bit awkward under the loom foot wise. I have issues with my feet and arthritis so I took a pace they could handle.  Ten treadles and the treadling pattern was shafts 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 5, 3, 6, 1, 7, 3, 8, 1, 9, 10. So some dancing about, but there was a pattern you could get into and now I have it memorized (forever!)

Then I started to have some issues with tension in places, so I opted to cut this shawl off and re-lace back on again.  It also meant I could see how things look when all opened out.  It took me some time to twist up the fringes and give it a good soak, dry and press up.

Then as luck would have it, we have been enjoying some beautiful sunny days and I took Madge out to the back yard for a photo shoot.  We found a spot out of the very bright sunlight and with a nice gentle breeze blowing, I got these shots. They give a very good representation of the colours as well.

This was 8/2 tencel, sett 24 epi. On the loom it was 23.33" and was woven to 86"under tension. The over all length was 84" off tension 24 hours after coming off the loom and then the finished dimensions are 21" by 82".  I feel there was considerable  take up plus shrinkage all things.  I will be weaving the second shawl as equally long with this in mind!

This picture shows the beautiful drape but also shows the transitions from ecru to taupe, then to shale. It also shows the pattern appearing broken and confused and then finally being firm and clear.  Sort of a metaphor for Life huh?  "...all will be revealed in time..."

So I'm happy with the shawl but there are things I would do differently next time. I would take out the furthest change in colour threads so it was a tighter change.  I would also try for colours a bit closer in shade as well so it just flows across from light to dark.  Even the all ecru section is pretty!

The second, darker shawl is off the loom now and waiting for the fringe twister, so part 2 will be along next post.

Next up....    my new warp weights. I bought them from  Carr Park Artisans on Etsy and I chose the cherry wood ones as shown below.    Such a simple, but effective concept!   My old plastic film canisters have been fine for years but are becoming brittle and cracking and my "stash" of them are slowly dwindling as the casualties are recycled.  

They come with five large washers as weights and it will hold more.  Your local hardware store has them.  I can just see a flood of weaverly women  asking for large washers at the nearest Home Depot or Lowes!

Back with Part 2 soon.....