Monday, August 20, 2018

Fire Iris Shawls

Earlier this summer I spotted this beautiful bearded iris in bloom and marvelled at the colour combination.  This may well be a flower designed to be this way by careful cross pollination but even so the colours still amaze me. Purple lilac to peach to bronze and even a touch of yellow, red and burgundy.   I found out its called a Fire Iris.  

Sometime later when I was looking for a new project to add to the line up, I recalled the iris when I saw this painted warp hanging in my stash cupboard.  Add a dash more purple but this is close to what I had.   This picture is of the painted warp called Desert Vista by Iridescent Fibers.

I pulled out more than a few cones to play around with, even consulted with hubby over some,  and finally decided to use red-purple, black and a colour called Pompeii from Web's 8/2  Valley tencel line. The red-purple is a deep shade of the softer purple in the painted warp and the Pompeii is a copper bronze and on the orangey side to 'talk to' the bronze and coral orange tones in the painted warp.  It also worked nicely with the softer bronze  spots.   The black was best to pull everything together, and as weft, it makes the colour really pop and project!

Here it all is together being wound on and prepped for threading. Its the brightest warp I have ever done. I was worried it would be a flop and 7 yards is a lot of expensive flop!

Now, pattern?  I wanted something fancy and intricate, so all 12 shafts on the Spring, and also completely reversible. This makes the shawl much more functional. One side is usually a tad bit brighter, another darker.... and you get to choose!

I found this draft at and played around with it. I altered it a bit to reduce some float lengths, but loved the complexity of the design.  I wound a pirn of 8/2 black tencel for my weft but found that it still seemed to have larger floats around the border and edges that I didn't like the look of.  So I switched to 10/2 tencel in black (I have a small stash that I generally hoard) and the smaller grist weft yarn made a huge difference to the float size.  It became acceptable to me and also helped to tighten up the pattern as you wove over all.  Despite the increase in pics, the drape was still wonderful later on!

You can see the "X" in the draft and the woven piece below. I wasn't sure how to represent a painted warp in the middle so sort of winged it with alternating colours.

The three pictures below show how soft and subtle the colour transitions are and I found myself wanting to weave more so I could see the next shift!  The colours got quite intense.

Look how intense the coral becomes! The red-purple really pairs nicely with its depth of shade.

Soon they were off the loom and rolled out all 7.5 yards for hubby to see.  The picture is a bit dark sorry.  The end piece is a generous sample as you have  to have a piece to admire down the road!

Fringe twisting got to be something of a long marathon session. Even with a quad fringe twister, its still hard on the hands. I also don't like to rush it and have the fringe look cheesy  after going to all that effort and expense.

Soon that job was done and the shawl was laid in a nice sudsy bath, while I fringe twisted its companion.   Drying was done flat on a drying rack outdoors, out of the sunlight.  It dried very quickly this time of year.

I gave the shawls a firm steam press with my Singer press, then a final touch up with a steam hand iron, to get those spots you can't get to with the press, and really bring out the shine.  One shawl measures 20.5 inches wide by 80 inches long and the second is the same width but 84 inches long.  Both shawls fringes are 7 inches plus tassel.

good representation of colour saturation!
I draped up Judy and took her outside and the bright intense sunlight bleached out the colours. I placed her out of direct sunlight and it was too dark.   Use the flash, and get bright hotspots on the cloth.  Then we had company for a week and I tried all over again after they left with no success.  So I photographed them indoors with better success, but still its not quite on for colour.

by the front door 

By the little sitting room

In the studio... where I stayed. Tired of humping Judy around the house and yard! 

Close up of the coral section below

Nice sheen from the tencel! Pattern is clear but doesn't obscure the colours.

Then I tried different automatic camera settings  and got more light but it washes out the colour intensity.

But you get the general idea! Its turned out way better than I hope for. Next up a pair of Royal blue scarves and they are rolling along nicely....   After that? I have another pair of shawls to weave (warp is pre-wound) and I'm waiting on a Web's order for a shawl commission where we re-visit something old again.  Time to get some ideas bouncing around so I can plan projects and get the warping mill spinning.

The end of the summer is almost here, and maybe this year it can't come soon enough with the extreme heat and fires burning everywhere. We are currently socked in with forest fire smoke and have over 600 fires burning in BC, including here on Vancouver Island.

I'll leave you with this shot that hubby Bruce took as we were heading into Costco, in Courtenay, the day before yesterday. They never barked and patiently waited.  They've done this many times before and know they will be back. 

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Travel Post: Discovery Passage

Campbell River is approximately two thirds the way up Vancouver Island. From Campbell River to Victoria at the southern end is roughly a four hours drive on high speed highways to help you get an idea of the size of this place.  There's roughly two and half  to three hours of driving north of us as well!


From Campbell River to Victoria the waters between the Island and the Mainland is fairly open with many smaller islands like stepping stones.  The waters were known as Georgia Strait and more recently renamed to the Salish Sea in honour of our aboriginal peoples.

Here at Campbell River the Salish Sea is pinched off as the density of islands increases. The passage in front of CR is the most open and means that not only do we get a large transit of returning salmon stocks, but we are also a route for cruise ships as they slowly make their way northwards to Alaskan waters.
As for the fishing, our neighbour said she met a couple this past week that had gone out fishing at 8 am and were  back and done by 9:30 am. They had bagged two large chinook salmon weighing roughly20-24 pounds each and that the fish were biting at 'anything' thrown in the water!  (They are allowed one fish each per day).  We call ourselves the Salmon Fishing Capitol of the World
Meanwhile the cruise ships leave Vancouver around four or five in the afternoon and so cruise  up the Sea and slowly pass by our town in the evening as they enter the Discovery Passage so to connect with Johnstone Strait and again on the return journey.  Its great fun for residents to go down to the Spit and watch them go by relatively close in the channel, but they can be viewed anywhere there's a beach, and we have many miles of beaches!

The harbour with its man made breakwaters. The large centre and parking lot is the major shopping centre.  Further up town there is another dock with more fish boats and a fishing pier where you can rent gear, get a license, and catch a salmon right there! Fishing nets and cleaning table provided and hungry gulls waiting. 

We were driving back along highway 19A , or known as the seaside route, when near Oyster Bay we spotted this..... so we carried on closer to town and eventually parked north of Willow Point and watched this Nordamm vessel float down the end of the Discovery Passage and the end of Quadra Island.

Imagine our surprise when this happened!   Two ships in the channel heading south ....

The one above and below are the closest we could get with cell phone cameras. We couldn't see the ship's name but it has the classic dark blue hull of the Nordam Line.

Here's a better shot taken by a CR citizen in the narrower Discovery Passage from an elevated view, with a much better camera too!

Cape Mudge lighthouse on the southern end of Quadra Island
Moving very slowly, possibly in view of new laws to protect orcas and other whales,  she carried on down the ever widening Strait.....

The next vessel looks like one of the Princess Lines, but I don't know for sure.  It could be any of the newer ships built in recent years with many decks and basically HUGE. I wondered how it handles in rough seas and high winds with so much superstructure?

Here's a brief video of her under way... (sorry about the noise but we were parked along a busy road)

So here are some pics taken  by other residents:

Baby orca leaping at Cape Mudge

Spring at the waterfront 2018

One of many nature walks in the area

Miles of beaches to stop and enjoy.... and some make driftwood art, or simply a campfire and watch the sun go down .

We were down at what they call the spit here  the other night and the waters there in the passage were full of men in row boats fishing.  Seems they were all trying to become members of the Tyee Club. To become a member you have to use (inspected) special fishing gear, be in a boat that is being rowed (no motor during fishing time) and catch a Chinook salmon 30 (yes, thirty !) pounds and higher.  Here are the official catches to 2017.   Very exclusive club and has had many illustrious and international members, of all ages and gender,  over the years.

In Discovery Passage rowing for the big one!

Next post will be weaving related as I have had some shawls finished up and soon will be photographed.  Company is coming for a week as well.   Don't you love summer?