Sunday, September 22, 2019

Cabbage Rose

Some time ago, and most likely last spring, I was browsing on Etsy and I saw this painted warp by Carr Park Artisans and fell in love. I liked the softness of the colours, the gentle merging of greens, then into cream, then peach and pinks. 

Some warps out there on the internet are sharp with jarring colours.  Now I like bright jewel tone colours but sometimes they can lack finesse.    Some add in some streaky black and it ends up like looking like something from a Killer Zombie movie.

But this appealed to a softer side of me and next thing I knew, it was paid for and being shipped!   200 ends of  8/2 tencel.... and 5 yards long.   It was going to mean two shorter scarves and no samples, plus shorter fringes.

It reminded me of these soft peonies and greenery gifted to me earlier this year.   The painted warp's name is Cabbage Rose and it fits well. 

So I went looking for a nice draft to use and one that would have the same tie up as my last project so to save some time and energy.    I found the Maltese Cross, or # 168 in Carol Strickler's  Weavers Book of 8 Shaft Patterns and I played with the draft until I got this:

Its difficult to convey a painted warp so I just used a generic soft pink for the 200 ends in the middle and added olive green, shale grey and lemon grass 8/2 solid dyed tencel for the edges.   I made some changes to the border threading. You can also see my starting border, and reversing that border treadling would be used at the end of the scarf.

It seems some newer weavers these days are not framing their work or have not been taught to do this and they simply weave the draft 'as-is' and while that's okay... it looks like something is missing to me.    Playing with a weaving program (any of them!) can go a long way to trying things like this out.   Watch your float lengths!  Be sure to check the back view as well.

I also used a soft grey colour as the weft above as I wanted to see details clearly. I knew my first colour choice as weft would be olive and that would obscure my view of the edges.

My second scarf? I went with a rich dark purple called amethyst as it worked well with all the colours.

The weaving went well and soon I was twisting the fringes, or 'twizzling' as my dear friend Wayne would say.  Washed, pressed and trimmed up all went as per usual but then they sat and waited out one of the first bad weather fronts of the fall to roll through. Then it seemed every sunny day we got, we had business away from home and the rain settled back in again. So finally I just turned on every light in the studio and got the camera out to see what I could get.

This scarf is shorter at 58 inches in length and I call it Lilypad.  The colour shifts in behind the pattern are soft and subtle and add to the iridescent effect.

Then this moody little number is called Twilight . Its longer at 69 inches.  I thought of summer sunsets on the back pond behind our house, complete with frogs, fish and dragonflies.

The soft green hues of 'cabbage' definitely come through the amethyst !

I have ordered another cabbage rose warp, much wider and longer this time and I think Christine will be doing several of them in short order due to demand.  Send her a note as to your desired length. I found 5 yards a tad bit short for two scarves, and it was too long and skinny for a shawl.

Every pond needs a faerie princess right?  Here's my 4 year old grand daughter Madison who is now kicking butt at her beginner Brazilian jujitsu classes (along side her older brother Ethan).    She got her very first stripe on her belt.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

New Toys

Last December I saw a post on my Ravelry group "Warped Weavers" about a new miniature electric spinning wheel that was part of a kick starter program.  Curiosity took me to the link  and I watched a short video on the little purple wheel featuring its designer Maurice.

Most e-spinners are quite spendy and beyond my reach. Okay, if I could try one and then decide it might not be!  Motivation is everything isn't it?

As word of mouth spread, they quickly had their four thousand units, then five thousand units all on preorder.   As more were ordered, then more do-dads could be added based on the monies being raised.

A basic electric eel wheel came with three bobbins and a choice of purple, or black and cream. I ordered the purple "deluxe" which meant it came with 7 bobbins, orifice hook, orifice reducer, USB cord, and wall plug.

Roll the clock ahead to last week, and it finally arrived! I had been watching many others receiving their units and posting them to the Facebook group or the Electric Eel Nano group at Ravelry.  Lots of videos posted, hints and tips  and yes, some complaints, but many very happy people too.

So here's my new gadget.... and it worked right out of the box.  Speaking of the box: I must say this is my one pet peeve as it came damaged.  It is far too light a grade of cardboard for sending a delicate little wheel like this through the postal service, with just a small sheet of bubble wrap around it.  Ultimately, all was okay but here's the box before opening:

Some parts were loose, some were in a small plastic bag and thankfully all were present and unbroken. 

This e-spinner is very small and light. It can be used with a cord plugged into the wall, or a USB cord to your computer or phone.  I bought one of the recommended power packs on Amazon:

TalentCell Rechargeable 12V 3000mAh Lithium ion Battery Pack for LED Strip, CCTV Camera and More, DC 12V/5V USB Dual Output External Battery Power Bank with Charger, Black

You can see it in the photo above and its about the size of a pack of playing cards.  I'm totally free now to spin wherever  and the power pack lasts for hours and hours. Incidently, it can be used to recharge your phone, Kindle, or be a back up power for your computer.  Hub like the fact it can power his telescope and might borrow it. It takes 6 hours to get a full recharge, so basically overnight.

If you buy an Electric Eel Wheel  yourself and want to use an external power pack, be sure to read their recommendations as its possible to burn the motor out if you use the wrong device.  (Yes, they sell new replacement motors).

I plan to either get some rubber suction cup feet for the wheel or have it mounted on a wood base, or ?   Right now I use a corner of the power pack against the back corner to weigh it down. Tensioning is done with a stretchy elastic cord and I must say it works fine, but I have seen some wheels with home made scotch tensions after they have found parts at the local hardware store to make one.   Non skid matting or kitchen silicone hot pads are popular underneath as well.

There are two very small magnets set into the shell and they hold the little orifice hook in place so it doesn't disappear. I lift one end of the hook and tuck my end of the fleece / yarn under the hook to hold it.  Nifty!

So if this is a portable wheel and its meant to travel, then it better have a case. I have seen makeup bags, travel cases,  and even old 1950's style overnight bags used.  One thing they all had in common was they were either hard shell case or well padded so to protect the wheel against bumps.    So I went looking around at various on-line retailers and finally settled on this and its being made up for me:

It will hold the wheel, spare parts and bobbins, and lots of fibre to spin.   As for spinning: what you see on the bobbin currently is a fine silk merino blend by Louet.  I think this wheel would be ideal for spinning uber fine silk and other fine exotic blends. 

Oh..... I am weaving still. Its not all about the new toy in the house!    

The weather here has taken a decided cooler note at nights and there are a few leaves turning on the chestnut tree already so autumn is here.  I'll close for now with a picture or three of our summer baskets.