Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Winter Showers 🌷 I'm Thinking of Spring Flowers!

We just came through a very cold week to ten days, complete with snow and high winds.  Darn right nasty weather. Then it warmed up, with more snow falling before it finally turned to rain and lots of it.  That melted the snow and so we now have water everywhere.  Ah, the joys of a west coast winter!

The daylight is lengthening and you can feel the light slowly increasing and by early February it will be very obvious.... that Spring is returning.

Vancouver Island is well known for its annual flower count while many other places are still buried in snow.  We're a little north of the mid island point but we enjoy an early spring compared to others in Canada.

I have always loved pansies and violets. In the language of flowers, pansies represent "free thinking". There is a whole world of  meaning in flowers and my mother taught me some of it as a child, but its forgotten now.  A gentle lady could say much more with a small posy or bouquet than she could with a hand written note.

Pansies, Johnny Jump up's and violets are such sweet flowers. They have always been a garden staple in our family.  I was a bit dismayed to see pansies with no central pattern or 'face' in the garden shops one year and thought them sad looking. Real pansies must have a face!

I bought a 8/2 tencel painted warp, shown below,  from Carr Park Artisans on Etsy that has the same colours as in the pansies above. (Christine called it "grape expectations" if you go looking for it.)

I paired it up with 8/2 tencel in  amethyst, almond blossom (now discontinued) and a few threads of gold bamboo.  The almond blossom shows quite pink in the cone, but the rich purples sort of bleached it out.  As I has no other alternatives, I went with it anyhow.

After I wove the first scarf, I decided to change things up and change the gold bamboo for olive green tencel.  So it meant nipping off four threads on either side and pinning in place the replacements.  I went from two weighted film canisters to ten.   Then I found I had accidentally snipped a pale pink  and so make that eleven now.  Its amazing that I have that many old film canisters to use, plus weights!  It was crazy advancing the warp and unwinding every canister. I finally sat a stool at the back of the loom so I could be comfortable while working.  I took a picture to show you my loom's 'wind chimes' but it didn't turn out too well. 

Then they were woven off and all the finishing complete but we had a run of nasty weather where you had to turn the lights on in the middle of the day and so taking pictures really would be an exercise in futility. Well, it is for me not being a camera buff. 

So here is the first scarf: 12 shaft twill from  #55858. Its has the gold bamboo threads on either side of the pink. It all looked so good on the warping mill and it has backed into obscurity in the cloth. Oh, well!

The transitions in the painted warp look like ripples in the cloth.

The width is 10 3/4 inches so generously wide, and 71 inches in length. So plenty of cloth to make a turn around the neck or work a fancy draping. It can be folded in half if desired and it is completely reversible. One side is a bit brighter, the other a bit darker depending on your mood and occasion.

The second scarf has the olive green threads to replace the gold, and a new treadling variation which really emphasizes the ripple effect.  Its my favourite of the two.

This picture shows a close up of the pattern and colour shifts.

So, take heart... spring will come!  In the mean time, enjoying the winter weaving time. 

⚜️ I would also like to give a warm welcome to new Vancouver Islander's  The Duke and Duchess of Sussex!   They are living about three hours drive south of me near Victoria.  They are enjoying the same quirky weather, beautiful ocean scenery and island life.  In time they may explore their new home and come up our way.  Lots of places here for a private home near the water.

This English Nana will have the kettle will be on for tea.  ☕️    Definitely no 🚫 papparazzi allowed here.....

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2019: a Weaving Year in Review

A few years ago, someone somewhere online started the great new tradition for weavers of showing what is on your loom on New Year's day.... sort of starting the new weaving year off on the right foot (or left if you prefer).

So on my Spring loom is this twelve shaft complex twill. I have now moved onto scarf number two from this picture and doing the hemstitching on the final end today. I made some changes to both the physical warp and treadling so you'll have to wait to see those in a post to come soon.

 Then on the Megado is this eight shaft point twill progression, which is exactly where it was when I showed it to you last as all my weaving efforts have been focused on the other scarves and getting ready for Christmas.  But the looms are loaded and underway!   The thing about having more than one loom is you can only sit at one of them at a time!

So now for my annual past weaving year in review.  If you click on the live link in each month, it will take you to the original post where there are more pictures and details. I have been trying to boost overall my finished weaving results but not have my studio feel like a factory. I want to enjoy what I do and not have it feel like a job. So with this in mind I like to weave what appeals to me;  no long production line but warps with two of this,  or two of that.  The only exception to this was towels where I occasionally wove continuously and cut apart the towels  later as this meant I could get a regular beat going and get some speed up.

January 2019

I completed two scarves and tried playing with colour again. I used 8/2 tencel in colours Pompeii which is like a spiced pumpkin and amethyst, using a six shaft crackle weave.  The iridescence was amazing! It also sold in a blink of the eye so I will have to try this colour combo again with another draft.

Second scarf featured a black tencel weft.

We also had two new long cedar fencing runs installed in January  during a brief warm dry period. I could see the men working as I wove away. They did an amazing job in 3-4 days.

February 2019

I discovered the fun of making my own greeting cards ....and lots of them!   Too many to post here so I'll leave you this link to see some of them from the original post.

March 2019

This month I set up a Guild guest towel project on the guild's Dorothy loom in 10/2 mercerized cotton, sett at 24 epi and featured blocks of Swedish lace and many rows of decorative hemstitching.  The little loom is still making the rounds and it looks like I'll may be beaming another warp for another similar style project.   For some weavers it was their first time using yarn this fine,  or a lace weave and also hemstitching that is a decorative feature rather than just a securing method.   Its wonderful hearing back from members as they work through their towels and how they feel about the project. We plan to unroll the cloth beam soon and once everyone has their towel hemmed and washed,  I'll bring in my Singer steam press and we'll get all the towels done up in fine style.

one guest towel woven by me.... and another 6 yards by guild members!
I also did a post this month called Tartan Talk and covered some historical points, including my own wearing of tartans from an early age, and  information on reading tartan setts and abbreviations of colour names commonly used in weaving.

The post then went onto feature my 8/2 cotton Stewart Dress tartan towels. Tartan yardage is so darn satisfying!  With all the colour changes involved, there was not much weaving speed to be had!  It was a continual swapping of pirns in the shuttles (and one of the reasons why Santa brought me a new twelve inch Schacht EDS this Christmas)  There is no such thing as too many shuttles!    😁

six towels and one table square 
April 2019

Now we travel from Scotland to an imaginary Caribbean beach with a two scarf set based on me seeing a TV show or commercial of a gorgeous beach scene.  Inspiration can come from many places! I wanted to weave something that looked like waves upon the shoreline.  It features a colour gradation plus a twill progression using 8/2 tencel and a whole lot of patience!

Caribbean scarf
Twilight scarf
May 2019

Nothing much to speak of for weaving in May. We had a trip to Vancouver area to see the family and grandkids.  Its a two hour +/- drive to the ferry on the island and 90 minutes sailing, then another hour to their home.  We stay at a nearby hotel where we can retreat occasionally for peace and quiet from two very active and loud children!

island in the rear view
Both kids are doing so well at their Brazilian jujitsu lessons!

The rest of the month was spent getting house and yard up to summer enjoyment!

June 2019

I moved onto weaving up some table runners and used a navy blue 10/2 mercerized cotton as warp and various wefts for these four runners.

silver blue silk flax blend weft on blue cotton
Two of the runners had a weft which was a blend of silk, linen and a bit of acrylic. It has little flecks of colour and a bit of thick and thin.

sage green multi colour fleck silk flax weft yarn on blue cotton
This one was woven with navy tencel for a contrast of sheen against the duller cotton

navy blue tencel weft on blue cotton warp
My favourite is this runner, with fringe due to being close to the end of the warp, where I used a dark teal green against the blue cotton.  Its really lovely.    The pattern is areas of weft floats sleyed two ends per dent in a twelve dent reed,  and blocks of three end huck lace, sleyed three ends per dent, with empty dents on either side of the lace dents. They can also be called mock leno.    Its difficult to predict the width of your project due to the denting and special  sleying but it seems to add one and a half inches to a 15 inch width project. I always set it on the back beam wider to allow for this. Perhaps the more mathematical can predict the actual width but I aim for 'close enough'.

dark green tencel warp on blue cotton warp
June saw the sudden and totally unexpected death of a dear friend and fellow weaver,  Reverend Wayne Nicholson.  He and his partner in life were violently rear ended in a car accident and he suffered a fatal brain injury.    He had just retired and they had just moved to a new location and about to start a new phase in life and had so many plans.  What has come out since his passing is just how many people he impacted in his career as a pastor, and as a weaver and, and an all round decent human being. The people he took time to lift up, encourage and comfort is simply amazing.    I miss our chats via FaceTime very much.  I would save up and send him weaving notes and samples and he sent me towels, potholders and friendship.

Rev. Wayne Nicholson
I finished the month with an eight shaft shawl project where I cut off and finished the first shawl early due to some annoying tension issues.  The warp is 8/2 undyed tencel and my weft is a new yarn called modal green tea blend. Modal is the waste from exclusively beech trees and green tea is just that, green tea!

undyed tencel with green tea/ modal weft
July 2019

After a hasty partial rebuild of the Megado, I wove off 16 shaft  8/2 cotton towels, with wefts being various coloured cottolin from my stash on the  Megado. It end up being a blend of different drafts and changed as I went along. One of the benefits of a computerized loom and a weaving program.  You can always switch things up if you don't like what is being woven.  I got six full sized towels and a table square.

8/2 cotton warp with various cottolin wefts
August 2019

Then, finally came shawl number two from the spring loom but this time in silver.

undyed tencel warp and silver tencel weft
The Spring loom was quickly reloaded with a bright colourful warp of 8/2 cottons and threaded in draft # 728 from Strickler's 8 Shaft Pattern Book for towels. I wove up six full sized towels and one short runner with fringe.  Its a fun weave with both the colours and the varying threadings. Its fun to see what a change in weft colour does to the overall look.

Various 8/2 unmercerized cotton colours

September 2019
The next warp to go on was called  Cabbage Rose  for two scarves.  It is a combination of a painted warp in soft peach-pink tones with greens and cream and teamed with  borders of olive green.  featuring an eight shaft Maltese Cross pattern.

solid tencel borders with painted warp from Carr Park Artisans 
The second  had a weft of amethyst and was sold very quickly.

solid and painted 8/2 tencel warp combination
I acquired on of the new electric eel  mini spinners!  I can go anywhere now and spin using my battery pack!  The little bag I ordered came and is just perfect to fit everything in and off I go!  I still use my other wheels and will use them for plying my yarns, but this gives me portability for some of my finer spinning.

October 2019

I had so much fun weaving the bright pink towels a month or so back that I wound another colour- way and got busy with weaving these beauties up. This time I got seven full sized towels and one table runner.   I kept the runner for our big dining room table and two towels for ourselves.

Various colours unmercerized 8/2 cottons

November  2019
 Then came my two scarves I call Art Deco diamonds.  I used 10/2 black tencel and wefts in tussah and a Chinese lacquer red.  Very classy!

all tencel; draft from

December  2019

Now at the end of the year and it ends with two ombre scarves from the Megado loom. Once again, being able to change the tie up / treadling arrangement  'on the fly' saved the day.  The scarf with the  black weft sold quickly and I suspect it became someone's Christmas gift and the scarf, while the scarf with eggplant weft is still here for now.  I really like it and thinking of keeping it for myself.

Three colour ombre effect: black, eggplant and red purple tencel
Eggplant weft on 16 shaft original twill design by author.
So time to tally some numbers up and see how I did in the 2019 year:  A total of 44 items!   (I wove 18 items in 2018)   I think I did okay...    😁 🎉 🍾

Scarves: 10       (I wove 9 in 2018)
Shawls:  2         (I wove 5 in 2018
Runners: 6         (I wove 4 in 2018)
Towels: 25         (none in 2018)
guest towel: 1     (none in 2018)

Plus there are a box load of greeting cards from weaving samples from this year and many past. 

So we are starting a new year, and a whole new decade and I'm sure that there will be a very busy year ahead. I wish each of my Readers a year filled with peace, good health, and "swift shuttles on smooth threads."