Friday, May 29, 2020

Inspired by Nature

A view of a coastal region somewhere on Earth as viewed from the International Space Station.

Maupiti, in the French Polynesian Islands

Kalamalka Lake, and Rattlesnake Point, near Vernon, BC, Canada

Maligne Lake, with Spirit Island, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada

So with these natural beauties in mind, I  have this warp from Iridescent Fibers  in my stash that they call "Across the Universe."   

I had this 8 shaft crackle draft that showed great potential!   The white sections in the draft are where the painted warp would go, along with a soft gold and dark teal tencel borders. Its rather difficult to translate a diverse painted warp to colours in a weaving draft.

From the initial start of weaving, I was very pleased with the results! I used dark teal as my weft colour on the first scarf. On the second scarf I used the colour azure which is a medium bright blue. 

Finally they were woven and final finishing completed. Yesterday I took "Judy" outside into the garden for a photoshoot. It was a lovely day with a breeze blowing, so you might notice the fringe looks like its moved or the bottom of the scarf as ballooned out a bit.

So the next three images are of the scarf woven with dark teal as my weft. Its difficult to get the colours shown to their best advantage  as depending on the light, the  camera settings, and your computer screen.... it changes colour!   Its quite the chameleon!

I call this scarf Kalamalka Lake as we used to live nearby to it and go and dabble our toes in this gorgeous coloured water in the summer.

Now, all the pictures below the line of asterisks are of the scarf woven with the azure blue weft

The greens are still there but more subtle now.   I call this scarf "Blue Lagoon" after all the beautiful atolls and coral reefs in the south Pacific.  I was lucky to walk a beach like that near Fiji many years ago as a 14 year old wondering how the water got to be that colour.

I also took some pictures of our snap dragons and irises in full bloom. Its such a lovely time in the gardens right now with all the flowers and all the greenery out and looking lush.    Our back yard has a few nests and lots of babies (who are as large as the parents) running behind them begging for food.   We had a baby robin sitting on our front doorstep who clearly was too young to have left the nest.  His or her feathers were just coming in and the poor thing had no tail feathers at all.    I sure hope it makes it!

Weaving in the studio is carrying on at a leisurely pace as both looms have ten yard warps under way.  I have been taking advantage of the better weather to open up the French doors and sit outside and keeping busy oiling some of my wooden tools for their annual spruce up, which is only three years late!  Oops...    My warping mill looks brand new again.    I've decided that once the warp is off the Louet Spring, that loom is getting a tune up and resetting of shafts and lamms.  Something is a bit off and I'm not enjoying the weave as much.  Its been 12 years since I got it brand new so its well overdue for the overhaul.

I hope you continue to be safe out there..... the virus hasn't gone away.  😳   Not yet anyhow....

Friday, May 8, 2020

All in Good Time ⏰

It would appear that some things in Life simply can't be rushed.  They evolve " in the fullness of time".    Okay, I get that and can even appreciate it.

But this project borders on the ridiculous!

I wound this ten yard warp  four years ago just before we moved in 2016. I thought it would be great to put a nice long towel warp on the Megado and weave off some kitchen towels.   It was tucked away in a box and forgotten until I found it in January.   The project notes were long lost and so I sat and counted every last warp end to see what I had to play with.  I also wondered what was in my head by using this heavy cream beige colour! It doesn't easily pair with much..... but I soldiered on.

I played with some drafts at, which by the time they made it to the actual warp on the loom, didn't thrill me very much.  The pattern was too diffuse, no clarity to it, or too intensely busy.  So the threading remained the same as it was already in place and I 'borrowed' tie up's from other drafts to see what I could come up with.   

I got this below and I liked it. 

It somehow reminded me of hardanger embroidery.   All was going well until the dobby died on me. Repairs were impossible as it contains all 1990's technology bits and pieces that no one can even get spare parts for anymore.  So there was a delay for a new refurbished dobby from Louet to arrive and set up.  (See older post for details)

Weaving resumed and just in time for a medical crisis with hubby Bruce in mid April. It involved large kidney stones, blocked plumbing, infection and a hospital stay.   It is still to be continued as he's waiting for an urgent medical procedure. I found I was alone at home and could weave 24/7 if I liked, but I simply could not focus on either loom.   Oh, and throw in a pandemic for good measure!

I wound warps instead.... and found it strangely calming.    Two warps, ten yards long for future projects! Incidentally they are both on the looms now....

So here's my melded draft, which is woven " as drawn in":

I wove seven towels and decided towards the end of the warp to weave a long runner as a change.  Finally the cloth beam was unrolled to produce a nice satisfying mound of fabric, and I got stuck into finishing right away.

I want to wet finish before hemming but the cloth is simply too long for the washing machine which would just twist it up, so I like to serge the towels apart and wash the shorter lengths.  The edges are very secure this way, and later when I use my steam press, the edge is totally flat for hemming.

That's when the old serger died.    It was 19 or 20 years old so not totally unexpected but  really?  It had to go now?

Two days later I was back in business with this younger model with more bells and whistles! 😊   (The old serger will eventually be repaired / tuned up and sold in time.   More waiting again)

So here are six of the seven towels  in a nice satisfying stack. I'm calling them my " Country Kitchen Towels" as they have an old timey look to them.  They are approx 20" by 30-31" and all are hand sewn so can be used as either a towel or small runner. 

Cinnamon Stick and Peach Cobbler

Plum and Vanilla

Herb Garden and Sage

Towel number seven is a compilation of all the colours as I had part pirns of all colours left over and this was a neat way of using them up. It reminded me of some 1930's table cloths I saw in a museum once.

So, last but not least there is the table runner. That turned out very nice and looks good on my large dinging room table!   Same warp, same pattern but this time I used 8/2 bamboo weft. It wove up beautifully, looked even better after wet finishing and pressing.   Fringe is a neat two inches and the runner measures 19.5 inches by 62 inches.

A final close up view: you can see the sheen which picks out the pattern beautifully.  The tea cup and saucer is part of a small set brought back from Hong Kong in 1953 by my Dad, who was in the Royal Navy, for his mother. The dragon on the china is raised  and is hand painted.   I just found out last evening that a friend inherited a cup with the exact same pattern from her grandmother. It must have been a thing back in its day.