Sunday, December 18, 2022

Opal Stars and Waves

The last finished project for the year is now all done and photographed.  One loom is empty now (gasp!) and the other has a runner project about mid way.   Not to worry about the loom being naked as a warp is being wound and is half way completed.

I used to have new warps all wound and waiting ahead of time, but now seem to take more time considering the next project and being more choosy. 

All to the good I think. There's far too much rushing about nowadays.   Between Christmas preparations and making up for lost covid time.... I'm quite happy to take things at a slower pace. 

I'm very pleased with how this project turned out and I'll say that both scarves sold within hours of being listed on Etsy.   That was the fastest part as everything else was slow and measured (literally).   I used my Fiberworks (Mac version) and created a colour gradation using four 8/2 tencel solid colours: royal, grey blue, greyed teal and aquamarine. I had the program create it in quarters and then flipped the centre  so it reversed to the opposite side. The colours are very close so I had to create a second copy with bizarre colours so I could see the colour order better.  Old eyes and glasses that slip all the time can make for a miserable time of it.  I think I spend as much time planning and selecting yarns and colours as I do the actual physical weaving...

So the threads were wound one at a time according to the chart on my warping mill, cut and tied each end.  I actually enjoy the process and have nice music on. Its relaxing to me.  I also like to watch the colours shift and grow on the mill:

The draft is one I found on Pinterest, with no accreditation unfortunately.  If you know who designed this please leave a comment.   This draft creates the 'waves'.

I played around with some treadling variations and when the pattern is reversed, you get stars and long ovals:

That's the beauty, the fun of a weaving program is that you can try all these things out and see a great deal before you commit time and yarn.   You can see the back view, check how long your floats are etc.  There's also an almost infinite selection of colour! 🌈

So, its been too cold or even too sunny to get decent pictures out doors so I'm doing my best inside the house. This is the Opal stars and ovals scarf.   I used the 8/2 tencel colour adobe as weft. The scarf is 10 inches by 72 inches, with a 5 inch fringe.

Below you can see the shift in colours and it would seem that aquamarine (turquoise) is much like yellow, in that a little goes a long way! It does seem to boss the other colours around a bit.

Then there is the Opal wave scarf. A bit shorter at 62 inches by 10 inches wide, but very pretty! Again I used adobe for the weft. It just pulled all the other colours together nicely. Green or blue.

So I listed them just before dinner and when I woke the next morning they were sold.  They are on their way to Maryland! 

We are on the verge of yet another snow event which is to arrive late today or over night.  We have an Arctic cold front to boot, so we'll be staying close to home and keeping warm.     I have done some online shopping and have some dandelion yarn and also green tea yarn coming. Some silk fell into the cart at Treenway too.    Merry Christmas to me!  🎁

In time I plan to show you my new 3D printed lease stick holder for the Megado loom.   A weaver's husband in the States look at her set up and thought: "I can make something better" and he did! I'm looking forward to trying them out next warp.

I would like to take this time to thank my regular readers who patiently wait for me to write.  Wishing you all the joy of the Holidays, how ever you celebrate!

I will be writing my usual annual weaving year in review post on January 1st.  

Tuesday, November 29, 2022


 Its snowing here today..... and the wind is blowing it in sideways. ❄️💨   Definitely a good day to stay inside and keep warm.

Yesterday it was brilliantly sunny, and a lot greener outside then it is right now.  I took Judy out for an airing and took some pictures of a scarf I finished a few days ago.  I thought it might be my last chance for while and it seems I was right.

I bought a painted silk warp last month from another weaver. Its called 'Mystique" and was made by Christine of Carr Park Artisans  4.5 yards and 200 ends of 20/2 silk painted in soft shades of plum, mauve, teal and turquoise.    It sat on my desk for a time while I worked out what to do with it.

I went stash diving and found a purple -plum solid silk which I used for the borders.   I auditioned a few colours for weft but the 8/2 dark teal seem to work best and pull all the painted colours together, and add more shine.    I chose an 8 shaft point twill which is treadled in a fancy version of M's and W's (sort of).

It didn't take long to weave up being a single scarf ( and some long samples..... maybe for card inserts later?).  Its was pretty but needed a little something to jazz it up, so I dug into my bead stash and found crystal seed beads with hints of these colours and  added some between the fringe bouts.  It took me an entire afternoon, peering into a pick glass (linen tester) to see what I was doing!  It seems my eyesight isn't what it used to be .....  😳  

So below are some indoor and some outside pictures of the scarf:     The sett was 28 epi. It measures 8 inches by 72 inches. 

...and as a bonus to my regular viewers, here's the draft! 

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Abalone Shimmer

 Winter hit here in a hurry.   We were enjoying a regular fall day and the next morning we woke to snow and rather cold temperatures.   It was a shock to us but more so to the trees and garden who were still wearing leaves and in some cases, flowers!    I cut these little rose buds the night before to enjoy in the house and good thing I did or they'd be frozen stiff the next morning.

The snow is gone now thankfully but now we are wrapped in fog and its been here for several days now.  I couldn't see my neighbour's house last night. Its eery and quiet.     It also means there have been delays to getting some pictures taken for you.  

Eventually, it brightened up enough to try my hand at fog photography.   Too much direct sunlight saps the colours out of the subject and so I thought this might just work.... 

This scarf warp was a blending of five colours of solid 8/2 tencel shades: Ming Blue, Aquamarine, Grey Blue, Greyed Teal and Dark Teal.   I used the gradation feature in Fiberworks (for Mac) and after some tweaking, I wound the warp one thread at a time.   I find it relaxing and quite enjoy the process. Seeing the changes build on the warping mill is a treat for the eyes.   This picture from its early start on the loom shows the warp colours best.

The weft is 30/2 silk from Treenway, dyed in a colour called "#42-Velvet Opera".  It was left over from this project.  Its pretty fine stuff so its a slower weave working through repeat after repeat.

But the results are lovely. Its a fine cloth, with a very soft touch.... its as light as a feather!   As you can see, the base warp colours still manage to make their presence known.   The burgundy /wine colour works with the blues on one side and also the teal greens on the other.  This scarf is called Summer Wine.  🍷🍇

Subtle iridescence ?  😊

This picture is my favourite of this bunch.   I guess they could be brighter but sunshine would have drained the colours away.

So.... what to choose for weft for scarf number two?   I had some criteria set: it had to be silk, it had to come from my stash again, and it hand to shake hands with all the colours in the warp.     So I checked my Itten Color Star for a nudge in the right direction. Then I got digging through my silk bins....    I found an antiqued apricot 20/2 silk I bought from Etsy shop "Sericin" some time ago. I think they may even be naturally dyed.    I wound some up and did some test weaving..... and liked what I saw!

I had one weaver who saw this picture and she described it as abalone..... and so its called Abalone Shimmer. As you can see from the pirn in the picture, the silk weft is also not dyed to one base colour but it varies in tone, which adds so much more depth to the overall affect.    It also seems to help in blending the warp colours better so they seem to flow.   Its thread magic!  

And the final scarf?   Well, you can see for yourself..... and like a favourite child, I took more pictures of this one than the last.     (oops)

The pattern is an 8 shaft twill progression and uses only 8 treadles. To get this length of repeat is a lot of dancing on the treadles in twill runs to and fro, progressively in one direction, then another. 

Someone thought it was a 16 shaft twill so all the dancing was worth it! 

My husband took some picture of the scarves too and he took the one below which I really like.  Its shows all the nuances of colour.  I told him I was going to try my hand at photography in the fog and I think he didn't want to be left out of the experiment.

So what's happening in the studio now?

I have a single scarf in silk and tencel again on the Spring and more table runners on the Megado loom that have a 348 repeat or 15 inches.  😳    Three repeats gives you a whole runner!  Plus my legs are getting quite the work out.   They, the runners that is,  are coming along well.
I'm about to wind another colour gradation  as I really like the effect and its using what I have on hand which is a good thing.   

I have succumbed to more yarn and have some dandelion yarn coming.... and also green tea.   This new use of other plant fibres just fascinates me.    Now to come up with a project for that.   I'll decide when it arrives and I have it in hand.

Stay warm.... and keep your shuttles moving! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

🍋 Very Nice, but not what I planned ....

At first, managing colour and colour- pairings can be intimidating, then a challenge..... and eventually addicting!  You find yourself thinking "okay, this will look nice together" with some confidence. 

So when I had an idea /concept come to me of shawls with old golds, bronzes, mossy greens and rich purples I ordered a custom painted warp in just these colours.    I'm simply not set up for dyeing my own warps any longer  and a lower back injury means the long standing as you work your way down a long warp just isn't something I can or want to do anymore. 

I placed an order with a wonderful dyer and what arrived came as a surprise.    All the rich tones I asked for.... and .... periwinkle blue.    😳   It looked so out of place and  I thought, well may be it will work.   So I beamed it and since this blue was right at the start, I could try weft colours out right away.    NOPE

There were rather large patches of it, with runs of all the requested colours inbetween.  I did have a conversation with the dyer and there were apologies, financial adjustments made and  now it was up to me to make a mental adjustment  and work out what to do with this 8 yard warp.  (yes, I will and have ordered from them again.... with great results!)

I made table runners.... three of them.  Using this draft: F055 from the Thrilling Twills CD Collection by Ingrid Boesel. (also available on # 79845)

My first, safe choice weft, was amethyst  8/2 tencel. The blue undertones in the purple and the mossy green sure show at one end.  The pattern is clear and rich looking.

Since I was weaving blind so to speak, I decided to opt for short fringes opposed to full hems as I wanted as much runner as possible and I couldn't know how much 'okay' warp there was on the warp beam.  It meant a lot of hem stitching, and later fringe twisting, which I reckon took longer than the actual weaving!

This runner finally finished at 22" wide by 47" long, with a 2 "fringe.

When I started to get tendrils of periwinkle blue appear at or near the beater, it was time to finish it off, and then advance the warp past the blue section until it was okay to start again.    Yes, this was such a waste of warp but as it stood, it was the best way to move forward and achieve something.

The second runner was a bit shorter:  21" by 36"  I shifted to a 10/2 cotton weft called Lizard Green (Webs Valley Yarn, now discontinued).  Cotton shrinks, tightens up more.   But I love the look of this one....

In this case, the blue transitioned into a softer purple and it looks wonderful as the fringe and start of this runner..... and the opposite end is a rich gold tone.   Its my favourite of the three!

The final runner came in at 21" by 50" and had yet another surprise mid way.   It became a case of embracing yet another dye mistake and calling it just fine.   Otherwise I would only get two runners off this 8 yards.    Adapting on the fly.....again.

Oh, it looks fine.... and very pretty in fact.

In the purple section, there appears to be lighter bits??    Yes they are there.... as undyed warp yarn showing as a very pale purple to white-ish. 

Here's a closer look.... now that its woven. Is it okay?   Yes.... and a few people have told me that it looks lovely and adds a nice variation to the cloth.    

Okay .... it is what it is then.

As weavers we have a deep internal image of what we are hoping to achieve whether its pattern, colours,  or overall presentation.  We know every little thing that went right, and every little  thing that went wrong. Where all the mistakes were made, and what we would do differently next time.   In the mean time, the project, while not as planned or intended, is lovely and a success in it own right.

We can be our own worst critics and every weaver ends up having to manage their expectations.  
Now that's the hard part!   😁  🍋