Sunday, December 24, 2023

🎄🎁 Merry Christmas to all my Readers

I found this Nordic Santa today on FB (no  photo accreditation sadly).    This is what Santa should look like!   Not that one made popular by a certain soda pop many years ago.  Anyhow, this gentleman's hat, coat and  boots look beautiful and functional.....  He's ready to fly tonight!

This is a different kind of Santa too. More earthy tones and rather polished appearance.  He seems to be doing quite well and can afford a better suit of clothes  I find it interesting that many cultures who don't normally celebrate Christmas, now embrace Santa and even put up a tree.   It's about peace on Earth and good will to Man.   Sadly, its in short supply with wars raging and people fleeing. 

This is where we all live. I can see no boundaries, no walls. We all breathe the same air that circles the globe.  We have no other place to go to and so we must focus on global warming as if our lives depend on it, because they do.   Everything else is a distraction to this goal.....

I'm not a religious person and  lean heavily towards embracing Nature's cycles and so the Solstice was my big day.  The days are slowly but surely getting longer.    No matter what you follow and celebrate, here's to shining a light in the darkness....

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Herringbone towels 2 ....Why?... because they're fun 🎉

This is most likely the last finished project for 2023.... or maybe I can squeak out a couple of scarves before months end?  Christmas sorta slows things down for a spell!

This draft shown below may look familiar and yes I have done it before. It's a fun and easy weave and a great way to use up small part cones and play with colour.   They also make great gifts and people snap them up.   I gave a friend a choice of all the towels in my Etsy shop and she chose one of these as her gift, even though she got one last year.   So this has me thinking that us weavers perhaps over think what appeals to people? 

Last time I used white as the main colour and this time I used natural.  The colours popped just as well and  they looked somehow a bit softer when paired with weft colours.  Below is Brassard's cinnamon and periwinkle as weft yarns.    The bright colours in the weft are: royal, peacock, orange, magenta, limette, salmon pink, purple. Double ends though one heddle and one reed slot.   If using 8/2, then 22-24 epi, and if using 10/2 cottons then 26-28 epi.

The weaving is very straightforward, just hit treadles one through to six and start again.  Sometimes I'd miss number six and a slight but obvious line would appear and so after some UN-weaving I'd pay closer attention and count in my head.  It was a bit too complicated some days.....  

This is the mass of the cloth warp after just being taken off the loom. It was a satisfying armload!

So I did a rough fold up and placed it on the scale and it was 2 pounds and 13 ounces!

I serged the towels apart and then gave them a nice long soak and brief wash. Toss in the dryer for 20 minutes.

Trimmed off all the little tails and then gave them a good steam pressing. This helps to save my hands as I have arthritis. Thy do get a regular pressing when I'm turning the hems for sewing but nothing like what the press does. 

Once the hems are sewn (by hand while we watch TV), the hems get a final 'squeeze' in the press to compact the hem and smooth them after being worked.

Then the clouds rolled in and rain started and our house was dark enough at midday to have all the lights on.   Yesterday the sun came out and I quickly grabbed the camera (before my first coffee I might add.... so how's that for dedication?)

So from the top down, the weft colours are: stone ( a light grey), limette, cinnamon, taupe, blue green, ivory and periwinkle

Individual towels; I got seven towels and some samples from my 8 yard warp. The finished towels are 22" by 29.5".

periwinkle blue

Stone Grey

Limette, or what I prefer to call Key Lime

Cinnamon, or Pumpkin

This is taupe or a soft kaki green

Blue green and I must say this one is my favourite.

Ivory or I like to call it Devon Cream

Two are gone already and the rest won't last very long.  Give them a try and make a batch.


 🌹  Lorraine ~  July 1923- Nov 2023   🕯️

This is Lorraine my mother in law taken 20 years ago when we gifted her an all silk snowflake twill scarf for her 80th birthday. She was thrilled and wore it every chance she got. She even bought a new outfit and shoes!
Sadly, she recently passed away but at over 100 years old, Lorraine had a long and amazing life.  I had a 40 year relationship with her and  she welcomed me to the family by telling me "He's all yours my dear, I don't want him back!" A very gracious and elegant lady. 

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Kitchen Elegance (yes, more towels!)

The first time I saw this draft at it was in a rather stark combination of red and white.  I almost went by it but took another look and I saw a very pretty pattern that had a lot going on.  Kinda busy but it intrigued me.

When weaving up a busy pattern, I usually lean towards the motto 'less is more' and go with more neutral shades or softer colours. Let the pattern do all the talking!   The size of the yarn you choose also has a role to play.  Smaller grist means a smaller pattern, shorter floats (if they are over 5 ends).    I decided to go with 10/2 cottons. 

It will give a lighter weight cloth, and at 28 epi a smaller, tighter pattern.... plus I had a nice two pound cone of 10/2 Venne cotton from Lone Star that had been sitting in my stash long enough.  Sadly, they don't carry it any longer as I tried to get some more.  It's beautiful quality!   Venne cotton is carried by many dealers so it's just a matter of hunting it down. Thrill of the hunt and all that....

Here's the draft  #57312; 16 shafts. As you can see the threading isn't all that complicated or the treadling. The magic is in the tie up.   This went onto the Megado loom and I let it do all the hard work.  

This is what it look like in weaving mode on the Mac. It just chugs away at it line by line!  This is my new 'old' Mac as I had a recent computer crisis. It seems a 2013 Mac Air decided to up and quit on me and there was a frantic dash to find another with the right OS on it to run my loom.   All fixed now thankfully.  A good search, help from a long distance friend and money fixed it.   Otherwise my loom would be a large paperweight.....  

So deciding on finer threads means more of everything.  725 ends to this warp, making sure I had enough heddles on each shaft. Fiberworks gives me those numbers as a count per shaft and all I had to do was count the heddles.    Winding the warp was done in six bouts, all nine yards long. That took time as you can imagine.

Winding on took time and this time I opted to do it all by myself and used weights on the bouts and just took my time. It took an afternoon with lots of breaks in between.   I used the "helping hands" from Lofty Fibers again and I must say that I really like the devices.   They give much more stability to the process.

Threading was straightforward and I normally take my time as I'm not a fan of correcting threading errors if I can help it.  Happily, there were no errors!

Weaving also takes longer as you have to throw the shuttle many more times to build an inch!  One repeat of the main pattern plus the V was 133 treadlings.  Six full repeats plus the top and bottom border for the hem allowance gave you 36-37 inches.    I worked it out: 926 throws for one towel.  I wove six towels and one table runner of 46 inches in length.   The total shuttle throws for just the six towels alone is 5,556  😳  The runner was 1,160.   The grand total was 6,716 throws. Just looking at those numbers makes me wonder why I counted.... crazy right? 

Then came the serging the towels apart, washing, pressing and turning hems.  Hand sewing the hems and a final press of the hems again.

The runner was pinned to a foam board and fringes twisted, hand washed and pressed.

There they sat during some very gloomy days where we had lights on at midday and it poured rain.    The discovery of a leak in our 13 year old roof kept us busy with insurance claims, roofers and all. 

Eventually the sun came out and so did the camera!

The towels came in with finished dimensions of 22 inches in width and 30 inches in length.   Turning the hems, take up and shrinkage accounts for a loss of 7 inches in length. The width lost 3 inches due to drawn in and shrinkage of the cotton.  This sort of dimensional loss is something more veteran weavers can account for in their project calculations. It's also comes with sampling and simply weaving and getting to know your yarns. 

First up was a pretty weft that Webs calls 'sponge'. Hardly an attractive name so I call it Lichen instead. I wove two towels in this colour.  (above and below)

Next up was one towel woven in a colour that Webs call camel. Rather rosy camel don't you think?   So I call it Tawny Rose.  Its very pretty.

I have a lot of 10/2 colours but not all are softer or more neutral shades. I chose this crisp green shade which I think is actually called Willow and finally a name that suited! One weaver wrote that she thought this would make a lovely table cloth in this colour, paired with a formal table setting and candle light perhaps?  My choice would be a cloth using Tawny Rose....or Lichen.

Reaching into the stash, I found this bronze gold called Ochre Gold.   A bit darker than I was looking for but it's also rather nice once all done.  Since these are being sold and / or given as gifts, I have to appeal to all sorts of tastes and decor.

~bonus loom shot because I finally remembered to take a picture! 

The final towel was woven in a colour way called silver cloud but when you look at it, especially against the green of the table centre, you can see plum or mauve tones.   So I call it Mauve Frost.

I had a lot more warp left after six towels and an almost full pirn of the silvery mauve and so I left room for a fringe allowance and simply wove until I ran out of warp.   The result is a runner that is 22 x 46 inches with a neat and tidy 2 inch twisted fringe.

A peak of the reverse side. The darker side was my view throughout the entire weaving process, so cutting it off the loom and seeing the lighter side was a pleasant surprise.

So that's the end of this post and I'm apologizing for how long it's taken to post something here for you.  It's been a busy Fall getting ready for winter, plus some medical appointments, dental surgery and crown work.   💰💰💰     The roof leaked, the washing machine has been acting up, and our new cook top developed a thermal crack so lots to deal with and arrangements to make and people and warranties to chase.

There is one more towel warp under way on the Spring loom. I have two towels done of six, so more weaving for me and waiting for you. The Megado is being dressed in painted silk finery for two scarves.   So a return  to more normal fare. 

Now we're off to get our covid and flu shots. Be careful out's not gone away! 😷🤧 💉🦠

Sunday, October 8, 2023

.... and Yet More Towels..... 😁🎉

I guess you could say that I started my Christmas preparations in July by deciding to weave  kitchen towels to restock my Etsy store  and planned and pre-wound no less than five warps. This is warp number three.   Warp number four is over the half way mark and I just beamed warp number five.    I have no idea what is next after that!   (yet)

The idea is to have some lower price point items as this going to be a tough holiday season for everyone stretched money wise.   If they sell well, I may plan some more for at least one of the two looms....

I have woven this draft before and it's not only a feast for the eyes, it's also a fun easy weave too.  This warp was eight yards and so I got seven towels and some samples for my records. 

The draft is as shown and was modified from #728 from Carol Strickler's "Weavers Book of 8 Shaft Patterns.  I like to browse that classic book every so often.    I took advantage of the striping effect to use up some small part cones of royal and navy blues and even the purple.   Felt real good to empty the cones off and toss them into the recycle bin! 

Despite faithfully following the colour winding order, it seem I somehow slipped up and missed winding six ends of white in one section and so had to hang six film canisters that I 'chain ganged' using card board and a hole punch.  It kept them all separate and sort of behaved.   I would show you a picture but I forgot to take one!   I also had two floating selvedges as well. I set up a small stool to sit on behind the loom as when I unwind and reset the threads, it took some time. 

Choosing weft colours was also a challenge as I wanted to keep the fun stripes and bright colours and not swamp it with an over bright weft.   I end up using a colour called stone from Brassards which was the right shade of light grey and wove up three towels in this colour. Next up was an odd cone I found deep in my stash that had a tag that said it was 'clay'.  I call it porcelain clay.   Next to white it looked pinky beige and next to beige it looked white. Strange colour but it worked nicely.    The last towel also was a stash buster too as I found a small part cone of a light turquoise-y green and I had just enough to weave up the last full sized towel.

Serged them apart, soaked and washed, in the dryer and them steam pressed up.   Hems turned and pinned. It's quite the assembly line. 

I do a running blind stitch: through the fold of the hem.....

... then snag a thread or two on the outer layer and back into the fold. I slowly inch my way across while I half watch/ half listen to the TV.   I don't mind having hand work to do and enjoy it.  I like the smooth look it gives the front of the towel and a deep stitch line doesn't break the pattern up.   I have some hand sewn towels that are 20+ years old and hold on to machine washing very well. I've never had to do any repairs.

So there are seven towels but these are the three coloured wefts:

Then more of the individual towels open to show from and back.   They measure 21" x 30" all finished.

Porcelain clay weft (above and below)

Pale turquoise weft (above and below)

... and my favourite, stone  (above and below)


Here in Canada it's the Thanksgiving weekend and we plan to do up a nice dinner together tomorrow and watch the leaves on our chestnut tree turn gold and fall.    That sure was a long hot and very dry summer.  
We are also planning to get both our flu shot and covid boosters as soon as we can.  It's all part of getting ready for the season to come.    

Here's a favourite picture of a little Japanese maple at our last property. It would turn this bright red in the fall and seem to float in the air!