Friday, August 19, 2016

Theo Moorman Twill on Four Shafts ~ A Scarf

I have had quite a summer... full of computer angst and weaving!  My laptop which was running Windows 7 crashed and I bought a new laptop with Windows 10.  Recovering my photos and information has been an ongoing frustration.  I’m not a complete Luddite, but man, Windows 10 is very unfriendly towards older files and programs and tries to force you to keep your information on their cloud which they meter.  Hopefully, I’m back on track now, so back to weaving!

After completing my first Theo Moorman technique scarf on three shafts for the Qualicum Weavers study group (seen here) I immediately put on another scarf warp.  I was really happy with the first scarf, but the reverse side of the scarf was really plain Jane and boring.

The goal I set myself was to see if I could use the Theo Moorman technique to make a scarf that had nice drape and that also included some interest on the back side.  Usually all the fun stuff sits on the front and the back of the cloth is covered up if it’s a garment or by being placed up against a wall if it’s a hanging.

I threaded the loom using a 4 shaft 2/2 twill as the background cloth rather than the traditional plain weave.   My base warp is 2/8 tencel and the Theo Moorman tie down treads are silver lurex.

My weft is the same 2/8 tencel and the inlay section in the middle is hand spun, hand dyed silk singles. The soft spin of the silk really encourages the drape.

I was thrilled with the way the silver sparkled on the reverse side of the scarf and with the contrasting stripe of colour near the selvedge and the twill pattern, I’m calling this a winner!


I was so happy with this scarf that I contacted Handwoven Magazine and happily they asked me to send it to them.  Then the Canadian Postal strike in June made it impossible for me to make the submission deadline.  Then I had a horrible time trying to find a commercially made yarn that is the same as my hand spun....it just all became such a daunting task, I’m giving up and sharing with you instead.

This year my hardy hibiscus are all doing fantastically...Hibiscus Syriacus ‘Aphrodite’, look closely and you can see a bee inside.




Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Appropriate for Jun-uary and Febu-ly . . . It’s Raining Polka Dots Again!

This is a silk scarf warp that I dyed back in March 2015.  The scarf is dyed lengthwise in blue and turquoise.
The two colours can be seen up close but far away the colours blend into a pretty blue.
So I went through a lot of trouble finding a weft that would show the two different colours.  The first round starts with slate grey, navy blue from Webs, navy blue from Brassards, white, taupe and gold. The grey and blues are OK but the top three are a terrible and yes, the Webs tencel and the Brassards tencel are very, very different.
The second round of weft choices starts with pulling anything that could remotely work.  It starts with purple, azure, hunter green, pale green, black and red.  I hated everything.
The third round is the maybe’s from round one and some different choices in grist size.  It starts with 2/10 white, 2/20 blue bamboo, 2/8 white, 2/8 navy from Brassards and 2/8 slate grey.
And the final choice is the 2/20 navy blue bamboo!  It was the only weft that I felt didn’t hide the two colours of the warp.
Here are some beauty shots of the finish scarf in one of my favourite patterns.  For Sale.


Final Garden Shot is a stunning red Cardinal Meadowhawk Dragonfly sitting on a silver metal garden stake.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Burn Test on a Mystery Cone

Just before the summer break, the Qualicum Weavers Guild has a pot luck lunch and this year they included, a car boot sale (it maybe an annual thing I don’t know, I’ve only been a member since October).  We picked up some goodies, how can you resist?!

The first are two monographs.  One is Seven Projects in Rosepath by Berta Frey, it is a guided monthly program written for a Weaver’s guild.  The second is Handloom Weaves by Harriet Tidball, it is a reference book that defines all the different types of weave structures and gives some basic drafts as examples.  Both are absolutely amazing resources.
We got a few of cones of Mohair in pinks and ink blue.  This will allow us to use up some cones that we have kicking around that aren’t enough to do anything with.  Now we have enough to do some throws or blanket scarves.  The Mohair is a little frosty because we put it in the freezer for a week, then took it out for a couple of days and then put it back in the freezer for a week.  It is just a preventative measure to make sure that there aren’t any carpet beetles or moths in the cones; these were perfect.
I was gifted a large cone of mystery fibre by one of the guild ladies.  It is very fine, probably 2/30 in a creamy white colour.  The cone has a lovely silky feel to it.  The lady who gave it to me said that the cone was manufactured in Abbotsford, BC and that there was some wool fibre content.
So out comes the book The Key to Weaving by Mary E. Black.
In the back is a section called Burning Tests for Fibers.  We did a quick read through the descriptions of the flame, smoke and smell before starting the burn, just to know what to expect.
We did the first burn test using matches and that wasn’t a good idea.  The smell of the match overwhelmed the smell of the burning sample.  So we changed to a click lighter for the next sample.
The flame was orange yellow, blue/grey smoke, smell was of burnt paper and it ignited easily.  There is a black skeleton and no ash.  So we think that the sample is cotton.
If the sample was wool the smoke would have smelt like burnt hair and the skeleton would be swollen and irregular in length.  So now I have a lovely cone of fine cotton to use and I already have an idea!
Final Garden shot is Gooseneck Loosestrife (Lysmimachia clethroides) and Beardtongue (Penstemon ‘Garnet’), both growing lushly in the back garden!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Table Linen in Inlay and Goose Eye Twill

I’ve joined a study group with the Qualicum Weavers and Spinners.  The group is called Exploring More and we are study Inlay.  Mum has already done two projects with Theo Moorman, one with a plain weave ground cloth and the other with a twill ground cloth, that she hasn't blogged about yet.

I have chosen to do a table linen project with classic inlay.  Inlay is a finger manipulated supplementary weft that doesn’t weave selvedge to selvedge.  There are various techniques that create different patterns, examples of some can be found here from a Transparency workshop that I did.

The warp is 3/10 buttercup yellow from Dressew, a fabric supply store in Vancouver, which I have never used it before.
The pattern is four shaft goose eye twill blocks but I have extended it onto eight shafts as I didn’t have enough heddles on the first four shafts.  I’m amazed at how complicated the pattern is, with only four shafts.  The weft is the same buttercup yellow as the warp so that pattern has an embossed effect. Finding an ilay weft was a bit more problematic because I wanted the inlay colour to really pop.
I used Orlec for the Inlay thread because it doesn't shrink, which means that the squares wouldn't pucker.  I picked a bright blue Orlec for the inlay colour, and its way too bright!  You can also see that I wasn’t sure on how to secure the end of the inlay.  It was three layers deep at the end and looks very funny.  You can’t see it but I also didn’t make my inlay thread long enough!
I auditioned two shades of grey Orlec and I am going with the darker of the two.  You can’t really tell but my beat changed during the inlay into a heavier beat that I liked better.  So I unwove everything; all five inches so I could start again to get my beat perfect.
The grey Orlec is the right choice, the blocks are highlighted but don’t overwhelm that rest of the table linen.
The inlay technique that I picked was Ryss Weave with two picks of the ground twill between each inlay.  I like the offset stacking and the long three thread floats.  To secure the inlay I did a double pick at the beginning of the square and at the end.
Here is the finished table linen, sorry about the colour but it’s raining this afternoon.  The inlay squares add interest, and although you can’t see in the picture the goose eye and twill blocks really shows up.
This is a close up and you can see the goose eye and twill blocks a bit better.  You can also see that I didn’t quite get the inlay squares right.  They all have a section that is inside the goose eye portion. So I guess the table linen is mine now!
This picture is off the back piece.  The inlay just peeks through onto the back, which makes it a one sided weave structure.
The take away of Inlay for me is that it is a pretty but there is a big drawback.  I’m not sure that the inlay blocks are going to stay in place when the table linen is washed again; will the Orlec slowly work its way out?

I don’t know and it is something that worries me about the piece.  I thought about putting a little bit a Fray Check on each end, essentially gluing it into place, but it slightly changes the colour of the Orlec; or, I could sew some beads to anchor the ends but then how do you press flat?

I think that Inlay isn't suitable for items that I'm going to sell, there is too much of a question mark about how the Inlay will behave through use.  But I did discover how much I like the cotton from Dressew!

Final Garden Shot is Campanula Garganica 'Dickson's Gold'.  It really is lime green with pale blue flowers and it is just stunning.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Drall Scarf on 12 Shafts

I just finished this 12 shaft drall scarf a couple of days ago.
I used a tie up that I have used several times before, but this time I treadled it as drawn in.  This gave the boxes a more squared look than my previous scarves which are woven ‘free form and can be seen here’.
The warp is 20/2 silk that I hand painted using Procion MX.  I have shown this process a couple of time before here.  Tencel is my weft of choice on these scarves because frankly they have the most exciting colours available.
The warp is another colour combo that I’ve used before, fuschia and moss in a medium dye density painted randomly on a pulled warp…when woven with purple weft it gives an amazing iridescence which I think it looks like an oil slick on water.

I love weaving drall which is sometimes known as turned twill. Kerstin on her blog Kerstin’s Extra has a wonderful explanation of drall here.
Because I have 12 shafts I can weave 3 distinct blocks of twill, each containing a group of 4 threads on 4 shafts.  The first block is the horizontal stripe going from selvedge to selvedge.  The second block outlines the boxes and the third block is the centre of the boxes. So if you have 8 shafts you can weave 2 blocks and 16 shafts will give you 4 blocks.

When planning this scarf I had to work with the 208 ends I had in the warp and fiddled with my pattern until I found a sequence I liked.
The tie up for this 12 shaft drall pattern is really very time consuming on my countermarche loom, so I’ve already put another warp on so I can weave it again.  This time I’ve put on 6 yards to weave 3 table runners in 10/3 bottle green mercerized cotton.  I’m thinking I’ll try out some of the linen yarns I have in my stash as the weft.

The garden shot for today is Fremontodendron 'California Glory'.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Inspiration from Piano Scarves

Have you got your copy of Handwoven May/June 2016 yet?  In it Peg Cherre from Weaving a Gem of a Life has an article.  She made a spectacular Cityscape scarf with inspiration from my weft clasped chenille piano scarves from all the way back in 2011!  It is super cool that the blog has inspired someone; I know that I get inspired from other blogs.

Here I would show a picture of the Handwoven Magazine but I haven’t received my copy yet!

So I might as well do an update on the latest batch of piano scarves.  I had a problem with the dryer it made some holes in the hem area of one of the piano scarves.  So I had to remove my preferred pointy end and just do a squared off hem.  But they still look great.  You can see an example of pointy end hem on the diversified plain weave polka dot scarf.
I still need to finish hemming one scarf and taking new pictures for Etsy but they will be up for sale soon.


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Making My Knitting Christmas Angel

I had a hard time figuring out what to do for my project for the twenty fifth anniversary of the Qualicum Weavers and Spinners Guild.  The theme is glitz and the guild provided 20 grams of yarn.  Mum and I talked about ideas and we both wanted to do something different.  Mum came up with spool knitted necklace and I came up with doing a Christmas Tree Topper Angel.
The idea came about because a lady from my old guild in the Okanagan makes Christmas angels by crochet but I can’t crochet so I had to come up with a different way.

Plan A – The idea was to weave a body on a paper yarn cone, that I covered in plastic wrap using weaving wool.  After weaving the body I was going to Modge Podge the body and then slip it off the paper cone.  I placed some nails around the bottom and top to hold the thread.  Well, the nails were too short and the threads didn’t hold.  So I scraped the idea.
On to Plan B.  This one worked so here are the instructions.  I painted to the paper yarn cone silver.
I covered the body with the glitz yarn using a looping technique with a latch hook.
Push the latch hook up the centre of the cone.  Grabbing the thread in the hook and then pull it through the cone.
This creates a loop that you pass the ball of yarn through.  Then you snug up the loop tight to the cone.
You do this all the way around the cone.  I had to stop when I couldn’t fit the latch hook through the centre hole anymore.  So, if your cone has a small opening at the top you may want to enlarge it so you can get better coverage on the body.
The next step; I wanted to add more sparkle to the body and I also wanted to cover up the holes that I had made from Plan A!
I needle wove a band of silver thread along the bottom of the body of the angel.  Just in case you wanted to know it was a 2/6 reclining twill.  And I did eleven bands around the base.
I then used Modge Podge, which is basically white glue, on the inside of the cone.  It holds the outside threads in place and also protects the threads from the eventual Christmas tree branches.
For the head I wrapped a one inch Styrofoam in the same thread as the body.  It just looks like a ball of yarn!
For the wings I auditioned a couple of shapes cut out from a piece of paper.
Then I used the winning wing design to make a template, it is a little hard to see because I used a pencil when I traced it.  Then, I used galvanized wire from the gardening section of the dollar store to bend into wings and the halo.  Doesn't the wings look like a tooth?!
I used the same looping method from the body of the angel to cover the wings and the halo.  It took a surprisingly long time but it was something that can be done in front of the TV.
The wings needed to have more shine to them so I used silver thread.  I placed the silver thread on a sewing bobbin to keep things tidy and used the looping method from the body of the angel.  The wings were attached using hot glue to the body.  In the picture you can see the curve that was added to the wings so that they laid flat on the curved body of the angel.  The wings were attached in two places and had some hot glue showing so to cover the spots I placed two large rhinestones on top of the hot glue.  Sorry I don’t have a picture.
A last minute addition was to add arms and some knitting.  The arms were done the same way as the wings and the halo.  The knitting needles are toothpicks that I painted silver and added a bead to the end.  I can’t knit so Mum did the knitting for me, thanks Mum!  Again I don't have any progress photos, sorry.

To attach the last elements was a bit of a jigsaw puzzle.  The halo has a long stem that fit into the top of the cone and had a curve in it to go around the head.  The arms balanced on top of the cone with a dab of hot glue.  Then the head was attached on top of everything with a bit more hot glue.  Unfortunately some of the hot glue was showing around the neck area.  So the solution was to take some of the glitz thread and twizzle it making a round cord.  Then the cord was added with just a dab of Modge Podge around the neck to hold a bow; then the ends were encouraged to cascade down the body.  
She is quite cute and I am looking forward to having her on my Christmas tree this year!