Sunday, March 31, 2013

Novelty Weft Sugar Cane Scarf

I’m not sure when it happened but I seem to have become a slave to my home appliances! I just sit down at the loom and something rings, sings, beeps or tweets at me and up I get to do its bidding!

The washer and dryer sing a lovely little ditty to pull me away, and because it has such a lovely voice, off I happily wander into the laundry room to do as I’m told; empty and fold.

The stove on the other hand is nothing short of annoying….six long beeps tells me I can put dinner into the oven and when the time is done it virtually screams at me to get the offending dinner out, out, out! I swear it hits my frantic button!

I don’t know when the microwave, telephone, stove, dishwasher and iron became the boss of me, but I just can’t seem to put them on ignore! Despite the annoying beeping that interrupts me on a seemingly hourly basis, I have managed to get the two Sugar Cane scarves off the loom and they are so pretty.
The lilac scarf has been completely finished and is already listed on our Etsy shop and I know this will be one of my go to patterns for using novelty yarns in the future.
I loved weaving this scarf and I still had more than half of the Sugar Cane fibre left so I warped the loom using the same pattern but I changed the tencel colour to Blueberry….still lovely!
I have washed the scarf but it hasn’t been ironed or had its fringe twisted yet, but it’s a real beauty too!
I’ve already warped up Lily Louet for a set of tea towels and am weaving …. ahhh...gotta run it's the stove calling.... telling me our Easter turkey needs basting…..

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Lemon Tea and Honey Part Two

It seems that I’ve leapt ahead and started weaving scarves without ever showing you the finish of the linen drall runners ~just goes to show that having a cold can really throw you off your game!

I wanted to do something completely different with drall and so I put some stripes in the warp. This seemed like a great time to try out plaid, and I had these lovely bits of linen just sitting there, since they were different from the white linen I hoped to also get an added a textural element. I like to think of the colours as blonde, bronze and brown….who doesn’t love alliteration!
I wove the hem border using Block A and the dark brown linen.
I decided to weave the Block that produced the stripes in the dark brown ( Block B/C) and then alternate the blonde and bronze (Block A) throughout the runner; although it isn’t as graphic as weaving with a solid colour warp and weft, I’m pleased with it.

I did notice while I was weaving that even though the weft linen was from the same manufacturer, the blonde linen seems to have more twist than the other two and I was hopeful that this wouldn’t cause a problem. After wet finishing and hemming I saw that the blonde stripe has taken up just a tad differently, so this is a great time to show how I block my linen runners! I think it’s really important to be precise when you set the shape of a runner as yarn has memory and a good initial pressing will help the runner spring back into shape after future washing.
I use a piece of commercial fabric as a straight edge template, and the first thing I do is use a ruler and pin one of the hem edges in place.
Finding the closest straight line in the fabric I spray the runner with a little water and push it toward the  straight line and pin it in place; I continue working up one selvedge side before starting the other.
As I start the second selvedge I continue to spray the runner with water and I lightly push the runner from the center to the desired width and pin it in place.
As I work up side number two, I periodically check with the ruler to make sure that I’m keeping the plaid lines in the runner straight.
I have pinned both sides to the fabric and you can see that the center of the runner is just a little uneven. Using the ruler I gently push the hem into place and pin it securely.
Here is the runner all pinned in place and misted with water. I’ll let the runner relax overnight and then tomorrow I’ll steam press it while it’s still pinned in place. This should ensure that the piece is an even rectangle with the edges and the center the same length and width.
Only one more runner to hem....thankfully!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sugarcane Fiber

It seems that lately every project that I put on the loom has a weird story…and my newest project is no exception. I’m still on my stash busting frenzy and I’m determined to make use of everything!
I bought two skeins of this amazing Sugarcane fiber yarn made in Chile while I was visiting my friend Susan in Duncan B.C. This yarn is made up of 6 strands of 2 ply sugarcane fiber that has been hand dyed and it is uber soft.
The beautiful tonal blue, pink and lilac just reached out to me and I thought I’d make a scarf with it. I had just had my Leno scarves published in Handwoven magazine May/June 2011 and I though this yarn would look great woven with the same Leno technique.
I started weaving and it was immediately apparent that the thickness and springiness of the yarn made the Leno technique on the edges of each square impossible. So, I cut if off the loom…this left me with 20 ends 6 yards long and 40 ends 3 yards long and my weft on a stick shuttle. I had no idea how I was going to use it, but someday…..
Well today is the day and I’ve just warped the loom for a spring scarf.

I pulled groups of 28 ends of 2/8 tencel in lilac in individual bouts and slipped each one over the back rod. Each block was bracketed with 7 ends of the sugarcane. The 20 ends of the sugarcane that were 6 yards long could be folded over the back rods, but the ends that were only 3 yards long had to be individually tied on….what a pain. But I think it was worth it!
I’ve just woven a few inches and I am really thrilled with the way the sugarcane adds both texture and amazing colour to the scarf. The tencel stripes are in alternating twill and the 7 ends of sugarcane fiber are in point twill. A very simple pattern but stunning don’t you think?