Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Victoria Weaving Conference

Mum and I went to ANWG in Victoria BC during the Canada 150 weekend.  We got up early on Friday and headed down island to Victoria, a two and a half hour drive.

We only went to the Marketplace as none of the courses held any interest for us.  We got there just as the doors opened and already there was a crush of people.
The booths were full of yarns sorted by type and colour.  It was just amazing to see.
There was only one booth that had any weaving books, unfortunately we already had most of them.
I also took some photos of the guild booths that I liked.  The first is from Eugene Oregon it was quite simple but very effective.  Big samples from their Study Group, does the weave structure look familiar?!  It’s Crackle!
I am not sure which group this one is from but it was definitely the most moving.  The guild had lost a member and the booth was in remembrance of her, Dorothy Day.  Using her dyeing materials and they dyed and wove a scarf inspired from colours of Daylilies.  It was lovely.
The next booth is Seattle guild and they used large wooden plinths to drape their tapestries and scarves over to look like the Seattle skyline.
I think that this is the Boise Valley Guild and they made items from Bigelow tea bag string.  Bigelow throws away a lot of the tea bag string that they can’t use and this guild was able to use it in their weaving.  It was amazing.  Every weaver that went by said “I wonder how I can get some”!
The Greater Vancouver Guild booth shows that simple can be really effective.  They have tea towel butterflies flying around their booth.
The Salem Fiberarts Guild used a photograph of their natural environment to inspire their weaving creations.  It was beautiful.
It was a lovely day, and it was nice to see old guild members from the Okanagan.  The next ANWG is in Prince George in two years.  Maybe see you there!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Eight Shaft Twill Single Box Scarf

While I had the Green Twill Boxes shawl on the loom, my friend Susan from Thrums came for a visit.  She mentioned that she had woven the same pattern in the past and that she had amended the pattern and wove it as a continuous box.  I'm a bit late in posting this as Susan's visit was in May! 

I loved the concept of re-using the same tie up, a similar threading and with just a few tweaks getting a completely new weave.  Susan generously shared her original pattern and I made a few changes to come up with this pattern.
I redrafted the twill boxes and enlarged the centre part of the box.  I increased the size of the borders and pulled a warp of 263 ends.  This gives me an on loom width of 9 inches.
I love the hopefulness that I get at this stage of the weaving, all threaded, sleyed and ready to weave.

I had the last of a cone of tencel purchased from Yarns Plus which is no longer available in Ruby Red; a true blue/red, and I was able to make the warp with just a wee bit left over.
I chose to weave the scarf using a colour called Adobe for the weft.  Now that the scarf is done I will concede that it may not have been the perfect choice of colour. Here it is just off the loom, not yet washed.

My idea was to do a tone on tone red scarf so that the pattern was all about shimmer rather than contrast and I did get that result.  The other result is that the scarf tends toward burgundy red rather than the lovely ruby red it was. The adobe colour really washed out the brightness I so loved in the warp.
Off the loom you can see the lovely shimmer that you can get by weaving tone on tone.
This scarf is for sale.

This is a shot taken today July 02 of my Himalayan honeysuckle (Leycesteria formosa) in full bloom.  It is a beautiful shrub that has these lovely chain like flowers, the downside is there is no fragrance.  



Monday, June 26, 2017

Eight Shaft Twill ~ Better Result This Time

After I had cut the linen mistake warp off my loom, I decided that I had to get some mileage out of all the work I had put into it.  I really thought that the pattern I had planned was worth weaving, so I rethought the fiber and started again.
I warped the loom with 2/8 tencel in blue/green with 452 ends for a ‘big scarf’ or short shawl.  The warp was 16 inches on the loom and I sett it at 28 ends per inch. 
As usual I had to ‘audition’ the wefts I tried purple, iris, magenta and aqua and finally chose to use the iris because it really made the green of the warp glow.
I always have trouble with greens although I don’t know why....mother nature uses greens everywhere and they always seem to work!
I wove the scarf with the warp floats on top, so you can’t really see the lovely purple weft in this photo.
The pattern turned out beautifully with these pretty twill blocks.
This is the finished piece with the weft dominant side forward.
This is the finished piece with the warp dominant sided forward.
This scarf/shawl is for sale.
This is my Fremontodendron 'California Glory' in full flower.  This year it got almost pushed over by our late wet snowfall in February; so I cut it back hard and am training it against the fence.  It has been blooming constantly since April.  Amazingly lovely!


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

What a Mistake ~ Linen Warp

This is a tale of how things can go terribly wrong on the loom.  Frankly, looking back on what I will call the ‘big mistake’, I should have known that I was setting myself up for failure.

It all started with my trying to use up stash....
These are various amounts of 16/1 linen, the colours ranged from bleached white to natural.
My thought was to pull the warp in increments, the first bout would contain all the yarns in the group and would be the centre of the warp.  When one of the yarns was used up, I’d stop that bout and make another bout with the remaining yarns and then split the bout and put 1/2 one each edge.  I did this process until all the yarns were used up ending up with 7 bouts each smaller than the last.  The final edge bout on each side contained the yarn of only one type.
The first heads up that should have given me reason to pause, was that the ball of yarn shown in the photo was full of knots, so I had to toss that one out right off the bat, thus reducing the amount of yarn I had considerably.  The second heads up I should have taken note of was that even though I was separating the yarns as I came to the cross on the warping board to keep them in order to make sure they weren’t twisted over each other. I could see at the cross that the some of the linen was a tad hairier than I expected....but of course I plowed forward.
Pulling the warp on the loom proved to be a lesson in perseverance...every three inches or so I had to stop and use a blunt needle to clear the bridging that was happening between the yarns.  Nope, this didn’t make me stop and think....is this a good idea?
This is just a small sample of the chaff and fluff I was pulling off the warp as it went through the raddle.  By the time I was done I had a good handful of linen fluff.
This is the start of the weaving and you can see a line of fluff across the web where I have unwoven, and this was my eventual downfall.  Each time I had to unpick due to a bridge forming between yarns I got this line of fluff.  On the edges where I was using just one type of yarn, of course it had to be the hairiest and bridgiest yarn of them all.
This is the pattern that I was weaving, a lovely straightforward and dramatic twill with dark green cotton weft.  Alas, it was not to be, because every time I tromped the treadle some thread or another would bridge and stick causing a skip, then when I unpicked I got the line of linen fluff if I was even able to pull the weft out!
After about 20 inches of weaving I surrendered....I cut off the whole nightmare!  Of course this couldn’t be the end of it.  In my fervour to get the darn thing off the loom, I cut right through the texsolv lines on my back beam.  The final blow!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Creamy Shawls in Broken Basket Weave

When Microsoft changed my Windows 7 to Windows 10 some pictures disappeared into a weird folder and I just found them so here is the post to go with the missing photos.  If it seems a little familiar I think that I weave these creamy shawls every year.
The warp is enough for two shawls and it is 2/20 Tencel/Cotton blend in Natural with a white Rayon knop yarn.  This time I had some trouble with the warp even though I followed my own instructions.  The reed that I usually used pulled the knops on the rayon and even frayed the 2/20.
I had to change to a larger reed that would let the knops through.  But that lead to the problem of the 2/20 threads being sleyed three per dent and having reed marks show up on the shawl.  The threads almost look braided together.
The solution was to weave about two inches and then move the threads by hand with a needle into the correct spots.  It was very slow going but I had a time line for this shawl because it was a custom order.
This shawl also had the additional problem of the right hand floating selvedge shredding.  So I had to pin another floating selvedge on but I left the pin head sticking out a little bit and I looped the weft over it twice!  Sometimes it seems that I spend more time unweaving then weaving.
The shawl gets cut off and finished to meet the time line for the custom order.  It is really pretty with the freshwater pearls and seed beads in the fringe.  It was sent to a lady in Australia and she loved it!
For the second shawl I didn’t change the reed, hand manipulating the threads worked and you couldn’t see any reed marks in the finished shawl.  The trick was to not weave too much and run the needle along the thread gently moving it into a more open position, almost like strumming a guitar.
This time I managed to loop the weft around the paper clip temple three times!  More unweaving.
I did make a rather terrible mistake on the second shawl.  I stepped back from the shawl and noticed a weird line going across the second shawl.  The weft thread had gotten thinner at the end of cone but I didn’t notice it until I had woven it into the shawl.  The mistake was that I left that line of thread in; I thought that it would bloom in the water and you wouldn’t notice it.
Well it didn’t wash out and it was noticeable in the finished shawl.  I should have pulled it out but I didn’t so I had to figure out a way to fix it.  First the shawl had to sit in the cupboard for a couple of months.  But then inspiration struck.
Mum came up with the idea of doing an embroidery stitch on the shawl.  The stitch is called Scroll Stitch and it looks like little knots going across the shawl.  The thread used is a fine cotton and silver thread that adds a little extra shine to the shawl.
The finished design was four lines of silver stitching that are four different lengths.  The back of the Scroll Stitch is a plain vertical stitch but it does add sparkle.
The shawl is quite pretty and the Scroll Stitch is very subtle when the shawl is being worn.  For Sale.
Final Garden Shot are large purple Alliums - they are a new addition to the front garden and they make quite a statement!