Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Opening Our Studio

At the end of May we took part in the ‘Mid Island Studio Tours’, and that was a new venture for us and surprisingly much more work than I anticipated.

Besides writing up a short blurb to go into the brochure that is distributed Island wide, we had to make signs, physically price all of our stock and clean out the studio.  We decided to leave the looms in place (with projects on them) as well as the sofa and the small desk.

Our house, luckily, was well suited for the tour as we have a large foyer that opens directly into the studio.  A few days before the event, we started figuring out what to put where and what a learning curve it was.  How to show your weaving to it’s best advantage is a real dilemma.
I wanted to block off the access to the rest of the house, so the grid racks worked well for this.  We had to address any possible tipping hazard; so we attached two of the extra racks at an acute angle to act as stabilizers.  This rack held five shoulder busts and twenty-six flat hanging scarves.  We hung the scarves by colour families.
This photo shows the colours a bit better, but the rack is not in its final place.
We have five larger mannequins that were used to highlight a few of the shawls, these were placed in the foyer, on the fireplace mantle and in a corner by the door.
We moved a couple of sofa tables from other rooms to the centre of the studio for the table linens.  I find displaying flat table linens to be very difficult.  We ended up rolling them on tubes of various sizes and standing a few up to give height to the display. 
This spiral display rack was pulled out of its box and this is its maiden voyage.  We used it exclusively for shawls and extra big scarves.  We used black flocked hangers which minimized slippage and faded into the background as well as allowing the shawls to be twisted into interesting shapes.
I had a ladder style towel rack that worked beautifully to display tea towels.  We hung one of each style  on the rack and had the rest folded neatly on the wooden bookcase behind it.

We learned so much by doing this event and would change only a few things.  The rack that held the scarves needs to be modified so that the scarves hang forward facing, rather than side on.  I will switch the scarf rack and the table linen display as the scarves are more exciting and need pride of place and the table linens are a bit static.  I would also hang fewer scarves and give each one more space.  Our statistics for the sale are very encouraging, every fourth person bought something and they all used credit cards.  Thank goodness for the Square Reader. Now the trick for next year is to have more people find us!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Green Cotton Shawls on Eight Shafts

I was serious about using all the fine cotton that we had dyed back in 2014, after this post I have two more projects with same fine cotton in different colours.  This time I used a pretty grass green.  There are two balls of the green with one ball slightly darker than the other; I am using the darker shade on the edges to frame the two shawls, so that I had enough threads to make a decent sized shawl.
I thought with a green warp that it would be easy to find a weft because nature uses green all the time!  But I had a hard time figuring out a weft that worked well with this particular shade of green.  I tried azure blue, yellow and lilac, nothing really worked.
Then I tried darker colours; amethyst, dark teal and hunter green.  Nope, nothing there that I can use but the darker colours showed the pattern the best.
Last try; eggplant, silver and always a favorite iris.  You’ll never guess which one I picked.
The eggplant won and it really shows the pattern well and it highlights the green warp.  It reminds me of the jackmanii clematis on the trellis in the back garden.  The photo doesn't do this amazing shawl justice, it's a real stunner.
For the second shawl I changed the tie up and the treadling to make a pattern that had longer floats so the green warp colour showed better.  I tried gold, blueberry blue, a very pale green, Ming blue and white.
I went with the Ming blue and it seemed to glow on the loom.
After washing the colour difference between the edges and centre is less noticeable but it still adds an interesting element to the shawls.  I am always amazed at the difference a good pressing gives the final piece.
The medallion pattern used on the purple shawl created two distinct sides, one green and the other a deep dark eggplant purple.  It is really striking to wear the shawl showing off that design feature.  For Sale.

The blue shawl is very pretty, the colours seem to glow.  For Sale.

Final Garden Shot is the Jackmanii Clematis if full bloom.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Blue and Purple Cotton Shawls

More shawls!  Looking through the cotton bin we have a large collection of hand dyed cotton in blues, greens and purples.  Looking through the blog I found that we had dyed them back in 2014, definitely needed to be used.
We dyed two types of cotton, the large bone coloured cone is a very round cord and the two pink cottons are a softer ply.  The cotton is 2/16, 2/20 or even 2/30, pretty hard to tell.  The pink cotton was dyed a pretty purple and light blue, which is what I used.
Mum is also weaving shawls from this pile of cottons and she chose three different shades of blue to create an ombre effect but her thread is the round cord and she set her warp to 30 epi.  As my yarn is a little bigger and softer I was able to set my epi to 28.
I am using 2/8 Tencel as the weft because there are lots of colours to try.  The idea for the shawl was to use a colour similar to the purple and have a solid block of purple and have the pattern highlighted on the blue side.  But the shades of purple that I tried just washed out the blue.
I also tried two shades of grey, charcoal and silver.  The charcoal killed the purple and the silver was too light but as I looked at it more and more it seemed to work.  So, thinking what the heck, I went for it.
The pattern is an eight shaft twill that has lovely large ornate crosses.  The pattern is really highlighted on the purple side and is more subtle on the blue side.
For the second shawl I tried some contrasting colours: gold, greyed teal, mineral green and a pale green called Birch.
I was quite tempted by the gold but I went with the pale green, it is quite similar to the silver and made nice with both the blue and purple in the warp.
The pattern is very similar to the first shawl; the only difference is that the centres of the crosses have a double diamond instead of a single diamond.
The finished shawls are amazingly lovely; they are lightweight and have a great drape.  The silver one is quite understated and elegant and it sold immediately.

The pale green shawl has an interesting pale gold shimmer to it that really highlights the pattern and of the two it is my favourite.  For Sale.

Final Garden Shot is of a bunch of crazy looking Hair Alliums.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Black Shawls in Frost Flower Twill

I decided to do some shawls for the shop.  I wanted to do something dramatic so I put on a black 2/8 Tencel warp.  I tried out some weft colours, two shades of gold and a red in 2/8 Tencel.
The red won!  The pattern is Frost Flowers from Twill Thrills.  Mum used the pattern a while ago to create lovely scarves and the pattern is still stunning.
I put on enough warp for two shawls and the second one is woven in silk.  The silk is a lovely purple singles that Mum plied for me on her spinning wheel.  She actually spent a night hand winding a bobbin with singles so she could have an easier time plying the silk.
An interesting thing about the Frost Flowers pattern is that the variations are created from changing the tie up not the treadling.  I changed the tie up for the second shawl and started to weave with the plied silk.
The red and black shawl is as dramatic as I hoped that it would be.  The shine and drape of the shawl is stunning.  For Sale.

The purple silk and black shawl is lovely; it has a very different feel to it.  The pattern of the red shawl is full of pointy diamonds but the purple silk shawl the major pattern is the rounded diamonds.  The purple silk has a softer feel overall.  For Sale.

Final Garden Shot is of two dwarf rhododendron (Rhododendron yakushimanum) which have lovely pink candles and white flowers and some rhubarb that is ready to be picked.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Twelve Shaft Advancing Twill Shawls

My last project on the loom was a pair of shawls using some hand dyed 2/20 cotton in three tones of blue.  The colour variations are very subtle, but it still shows enough to add a bit of interest.

This is such fine thread with quite a strong twist that I ended up setting it at 30 ends per inch and even with that it was just about transparent on the loom.
I chose to use a twelve shaft advancing twill pattern and I am more than pleased with it although, I did have some real issues with the selvedges, and no amount of pattern manipulation seemed to fix it.
So I ended up adding seven threads to each edge due to weird pull in on the pattern.
The selvedge edges were added using the same yarn as the weft, in this case it was 2/8 tencel.   I added the selvedge threads by winding them individually onto a sewing bobbin and popping them into an old film canister with seven pennies.  I really had to search to find pennies now that Canada no longer makes them.  Luckily, we had just come back from the Garden Show in Seattle and had a handful of US pennies.
With so many hanging threads in one place there is always the danger that they tangle, so a few holes punched into a piece of cardboard and clipped to allow the thread to be inserted and I was good to go.
I did make sure to take the weight off of these hanging selvedges when I took a weaving break.  My big footstool did the trick.
I decided to make my hem stitching in increments of two reed dents, so with 30 ends per inch, that was a huge amount of hem stitching and when it came time to twist the fringes it was a beast!
The first shawl was woven using a blue/navy weft and was woven as drawn in; you can see the warp colour variations in this photo.
The second shawl was woven using hunter green weft and an advacing M’s and W’s treadling.

The garden shot this time is my newest Japanese Maple ~ Acer Japonicum ‘Green Cascade’.  It is waiting for this darned mizzle to abate so I can plant it!