Monday, September 16, 2019

Leftover Handwoven Fabric

A number of years ago I took part in a handwoven card exchange and I wove this really lovely twill heart design using ruby and black tencel.  I’ve had a fairly long piece sitting in the bottom of my fabric box since then, as I wove far too much, and this week I decided to do something with it.
I had enough to make three small drawstring bags by cutting pieces 10 inches wide by 17 inches long which were folded in half and pinned.
I did the same with lining; I want a fully lined bag.
Ironing the seams did prove a bit difficult, but my handy dandy point presser helped.
I want these small bags to stand up, so I seamed the corners to give them a flat bottom.  I had a terrible time trying to see my seam line marks on this dark fabric.  My solution was to put painters tape where I should sew.  Odd I know, but it worked.
I did the same with the lining.  To make sure my seams were the same size, I used a little triangle template I made from a post it note.  I pinned it to the fabric lining up the sides and bottom and ran the painters tape along the top edge.
It turned out really well.
I put the lining inside the pouch, right sides together and pinned, matching the seams.
After sewing them together I ‘bagged it out’ or turned one inside the other through a small opening in the lining which I hand sewed closed later.
I top stitched as close to the seam as I could, then to make the channel for the cord I sewed a seam 1 1/2 inches from the top and then another seam 3/8 inch below that.
I used three strands 4/6 black yarn twisted together to make the draw strings.
These turned out exactly as I hoped, I’m really chuffed!

I’ve decided to finish up with the pie we made today.  It is apple and green tomato mincemeat.  The mincemeat was made from the tomatoes in my garden and is super yummm. The little hearts are sprinkled with sanding sugar for crunch.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Piano Scarves

I meant to weave these piano scarves earlier in the year but I've finally got them on the loom now.  In the spring I placed an order with Brassards for some more white chenille, as I didn’t have enough left in the stash do make a piano scarf warp; it really takes a lot of white chenille.

Last week when I pulled all the chenille out of the cupboard, I found that I had a little bit leftover from last time that I wove these scarves which was also from Brassards.  So, I eyeballed the old cone to the new cone and it looked like it matched, you don’t really expect white to be that different.  Well it was really different; the little leftover cone is really creamy next to the new chenille as you can see in the photo below.  Unfortunately I didn’t find out until I had finished pulling my warp, while it wasn’t very many ends it was long, over 7 yards which is long enough for three scarves.
So I pulled everything off the warping board and started again.  Although, I first had to check my math to make sure that I had enough white chenille for all three scarves.  Luckily, I do have enough white chenille.  After all that everything went smoothly and I have just finished my second piano scarf.  Tomorrow I will start the third and final scarf.
I’ll show you the finished scarves next time.  For now I have the creamy white chenille sitting on the mantle in the studio while I am trying to think of a cool project to do with it.  I am hoping that I have enough to do a black piano scarf; I think that it would be cool.
Final Garden Shot is Himalayan honeysuckle (Leycesteria formosa).  The plant is over 6 feet tall and the long burgundy bracts have both white flowers and purple/brown seeds that are edible and taste like treacle.  The honey bees just love this plant; it blooms from late spring until winter.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Eight Shaft Wild Silk Scarf

I am still working my way through the hand dyed warps I made last summer.  It feels never ending!

This warp is wild silk with a grist of about 2/6 which I had originally dyed with small blue and white splashes, but when I got right down to it ~ I didn't really like it; so I re-dyed it deep turquoise and purple.  I'm happy now.
I loved the tie up and threading that I used on the doublewide scarf I made for myself (see below), but wanted a different pattern.
So I used the same set up, but treadled it 1-12-1, nice and easy.  I must admit that I'm really very pleased with the result. The scarf has 150 ends and it is sett at 20 ends per inch.  The scarf is about 7 inches wide and will be about 75 inches long, excluding fringe.
Usually I seem to leap into my weaves with no real idea about weft, but this time there was only one weft on my mind.
I chose to use 2/8 tencel in red/purple, what I think of as magenta.  It really works well and the pattern just gleams against the dull raw silk.
This is the final 'warp in waiting' and just so I don't forget about it I have it sitting front and center on my castle.  I am still pfaffing about doing it though ~I have a plan for some deflected doubleweave that I really want to start, so it may get tucked away for later.

I have a wee dark, moist corner in my garden that sits in the lee of a fence on the north side.  It's a perfect place for a small fernery.  Here is my current favourite fern front and centre; Polystichum setiferum 'Divisilobum'  commonly known as an Alaska Fern.  This photo does not really do it justice as it is stunning in its symmetry with each frond swirling out from the centre. 

Monday, August 26, 2019

The Last Hand Dyed Warp ~ 12 Shafts and 12 Treadles

The last  hand dyed warp I have is this 2/30 cotton.  I decided to try making a warp with fine white cotton to see how the cotton would take up dye. It started out as a mystery cone that I got at a guild sale. I had done a burn test on to see what the fiber was and it came up as cotton, but I wasn’t exactly sure what would happen when dyeing it.  The good news is the warp took up the dye beautifully and went from white to wine.
I had almost finished threading when I noticed that I had a lot of extra heddles left, turns out that I thought I had 400 threads but I only had 300.  I decided to rethread backwards so I could move the extra heddles back to the other side.  When I had finished rethreading I looked at my pattern and had the realization that I could have just dropped five threads off to balance the pattern without rethreading.  Oops!
As for weft, I only had a couple of choices that were the correct grist; if I am ever going to use this 2/30 cotton again I’m going to have to dye some of the yarn to use as weft.  The auditioned wefts, starting from the bottom are, a white cotton with shiny silver acrylic, a rose cotton, a pink cotton and the same cotton as the warp but undyed white.  The pink is the definite winner.
The 12 Shaft Advancing Twill draft has large diamonds and has quite a large repeat of 95 threads.  It is amazingly pretty and gives spots of weft, spots of warp and a definite diagonal.
The dye job for the warp wasn't perfect  and there are areas that are almost black and areas where the original white shows through but I think that it adds interest.  The ‘bad’ dye job is because I just drizzled the dye over the warp and worked it into the threads with my hands, I’m sure if I had immersion dyed the warp it would have covered the threads completely without any streaks.
How about this for luck?!  That is all the weft that I had left after I was done weaving the scarf.
As I was twizzling on the dining room table I looked up and saw that one of the Dalias in the flower arrangement matched my scarf! Ain't nature wonderful.
Here is the finished scarf.  It is really very pretty and I have the perfect jacket to go with it so it is going to be mine, mine, mine!

Final Garden Shot is a mass planting of Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii 'Goldsturm' (Black-Eyed Susan).  The plants line part of our front garden border and today they were at their best.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Eight Shaft Plaited Twill Scarf

I rarely ~ make that never ~ set out to weave something for myself.  Like most weavers I get to keep the mistakes, so needless to say I have plenty of scarves!
When I saw this warp though, I knew it was for me.  The warp is raw silk that I dyed in gold and green and the notes I have for it show that it is a warp long enough for two scarves.   I wanted to weave a wider or ‘blanket’ scarf for my upcoming trip to Spain and this was the perfect time to do it.
I decided to fold the warp in half and mount it on the loom.  One end of the warp was as usual with the cross intact, and the other end had my warp counting twining in groups of 10.
I had to figure out a way of picking up a cross for the lease sticks that was quick and effective and I decided to use a netting needle to weave through the counting stitches.
It looks pretty rough, but it worked very well.
Now it was time to audition the weft.  My goal with this scarf was to wear it with a denim jacket, and ideally I would weave it with bombyx silk weft, but I just didn’t have a colour that would work.

So with that in mind I went for the next best thing and tried a bunch of 2/8 Tencel colours starting with Vert Fonce (Brassard), Grey Blue (Webs), Coquille (Brassard), Mineral Green (Webs),  and Straw (Webs).  None of them really floated my boat, but the Grey Blue seemed to show the plaited twill pattern the best and would go with denim, so I went with that.
The 8 shaft, 12 treadle plaited twill pattern is subtle on the green warp and shows nicely on the gold.  I’m loving it!
Although I expected to have plenty of warp, since this was a double scarf warp, I did not.  Upon reflection I expect the raw silk took up hugely when I was washing out the dye.  I ended up weaving right to the very end and as close to the heddles as I dared to go.
Off the loom and relaxed, it came in at 68 inches long by 16 inches wide, luckily I'm a diminutive gal, OK... make that short.... and so this is plenty long enough.
Here it is, still not steam pressed or fringe twisted, but looking wonderful on my jacket and all ready to wow them in September.

Little by little Ngaire and I are making all the technical challenges featured on the Great British Bake Off and this is our very tasty attempt at a Povitica.  Pretty, pretty loaf and yummy too!
The beauty shot from our garden is Grevillea victorae (Victoria Grevillea) which is an Australian protea.  It is loaded with these confloresenses right now and they should start opening at the end of September just when the hummingbirds need the nectar.

Monday, August 12, 2019

What was I thinking?!

My last two hand dyed warps are doozies but I’m going to get them woven.  This time I'm weaving the final dyed Tencel warp; this is going to be my last Tencel warp for the rest of the year.  The warp started as Lemon Drop Yellow then I dyed it with splatters of brown, red, green and little hints of blue.  The warp isn’t something that I would usually do, I’m more of a pretty and cheerful kinda girl, and I’m not even sure why I went with brown.
It was a really challenging warp.  I wasn’t sure if I should find a pattern first or a weft colour.  I looked for a pattern but nothing looked good so I pulled out all the Tencel bins so I could look at what colours could go with this warp.  The autumnal colours seemed to be the most promising so I went with a favourite pattern; a network twill that looks a little leaf like.
For the weft I tried two shades of red brown – Spice and Pompeii, antique gold (which is a really weird colour, gold with lots of lime green in it), taupe and a hunter green.  The red browns had some promise.

The second set of weft choices were a lighter pinky brown - Adobe, yellow, orange, the darker of the red browns from last time - Pompeii and slate grey.  I think that Pompeii, the red brown is the winner but that pattern isn’t going to work.
The small splashes of colours in the warp are really breaking up the pattern so it was hard to see.  I decided to change the pattern to something that would show the warp to its best advantage.
The new pattern is a 6 shaft twill in a diamond shape.  One side is warp dominant and the other side is weft dominant.
The Pompeii weft really shows off the soft yellow in the pattern.
I think that this scarf is going to be much prettier than I thought!
Final Garden Shot is of our Persian Silk Tree, it is blooming with lovely fluffy pink clouds of blossoms!  It is also called a Mimosa tree or my favourite the Sleeping tree (Albizia julibrissin).  It is called Sleeping tree because it will close it leaves during the night, so cute!