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!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Four Shaft Ladder Ribbon Scarf

After I finished the Three Shaft Theo Moorman scarf I was left with scads ~ well a full ball and a bit ~of the ladder ribbon yarn that I had used as inlay.

This yarn is Bernat Matrix and the colour is called Natural Network.  I had used a similar yarn once before as warp with good results so I thought it would be a great use for it.
I pulled 94 ends and sett them at 12 ends per inch ~ 1 per dent in a 12 dent reed.  I wanted this scarf to wear with a black blazer and since I’m really, really short; I pulled only 80 inches for warp length.
I knew that the end result I wanted was a loosely flowing scarf that had the ladder colours popping through randomly and an undulating twill appearance; so I threaded the loom in a straightforward 2/2 twill, and treadled it the same straight twill. 
I made sure that I beat extremely lightly to allow the 2/8 tencel weft to slip and deflect over the colour spots in the ladder yarn.

While I was weaving the scarf I beat to maintain the 45 degreeish angle and aimed for 12 to 13 picks per inch.  To achieve this I beat on the closed shed after changing pattern shafts.  I basically laid each thread softly in place.
When I took the scarf off the loom it looked like the weft had pretty well covered the warp, but after washing I got MAGIC!  It really moved around and gave the ladders lots of play room.
The Tencel weft slipped around and started to look more like the undulating twill I had hoped for.  The ribbon popped out here and there and it looks great.
The best part of it all is that I didn’t have to twist the fringes…..ladder yarn doesn’t fray.
A great stash buster for me too!

The garden shot for today is Cotinus Coggygria 'Golden Sprite' (Golden Smoke tree), amazingly the new leaves come out almost burgundy in colour.  I coppiced this shrub in late winter to encourage lots of leaves and few flowers.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Milk Kefir

 This has nothing to do with what I'm weaving and everything to do with what I'm eating!  I have recently been looking at making soft cheese at home and while I was doing my research I learned about milk kefir.  A search on Craigslist was all it took to start this journey.

Milk kefir may be one of the strangest things.  It is probiotic milk that you may have seen in your local supermarket.  But you can easily make it at home.

It starts with small cream colour lumps called milk kefir grains.

Place about 2 tablespoons of them in a glass jar with 2 cups of milk.  Lightly cover the jar with a piece of plastic.  And let sit on the counter for 24 hours.
After 24 hours the milk has slightly thickened to the texture of thick cream.  Pour the milk kefir through a plastic strainer to separate the kefir grains from the milk.  Use plastic as the kefir reacts with metal.  Then it is time to make a smoothie!

This smoothie is 2 cups milk kefir, ½ cup frozen peaches, ½ cup frozen blueberries and 2 tablespoons maple syrup.  Yummy!

The milk kefir grains can also be used in full fat cream and the end product is crème fraiche.  The milk kefir can also be used to make cheese, but I'll talk about that another time.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Guild 25th Anniversary

Last year Ngaire and I joined the Qualicum Weavers and Spinners Guild which is about 72 kilometers away.  It is a beautiful ocean side drive down Island from where we live in Comox, and well worth it, it is a wonderfully active guild!
This May the Guild celebrates its 25th anniversary and so a challenge went out ~ make something for the May meeting using ‘silver glitz’.
Those who took up the challenge were provided with 20 grams of silver glitz plied with fine white cotton. I wanted to make something completely outside of my comfort zone.   I decided to try my hand at spool knitting; something I haven’t done since I was a child.  My plan was to make a piece of jewellery of some kind.  I was still vague about what at this stage!
I didn’t have a spool knitter, so Michael made me this one using dowel and nails ~ lovely and rustic, just like I remembered ... and the best part is that it worked like a charm!
As soon as I started I came across three major problems.  The first was that the silver yarn provided by the guild was too white ~ so I switched to this silver from my stash.
The second problem was that the silver yarn by itself was too thin, so I added a thread of silver Tencel for shine and bulk ~ luckily I had just a wee bit left after weaving this 12 Shaft Advancing Twill Scarf.
The third problem was that the spool knitted cord collapsed onto itself and was far to floppy and skinny.  So I bought a meter of silver cord and pushed it into the center of the cord to add bulk.
Once the meter of cord was knitted up I had to find something to make ~ this is when ‘google’ did its magic and I found these printable instructions for making a Bumble Bee Knot.
Since I had set off without a plan; I now had to find a way to finish the ends of the scarf.  I immediately ruled out tassels and found myself searching for jewellery findings that would fit the ends of the cord.  Ngaire found this in the mark down bin at Fabricland and it’s perfect!
This is my finished necklace, just in time for the celebration!

Final Garden Shot is a double flower yellow Japanese Rose (Kerria Japonica 'Pleniflora).