Monday, May 20, 2019

How does the garden grow

Not a lot of weaving has been going on, what with company and trying to bring some order to the gardens.  I thought that I would show you around the gardens.

First a stop is at the Veggie Pod, a waist high cold frame in which we keep kale, lettuce and start some seeds.  The lid keeps the sulphur white butterfly from the kale and slugs from the lettuce.
Next is the runway garden, so called because is quite narrow and runs the length of the driveway.  It is in the middle of a major revamp.  There used to be large fig trees at the top, but they were too near the house so they had to come out.  In the middle between the two sets of rhodos formerly held plums trees, but the ants and aphids made them awful.  So we were left with just some sages, Mexican feather grass and the rhodos.  Now the plan is to level the soil and take out all the extra soil, remove all the plants (re-homing what we can), leaving the rhodos and plant two new figs farther from the house, then put down crushed rocks over landscape fabric.  You can see the old fig roots that we are having a difficult time removing!
The front garden is really starting to take off.  The Siberian irises seem to have doubled since last year and are getting ready to bloom.  The early alliums are adding a bright burst of colour against the white spring blooming plants.
Last year we put in a pergola with the trumpet vine which is looking really healthy.  The Japanese maple called Orangeola is taking over the side garden. with abandon.  Two new hazelnut trees have been added along the fence and you can just see the flash of colour that is the 'Hot Shot' azaleas in the distance.
Around in the back garden there is a small green waterfall Japanese maple that we found as a seedling.  The green sedum is putting out a lovely show of tall airy spikes of white flowers; they seem to be taller this year for some reason.  There are hostas just at the edge of the frame along the garden shed.
A little herb patch in the front of this bed that is about to be overwhelmed by the Gooseneck Loosestrife, I need to go and reign it in before it is too late, but I love the Goosneck in flower arrangements in the summer.  The back yard is always the last of the gardens to be wrangled into shape in the spring.
The other garden that is getting a revamp is the fernery in the north garden.  The back fence used to be covered in various ivy and there is still a little patch that needs to come out but it is very hard work to get ivy out once it is established.  We have added some bee balm but still have a few areas to add some more shade loving plants.  The little tree by the rhubarb is this springs stand out plant.
It is an enkianthus ‘red bells’.  The tree is just covered in pretty red striped flowers and the bees, bumble bees and the humming birds all love it!

Monday, May 13, 2019

Visiting Vancouver Island

Last week we had some family visiting from Australia and New Zealand, so we were busy showing off  beautiful Vancouver Island.  The weather was very much with us, it was ten degrees warmer than normal, and it was warm summer weather with lots of sun and blue sky!

First is a picture from Goose Spit in Comox looking at the magnificent Comox Glacier.  This is home, lovely isn’t it!
We also had the Snowbirds, Canadian Forces Air Demonstration team, practicing overhead every day!
The next day we went on a trip to the west coast of the island to see Ucluelet and Tofino.  But first we stopped at Cathedral Grove to see an old growth rain forest, yes, it really is that green!
We also stopped in Port Alberni; this picture was taken at the end of the pier looking down the inlet.  Port Alberni is in the middle of Vancouver Island but it is at the end of a large ocean fjord.  It had a large tsunami in the 1960’s due to an earthquake in Alaska.
Onto Ucluelet, which is a pretty little town.  There is a lovely walk around the lighthouse that seems to have a spectacular view around every corner.
Then to Tofino and to the famous Long Beach.  It is really long and sandy, which is rare for Vancouver Island.  The wind felt like it was straight off the Arctic and it took your breath away!
The next day we went to Campbell River and the Suspension Bridge at Elk Falls.  Always fun.
On the last day we drove them down island to Victoria where they were going to spend a couple of days exploring British Columbia’s capital city.  But first we stopped at Goats on Roof, a fun collection of shops in Coombs and yes there are goats on the roof!
I didn’t take any photos of Victoria this time so I looked for some older pictures but I don’t seem to have any!  But Victoria is a pretty city, with a lovely city center.  There is also a lovely garden called Butchart that is worth going to see.  And I’m going to have to go back soon and take some photos!

We had a lovely time with our family showing off our island home.

Monday, May 6, 2019

How to Draft a Motif in Diversified Plain Weave

My study group, Exploring More, is looking at drafting a motif in different weave structures, the first was Huck Lace, and the second was Summer and Winter.  The third is Diversified Plain Weave and I am going to take you through how I drafted a pattern.

I am going to use the new method for weaving Diversified Plain Weave, which is uses less shafts and has an easier treadling method.

First thing is to choose a motif; I am going to use the same angelfish from the previous two posts.
Next is the threading; looking at the angelfish motif there is vertical symmetry so again the threading will be in point order (i.e. in a V shape).  Use the threading blocks for the new Diversified Plain Weave which are Block A 123 Block B 124 Block C 125 etc.  The tabby shafts 1 and 2 are in a thinner grist than the pattern shafts.  I used an orange colour to highlight them.

The old Diversified Plain Weave threading blocks are Block A 232141 Block B 252161 etc.  There are two pattern shafts required for each block with the old style.  So by using the new Diversified Plain Weave threading blocks more pattern is created using fewer shafts.
The basic tie up for the new Diversified Plain Weave is to have the first two treadles be tabby shafts versus the pattern shafts.  The pattern shafts then all have shaft 1 added to them.

The old Diversified Plain Weave tie up had the first two treadles as plain weave as opposites.  And the pattern shafts also had plain weave on opposites along the bottom of the treadles.  This created little squares of plain weave with the thinner tabby threads and the overall fabric had a basket weave affect.
Now for the tie up, just take the graph of the angelfish and place on its side with the top of the motif facing to the left, just like for Summer and Winter.  Just use the angelfish motif to create the pattern from number 6 down to 1.
Now add the pattern shafts to the basic set up.  You will notice that the tie up is quite similar to Summer and Winter, although without the ‘pairs’ of pattern treadles.
For the treadling I look back at the angelfish graph and can see that each treadle corresponds to a single unit, there is no symmetry.  I will place the pattern treadles in straight order (in a straight line).  The treadling block for the new Diversified Plain Weave is Block A 123 Block B 124 Block C 125 etc.

The old Diversified Plain Weave treadling blocks were Block A 232 Block B 141 Block C 252 etc.  While weaving it could be very easy to lose track of which tabby you were using.
The finished angelfish is 9 Shafts and 12 Treadles.  There is a lot of playing around that you can do with Diversified Plain Weave, for example how big of a difference between the grists of the pattern and tabby threads do you want or do you want to highlight the thinner tabby lines or do you want to hide them?  Below I thickened the pattern threads in the warp and weft. 
So that’s a small guide to how to design a motif in Diversified Plain Weave.  For more information about the new versus old types of Diversified Plain Weave go to Weavers Issue 36 Summer 1997, the article is called Thick ‘n Thin Again by Madelyn van der Hoogt.

Monday, April 22, 2019

How to Draft a Motif in Summer and Winter

My study group, Exploring More, is looking at drafting a motif using different weave structures, the first weave structure was Huck Lace and here is the post.  The second weave structure we looked at was Summer and Winter and I am going to take you through how I drafted a pattern.

First thing is to choose a motif; I am going to use the same angelfish from the Huck Lace.  Please just click on the photos and it will make them larger.
Looking at the angelfish motif there is vertical symmetry so again the threading will be in point order (i.e. in a V shape).  Use the standard Summer and Winter threading blocks which are Block A 1323 Block B 1424 Block C 1525 etc.
Now for the tie up, which is quite easy, just take the graph of the angelfish and place on its side with the top of the motif facing to the left.
Summer and Winter is quite greedy for treadles.  You have probably heard of ‘in pairs’ in reference to Summer and Winter that is because there needs to be two treadles for each pattern pick.  One treadle has Shaft 1 on it (P1) and the other treadle has Shaft 2 on it (P2), but they both have the same pattern treadles.  Here is a basic set up; it just needs the pattern to be added.
I’ve added the pattern from the graph; every pattern has two treadles, a P1 and a P2.  Shaft 3 is left blank because it is the shaft that is used to separate the motifs.  I also left treadle 3 and 4 blank as they are the breaks between the motifs in the treadling.
Here is the treading and tie up together.
What makes Summer and Winter special is that there are different treadlings variations; Singles (also known as non pairs), Pairs (there is two different types; X’s and O’s), and Dukagang (also known Overshot).  To treadle my angelfish I look back at the angelfish graph and can see that each treadle corresponds to a single unit, there is no symmetry.  I will place the treadles in straight order (in a straight line) and in one of the Summer and Winter treadling variations, which I will explain with each example.

The first is Singles which is tabby 1 P1 tabby 2 P2 and gives a brick like pattern.  As is standard for Summer and Winter I’ve put the tabby in with a finer grist and in the same colour as the warp. This really keeps the shape of the angelfish.
Next variation is Pairs X’s the treadling repeat is tabby 1 P2 tabby 2 P1 tabby 1 P1 tabby 2 P2. The anglefish almost look like rockets now.
Next is Pairs O’s also known as bird’s eye.  The treadling repeat is tabby 1 P1 tabby 2 P2 tabby 1 P2 tabby 2 P1.  The tail of the angelfish are very well defined in this method.
Last variation is Dukagang.  The treadling repeat is tabby 1 P1 tabby 2 P1 tabby 1 P1 tabby 2 P1.  It uses the least amount of treadles, from 22 down to 12. This is the most columnar of them all.
So that’s how to draft a motif in Summer and Winter.  If you would like to know more about drafting I recommend The complete Book of Drafting for Handweavers by Madelyn van der Hoogt.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Going Backwards Fast...

I wove these tea towels a few months ago.
It was a really enjoyable weave and the tea towels turned out really nicely, so using the pattern as a springboard I created this pattern.
I decided to use white stripes alternating with four other colours:  mid green, dark turquoise, dusty purple, dark teal and mid green again; then mirroring the stripe sequence.
It looked really good as I pulled on the warp and so then my thoughts went to weft.  I decided to weave the pattern as big squares.  To achieve this I needed two wefts, so silver and white were my choices.
I wove about half of a tea towel and by then it was apparent.....this did not work.  I had put white edges on the tea towel 20 ends and I thought that this would stabilize the edge.
Nope, didn’t happen.  I can really see the wave effect when I change the weft and the treadling.  So lesson learned, if it works as a small motif, it will not necessarily translate into a large motif well.
I started to un-weave my work and found that I go tired of that really, really fast, so I decided to cut the weft out.  Besides being the fastest option, it is also the easiest on the web.
After I have snipped the weft threads a centimetre or so from the edges, I use a darning needle and pull the weft out from the centre.  I plan to un-thread the loom and find another pattern to weave.
I want to weave off these tea towels, so I’m going make the stripes narrower and look at doing some kind of eight shaft twill.  I hope that making the stripes narrower will make me fall in love with these towels!
The garden is still in that ‘not quite spring’ stage, but my moth orchid put up one spike this year and it is absolutely loaded with blooms.  I has been in flower since February and shows little sign of stopping.

Monday, April 8, 2019

How to Draft a Motif in Huck Lace

For the first half of the year in my Guilds study group, Exploring More, the topic was taking a motif and drafting it in various weave structures.  The first weave structure that we did was Lace, and I am going to take you through how I drafted a pattern.

We choose to do a Lace Weave first because it has clearly defined blocks and has a relatively large number of pattern shafts.  I chose to do a Huck Lace because I like the look of the interlacements.
The first thing is to choose a motif.  I chose something that has symmetry, so I can have a larger image using less pattern shafts.  Let’s try this cute angel fish.
For Huck Lace the first two shafts are the background shafts, they don’t affect the pattern.  But the rest of the shafts are pattern shafts.  In my case I have a 12 shaft loom so minus the two background shafts I have 10 pattern shafts.  For my fish I only need six pattern shafts so I have plenty of shafts.
So, now is the time to get out the Huck Lace graph paper.  You have probably seen in the back of Lace weaving books or Drafting books.  This sample is from The Complete Book of Drafting for Handweavers by Madelyn van der Hoogt.  I actually find it too small to use and I only need a small portion to use for my motif.  So I make my own when I graph the image.
For a motif you are going to thread the blocks in either straight order (i.e. in a straight line) or point order (i.e. in a V shape), with the fish I will be using point order because I have horizontal symmetry and it cuts down on the number of shafts needed.  Use the standard Huck Lace threading blocks which are Block A is 23232 Block B is 14141 Block C is 25252 etc.
Now is the time to add the hash marks into the graph.  The hash marks alternate between |, which are warp floats and the –, which are weft floats.  I wanted the nose of the fish to be a warp float Huck Lace unit so I started with the | hashing there and worked back across the line.  Then I add the rest of the hash marks to the graph.  The hashing alternated between EO (even odd) and OE (odd even).
To figure out the tie up a new graph is needed.  This new graph is set up in alternating plain weave.  This is where the EO (even odd) and OE (odd even) stuff comes into play.  My first line on the fish graph is EO so I start with the odd number plain weave line.
To fill in the new graph I look across at the fish graph and look at the purple highlighted areas.  On the fish graph I have numbers 3-8 running on the top of the graph these are the shaft numbers.

If the highlighted area has a |, that shaft number is added to the new graph, which created a warp float unit.  If the highlighted area has a  –, the shaft number is subtracted from the new graph, which creates a weft float unit.
Looking at the first line the highlighted area is a | and on shaft 8 so it gets added to the new graph.  The second line the highlighted area is a – and on shaft 8 so it gets removed from the new graph.  Continue adding and subtracting until done.  This is now the tie up, instead of reading it from the bottom up, read it from the right to the left.
For the treadling I look back at the fish graph and can see that each treadle corresponds to a single unit, there is no symmetry.  I will place the treadles in straight order (in a straight line) in the Huck Lace manner, which is the same as the threading blocks, Block A is 23232, Block B is 14141 etc.  I now have all the information that I need to weave the fish, I don’t need to put it into a weaving program.  But I will so you can see the final product!
There are some duplicate treadles that I can take out, down to 15 treadles from 19.  But there is still too many treadles needed from my loom.
If I take out the alternating huck lace units I can get down to 10 treadles but I think that the fish looks funny.  If I was going to weave this fish I think that I would add back the alternating huck units and just have the nose as a duplicate and that would get me down to 14 treadles, which is what I have on my loom.  Of course this isn't a consideration if you used a table loom!
So there you go a small guide to drafting a motif in huck lace!  If you would like to know more about drafting I recommend The Complete Book of Drafting for Handweavers by Madelyn van der Hoogt.