Monday, July 15, 2019

Four Shaft Scarf on Loom

Another week and another scarf ... well just about. I really, really enjoyed the relaxing weave of this scarf. I think 3/1 twill may be a new favourite!
This warp is moss green and fuchsia over sea coral tencel. It is one exciting colourway; the sheen is wonderful and the colours are really front and centre.
I have woven almost 60 inches and I feel that there will be warp left over, so maybe I can weave it off for a small jewellery pouch.
This is one of my favourite shots, I love looking at the cloth rolling around the beam.
I have been spinning along with the Tour de France race everyday, but one, with Ravelry's Tour de Fleece. I took a day out and we went to Victoria and toured Bouchart Gardens which were stunning!

We had an estate sale at the guild this week, so sad to lose another weaver. The guild bought the entire studio filled to the brim with supplies and then sold to the members.
I bought some lovely hand dyed silk yarns, the cheeses are 2/20 silk and the skeins are 2/60...yikes!
And for some reason I just had to have ALL of this merion/silk blend sliver. I have a feeling this kilo of Ashford Pomegranate will keep me busy for yonks! To give you an idea of just how much stuff we had for sale, these fibres were left over after the serious spinners had gone through it.

My perennial beds are stunning today and I’ve decided to share the hummingbirds favourite flower du jour. This is Bergamota Monarede ‘Jacob Cline’ (Bee Balm).
And this one of a really tiny white crab spider hiding on a dahlia.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Four Shaft Twill Scarf

I have actually got a scarf warp on the loom, woven, washed, twizzled and pressed within three days! In an effort to be completely transparent, Ngaire actually did the twizzling and pressing.
This is so very unlike me it’s scary; my last warp of four tea towels sat on the loom for months while I found many a reason not to weave!
Yup, ‘one of these things is not like the other’....thank you Sesame Street for that little ditty.  It had been so long since I last used my tea towel template I forgot when to start the stripes, yet another grey moment.
I pulled on one of the pre-made hand painted warps that I prepared last summer, and frankly, I’m not sure what I was thinking when I made it.  The warp is based on sea coral 2/8 tencel; to which, for some unremembered reason I added a blue stripe before I painted it!  Why oh why?  And to make matters even worse I made two sea coral warps with blue stripes!
My next conundrum was choosing a pattern, it is such an unusual warp that I decided to keep it very simple and I chose to do a four shaft 3/1 twill.
This gave me the full show of the painted warp on one side and the weft predominant on the reverse.
I chose the same sea coral tencel for the weft in hopes of allowing the dyed side to dominate.
Dressing the loom was wonderfully easy, no long reach for that 12th shaft and a straight twill threading.  It was a real joy and went on really quickly.
I am thrilled with the result of this weave, although for some inexplicable reason it is really, really long!  The 3/1 twill had virtually no warp-wise take up.
I liked this weave so much that I immediately pulled on another painted warp, this one is loaded with colour in moss, magenta and purple on the same sea coral base.

Its raining outside as I write this, so no garden shot today, but here is a real beauty shot.
This is a tempered chocolate dome, filled with lemon cremeux, sitting on lemon curd with chocolate sponge, blueberries and roasted lemon dust!  Yup, it was totally yummy!  This just proves I watch too much Masterchef Australia!
Not quite as pretty is my first days spinning for Ravelry's Tour de Fleece.  I am taking this really seriously and have promised myself to finish the Gotland fleece by the end of the race.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Inspired by the Garden


I am still getting through the warps that we hand painted last year.  I only have four more warps to go and this one is #17.  I like to make some notes for each warp; what it is, how many ends, the set and how long it is.  It is so easy to forget.
This warp is 2/6 raw silk that originally was that yucky raw silk brown colour.  When we were preparing the warps for dyeing we first put them into a Soda Ash solution which increases the pH, making the fiber more basic which opens up the fibers preparing them for the dye.  Surprisingly the raw silk leached all of the yucky brown colour leaving a silvery white; prefect for dyeing.  This warp was dyed moss green and plum purple leaving some areas silvery white.
The colour combination of this warp reminded me of a sedum (Sempervivum 'Icicle') that we have in the garden.  So I took that inspiration and ran with it.
I found a lovely rosette twill pattern; that resembles the flower-like sedums.  For the weft I lucked out and found a lovely warm rosy brown 2/6 silk.  The silk weft also has a wonderful shine that picks up the rosette pattern.
I have just started the second scarf on the same warp.  The inspiration is the same sedum but this time looking close at the individual silvery pointed leaves.
The weft is a 2/6 silver silk and the twill pattern highlights the leaf shape of the sedum.  The threading is the same for this scarf but I changed the tie up and the treadling.  I like changing the tie up when I can, to make each scarf different.
When I was tying up my treadles I found that one of my texsolv tie up cords had almost shredded apart.  It was hanging by a thin thread of texsolv, I am very lucky that it didn’t break through while I was weaving.
Next time you will see the finished scarves.

The final garden picture is a sad update of the oranges that have fallen off our hardy orange tree.  I am not really surprised because the tree was dug out last autumn, over wintered in a pot and planted in the spring.   Honestly, I was amazed that there were flowers this spring, let alone oranges on the tree!  Hopefully next year we will get our first orange.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Finishing Up and Tour de Fleece

Finally, the Korndrall tea towels are off the loom.
They have been washed, tumble dried with wool dryer balls and are now being pressed ~ can’t say enough about the dryer balls, they really do reduce the drying time considerably.
When pressing we use a Singer Steam Press which we affectionately call ‘McSteamy’; an homage to yonks ago and the first few seasons of Grey’s Anatomy.
As with many weavers I began my love of fibre from wool spinning roots.  I began spinning wool in the 1970’s when I lived in Rotorua New Zealand.  Ahhhh, the good olde days!  I segued into weaving when the yarn began to pile up and I was looking for a beautiful and interesting way of using my handspun yarns.  Funnily enough, now I rarely weave with wool. 

I still have the very first wheel I ever bought, which is a Nagy purchased in New Zealand, she is made from Kauri which was recycled from demolition and it is still one of the most beautiful wheels I have ever seen.  She spins beautifully, but with only one treadle it is slower to spin and takes considerable effort.
I find that now I prefer to spin on my Lendrum double treadle as she is super fast and just plain fun to use!

Spinning is on my mind today as I have just joined Ravelry’s Tour de Fleece!  The idea is that you spin along with the Tour de France during the month of July.  This seemed like the perfect time to haul out a rather geriatric Gotland Fleece that I have had stashed in a closet!
I washed the locks of the fleece several years ago and stored them in beautiful condition.  Sadly, after years in a cotton pillowcase they are a bit dry and slightly matted.
I have decided to split the locks into piles by colour and this fleece has given me three distinct colours.  There are lovely long, silky creamy white locks, medium long light grey/cream locks and much shorter, curly dark grey locks.
I am about half way through preparing the locks for spinning and as I finish a group I spray it with a little water in which I have dissolved some hair conditioner in an effort to add back some of the lost moisture and hopefully make the spinning easier.
I have been using a flick carder and a piece of leather to open up the locks and it is working really well albeit slowly, but hey, it's all about the journey.
After flicking I am left with a bag full of beautiful wool puffs that have been pulled out of the locks.  I want to spin the locks as worsted (all the fibres in a line) and these bits of fluff are now prepared as woollen (all the fibres mixed up); so after I have finished the fleece I will spin this bit separately.

The garden shot for today is a shot from one of my perennial borders which are glorious right now, the tall pink flower in the centre is Agasache 'Sunrise Red' (Hummingbird Mint) and the low orange flower is Helianthemum hybid 'Ben Nevis' (Rock Rose), the tall pink flower on the right is Gaura lindheimeri 'Passionate Blush' (Wand Flower), and good old Alyssum for balance.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Denman Island Garden Tour

We went on the Denman Island Home and Garden Tour this weekend.  It is a charity fundraiser for the Denman Island Conservancy association which has protected over 700 acres of Denman Island.  Denman Island is up near us in Comox; it can be seen from our harbour.  It lies just off of Vancouver Island, just a 10 minute ferry ride.  It is approximately 51 square kilometers and is 19 kilometers long and 6.5 kilometers wide.

It was a lovely day for a short ferry ride across the Baynes Sound to Denman Island.
Baynes Sound is the area on Vancouver Island that grows oysters, you may have heard of Fanny Bay Oysters.  Fanny Bay is just 5 minutes down the road.
When we got to Denman Island we headed up to the Main Street to get our tickets and a map of the Island to start our adventure.  The first garden shows how hot and dry it has been and they don’t have the water to spare to water their lawns.  But still a field of poppies and dandelions is a pretty sight.
I am not going to show you all the gardens just some highlights that we went to but what every garden had in common was the roses.  Denman is an Island of roses, the smell was spectacular.
As we toured the island we found ourselves on the far side of Denman Island which is the view of another island called Hornby Island and the mainland (the British Columbia coastline).  This section of the Pacific Ocean is called the Strait of Georgia, which is part of the Salish Sea.
The theme for this year’s Garden Tour was wetlands and this has to be the prettiest, a lovely bridge arching over the pond with yellow irises.  There were Muscovy ducks running around too!
Now it is time for lunch we stopped at a provincial park called Fillongley and our view was of Hornby Island, you could see the whole island.
Onto the next garden, it was the best one by far.  It has been featured in many gardening magazines, it was a large perennial garden.
There was a large patch of Turkish Sage that just caught your eye.
And a Star of Persia allium, they may be short but they pack a punch.
At the last garden we saw this plant didn’t know what it was but with a picture and the internet we found it is called Jupiter’s Beard and have already been to the garden nursery and picked up some (and already planted!).
The best garden art was this heron, made from wrapped fabric and a crocheted table cloth!
We are hot and tired now so back down to the ferry terminal for the ocean voyage back to the Vancouver Island.  We arrived in time to see the ferry came in, that grey line isn’t the road markings it is the cable used by the ferry, which is a greener alternative than the traditional ferries.
Finally we are on the ferry about to go back home to the big island, Vancouver Island.  When you drive onto the ferry a crew member helps you park, they need you to park really close to be able to fit the most amount of cars.  I parked so close to the car in front of me that the man wasn’t able to open his trunk!  But I got a 'good job' from the crew member.
It was a long day but it really gave us a lot to be inspired by for our own garden.