Monday, June 29, 2020

Tea Towels Just Keep On Rolling Off the Looms

The blue tea towels are off the loom, here they are waiting to be cut into twos and then the raw edges sewed to stabilize before going into the wash.  I machine wash and machine dry my tea towels before hemming.
I also steam press the tea towels before hemming, I think that it easier to fold up the hem.
It can be hard to choose which side is the right side.  There isn’t much difference between the two sides but with the tea towel on the right the pink stripe creates triangles which I think looks better.
It has been a cold and rainy June-uary but the last couple of days have been nice enough to sit outside and hand hem the tea towels.
I will give the tea towels one more steam pressing before I take product pictures so they can go into the shop.  Hopefully they will be available by next week.

Speaking of Etsy I’m part of a prototype group for testing videos in listings.  So I’ve been learning how to video my scarves.
Each video is only about 15 seconds long but it still seems to take a while to video each scarf!   I hope that the videos will help to show the true colour of the scarves because frankly sometimes the still photos just blah out!  Here is a sample video.
Since I live on an island there is always going to be wind, and I think that the wind adds drama and interest to the video.

Final garden shot is Salvia microphylla ‘Hot Lips’ and Jagged Leaf Verbena.  The Salvia looks like little Canadian flags, perfect for Canada Day on July 1st.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Eleven Shaft Tea Towels Wrap Up

My eleven shaft tea towels are done, done, done and it was a lovely project overall.
One of the neat things that happened while I was doing some random treadling between the tea towels is that these lovely hearts magically appeared.  This is just a partial pattern treadling and I know I’ll go back to it later and see if I can make it work as a repeating pattern.
The take up on this pattern was more than I expected and I ended up weaving right to the very end of the warp.  I really don’t like to go this close to the heddles because the shed was sooooo tight.  This is also a pretty good shot of the colourful hair clips that I use to hold the heddles that I’m not using together.  Everytime I sit down to thread a new warp I’m delighted by the Easter colours and of  course the bunny ears help!
Here are my tea towels off the loom, before wet finishing.  I love this shot.
I had a hard time deciding which side would be the ‘right’ side, frankly both are lovely.
These are the four different wefts that I chose for my Spring Tea Towels.
The front and back sides of each of the duplicate coloured wefts.
I placed an order with Maurice Brassard et fils in Quebec for more 2/8 cotton and this lovely box of possibilites arrived in just four days.
One of the things I do right away is take a sharpie to each tube of cotton and mark colour them in.  I choose a different colour each time.  This not only helps me with using up my stock by age, but really helps with keeping the dye lots seperate.
This shot is a bit blurry, but you can still clearly tell that they are the same colour, from the same supplier but differing dye lots.  I have been caught out more than once, I’m sorry to say, with a streak in my web because I got the dye lots mixed up.  Surprisingly this has also happened with white cotton, not only with the dyed cotton; I guess there are differences in the bleaching process too.
At this point I update my yarn binder and I can’t say enough about what a good idea this is.  I have written blogs about making this binder in the past and it is my best organizational tool. (Focusing on Fibres March 2009 and Confessions of a Compulsive Organizer December 2019); I would be lost without it.
Our Garden is really lovely right now and the perennial borders are at their best. This is a really lovely shot of Penstemon hybrid ‘Garnet’ commonly called Beard Tongue.  What a weird name for a truly spectacular summer perennial.  The hummingbirds and bummble bees love it.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Blue Striped Tea Towels

I have just put on a warp that is seven yards long, which is enough for six generous tea towels.  I didn’t really have a final plan for the colour of the tea towels, I wasn’t sure if they were going to be the same colour but different treadlings or if I was going to just change the weft colours.  All I knew was that for the first set of two tea towels I was going to use the same royal blue as I used in the warp.
The tea towel is really pretty with the royal blue weft and the patten really shines through.  The treadling is straight point twill but when I first started the tea towel, within the first three inches, I made a treadling mistake!  Thankfully the mistake was easy to see so a little unweaving and away I went.
I wove two tea towels with the royal blue weft.  Then I auditioned some different coloured wefts.  The first two were denim and a navy.  The navy is a possibility but the denim just looked faded.
Next I tried purple and that was a big nope for me.
The last two weft colours that I tried were a bright blue and a periwinkle blue.  These two are definitely the weft colours for the next two sets of tea towels, very fresh and clean looking.
When I change weft colours I also change my hanging selvedges to match the new weft colour.  I make sure to change the hanging selvedge in the middle of the spacer between the two tea towels, as sometimes there can be some pulling.  I just wind it around a long pin and away I go.
I decided to keep the treadling as is for the tea towels and just change the weft colour.  I really enjoyed using this pretty bright blue so much so I only have this one photo of the tea towels, they wove up really fast.
The next set of two tea towels is the periwinkle blue.  It is a lovely rich colour.  I am just starting the last tea towel in this colour and I will finish the tea towel today because it is a rainy day so I’m stuck inside while the grass just keep getting longer.
The roll of finished tea towels on the cloth beam is so pretty, I’m glad that I went with the bright and cheerful blues!
The final Garden Photo is Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Comotion Moxie' and what a beauty!

Monday, June 8, 2020

Cotolin Tea Towels on Eleven

I’m still plodding along with my “Sunny Day’ tea towels and I’m currently weaving towel number five.
I have really jumped into the spring theme and I’ve taken the plunge into pink.  I rarely use pink, but for some reason, right now, they feel very optimistic.

As always my goal is to  use partial tubes of yarn for the weft whenever possible.  To that end, I’ve been weighing each tube before and after weaving; and this is when weighing in grams is a real benefit.  I have found that each tea towel uses exactly 59 grams of Borg’s cotolin for a yard long tea towel.
So far I’ve woven two tea towels (above) using what I originally called salmon and now I’m changing to quince to keep with the spring botanical theme.
I have woven one in pink lilac and it is extremely light lilac.
This one is in a very pale apple blossom pink, a real girly and sweet pink.
This one is in true lilac and I have exactly 59 grams left on the tube after weaving this tea towel, so, if I’m very brave and trust my math, I may pull on my big girl pants and use this instead of the pink lilac for my last tea towel, which has a much safer amount left on the tube.

I will admit that although I’m slow at weaving these tea towels they have been an extremely satisfying weave ~ I don’t have to concentrate too much with the treadling and the pattern really appeals to me. I will definitely use this pattern again, perhaps for a scarf or shawl.

I almost forgot to show you the beauty photos of the 8 Shaft Frond pattern shawl that I took off the loom last month.  This shawl turned out just wonderfully light and supple; and since I’m a bit of a magpie and drawn to shiny things, it fills that role too.
             
Today’s garden shot is the Phlomis russeliana or Turkish sage. The flowers on the bottom tier are just beginning to open.  This plant makes these lovely little rosettes of flowers all the way around the stem and then the stem starts growing out of the centre of the blossoms and does it all again making three or four tiers of petty yellow flowers.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Tea Towels Started

If you remember from the last post I wrote, I was planning to use some of these small bits of 2/8 cotton for my warp.  I worked at the computer for a very long time trying to get stripes of colour and a pattern to work.
In the end I ended up only using one cone of royal blue from the little bits pile.  But the colours for the warp are bright and happy which makes me happy too.  The final colours are in the middle, the royal blue, turquoise, emerald green, peach, pink and white.
I like to pull my tea towels in four small bouts of about 100 threads.  It makes it easy to keep track of the number of threads and the stripes.  It also helps to stop my natural inclination to cram a lot of threads on the warping board.  The problem with cramming a lot of threads on the warping board is that the tension of the threads slightly pulls in the warping board pins which means that your warp gets a little shorter; it can be quite noticeable.
The Louet Spring has a build in raddle at the top of the loom.  It makes quick work of spacing out the warp in preparation of beaming the warp.  But it also comes in handy in double checking your work, this time I missed ten threads in one stripe but I was able to fix it before beaming the warp.  I used to have a Leclerc Minerva and I would lash on a 5 dent raddle to the top of the loom and use it the same way.
I use heavy white bond paper as the separator for the back beam.  We found a very large ream of it many years ago, we are still using it.  I cut new warp paper at the beginning of the year as by the end of the year it is starting to tear from the pulling on it.  I like to cut two different lengths, one 6 yards and one 12 yards.  I use the 12 yard one mainly for tea towels.
There was a rainy day last week and I was able to quickly thread and tie the warp onto the loom.  But it has been nice the rest of the days I’m still working in the garden so the warp is sitting waiting for me.
I pulled out some 2/8 cotton cones that I’m thinking about using for weft.  They are sitting on the corner of the mantle waiting for me to start weaving.
The Garden Photo this week is Blue Speedwell (Veronica ‘Flover  Blue’) and a bush Cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa ' Yellow Gem').

Monday, May 25, 2020

Sunny Day Tea Towels

What does fine weather, sunny days and weaving have in common?  For me, nothing....I just can’t seem to concentrate on difficult weaving when the birds sing.  So, I go to my happy weaving place and put on tea towels.  I find that tea towels lend themselves to a short attention span and right now that is exactly where I am.

I put on a white 2/8 cotton warp that was 7 yards long, this gives me 6 tea towels, each 36 inches long and plenty of loom waste and spacers so that I’m not skunching up at the end.  I really hate trying to weave off that last couple of inches when you can barely open a shed.
I have been using PCW Fiberworks for more years than I can remember.  I purchase my first iteration of the program when my invoice number was in the five digits!  My second upgrade came about five years later and my current update came on a wee thumb drive.  How times have changed!
I knew I wanted to find a pattern that would give me a clear, crisp motif and a pattern I had not seen woven before if possible.  So I started my search at home with this CD called Thrilling Twills that PCW also sells.  These drafts are almost all computer algorithms so all the differences come in the tie up, with straight draw threading and treadling, perfect for summer weaving.
I decided to look at some of the more unusual drafts and since I have 12 shafts I started looking at patterns on 11 shafts, because lets face it, not too many people choose to use 11 shafts! I found the perfect draft, it has a clear motif and is not too busy.

Dressing the loom took a few days as we are still painting our house in between rain showers and cool winds that come barrelling down off the Comox glacier.
This photo was taken in early April, but the mountains are still snow covered today and the wind can be darn cold!
I decided to do a stash reduction ~ and tea towels are perfect for using up that last bit on the tube ~ and use cottolin for my weft.  This is 2/22 cottolin, 60% linen and 40% cotton, and the colour that I chose looks like Sockeye Salmon.
Ngaire had tied up my loom so that the pattern was showing the reverse side and I was absolutely delighted when these lovely circles appeared.
This is the pattern as shown in the draft and frankly I’m happy with it too.  I took this photo by putting the camera lens between the warp threads, so not the best photo, but you can see it looks like the draft.  I really think I like the circles the best!
I planted this Cistus x purpureus (Purple Rockrose) last autumn and this is the first time I’ve seen it flower.  Although it seem to be more pink than purple it is lovely and deer resistant to boot, which is so important here on Vancouver Island because the deer think of my garden as their personal buffet!

Monday, May 18, 2020

No More Empty Loom

I’ve finally decided what I am going to put on my loom, tea towels!  Aren’t all these colourful  2/8 cotton cones just full of possibilities.
There is a small bag of little cones that I want to use up.  I think that I’ll only use a couple of colours but these cones are going to influence the stripes in the tea towels that I’m planning.  I kept some notes from other tea towels and I know that 10 ends at 7 yards weighs about 0.35 oz.  So with some math I’ll figure out how many stripes that I can do of each colour.
I haven’t decided on the draft yet but I am going to do stripes of colour woven in some sort of twill.  I’m looking at old drafts and at the Strickler book to see what leaps out at me.
Thankfully I’ve got a little extra time to find a draft as Mom gazumped me to the warping board.  She is also pulling a tea towel warp in white 2/8 cotton.
An update on the orange tree (Poncirus trifoliata monstrosa 'Flying Dragon citrus'), the flowers have bloomed and the smell was amazing.  Now there are little oranges!
During May the front garden starts to really come into its own and blooms abound.  The Siberian Irises (Iris sibirica) have started to flower as well as the first of the Alums.  In the background there are two Jupiter Beards (Centranthus ruber) in red and white that have also begun to bloom.  It is quite exciting and the bumble bees and honey bees are going nuts.