Monday, January 14, 2019

Guild of Canadian Hand Weavers Bulletin Samples Part 2

The samples have been woven and this blog post is about what happens next to the samples.  I put the finished fabric on the counter so I could make sure that I had enough samples.  Thankfully I hadn’t miscounted otherwise I would have had to put on another warp!
Then the monster sample was washed and hung it up to dry.  It quickly dried in the summer sun.
The next step is to iron a small chunk of the samples, I did about 10 rows.  Then place a piece of plastic between the ironing board and the sample fabric.  Make up your glue solution 1/3 Elmer’s School Glue and 2/3 water.  Using a paint brush, brush this solution onto the waste yarn between the samples.  We then used a blow dryer to speed up the drying of the sample.
When the glue is dry remove the plastic sheet and add rotary cutting board in its place.  Cut the small section of samples free.  Repeat the steps of ironing, gluing and cutting until done with the large sample piece.  I have to admit that this took awhile!
Almost done, just need to cover a table with a plastic sheet and place the now small sections of samples on it.  Use the same glue solution to paint the lines of waste yarn between each sample.  The glue will sit on top of the yarn so a paint brush is needed to force the glue between the fibres.  Be generous with the glue.  I placed it outside to dry and move onto the next section.
The sections are dry and now it is time to cut all the samples apart.  We found it was easier to use scissors then a rotary cutter as it dulled the rotary cutter immediately and replacing that can be expensive.  If you have a friend or a loved one to help to it goes quite fast, about an hour.
Now the samples are all separate and  ready to be sent to the Bulletin newsletter editor.
We sent three out of the four draft samples in one box.  Each set of samples was wrapped with plastic to keep the samples dry and a paper copy of the draft was attached.  An email copy of each draft was also sent to the Bulletin newsletter editor.  And that was it, done!

Final Garden Shot is the strikingly veined leaves from the Lords and Ladies (Arum italicum).  Spring is in the air!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Guild of Canadian Hand Weavers Bulletin Samples Part 1

Now that the Guild of Canadian Weavers has had a chance to mail out their newsletter for 2018, I can tell you all about making the samples for the year. A small group of us from the Qualicum Weavers and Spinners Guild decided to volunteer to weave the samples for the year.  We chose to use Orlec for the samples as it has lots of bright and bold colours, it is also very easy to use and readily available in Canada.  Mum did the math and worked out that for each set of samples we would need 3 8oz tubes of warp, 3 8oz tubes of weft and ½ tube of contrast yarn for spacers in both warp and weft.  To be on the safe side we choose to order an extra tube for the warp and weft as it would be the same dye lot if we needed it.

The warp length was 8.5 yards long and 606 ends for each of the samples.  Mum did the Spring 2018 sample and I did the Winter 2018 sample. Each warp was six samples wide.
I pulled each bout of samples separately, 96 threads plus the 6 threads of the separating yarn.  I had two thread colours in the warp so it took a little longer to pull but each bout took me 40 minutes, so fairly time consuming.
The warp pulled on beautifully because of the smoothness of the Orlec, which is orlon fibre.  We did 6 samples across, for a width of 25 inches.  The samples were 4 inches wide in the reed; we decided that we liked large samples, so the recipients could really see a good section of the weave.
The sample is a four shaft crackle but I separated out the samples onto 8 shafts because I don’t have enough heddles on shafts 1-4 to do them all.  The threading took 15 minutes for each set of samples, with only 100 threads and on four shafts it was quick.

As the samples are not much wider than a tea towel warp putting the warp through the reed and tying onto the cloth beam didn’t take too much time, but I forgot to time it, I'd guess it was about an hour in all.
The samples are an absolute joy to weave.  Each four inch sample only takes 10 minutes to weave.  It was really easy to find to time to do a couple of repeats at a sitting.
My sample, Winter 2018 was the polychrome crackle.  The warp colours were purple and green and the weft was orange.  Really bright and cheerful.
I did 55 passes of samples to make a total of 330 samples.  There are a couple of extras which is good because I had 3 samples that had errors.  The samples are great also because you get to leave your ends hanging out as they will be clipped later.
The finished fabric is crumpled up on the counter and you can see some of the iridescence starting to appear.
I will leave the samples here for now.  The next blog post is going to be about preparing the samples for the newsletter.

Final Garden Shot is our first snow of the year on the New Zealand Flax.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

What's on the Loom 2019

Happy New Year!

It’s nice to take the time to look at what is on the looms, what needs to be finished up and what is the next project.

On Mum’s loom is a seven yard tea towel warp in 2/8 white cotton.  Every January she puts on a tea towel warp!  The weft is a pale greyed purple, almost mushroom coloured and quite exciting.
On my loom is a black and gold shawl in 2/8 Tencel and stunningly lovely.
This year it feels like there are a lot of things that need to be finished.  I need to twizzle the fringe of a shawl plus a scarf for Mum and give them their finishing press.  The scarf is on a coat hanger because it has been hanging in the closet for a while!
I have another scarf drying outside, waiting its turn to be finished.
The next weaving project may not go onto the loom right away, while I catch up on everything, but I already know it is going to be tea towels!

Final photo is of a Victoria Grevillea.  It is an Australian plant and it always blooms in the winter here on Vancouver Island.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Twelve Shaft Silk Scarf and Travel

In mid September I put a warp on the loom using 2/20 silk that I had dyed a year or so ago.  The warp was painted an all over light blue and then mid toned pink splotches were added.  My goal was to get a bit of randomness into the scarf I intended to weave.  I have an immense love for pattern and I really wanted to feature some spontaneity in my colour choices to offset the pattern.
I chose a twelve shaft pattern with a geometric motif that is not quite perfectly linear.  There is a slight flaring and thickening of the diamonds that tend to make it a bit more interesting I think. I found the pattern in a book and had to make a number of corrections to fix very long floats.
After my usual pfaffing around with wefts I chose to weave the silk with tencel weft in grey blue.  I warped the loom and started weave a few inches and before I knew it, it was the end of September and the beginning of what I think of as ~ trip time!
At the end of September we were off to Italy on a three week holiday.  We were headed to Puglia, Basilicata and Calabria, so we really were going to see Italy from heel to toe!  Our flights were enough to put me off travel forever!  We seemed to have to transfer planes constantly and had really tight connections ... so very stressful!

Italy was magical as always and this part of Italy is moderately less travelled.  Our trip was archaeology and architecture focused and we saw everything from Roman ruins to Baroque churches in Puglia.  I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful it was, with amazing food and wine and weather, but I’ll share a few photos.
These are the Roman ruins of Egnazia which is still being excavated, it was a stop on the via Appia and this part of Puglia has 1000 year old olive trees which are amazing.
Alberobello Puglia is a Unesco site and home to the Trulli architecture which was stunning.
We moved on to Mattera in Basilicata which is the Unesco European City of Culture 2019.  Happily we were there before it hits it really big.  It was once known as the shame of Italy as people were living in hill caves right up until 1952 without any plumbing or electricity.   When we were there they were using the old village for a Bollywood movie!
Calabria was my least favourite part of the trip and frankly it was only because it was studded with piles of garbage and plastic floating in the wind.  The highlight was seeing the Riace Bronzes in Reggio, luckily we got there early in the day and had the Museo Nazionale almost to ourselves.

Now that I’m back home and our annual Guild sale is behind me, I am going to sit at the loom and finish that scarf! Well... and bake... when I come home all I want to do is bake and enjoy being home, this is Martha Stewarts Marbelized Roulade before baking, I took it to a dinner party and what a hit!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Very Fine Cotton Scarves in 12 Shaft Crackle

I pulled this two scarf warp way back before Christmas last year and it has sat in the yarn cupboard ever since.  It is 2/30 cotton in white.  I didn’t have a weaving plan before I pulled the warp and I think that it why it has languished for so long.  It also isn’t very inspiring especially when Mum is weaving painted warps in bright and beautiful jewel tones!
I was able to do a 12 shaft crackle because the fine grist of the warp meant that the large and complicated motifs are more manageable in scale.  I choose a very fine gold cotton as the weft for the first scarf.  And it was a disaster, the white and gold blah-ed out each other and the fine grist of the weft made the pattern really hard to see.
Unfortunately I then had to wind the gold cotton from the pirn back on the little cardboard tube.
I then tried 2/20 black cotton/Tencel; it was a safe choice but it was boring.
The weft that I went with is very much a surprise.  It is a thick and thin singles silk in lime green.  The crackle pattern is a little obscured by the texture of the silk but it is very interesting.
For the second scarf I went with fine grist of silk in a silvery blue.  The crackle motifs are very much more visible.
The lime green scarf is light, bright and cheerful.  For Sale.

The silvery blue scarf is lovely.  The crackle pattern really pops on this scarf.  For Sale.

Final Garden Shot is a Hallowe'en pumpkin!  Happy Hallowe'en!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Painted Silk Warps in 12 Shaft Twills

Mum and I both have a very large Ziploc bag filled with painted silk warps so we are on a quest to weave them all up.  The first warp that I put on the loom was painted in warm autumnal colours of golden yellow, warm bronze and raspberry red.
For weft colours I tried to stay in the autumnal theme, and I tried all the reds, oranges and browns that we have.  They didn’t work there wasn’t enough contrast.
I went with black, it really highlighted the colour and made the 12 twelve shaft twill really pop.
The finished scarf is truly spectacular; the colours are warm and glowing.  The graphic punch of the twill pattern is really interesting.  For Sale.

The second warp that I put on was painted in a raspberry red and a moss green.  I don’t have a good shot of the warp because painted warps are so exciting that they don’t sit on the loom for very long!
I tried a lot of weft colours.  The first bunch of colours was antique gold, amethyst, light navy and gold.  The amethyst was OK so I left it and tried two more colours next.
The two new colours on top were olive green and black.  The black overwhelmed the colours and the olive was boring.
Next I tried some reds to warm up the warp.  Well they just made the warp muddy.
I told you I tried a lot of weft colours.  This next batch I tried anything and everything that could remotely work.  Nope, nothing there.
The last try I looked at some previous choices, maybe I was too hasty in rejecting them.  I tried the amethyst, gold and a different darker navy.  Yup the darker navy is the one.
The pattern is a 12 shaft twill; it is actually the same tie up as the previous scarf.  I changed the threading and the treadling.
This scarf just glows.  There are two distinct sides to the scarf one is more navy and the other highlights the painted warp.  For Sale.

Final Garden Shot is the roof top visitors that we had this summer on our neighbours roof.  First is a bald eagle and the other is a raccoon.  Needless to say I preferred seeing the eagle!