Monday, January 11, 2021

Parallel Threaded Scarf 2

 I know, it’s been forever; that would be November 23, to be exact; since I started my two Parallel Threaded Scarf .  After really working at the second scarf for the past two days, I have just cut them off the loom.  Like many of you out there, I have been stalled in the doldrums, so nothing in my world is moving at any kind of speed.

The first scarf I wove on the orange and green warp was crossed with Blue/Purple Tencel.  This produced a scarf where both sides have very similar depth of colour.  The pattern is reversed but since the colour saturation was very similar, the differences are quite subtle.  The iridescence is really lovely with the fourth colour wandering into the crimson/purple range, although the grey day and my camera really didn’t capture it well.  And of course it needs to be washed to snug up all the threads and allow the colour play to develop.

This photo features the bluer side of the scarf and it has all the potential to be a stunner.  Not sure how I’m going to treat the fringe at this point though.  I have several options (a) just twist two green and two orange threads together (b)  isolate the colours and let them go (c) add weft coloured threads to each bout.

This second scarf is by far my favourite.  I worked on the treadling and took out a lot of the pattern echoing and reduced the pattern to these lovely small flower shapes.  I changed the weft to Iris Tencel and the greater contrast really made the scarf pop.

The iridescence is wonderful and there is more of a rosy/purple shine coming through.  I’m sure once it is washed and the drape show, it’ll be a real looker!

I did learn a lot, even though I moved like a snail....I learned that using split complementary colours to create iridescence works and you CAN move the placements around.  The accepted norm is to use colours next to each other on the colour wheel as the warp, then use the colour opposite on the colour wheel as the weft.  I split this up and it still worked just fine.

I will post a couple of photos later after I've done the fringes and when the light is better and hopefully the beauty shots will shine!

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

What’s on the looms on the first week of January

First of all, Happy New Year!  

Every year we have a little tradition to show what is on the looms on January first.  It’s a little late this year but better late than never.

Starting with Mom’s loom she has finished one scarf with the parallel threading in orange and green Tencel and the weft is a blue/purple Tencel (here is the blog post) and she is getting ready to start scarf number two.

On my loom is piles of white linen, I’ve decided to reweave the table runners that I messed up at the end of last year (here is the blog post).

The garden photo is of a Mexican Orange Blossom (Choisya ternata) with the first flower blooming!  What a lovely sight in January.

Monday, December 21, 2020

White Linen Table Runners Part 2

To begin we would like to  wish you all  a very Happy Holiday Season and we send you our hopes for a much brighter 2021!

Now to talk about weaving. The clear blue cotton of the final white linen table runner was a joy to weave, especially on the dark and rainy winter days that we have been having here on Vancouver Island. This pattern never fails to please me.

I took a quick photo of the two runners side by side before they went into the wash to see what they looked like together.  On one side the pattern creates large blue X’s and on the other side is large white X’s and I will need to decide which I prefer before the runners get hemmed, although we hem so nicely both sides could be shown.

Our  blog is called Dust Bunnies Under My Loom, so I guess it is appropriate that I show you some dust bunnies that formed on the carpet, linen is a real shedder! If you look really closely you can see them.

The table runners have been pressed and pinned ready to be hemmed, just waiting for a sunny day to sew.  This is a job that Mom enjoys and I'm happy to leave them for her.

Alas, when I was steam pressing the table runners I noticed that I had made a threading error.  It is a small error with one of the small X’s at the bottom of the larger X’s.  It looks like it has only half an arm.  I tried to figure out a way to needle weave in a thread to fix the error but I wasn't pleased with the result.

These table runners were to be sold on my Etsy store, Woven Beauty, but with the error they just don't make the cut, so they are mine, mine, mine!   I have more white linen and lots of the denim blue cottolin and blue cotton so I'm thinking I could remake them, but I'll wait until after Christmas to start.

The final Garden Photo is heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica); it is not a true bamboo but a member of barberry family.  Here it is in its blaze of winter colour, it truly stands out in a winter garden.  It is doing especially well this year because we have been having very mild wet weather.

Monday, December 7, 2020

White Linen Table Runners on Eight Shafts

After adding the new videos to our Etsy table runner listings, we have sold 4 table runners in the last month!  We are down to just 7 listings for table runners so I started a new project with white linen from Belgium.  I love the view from the back of the loom where you can see the pattern in the heddles.

I like a neutral table linen, so for the weft I tried a lovely warm beige cottolin.  It is a lovely colour but it brought out the yellow tones in the white linen.  It just made the warp look dirty so onto the next choice.

My next pick for weft is a faded denim blue cottolin which looks fantastic with the warp.  The linen looks white and crisp against the blue cottolin.

The pattern that I picked for the table linens is a classic one for us that I have woven many times and still enjoy weaving.  I last wove this pattern in January of last year and both of those table runners quickly sold.  There will probably always be at least one table linen in the shop with this pattern, it is just that pretty!  It is a snowflake twill with a strong graphic punch of the large X’s.

The faded denim blue cottolin runner quickly wove up and yesterday I finished it.  Next I had to pick a new weft for the second and last table runner for this warp.  I looked through the stash yarn book at all the different yarn choices and colours but this large cone of blue cotton spoke to me!  You may remember it from the wool throw blog post where it had been mislabeled as wool at a yarn sale but a burn test showed that it is cotton.

I am quite surprized by the difference between the two blues.  The cobalt blue of the new warp overwhelms the denim blue cottolin almost making it seem to be grey.  It could also be because of the grey and dreary light we have right now.

I wove a single repeat just so I can see what the new cobalt blue cotton weft is going to look like, and yup it is going to be amazing.

We have three hummingbirds overwintering in the back garden this year.  They are amazingly noisy with their chirping and chasing each other around.  But I caught two of them perching together against the stormy winter sky, staking out the feeder.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Weaving An Oldie...Part Two

If you remember my blog ‘Weaving an Oldie but a Goodie’ from a full month ago.  I was weaving a replacement scarf for one that wasn’t really successful, but still much worn! I loved the overall pattern of the scarf and I loved the seed beaded fringe.  I truly loved the bead sequence and overall look, so I wanted to re-use them on the replacement scarf.

I finished weaving new the scarf in pretty good time and then I cut the Japanese glass beads from the old scarf ready to add to the new one.

The first thing I did was carefully cut each of the bead groupings from the old scarf and slide them onto these long thin quilting pins.

I made sure that both sets of beads were identical because after dropping a few, they were a little bit out. I tried to keep them in sequence at all times.

Every time I picked up one of the pins I lost a couple of beads, especially off of the really long groupings.  I got this strip of ‘Fun Tac’ and jabbed them in, and that kept them corralled!  As an aside I use a strip of ‘Fun Tac’ to affix my treadling sequence to my loom; it keeps it right at eye level and doesn’t mark the loom; this stuff is useful!

Before I actually started to sew the beads in place I did a dry run to make sure I had the spacing perfect.  I really didn't want to get it wrong and have to re-do them.

I thought I’d show you the needle that I used.  This is an ‘Easy Eye’ needle from Germany, and as well as being very thin, it is sharp at both ends and the needle eye runs the complete length of the needle, seriously it’s the biggest eye I've ever seen in a needle!

This needle was gifted to me many years ago by my friend Susan from ‘Thrums Blog’ and I am thankful every time I use it. You can find a link to the Thrums on the sidebar.

I sew the beads on the scarf starting from right to left and I make sure I lock the thread very securely several times between each group.  The thread itself is hidden within the hemstitching. 

You can check out more on beading on the Tips and Tutorial page at the top of the post.

Here is the final fringe, it’s at this point that I’ll admit to adding two extra beads to each of the strands for added pretty!

The final beauty shot of my lovely new scarf; this really is a lovely addition to my wardrobe, with just the perfect amount of bling for me!

Monday, November 23, 2020

An Exploration of Parallel Threading on Twelve Shafts

My weaving study group, called ‘Exploring More’ is focused on weaving on more than four shafts.  The topic we have chosen this time is ‘Parallel Threading’ and boy is it ever an exciting subject.   The wonderful thing about parallel threading is that you can weave a huge catalogue of weaving structures as parallel.  Anything from Twill to Summer and Winter to Crackle Weave are good candidates.

Because I am a very practical weaver and I really don’t like to make samples I decided that I would weave two scarves on the same warp but with different wefts and see where it takes me.

I wanted to create a very basic parallel threading and so I started with a simple twill on six shafts. 

I chose six shafts because I have a twelve shaft loom and I wanted to have enough shafts available to host a true duplication.  A good rule of thumb when paralleling a draft is to start with only half as many shafts as your loom weaves. Not a hard and fast rule, but a good starting place.

I began by utilizing my computer program to parallel only the warp.

What PCW Fiberworks did for me was to insert a space between each of the existing warp ends on shafts 1 to 6 and then interleave the same motif onto shafts 7 to 12.  This is not really very exciting but it does show the process rather well.

My next step was to extend the tie up to twelve shafts and then to choose to treadle the weft ‘As Drawn In’.  As Drawn in means that you treadle your weave in exactly the same order as the warp is threaded.

Now that made a big difference and you can see a very pretty diamond pattern emerging.  I really liked this pattern and decided that this would be my jumping off point. 

Never one to weave something simple when I can really go for it; I decided that weaving this pattern as an Echo Weave would be the next step. 

What makes this an Echo Weave is that I’m using a ‘split complementary’ colourway.  This is two colours of the same hue which sit side by side on the colour wheel and then adding the colour in the same hue directly opposite them on the colour wheel, this trio is a split complementary.  Whew, that was a mouth full; what I mean by hue is all three of these colours have the same colour saturation, no mixing pastels and full tones!  I chose to use alternating blue and green in the warp and orange in the weft,!  It looks really full on, but what this trio of colours will bring is an optical illusion of a fourth colour, in this case that colour will be purple.

OK now I’ve explained what I thought I’d weave I decided to mess around with the pattern a bit and do a bit of copying and pasting and reversing and know all the fun things a computer program does!  

Then I thought.....hmmmmm.....why not see what happens when you mess about with the ‘split complementary’ and use green and orange in the warp and blue as the weft.

This is what I came up with and if you squint a bit you can actually see the fourth colour emerging.
Here is the project on my loom.  I have chosen to use Webs tencel in blue/purple for the weft.  I think it looks exciting and although my photo doesn't show it, there is already wonderful iridescence appearing.

Monday, November 16, 2020

How I Do Photos for Etsy

I’ve not been weaving lately but I have been tidying up our Etsy shop, WovenBeauty.  First I redid the photos for the tea towels.  I've been experimenting with styles of photos, trying to get photos that are quick and easy to do and still show the product to the best of my abilities.  I use to have the tea towels on a plain white background but they looked like weird flying carpets, so I started incorporating the kitchen countertop for the photos.  This gives a sense of scale and grounds the photos. One drawback is that the light isn’t the best in the kitchen because we have a skylight competing with a north facing window so the photos can be quite grey, especially now that we are going into the winter months.  Here are two photos for the purple striped tea towels, the first is the old photo of weird flying carpet tea towel and the second is the new style photo on the kitchen counter.  Much better!

I have also restyled the first product photos for the tea towels; this is the photo that first appears on Etsy.  I now use a wooden bowl to raise up the tea towels on the vertical, not just lying flat, because then you can see more of the tea towel and scale.  To the side of the photo I have included a stack of tea towels; these are the tea towels that match the tea towel being shown on the bowl.  When we do different colours of tea towels I like to split up the listings, one colour per listing; then by having the stack to the side customers can see that there is more than one tea towel available in the series.  Old photo for a turquoise and white tea towel and the new updated photo below. 

Last week I spent some time doing photos and making videos for the table linens.  Etsy recommends having seasonal photos so I did some winter themed product photos and I will change the first product photos for the table linens to the winter themed ones over the next week.  At the same time I did some videos of the table linens and that was a challenge!  Here is an example video for a red lace table runner. The winter light is terrible so I'll be redoing the videos in the spring, but these videos seem to work as I sold a runner just yesterday!

This week I’m retaking the photos for the shawls, now we can have up to ten photos for each listing, right now for the shawls I only have six so I took some more photos to fill the missing spots.  In one day I took over 660 photos of just 7 shawls!  Now it will take some time to process the photos so it’ll be a couple of weeks before the new photos hit the store.

Since the shawls are unpacked, I decided that I should do some videos for them also.  I wanted to do them outside showing the colours of the shawls in natural light, but the cold Artic air and the garden not being at its best, this means that I have to find a spot inside.  The slate fireplace in the studio made for a lovely backdrop.  The navy echo shawl is a good example on how well a video can help customers to see the true colours of the shawl, the green and magenta in the warp is quite hard to see in photos.

Looking at the shop I still need to top up the photos for about ten items; mainly for the knitted items and the skeins.  Hopefully I’ll get a couple more nice days for the product photography and maybe some more videos!

Final photo is of my orange, grow outside in Canada!  It was hard to tell when the orange was ripe, but the internet told me that when all the leaves fall off the tree the orange would be ripe.  Well there were still some leaves on the tree but one morning the orange had fallen off the tree, so I considered it done.  We cut it open to look inside, there is a lot of pith and the juice is quite bitter and we found three seeds inside!