Friday, June 1, 2018

Blue and Purple Cotton Shawls

More shawls!  Looking through the cotton bin we have a large collection of hand dyed cotton in blues, greens and purples.  Looking through the blog I found that we had dyed them back in 2014, definitely needed to be used.
We dyed two types of cotton, the large bone coloured cone is a very round cord and the two pink cottons are a softer ply.  The cotton is 2/16, 2/20 or even 2/30, pretty hard to tell.  The pink cotton was dyed a pretty purple and light blue, which is what I used.
Mum is also weaving shawls from this pile of cottons and she chose three different shades of blue to create an ombre effect but her thread is the round cord and she set her warp to 30 epi.  As my yarn is a little bigger and softer I was able to set my epi to 28.
I am using 2/8 Tencel as the weft because there are lots of colours to try.  The idea for the shawl was to use a colour similar to the purple and have a solid block of purple and have the pattern highlighted on the blue side.  But the shades of purple that I tried just washed out the blue.
I also tried two shades of grey, charcoal and silver.  The charcoal killed the purple and the silver was too light but as I looked at it more and more it seemed to work.  So, thinking what the heck, I went for it.
The pattern is an eight shaft twill that has lovely large ornate crosses.  The pattern is really highlighted on the purple side and is more subtle on the blue side.
For the second shawl I tried some contrasting colours: gold, greyed teal, mineral green and a pale green called Birch.
I was quite tempted by the gold but I went with the pale green, it is quite similar to the silver and made nice with both the blue and purple in the warp.
The pattern is very similar to the first shawl; the only difference is that the centres of the crosses have a double diamond instead of a single diamond.
The finished shawls are amazingly lovely; they are lightweight and have a great drape.  The silver one is quite understated and elegant and it sold immediately.

The pale green shawl has an interesting pale gold shimmer to it that really highlights the pattern and of the two it is my favourite.  For Sale.

Final Garden Shot is of a bunch of crazy looking Hair Alliums.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Black Shawls in Frost Flower Twill

I decided to do some shawls for the shop.  I wanted to do something dramatic so I put on a black 2/8 Tencel warp.  I tried out some weft colours, two shades of gold and a red in 2/8 Tencel.
The red won!  The pattern is Frost Flowers from Twill Thrills.  Mum used the pattern a while ago to create lovely scarves and the pattern is still stunning.
I put on enough warp for two shawls and the second one is woven in silk.  The silk is a lovely purple singles that Mum plied for me on her spinning wheel.  She actually spent a night hand winding a bobbin with singles so she could have an easier time plying the silk.
An interesting thing about the Frost Flowers pattern is that the variations are created from changing the tie up not the treadling.  I changed the tie up for the second shawl and started to weave with the plied silk.
The red and black shawl is as dramatic as I hoped that it would be.  The shine and drape of the shawl is stunning.  For Sale.

The purple silk and black shawl is lovely; it has a very different feel to it.  The pattern of the red shawl is full of pointy diamonds but the purple silk shawl the major pattern is the rounded diamonds.  The purple silk has a softer feel overall.  For Sale.

Final Garden Shot is of two dwarf rhododendron (Rhododendron yakushimanum) which have lovely pink candles and white flowers and some rhubarb that is ready to be picked.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Twelve Shaft Advancing Twill Shawls

My last project on the loom was a pair of shawls using some hand dyed 2/20 cotton in three tones of blue.  The colour variations are very subtle, but it still shows enough to add a bit of interest.

This is such fine thread with quite a strong twist that I ended up setting it at 30 ends per inch and even with that it was just about transparent on the loom.
I chose to use a twelve shaft advancing twill pattern and I am more than pleased with it although, I did have some real issues with the selvedges, and no amount of pattern manipulation seemed to fix it.
So I ended up adding seven threads to each edge due to weird pull in on the pattern.
The selvedge edges were added using the same yarn as the weft, in this case it was 2/8 tencel.   I added the selvedge threads by winding them individually onto a sewing bobbin and popping them into an old film canister with seven pennies.  I really had to search to find pennies now that Canada no longer makes them.  Luckily, we had just come back from the Garden Show in Seattle and had a handful of US pennies.
With so many hanging threads in one place there is always the danger that they tangle, so a few holes punched into a piece of cardboard and clipped to allow the thread to be inserted and I was good to go.
I did make sure to take the weight off of these hanging selvedges when I took a weaving break.  My big footstool did the trick.
I decided to make my hem stitching in increments of two reed dents, so with 30 ends per inch, that was a huge amount of hem stitching and when it came time to twist the fringes it was a beast!
The first shawl was woven using a blue/navy weft and was woven as drawn in; you can see the warp colour variations in this photo.
The second shawl was woven using hunter green weft and an advacing M’s and W’s treadling.

The garden shot this time is my newest Japanese Maple ~ Acer Japonicum ‘Green Cascade’.  It is waiting for this darned mizzle to abate so I can plant it!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Purple Striped Tea Towels

In the beginning of the year we are always drawn to tea towels.  This year I wanted to do lively coloured and thick stripes.  I was really drawn to the purples and a lovely lime green to highlight the colours.
I found a charming pattern on that forms little boxes.  The pattern is a 3/1 turned twill also known as a drall.
The stripes are an inch wide and there are three boxes per stripe which makes them look even wider.  The weft for the tea towels is a lovely shade of blue from Brassards called Denim.
I put on 7 yards of warp for 6 tea towels 36 inches long.  At the end of the warp I had 26 inches left, so minus 12 inches for loom waste, I had 14 inches left over.
I came up with a great idea, bookmarks!  I tried out a couple of colours of 2/8 cotton but they were matte and boring.
So I tried some 2/8 Tencel in black and two navies, they had shine and were exciting.  So I had found my weft for the bookmarks.
I decided to only use some of the stripes.  And here is where I made the mistake; I decided to cut out the warp stripes that I wasn’t going to use.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  The tension on the warp went wild and I had to finish cutting the entire warp off.  Here is the chained off warp looking sad, maybe I will do some temari balls with it.
Here are the finished tea towels.  They look fresh and cheerful.  They remind me of the first spring flowers, crocuses.  For Sale.
One thing about the tea towels is that the lime green stripe doesn’t look green anymore.  The purple stripes and navy weft has pulled the green colour from the stripe and now it looks yellow.  I still think that they look great, but not quite what I had intended.
Final Garden Shot is Bleeding Heart.  I wish I had a crocus picture but a bunny dug the bulbs up and ate them!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Rosy Red Paper Spots Lace Runners

Back in December when Mum was doing her three golden huck lace diamond runners and I did some lovely rosy red lace runners.  I used a stunning cone of 2/10 cotton in a colour called Zinnia, which we bought from Susan at Thrums.  It's always nice to drive 'up island' to see her.
Looking through our lace drafts I found a lovely pattern in paper spots or dropped tabby lace, which Mum had published in Handwoven Magazine.  I like to take of picture of the border so I can remember how to end the runner.  There is nothing worse than getting to the end of the runner and trying to remember what you wove for the border.
After taking the photo I noticed a small lump on the front with further check found a large snarl on the back.  So I got to unweave a couple of inches.
The pattern is wonderful large circles of lace highlighted by a trellis.  It was a simple treadling and a joy to weave so the runner wove up quite quickly.
I am always delighted when I finish weaving the runner (or scarf or whatever) and the pirn finishes at the same time!
I changed the pattern a little for the second runner instead of circles there are long ovals of lace highlighted by a trellis.
After washing the runners the lace does what it does and puckers the runner, this is the scary stage when you wonder if it will ever iron flat.
I usually use a steam press to flatten the final piece but with lace you need to push the puckers out with an iron.  It is amazing how the lace changes.
I then used the steam press for the final pressing of the table runners.  Here is the finished runner with the circles.  For Sale.
Here is the finished runner with the long ovals.  The runners are quite stunning and the warm brick red is a lovely colour.  For Sale.
Final Garden Shot is of some bulbs just popping up from the garden, I am not sure what they are I have to wait for them to bloom.  The trellis is to stop the deer from eating the tender tips.