Sunday, January 27, 2013

Planning Problems!

Today I saw my first bunch of blooming Snowdrops in someone’s garden, and this afternoon we started digging a new garden bed, so I’m thinking that winter may be on its way out here on Vancouver Island! The sun is shining and the tips of the magnolia are swelling a little bit more every day and I’m feeling hopeful!
For my newest project I put on a 4-1/2 yard warp for 2 table runners; each would have a 4 inch hem and be woven 60 inches long. I used 2 ply bleached Normandy wet spun linen for the warp that had been in my stash for about 5 years. I love to see a warp beautifully loaded on the loom and know that there is a whole world of possibilities in front of me. I had this yarn stored in hanks, so since I had to unwind the hanks to pull the warp, I decided to make all of it into warp chains for runners, so more runners are in my future!
I wasn’t very far along in the threading process before I knew that I had made the warp too wide, so I dropped 68 ends….34 from each end. To conserve the warp threads I’ve just chained them and let them hang….I’ll add them to the other warp threads and make another set of runners!

I’ve just taken this warp off the loom and haven’t wet finished or pressed it yet, so please ignore the wrinkles! I’ve gone back again and revisited my favourite pattern ‘du jour’, twill blocks or Drall. I reworked my pattern down to 300 ends, sett at a nice firm 20 epi and I’ve used a soft golden tan coloured 2/5 mercerized cotton for the weft. I started weaving my pattern for about 30 inches then reversed the beginning sequence to finish. I love weaving Drall!
The second runner has the same threading but has amethyst 2 ply linen weft and it’s stunning. I had just 2.4 ounces of this weft, so I had to really watch where I was in the pattern so I didn’t run out of weft. I changed up the treadling and did an opening pattern of varying sized blocks that was 19 inches long; then moved into the centre portion where all the blocks were the same size until it measured 38 inches long, then repeated the opening sequence in reverse, so I should have had 57 inches to my way of thinking…well not so, I completely mismeasured and this runner is shorter than I planned!

Well, I’m not one to waste linen warp, so I hunted out a wee ball of soft khaki coloured linen and made this little centerpiece….definitely not what I had planned, but pretty nice all the same.  It will have a fringe on each end rather than a turned hem.

On another note I have hemmed the Rep Weave runner and both of the shadow weave tea clothes that were in my stash box….so I’m moving forward on reducing my unfinished pieces.  As soon as we get a really sunny day and I can keep myself from running outside to play I'll photo the runner for the Etsy Shop.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Completed Projects to be Reworked

For some reason every January I get the urge to reorganize and my weaving stash gets hauled out for a good looking at. You know the stuff, too good to throw away, but too small, too long, wrong colour….that stuff!
It was really reassuring to discover that this year the pile hadn’t grown by much and I can actually see myself putting most of it to use.
The things that are in my stash of unfinished business are in every case but one, things left over from doing the Master Weavers test. There were some problems that I wove repeatedly, like the Rep weave at the bottom of the pile.
I wove this Rep Weave problem at least 12 times! I tried out different weft thickness and colours, I wove it all thin weft and various thick and thin ratios to find the best one to send off to the judges. Now I’m left with 7 pieces that don’t match! My plan for these is to sew them into purses.
This magenta and white overshot in cotton and wool has me stumped though. It’s pretty and perfect, but what the heck do I do with it? Something to ponder!
I’m pretty sure I’m going to try and sell this wool yardage on Etsy just as it is. I wove it from Scottish Tartan wool and its fine and silky feeling and if I wore skirts I’d make myself one….I can sew very well, I just can’t sew anything that fits me!
These two pieces of Shadow Weave are the perfect length for a tea towel and a bread cloth, so they will soon grace my kitchen….ahhhh finally!
There are two pieces of this Shadow Weave, one the size of a placemat (the matching one is in my Master Weavers Test box), and one the length of a table runner. The placemat could be put into my purse stash or made into cards……hmmmmmm. The runner is lovely but I’m not thrilled with the selvedges. In the Canadian Master Weavers Test you can’t use floating selvedges (draconian isn’t it?), so the selvedge turns are not as nice as I’d like. I’ve been toying with the idea of adding a ribbon selvedge…..not sure yet!
This Twill Gamp is really lovely, but too long for a tea towel and too weird looking for a runner….maybe cut up for cards?
What can I possibly say about this Dukkagang piece…..daunting!
This is the only piece that I added to the stash this year. I pulled it off the loom and just couldn’t get interested in finishing it….I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna do it! There goal set!
We went for a walk two days ago on Miracle Beach and this is what we saw….stunning flat Savary Island on the horizon and in the distance the Coastal Mountains of Mainland British Columbia.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A New Year a New Scarf!

Whew…..the last few weeks have been hectic to say the least. Not only did we celebrate Christmas and New Year, but we had both Michaels and Ngaires birthdays in there too! I feel so sorry for December babies….it’s really hard to make their special days compete with Christmas! Needless to say I’m feeling just a bit ragged around the edges and a bit overfed right now! Ahhh, the fleeting call of the January diet beckons!
I have been weaving quite a bit and have the scarf that I’ve named Cedar Bark off the loom, finished and listed on Etsy ~ I’m really pleased with it!
The pattern is really complex looking and because you only use four shafts it’s very easy to raise all the harnesses on the loom, so it’s a true joy to weave. I’m tucking this one away for future use.
I liked it so much that I put on exactly the same scarf in blue silk, thankfully they look very different so I could list both on Etsy.
I really wanted to showcase the silk so finding the right weft was paramount. I tried silver, lavender, magenta, purple and navy wefts before I gave in and went tone on tone.
The Azure blue is the perfect choice I think and now I’m sorry I chose black for the Cedar silk scarf when I could have been much braver and chosen orange!
The scarf which I’ve named Blue Waterfall has an amazing embossed look and the weft really showcases the variations in the warp.

I had dyed both hanks of yarn a few years ago at the same time and used the Cedar as warp for a ‘freeform’ scarf and the Blue as warp for a Theo Mooreman scarf. Have a look at them.
Making warps has been a bit of a pain since we moved houses and I’ve been leaning my warping board against the loom, or the couch, or anywhere out of the way while I pull the warp, needless to say not an ideal situation. My yarn spools have been known to completely abandon the room and roll right out of the door! So, my lovely husband seeing my plight built me this mini spool rack. It fits neatly under my Leclerc Holds All and can carry 6 spools of yarn. The really nifty part is that he used a guide for a fly fishing rod as the yarn guide; with the ceramic coating it’s really smooth and won’t catch on the fine yarn! I can definitely see a few more striped warps in my future!