Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The Last of the Fine Cotton Projects

There are two little balls of fine cotton leftover from one of our dye days, one is a silvery blue leftover from Mum’s blue ombre shawls and the other small one is purple leftover from Mum’s Echo Shawls (which she hasn't blogged about yet).
The original plan was to make a shawl using both balls but after I had pulled the blue ball there was more than enough for a single shawl.  The blue colour of the warp really reminds me of blue jeans so I thought the perfect colour for the weft would be the gold stitching used for jeans.
The gold I picked was antique gold Tencel which has a slight green tone.  It really overwhelmed the pale silvery blue warp, so I ditched that one.
Next I tried a warmer deep yellow gold colour and finally a gorgeous silver yarn.
The silver was the clear winner.  The pattern is a lovely undulating twill that either looks like X’s or lovely diamond shapes.

The shawl has a stunning shimmer and shine to it.  The silver weft really highlights the pretty pattern.  For Sale.

With the purple ball there was only enough warp for a single scarf.  I am really pleased that I am finishing using up all the fine cotton that we had dyed as it fits into my 'stash busting' pledge.
The weft for the purple scarf is a greyed teal and the pattern is a crackle, always a favourite weave structure in the Lynch household.  The pattern is fun to weave and vaguely looks like trees.
The scarf is wonderfully lightweight and the interplay of the matte finish of the purple cotton and the shine of the teal Tencel is fantastic.

For Sale.

Final garden shot is a hardy fuchsia that I have growing beside the hosta, the colour is just amazing!

Monday, July 30, 2018

A Kitchen Reno and Two Scarves

During the summer I find weaving often takes second place to gardening as our climate makes everything grow at an amazing rate.  I seem to spend my time, weeding, picking and processing for most of June, July,  August and September.  It's no wonder I'm ready for vacation in October!

Mid June we started a kitchen renovation.   We did most of the work ourselves ~ and went from the kitchen chosen by the builder which looked like this, a tad too brown for me:
To a blank canvas; and it is at this point you always question yourself. It is daunting!
And we ended up with this, a light and bright kitchen to make our often cloudy winters just a bit less grey. We put two different quartz counter tops in, a plain white fleck on the perimiter and a bolder white and grey marble on the island.  We also increased the size of the island, cause who ever said they had enough work surface? The upgrade to quartz made all the difference for me as it lowered the overall height of the counters, by a full inch and since I'm a bit vertically challenged, it is a wonderful improvement. We put in a black granite sink which is HUGE and that was a bonus too.
Ngaire planned the back splash tile pattern by laying the tiles out on the foyer floor using a paper template made from a roll of my used beaming paper.  We found that offsetting the tile by 1/3 was perfect.  We chose white beveled edge subway tiles from England that match the colour of the perimeter quartz perfectly.
The actual tile setting was relatively straightforward due to the preplanning, but perfecting the grout was much more difficult.
I did manage to do a wee bit of weaving in June and wove two painted tencel warps.  I used the same pattern for both of them as it is one I love weaving and summer is not the time to tackle difficult tasks in my opinion.
The first warp I called Fire and Ice, this painted warp was predominantly blues and oranges and by  choosing a burgundy red weft I ensured that it really does look like fire.
I threaded the warp as an 8 shaft advancing twill and treadled it in a parallel fashion.  I have used this pattern several times before and the fluid nature of the treadling never ceases to please.  As long as I pick a general progression series and stick to it I am free to weave ad hoc which is perfect for summer and a general laziness.
The final result is for sale on our Etsy shop Woven Beauty.  For Sale.
The second warp I call Pink Cammo and it is various olives, peachy pinks with a bit of burgundy.  I used black for the weft and this one is a real stunner.  For Sale.
The garden photo today a clump of drumstick allium ~Allium sphaerocephalon ~ complete with honey bees.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Opening Our Studio

At the end of May we took part in the ‘Mid Island Studio Tours’, and that was a new venture for us and surprisingly much more work than I anticipated.

Besides writing up a short blurb to go into the brochure that is distributed Island wide, we had to make signs, physically price all of our stock and clean out the studio.  We decided to leave the looms in place (with projects on them) as well as the sofa and the small desk.

Our house, luckily, was well suited for the tour as we have a large foyer that opens directly into the studio.  A few days before the event, we started figuring out what to put where and what a learning curve it was.  How to show your weaving to it’s best advantage is a real dilemma.
I wanted to block off the access to the rest of the house, so the grid racks worked well for this.  We had to address any possible tipping hazard; so we attached two of the extra racks at an acute angle to act as stabilizers.  This rack held five shoulder busts and twenty-six flat hanging scarves.  We hung the scarves by colour families.
This photo shows the colours a bit better, but the rack is not in its final place.
We have five larger mannequins that were used to highlight a few of the shawls, these were placed in the foyer, on the fireplace mantle and in a corner by the door.
We moved a couple of sofa tables from other rooms to the centre of the studio for the table linens.  I find displaying flat table linens to be very difficult.  We ended up rolling them on tubes of various sizes and standing a few up to give height to the display. 
This spiral display rack was pulled out of its box and this is its maiden voyage.  We used it exclusively for shawls and extra big scarves.  We used black flocked hangers which minimized slippage and faded into the background as well as allowing the shawls to be twisted into interesting shapes.
I had a ladder style towel rack that worked beautifully to display tea towels.  We hung one of each style  on the rack and had the rest folded neatly on the wooden bookcase behind it.

We learned so much by doing this event and would change only a few things.  The rack that held the scarves needs to be modified so that the scarves hang forward facing, rather than side on.  I will switch the scarf rack and the table linen display as the scarves are more exciting and need pride of place and the table linens are a bit static.  I would also hang fewer scarves and give each one more space.  Our statistics for the sale are very encouraging, every fourth person bought something and they all used credit cards.  Thank goodness for the Square Reader. Now the trick for next year is to have more people find us!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Green Cotton Shawls on Eight Shafts

I was serious about using all the fine cotton that we had dyed back in 2014, after this post I have two more projects with same fine cotton in different colours.  This time I used a pretty grass green.  There are two balls of the green with one ball slightly darker than the other; I am using the darker shade on the edges to frame the two shawls, so that I had enough threads to make a decent sized shawl.
I thought with a green warp that it would be easy to find a weft because nature uses green all the time!  But I had a hard time figuring out a weft that worked well with this particular shade of green.  I tried azure blue, yellow and lilac, nothing really worked.
Then I tried darker colours; amethyst, dark teal and hunter green.  Nope, nothing there that I can use but the darker colours showed the pattern the best.
Last try; eggplant, silver and always a favorite iris.  You’ll never guess which one I picked.
The eggplant won and it really shows the pattern well and it highlights the green warp.  It reminds me of the jackmanii clematis on the trellis in the back garden.  The photo doesn't do this amazing shawl justice, it's a real stunner.
For the second shawl I changed the tie up and the treadling to make a pattern that had longer floats so the green warp colour showed better.  I tried gold, blueberry blue, a very pale green, Ming blue and white.
I went with the Ming blue and it seemed to glow on the loom.
After washing the colour difference between the edges and centre is less noticeable but it still adds an interesting element to the shawls.  I am always amazed at the difference a good pressing gives the final piece.
The medallion pattern used on the purple shawl created two distinct sides, one green and the other a deep dark eggplant purple.  It is really striking to wear the shawl showing off that design feature.  For Sale.

The blue shawl is very pretty, the colours seem to glow.  For Sale.

Final Garden Shot is the Jackmanii Clematis if full bloom.

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.