Monday, February 17, 2020

Table Runners Part 4

While I was weaving the grey silk and white cotton table runner something weird happened.  After I advanced the warp I noticed that one of the warp threads was loose, turns out that it had frayed apart.  I think that this is only the second time that I have had a broken warp thread.
I finished the runner with just the tiniest amount of silk left on the pirn.  The runner ended up being 58 inches long on the loom, honestly longer than I thought.  I was sure that the silk would run out at about 40 inches.
For the last runner I threw caution to the wind and used a coral coloured cottolin.  It is amazingly pretty.  The coral just glows against the cream warp.
The cottolin is a thicker grist then the grey silk so it woven up slightly wider than the grey silk.  I had to add venetian blinds around the cloth beam to support the wider width of the coral runner.  If you don't give the extra width support it will pull the warp tension tighter at the edge as it travels around the cloth beam at a different rate.
This warp seemed to be just as dusty as the last runner warp with the pima cotton.  Although this warp produced some impressive stalactites and stalagmites made from dust under and on the loom.  We are truly embracing our blog name and creating amazing 'dust bunnies'.
I have cut the runners off the loom and have machine sewed the edges to stabilize them before washing.  I’m hoping that I can wash them tomorrow; a nice, sunny day has been forcast.
Now that the runners are off the loom I’m trying to find my next project by going through some old Handwoven magazines.  I’m also doing some homework for my weaving study group; we are looking at weaving layers, like double weave/pique/Finnweave/Bedford cords/swivel/deflected double weave and the ilk.
This January has been record breaking as one of the rainiest and cloudiest in the last 60 years.  So it has been hard to take photos of the new pima cotton table runners but we finally had some sunny weather so here are the beauty shots for the pima cotton runners.

The pima cotton and blue bamboo rayon runner.  For Sale.

The pima cotton and green cotton runner.  For Sale.

And I also finally got photos of the fine white cotton and blue bamboo runner.  For Sale.

Final Garden Shot is of our first crocuses pushing up through last years alyssum.  These used to be in the front garden but the deer would eat the blossoms clean off, so I moved them to a cool spot in the back garden and hoped.  I am very surprized about how many flowers there are!  They started out with only 5 free bulbs that came with a seed order.

Monday, February 10, 2020

An Abrupt Halt

At the beginning of January I put on a 2/8 unmercerized cotton warp, eleven yards long in deep navy blue.  The plan was to make ten tea towels.
My pattern is a very lovely all over pattern in twill on twelve shafts.
By mid January I had woven eight tea towels.
I had decided to weave the tea towels in two different colour groups.  The first group of five were woven in deep jewel tones; red, turquoise(2), purple and green. 
The second group were a bit of a stash buster in spring tones and I planned on weaving, pale blue, lilac(2), celery and yellow.
This is a photo of the celery tea towel and I had one of those wonderful moments when the pirn and the pattern ended at the same time ~ so immensly satisfying!

Then it happened, I went to the medical lab to do my regular blood work and the lab tech somehow damaged a nerve in my left arm while taking blood.  The pain was nothing less than astonishing when I extended my arm!  This put my weaving on hold while I am coming to grips with allowing the nerve to settle down, no full extention was what feels best. I don’t want to even begin to describe the kerfuffle of getting dressed in the morning!
The upside of a weaving haitus is that I started to knit a sweater.  I have only begun the project and my plan is to have the colour sequence, cream at the top, gold in the centre and navy at the bottom.
I’ve had my eye on this top down knit tunic by Drops Design for awhile.  It's called the Sweet Nothing Jumper and it is a free pattern from Garnstudio and can be found on the web or on Ravelry.  Wouldn't it be a fine thing to morph into a tall blond at the same time!
Today I was able to weave for a short time.  I can throw the shuttle pretty well, but I can only beat using my right hand.  Needless to say it's slow going but I am determined to finish this project and set up for our study groups new challenge by the end of February. 

My garden shot today is of these sweet determined pansies stuggling after the wind and rain has bashed them about.  They still make me happy!

Monday, February 3, 2020

Table Runners Yet Again

The white 2/10 cotton warp pulled onto the warp beam beautifully.  I was a little worried because the cotton is quite sticky while I was separating it onto the raddle at the top of the Spring loom.  But, happily, it flowed on quickly and easily.
I was most of the way through threading the 650 threads when I realized that something was wrong;  I had a lot of heddles left unused on shaft six.
Off I went to the computer and compared the paper draft that I was using to thread the loom with the draft that I was looking at on the computer.  Well they are two different drafts!  But they are very similar; the computer draft had 4 more threads for extra flourish.  So I printed out a copy of the new draft and hopefully this will be the end to my problems.
I put on enough warp for a 40 inch a 50 inch and a 60 inch runner.  For the first runner I am going to use the rest of the blue slub rayon that I used with the Pima cotton runners.  At this point I am not sure how long it is actually going to be. 
The pattern is called Bethlehem Star, and the large diamonds are quite striking.
The runner didn’t take long to weave up; I think that it helps that the pattern is 'tromp as writ' so after threading the pattern twice it is firmly memorized.  I finished the runner with only a little bit of weft left; I don’t think that I could have done better.  The runner is about 50 inches long on the loom.
So for the next runner I had a good old rummage through the stash.  I found this cheese of silver grey silk.  It is really lovely with some subtle flecks of white.  I know the weight of the cheese, but I have no idea of the yardage.
The silver silk is weaving up quite differently from the blue rayon.  It is more subtle and it is a finer grist so the pattern repeat is shorter.
The silver silk keeps twisting onto itself.  I have to keep a close eye on it to make sure that the weft is straight.

But the runner is beautiful and well worth the effort.  I am still weaving this runner so I don’t know how long it is going to be but I think that it is going to be about 40 inches long.  So I still have one more runner to weave about 60 inches long and a lot of stash to bust!
The Final Garden Photo is the evergreen perennial Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens) that is starting to bud.  Unfortunatley we have a winter storm warning for tomorrow and it may snow 5 to 20 cms.  Yikes!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Yet More Table Runners

I have washed and dried the two runners, and because its winter they took a little longer to dry.  I gave the runners a first press on the steam presser before folding up the hems; I really think that helps to reduce the bulk of the folded hems.  I like to use a metal ruler to help fold over the hems; it gives a nice sharp crease.  I just have to be careful because the ruler gets hot!
Now the runners are waiting for a nice clear day so I can see to sew, it has been very rainy and foggy here on Vancouver Island lately.  Looking at the runners side by side they almost look like they are from two different warps, the green runner has an exceptionally beautiful golden gleam.  (Sorry, the picture is a little blurry)
This year is about reducing the stash so I have some of the blue rayon left.  It wasn’t enough to weave a runner 50 inches long, like the previous runners but it should be enough for a 40+ inch runner, a perfect size to go widthwise on a table.
I have just made a warp of a lovely creamy white 2/10 cotton.  It is about 5.5 yards long enough for a 40 inch, a 50 inch and a 60 inch runner.
The draft that I am using is one I have used before so I just blindly followed it.  Well it turns out that the draft didn’t quite have the right number of ends so I had to correct the draft on the computer and pull an extra 20 threads!  Boy, I’m glad that I checked before I had pulled on the warp because if I remember correctly this cotton can be a tad sticky.
I’m going to pull on the warp on today.  Hopefully I’ll have some pretty pictures of some weaving next week!
Final Picture is an atmospheric gloomy photo of the fog with the silhouette of the Douglas Fir trees, the scene can be seen from the studio windows.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Table Runners Yet Again

After all the kerfuffle with pulling the warp for these table runners, the threading and sleying went quickly and easily.  I usually audition several wefts before making a decision but this time as soon as I saw the navy slub I knew that it was the one.
Inside of the cone I found a little note.  The note is from a previous owner, it has the fibre content, yards per pound, and when it was purchased.  This cone has been around from April 1986 and I think that it is time to be used!
The pattern is a favorite 8 shaft twill.  I love the large scale of the Xs.  The navy blue adds a lovely shimmer and shine.  The table runner is about 50 inches long and wove up quite quickly.
For the second runner I also went with the first choice, this time is lovely dark green 3/10 cotton.
I usually don’t weave the same pattern but I really do love these Xs.  The dark green has a yellow undertone that really brings out the golden pima cotton.  The table runner just glows, but as usual, photographing green is problematic.
The pima cotton warp was a real shedder.  There was a really impressive dust curl left on the back beam, a dust bunny explosion!  I am definitely going to have to vacuum my loom before the next warp.
I just cut off the two runners yesterday, I still have to wash and hem them.  I think that they are going to be a lovely addition for the shop Woven Beauty.

Final Garden Photo is the hummingbird that has staked out our backyard for the winter.  She has figured out that she can sit above the feeder which is under the eaves out of the snow.  She sits up there fiercely guarding the feeder from the other hummingbirds.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Cotton Table Runners

Table runners are going on my loom today because we are running low in the Etsy shop and our guild has a sale coming up in April.  I pulled out some pink and peach 2/8 cotton that has been in the stash for awhile.  These cones are unusually tightly spun and quite ropey; so not great for tea towels but I think they would be lovely for some runners.  The idea for the runners was making a flower motif with Diversified Plain Weave.  I spent a couple of days making different flower patterns on the computer but once I scaled the patterns up to the width needed for a table runner I needed a lot of heddles on shaft 1 and 2, far too many and too weighty for the loom!  So, I changed my mind about using the pink and peach cotton.  I just can’t figure out the perfect pattern for them right now so I’m going to think about it some more.
I went back to the stash and found the last two balls left over from a large 30 oz 6 ply cone of Pima Cotton.  We spent hours unplying the cone an rolling it into balls of 2/10 Pima Cotton.
I had used some of the 2/10 balls previously for table runners so I was able to go back and look at my notes.  I did some quick mental math and thought that I could do a 6 yard warp at about 18 inches wide.  So I leaped in and pulled the warp.  As I finished one ball and counted the ends, well, the warp isn’t going to be wide enough, only 12 inches wide.  My mental math wasn’t so good, so, I wound the warp back into a ball, with help from the ball winder.
Before I started to pull the warp again, I spent some time with an excel sheet and found that I needed to pull a warp that is only 4 yards long and it will be 18 inches wide.  I made the warp but it wasn’t until I had started to pull off the warp chain that I noticed that I had short changed a warp thread and made a short loop.  Once again I put the warp chain back onto the warping board and pull the warp back into a ball, with help again from the ball winder.
So for the third time I, this time carefully, pulled the warp.  I have now threaded, sleyed and tied the warp onto the cloth beam.  Today I’ll pick a weft and finally start weaving!
Final Garden Shot is Lithodora diffusa ‘Heavenly Blue’ it has one little flower open and beside it is the first bit of snow on the plant. We got a skif of snow yesterday, but it didn't stay.