Monday, January 24, 2022

One More Please

This year I wanted to finish up all the loose ends so I could start the new year fresh, with new weaves.  I took some time from weaving to do photography and computer work to list the last of the scarves from last year.  The collapse weave Merino wool scarves in lavender and fawn are now listed.



I also got a new computer as my old computer is over 10 years old and it is starting to have difficulties staying connected to the internet, so lots to learn there.  As I was transferring over files to the new computer, I noticed that we haven’t had any black table runners in the shop for a while.  I found a new draft to try and picked out some 5/2 cotton in black and beige and that is as far as I got in the planning.

Because as soon as pulled the colours and plan together; I accepted a commission for a shawl, so I dropped everything to focus on the shawl.  This isn’t the first time that I’ve been asked to reweave this shawl, it seems that every time that I sell one, the next day someone asks if I can make one for them too!

On day 1: I pulled the black 2/8 Tencel warp, I have put on enough warp for two shawls.  I did a rough sley of the warp using the built in raddle on top of the castle of the Louet Spring loom and then pulled the warp onto the back beam, ready for threading tomorrow.

Day 2: I removed the breast beam and the beater bar, from the loom, to make it easier to reach the heddles.  This cleared the front of the loom so I was able to place a chair into the loom to get even closer to the shafts.  It is always good to get close and have a comfortable reach to the threads; especially when the threads are black and on a foggy and grey Vancouver Island winter day.  Before replacing the breast beam and beater bar, I like to tie up the treadles, it is easier when you don’t have to watch your head banging on the web.

Day 3:  I put the breast beam and the beater bar back onto the loom and sleyed the reed.  I was then able to tie on the warp to the cloth beam.  I hem stitched the warp and wove the first pattern repeat to make sure that there wasn’t any mistakes.

Day 4 and I am now weaving away on the body of the shawl.  The weft colour is a lovely dark raspberry red 2/8 Tencel, a different colour from the original shawl but truly lovely.

Final Garden Photo is one of the groups of King Alfred Daffodils just starting to pop up with some Drumstick Alliums amongst them.  We did a lasagna style planting (layering bulbs in the same spot) and so far so good.  On the left side there is a deer foot print, she just missed stepping on one of the bulbs!

Monday, January 17, 2022

Ten Shaft Tea Towels

January is the time of the year when I want to weave tea towels.  There is something so very comforting about putting on a warp and weaving for the home. 

Tea towels are a relatively straightforward weave and after all these years I know how to work with 2/8 un-mercerized cotton.  Twenty-two to twenty-four inches is a width I’m comfortable with, and the generally simple treadling sequence allows me to make sure I’m concentrating on my posture and throwing technique.

This year I’ve decided to re-visit a pattern that I’ve done at least four times previously.  It is a 10 shaft modified overshot design that creates flowers in a bed of plain weave.

The first time I wove this pattern was in 2013 and I chose a Spring Palette.  I then wove it later or in 2013 as a Plaid in Red, Beige and Navy.  I actually wove it twice more and didn’t blog about it either time. 

The third time I wove them in red, white and blue and they were snapped up on Etsy.  The fourth time I wove it in a soft pastel plaid and gave them away to friends without ever taking a photo.

This time I am choosing to weave this wonderful pattern with white warp and strong clear colours.  I have 7 yards on the loom and I plan on weaving six different colours.  Blue, Lavender (if there is enough on these pirns), red/violet, rose, blue/green and ink blue.

I get a huge amount of pleasure just looking at a beautifully dressed loom!

The first colour is a lovely clear, sweet blue from M. Brassard et fils in Quebec, simply called Bleu.

I have only begun this project and the only real change I have made to the pattern is that I have threaded the selvedges as basket weave.  Hopefully, it will make a pretty edge line.

I have two photos today from the garden.  Yesterday we had ‘mizzle’ (misty drizzle), so I popped my Meyer Lemon outside for a drink.  The plant seemed to love getting outside for the first time in months.

While I was taking the photo of the lemon, I caught this wee hummingbird silhouetted against our grey sky.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Itten's Star ~ A Colour Wheel

Colour choices can make or break a woven article, with the right colour choices ~  magic!   Poor colour choices can draw the colour down making it lacklustre and essentially muddying the colours.

The Colour Star by Johannes Itten can be a very useful tool to help you make magic by showing you what colours work together and which colour combinations make each colour shine in its own right. 

 The Colour Star comes in a fold over box which contains; an written overview of the stars  premise which is based on geometry, the star itself and nine black discs to isolate the colours and create what Itten calls chords.  Based on triangles, squares and rectangles, the Itten Star challenges our colour perceptions.  I have set out some cones of tencel as examples, please bear in mind that these colours are not necessarily ideal as they may not have the same colour saturation levels and are for demonstration only.

The first disc has two openings which isolate ‘the complementary’.  The complement of one colour on the wheel is the colour which lies directly opposite it on the colour wheel.  My example shows orange and blue.

Next is a Triadic chord. This disc outlines an equilateral triangle; these colours will work well together harmoniously.  My example shows violet, green and orange.


Another Triadic chord is the Split Complementary and this is the one I use most often when planning ‘Echo Weave’.  A split complement is made up of three colours, one basic and two colours which lie either side of its complement.  This colour combination almost always creates iridescence. My example shows  green, yellow and red/violet.  Red/violet is the base colour and green and yellow lie on each side of it's complement yellow/green (lime).

Next is a Quadratic chord, called the Tetrad which is based on two pairs of opposite colours.  The first opposites are yellow and violet, the second set is orange and blue/green. 

The second Quadratic chord shows a Tetrad of two complementary colour pairs based on a square. My example shows yellow/green, orange, red/violet and blue.  Red/violet is opposite yellow/green and orange is opposite blue.

The final Quadratic chord was actually missing from my Itten Star, so I borrowed the disc from a friend and made a copy.  The four colours in the Tetrad are the four colours of a rectangle on the wheel.  My example shows blue, yellow, orange and violet.  

Now we are onto a Five Tone chord.  This disc shows a primary colour with its four split complements.  My example shows violet and blue/violet, orange, blue/green and green.

This next disc has six openings, but it still falls into the Triadic category.  This Triadic chord uses colours on opposite sides of the true Triad.  My example is green, yellow/green, orange, orange/red, violet and blue/violet.

The final Dyadic disc is called a Six Tone chord.  This is a hexagon which incorporates 3 commentaries. I can’t quite wrap my head around this one as it just seems to be most colours put together.  My example is yellow, orange, red, violet, blue and green.  

The Colour Star can be helpful to narrow down colours which will work well together.  The the ratio of how the colours are put together is a whole other story (and perhaps another blog post)!  I recall hearing one weaver say that if she uses blue in a warp she always puts a tiny hint of orange too, it just made the blue, bluer.  Funnily enough, she also stated that her least favourite colour was orange, but her stash featured heaps of orange!

My final shot is a lovely batch of strawberry/rhubarb jam we made this week to fill the house with memories of summer.


Monday, January 3, 2022

A New Year and a New Start

It is a tradition on this blog to share what is on the looms at the beginning of the year.  This year they are both empty!

But there is weaving related things going on, there was a brief moment of winter sun so I tried to do some photos of the lavender collapse weave wool scarf for the Etsy store, WovenBeauty.  I’m trying a coloured background to see if I can get the pale colour of the scarf to show correctly.

There is also a photo shoot for a blog post going on in the kitchen with tubs of colourful Tencel.  

We have been knee deep in snow for what feels like weeks but yesterday the weather changed and the snow started to quickly melt away.  There are some hidden treasures waiting in the garden.  A lovely pansy blooming is a welcome reminder that spring in coming.

On Vancouver Island there are Anna’s Hummingbirds who stay the winter and we have 3 in the back garden staking out the bird feeder.  

This year they got a Christmas present of a hummingbird feeder heater!  It was quite the hit during the cold snap that we just had.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

All That Glitters Collapse Weave

After the wonderful success that Ngaire had with her scarves, I jumped on that glittery bandwagon!  This style of collapse weave really reminded me of a Fortuny dress, with all the stunning pleats and the ability to curve and hug the body.

Hoping to expand on the theme I decided to weave my scarves using Cobweb Merino Wool, Cotton Slub and Lumeya glitter.  The Cobweb Merino is in a pale, pale lavender, the Cotton Slub is soft white and the Lumeya glitter is pure silver.  It is a really lovely combination with an overall soft grey vibe.

Pulling the warp did not start out well because I was trying to pull the cobweb merino and the glitter together since they would ultimately share a heddle, this seemed like a good plan at the time.  But, they had such hugely different levels of stretchyness it was a nightmare!  Started again and pulled each of the different warp threads separately and it was much better.

Putting the warp on the loom went fairly well and using this pipe insulator really helped the ends not tangle in the raddle.  [This was the same piece of foam that Ngaire used to even out her tension on her collapse weave.]  The end of the warping process left the final few inches a tad snarly though.

I do love a photo of the warp when it is all organized.

Weaving plain weave was pretty boring, but using super fine over-twisted wool added interest and a little bit of trepidation, especially on the selvedges.  It is absolutely imperative to beat on the following closed shed to maintain the loose, even beat. 

The two scarves came off the loom essentially the same size and they are absolutely gossamer-like before washing.

After a long soak in Eucalan and the hottest water I could get they were squeezed dry and then popped into a hot dryer to tumble and transform for twenty minutes. 

Voila! They are stunners and truly resemble the pleats in a Mariano Fortuny dress.  I’m so sorry that the weather is so very grey and that I can’t capture the amazing sparkle, but trust me, sparkle they do!

I bought an Amaryllis bulb last month and she’s a looker!

Merry Christmas Everyone.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Collapse Weave Scarves in Fawn

My favorite winter scarf is one that my Mom wove in Collapse Weave way back in 2015.  The scarf is a beautiful soft rose Merino wool with a lovely crepe de chine texture and a wonderful drape.  So I decided to weave this exciting weaving technique!


The warp I'm using consists of 2/16 Merino wool in tan, a rayon knop in Peanut beige and Lumeya Luster in gold.  The Lumeya Luster is from Reiko Company in Japan.  It is a neutral colourway but the sparkle of the gold Lumeya makes this warp really pop.  It just glitters and shines even in the weak winter sunlight.  This technique is all about differential shrinkage so I don’t really know what will happen with the Lumeya shrinkage wise, I also don’t know if it’ll be strong enough to be warp!  But it sure is pretty.


I made enough warp for two scarves and beaming the warp went surprisingly well . . . for the first couple of yards.


But then the Lumeya stretched slightly making it a little longer than the rest of the warp which created loops that looped around the top raddle on the Spring loom.  I only broke three of the Lumeya threads but it was a bit nerve wracking pulling on the warp.  


The weave structure is plain weave and for the threading I placed the Lumeya and the Merino wool into the same heddle, yup there is a lot of shiny in this warp! 


The weaving of these scarves is a little different; I’m using a very fine high twist wool as the weft, it comes in at about 2/110, finer than sewing thread!  The beat for these scarves is very loose, about 10-12 picks per inch.  In the blog post from 2015 Mom said that it is best to squeeze the weft on a closed shed, boy am I glad to have that information.   


For such an open and airy beat the scarf didn’t weave up particularly quickly.  The rayon knots added some interest to the scarf; you just ignore the displacement of the weft going around the knots.  It was a pleasure to see the shine while weaving.


About halfway through the first scarf I started to notice that one side of the scarf was very tight.  So I added a piece of pipe insulation (a pool noodle or piece of foam would work too) to the back of the loom.  The warp was able to even out the tension by biting into the pipe insulation as needed and I was able to weave without hanging anything off the warp to try to even out the tension.


After the first scarf was finished I cut it off the loom and retied on for the second scarf.  The second scarf was woven just the same as the first.  Then scarves were hand wash in a mild soap and placed into the dryer for about 20 minutes but I stopped the dyer every 5 minutes to check and shake out the scarves.  Here are the final beauty shots of the scarf.  The scarves are light and airy with a wonderful shine from the gold Lumeya.

It is hard to get a photo in the winter sun showing the shine that these scarves have!  But the drape of these scarves is lovely and the soft brown colours of these scarves are just charming.  The Lumeya didn’t shrink at all, which isn’t a surprize but it made little loops that bring extra sparkle and shine to the scarf.
Final Garden Photo of the early snow that we got, La Nina is really feisty this year.  The Himalayan honeysuckle (Leycesteria formosa) was still in full leaf and flowering but this snow and cold snap is putting a stop to that.  But the glint of the sun shining off the snow reminds me of the scarves!