Thursday, July 30, 2009

Echo Weave on Twelve Shafts

Tada……I’ve finally finished the Echo #3 scarf! This one was an easy weave, but it sat around unwashed and unfinished for yonks! Shame on me!
I used 2/20 mercerized cotton for the weft this time instead of 2/8 tencel there is an airiness to the scarf, while the other two, Echo #1 and #2 are quite slinky and rich feeling. This scarf was finished this scarf with a cord edge in mineral green and then beaded lightly, only using beads every 4th bout, except in the middle where I had an odd number of bouts to work with. There is still that wonderful iridescence, I’m please to say. Echo #3 glows pink on one side and blue/green on the other. The pattern I chose to treadle reminds me of the shape of a Christmas ornament. Such a pretty scarf I think. A group of my friends had an informal dye day last week and I took along 60 ounces of 2/8 bone coloured Alpaca to dye. I followed the rules and had my damp fibre weighed and measured; but group pots can be so unpredictable so unfortunately, they came out very spotty. So with the generosity of my friend Louise, who gave me some of her dyes I had another dye day and was able to control the dye/fiber ratio much better and thankfully got these lovely skeins to show for it! One of the neatest ideas that came out of the dye day was the way we had lunch. Our hostess had each of us bring one sandwich, any type cut into four pieces and a piece of fruit that was cut into bite size pieces. The fruit went into a fruit salad base that she had prepared and was just amazing. The sandwiches were plated up and were so lovely – I think this is a great idea and it was wonderful to share. The fire on Terrace Mountain near me is finally 60% contained and the winds have been blowing the other way for a few days now. We still get the occasional whiff of smoke, but are much clearer today. I took these photos on July 26 at the worst of the smoke, the hills my neighborhood are pretty much hidden, usually they are very visible from the back deck, the hill is only about 1 km away! It was a very scary time and we had our important papers and photos ready to go at a moments notice. We’ve also had a major weather front pass through a few days ago with monsoon-like rain, hail the size of golf balls and winds that were amazing…..What a summer so far! We have constantly had 37+C days and nights that cool down to about 20+C. We have also had much more humidity than normal, so only the garden is enjoying it! I feel wilted most of the time!What I find amazing is that my Zapatec tomato is doing wonderfully….we have already started eating other varieties. The Japanese cucumbers are soooooooo productive that all my friends and family are reaping the benefits too. I also grew an heirloom variety of French filet bean and picked 139 beans off one plant. So the summer to date has been eventful to say the least.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bead Leno Weave ~ Leave the Leno to Me

Update on the rose coloured twill napkins – they are making a lovely pile on the floor by the sewing machine! Meanwhile I have already started and finished another project, 8 Harness Bead Leno Scarf. This scarf is 2/8 Tencel and the colour is Blueberry.
The idea for this project came from Mum as she is developing a workshop. One of the projects is 8 Harness Bead Leno and, well, who better than me to test out the project?!

When I pull on a warp, my lashing can be a little uneven and the bar will bow a bit. To help me be more consistent I used these shower curtain rings to keep the two bars evenly spaced while I am separating the threads onto the raddle; then it holds everything nicely in place for the lashing itself. The rings are too large to keep on permanently on the warp but I am keeping my eye open for something smaller that could work. Wouldn’t that be nice – no lashing at all?
The 8 Harness Bead Leno produces 2 blocks of Bead Leno, all Bead Leno and all basket weave. So there is more variation that can be done than what I’m showing. In the picture below is just two blocks of Bead Leno. While on the loom the smaller squares of Bead Leno are circular but after the scarf is washed the small squares relax and appear blockier which is a little sad as I liked the circular affect.
The scarf was quickly woven up; I think that the longest time I spent on the scarf was the finishing. But it is so worth every moment, the beads add shine and are still light in keeping with the weight of the scarf.
The scarf has a lovely drape and shine that didn’t truly came through until the final pressing. This scarf is something special.
On a different note there are three forest fires in the area around us so we are inundated with smoke and ash. You may have heard about them on the news, two are the fires in West Kelowna and one is much closer to us in Fintry. We are about 50+ km away from the fires so we should be OK, but the smoke is horrid. Two of the fires are almost fully contained, thankfully as they are the ones that are burning close to homes, and only 3 were lost. The big fire called the Terrace Mountain fire, at 1500 hectares and growing, is the one that is mainly responsible for the smoke and ash. This photo was taken last night and the hills that you can’t see clearly are less than a km away.
This photo is of the ash that is coming down like snow at Christmas!
This is the sunset through the smoke and ash.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Echo Weave Scarf #2 Beaded and Pressed

Today in Coldstream, in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, it’s hot, hot, hot! We are sitting at 37 C in the shade, but of course, around my house there is no shade! Seems that we’re either too hot or too cold, it’s never just temperate!
 I’ve done the bead work on Echo # 2 which I’ve renamed Manley. Why, you ask? Well, it does remind me of the colours of Manley Harbour in Australia, but also I think this scarf would look great on a guy. The diamonds are very graphic and the colour is stunning, there is just enough beading to make it interesting and who says guys can't wear beautiful scarves anyway! Again, my camera just doesn’t do it justice.

This is the weft faced, lemongrass side which is just the reverse of the blue warp dominant side.Side by side you can see the difference and the iridescence. I’ve finished the selvedges with a blue Tencel cord and then lightly beaded the fringe with green and blue beads. A much understated finish for me!
Do you remember this Tencel undulating twill scarf? Well I just wasn’t thrilled with it; there was nothing particularly wrong with it, but nothing particularly right either. Since I’ve now decided that embellishments will be a part of my “brand”; I pulled it out and made it ripple. I inserted a doubled weft thread at intervals; I secured the first edge with 3 beads then wove through to the opposite side and anchored with another series of beads. I then drew on the thread to scrunch the scarf in from 6” to 4” wide. I’m calling this my Cayenne Ripple scarf now, and I think it has some real pizzazz!
Michael, my hard working fella, has finished the front deck rails even though our days have been sweltering. He’s been out there in the full sun slogging away. Now that the railings are up we are ready to begin the next stage. See the round posts in the carport? They are getting cedar cladding on them to make them square as we are changing the whole style of the house from West Coast Contemporary to a Modified Craftsman. Who says’ we don’t have big plans! It’s going to take a while, but all things come to he who waits…as the adage goes.

Things I Know
Some cotton yarns can be very sticky and a twizzled fringes tend to bridge or stick together, choose another fringe treatment if possible or use beads to help keep them separate.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

More Echo Weave

It just dawned on me that I have never shown you my Echo #1 Scarf, so here it is on my Judy…
This is the weft dominant side or as someone called it the snakeskin side! The sheen is wonderful and very

This is the warp dominant side and it appears to have a purpler cast even though it is blue and green. The pattern is completely different than the weft side and reminds me of brocade. I’m gob smacked with Echo Weave and the extended parallel treadling, although it was very slow going on a foot treadled loom. The weave method is really suited to dobby loom weaving with lots of shafts. I have finished this scarf with a twisted cord down each side. I used the same burnt orange tencel as used in the weft to try and make the weft associated more with the overall scarf. I then beaded the cord with large glass iridescent beads in green and purple and cut it off shorter than the rest of the fringe to add interest. Here’s a quick look at both sides of the scarf beside each other – totally different! My camera just doesn’t do it justice; I can’t capture the glow at all… I have Echo #2 scarf – the lemongrass weft on my drying rack as we speak and it should be beaded and pressed tomorrow. The straight advancing twill is much easier to treadle, but doesn’t give the same enormous bang as the parallel treadling. So photos of the completed project will be featured in my next blog post. And here is Echo #3 on my loom. As you can see, the three of them are radically different from each's amazing to me!I have changed the weft from 2/8 Tencel to 2/20 Mercerized cotton in a mid range coral colour, a very brave choice for me. I have kept the same threading and tie up, but have changed the treadling to an extended point twill which is very similar in structure to Echo #1, but the pattern repeat has been reduced from 78 pick to a pattern to 64 picks to a pattern.

We are still in the midst of home renovations…we have added a number of new features to our deck plans, so it’s a slow painstaking affair. This evening we will go and pick up the deck railings and make a start at putting them up tomorrow. It’s really hard to enjoy the beautiful weather we are having when we work like little bees all summer.

Things I Know
Warp faced fabrics (more epi than ppi) will drape better.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Home Again

We got back from our flying visit to my friend Susan's on Vancouver Island yesterday where we had wonderful time. We traveled over some amazing country on our way home via Whistler B.C. where the 2010 Winter Olympics will be held, it’s simply beautiful… We had lunch at Joffre Lake and saw an amazing glacier hanging over a turquoise lake....and I didn't take a photo! Damn!

It was so much fun catching up in person and exploring yarn shops with a kindred spirit. Susan actually understands when I go into raptures over yarn and all the wonderful possibilities.
In a wee shop in Duncan called Looms I found this amazing yarn, and various other yarns that I won’t bore you with. Suffice it to say, there will be socks on the agenda, lots and lots of socks!
This yarn is made in Chile and is 100% sugar cane fibre. I have no idea how it will weave up, but it is the same grist as Bambu 7 and a by product of the sugar industry. I chose a lovely variegated pink and blue, just yummy! We took a lovely drive in the cool West Coast drizzle and stopped at Cathedral Grove, on the west side of the Island. I took this photo of typical rain forest scenery, so lush and verdant isn't it. Without being maudlin, this little bit of rain coast was almost magical. On our final day we found our way to Victoria and went into the largest bead shop I have ever seen, far, far, far too many choices…..Amazing how much you can spend on such tiny little things! I got loads of very interesting embellishments.
My final photo is a close up of my birthday present from Susan. This Irish Linen runner is so amazingly finely woven....and so very special for having come from such a dear friend.

Things I Know
When using a fancy yarn in your warp, sley it in the same sett as used for the background and the fancy yarn will sit up on top of the cloth and show better. Don't give it more room than the background, that will just blah it right out.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Attaching a Raddle to the Castle and Mommy Mummified

What is the first thing that should be done with yardage? Well if it is a +30 C day, you wrap your Mum in it to see how much yardage you have woven! I will always remember my first yardage now!
So to start at the beginning . . .

Last time I warped the Minerva I used a large dent raddle from a larger loom which worked but it could have been better. Therefore this time we tried something a little brave. Mum had an extra 5 dent reed so it was cut in half to be used as a raddle. First we placed it on the back of the castle, but the threads got caught between the wood and the raddle which just made a mess. Then the raddle was placed behind the castle (like in the photo) and it worked like a hot damn!
The yardage is intended for napkins and is a 1,3 twill on 8 shafts and reminds me of grapes. The warp is a 2/8 cotton in plum and the weft is 2/8 cotton in dusty rose. I ran out of weft so the last quarter is 2/8 Orlec in a similar dusty rose except it has a fantastic shine that the cotton doesn’t. I used a temple as the fabric pulled in; but since I like to use a temple it was not an inconvenience and made the selvedges great.
It was an easily remembered treadling and so I was able to sit down for hours with my iPod on and just weave (and sing along). It was great fun, it had a fabulous rhythm and each pattern repeat was an inch so the 6 yards seemed to go fast.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Echo Weave Scarf Number Two

I’ve cut Echo Weave #1 off the loom and am now in the middle of finishing – an even longer process than usual since my first idea didn't work out well. Here's a peek at Echo Two.
This scarf has the same threading and tie-up as Echo One but I have changed the weft colour from Bronze to Lemongrass, still using 2/8 Tencel. It really pops and is much limeyer than the photo shows! I’ve also changed the treadling from an Extended Parallel to a straight Advancing Twill. Needless to say it’s weaving up much faster now. Each pattern repeat comes in at an even 5 inches. I'm still not sure how the reverse looks, but that's half the fun.I’m really in love with this Echo Weave on 12 Shaft project; it’s giving huge rewards for the warping effort.I’ve also been trying to revamp or rework my leftover projects from December and I’m pleased to say that I’ve finished another one. This Merino Curly Twill Scarf was a bit bland, pretty but bland; now with the addition of a wrapped big buckle I think it’s got pizzazz! It also makes the scarf much more versitile to wear.I’ve completed another little project, setting up my Studio Shop! I’ve always hated digging around in plastic containers to show folks what I spend all my time doing. I often feel that it puts them in the awkward position of feeling that they have to make a purchase after all my effort to pull my weaving out of the abyss. My answer is this standing rack which shows a selection of my work and has the prices clearly marked. Hopefully, this will make it easier on both my Studio visitors and me. I have a shelf in my studio that has 5'6" to the ceiling and this 5' rack snuggles right in there keeping my fringes off the ground nicely.

Things I Know
To make a special yarn stand out, place it along side its’ opposite – thick/thin, fuzzy/smooth, shiny/matte for example.