Thursday, October 29, 2009

Beading the 'Echoes of Sunrise' Scarf

You may remember from my last post about the Echo Weave scarf that I had not completed it yet; I still needed to bead it. The first thing that I do for beading is to pull scads of beads from the bead drawer; anything that could possibly work gets pulled out. I then narrow down the choices to four or five different beads. I then use fine quilting pins to try different beading ideas out. They are great because they are very long and the perfect diameter for seed beads. Once I make the final decision on the beading sequence and pattern; I then make up the bead designs on pins so I can check if I have enough beads and to see what the final product is going to look like. For the Echo scarf Mum came up with the great idea of making a V-shaped fringe of beads because it echoes the pattern of the weaving. The blue colour from the weft needed to be pulled down into the fringe and I think that the beading really enhanced the scarf by echoing the blue colour and the angle of the weave.
Today was the first day that the snow has come into the valley, as wet flurries that melt as soon as they hit the ground on the lowlands but the hills are covered. The snow is slowly (well, quickly) creeping its way down the mountains.
Here is my latest project; it is an experiment in differential shrinkage with Merino wool and Tencel. It is really beautiful on the loom, but I can’t weave it because I have run out of the sea coral Tencel! We had to order more from Yarns Plus in Ontario and I am now waiting for the mailman to bring me my present!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Novelty Yarn Workshop

On Saturday I took a one day Novelty Yarn Workshop through my guild. I had no idea how a few hours sitting and plying could have wiped me out so much! My goal was to refresh my plying techniques and hopefully to use some of my handspun in my weaving projects. We started with a Marl yarn, which was essentially spinning a tri coloured yarn. This one was a breeze for me as I have used this technique often and most recently on this post. Then on to Navaho plying, I had learned this technique sometime in the 1980’s and had never found the need to use it; but now with the abundance of wonderful rainbow dyed roving for sale, it’s a winner! This Beaded cabled yarn is a ‘not so much’ for me, it just didn’t float my boat! Its very time consuming and a bit too random and unpredictable for my taste.This is Angora rabbit encasing a 2/60 silk yarn. Wow, oh, wow! What a wonderful feel and the weight is virtually nothing, it too is a cabled yarn. I loved making this yarn and with just a wee bit of Angora you can do so much. This is dyed Mohair locks encasing the same 2/60 silk. Fun and easy to do, but again too lumpy and bumpy for me. This one is Mohair boucle and after I got the hang of it, it was easy to create. I don't care for the look and just can’t see using it in my style of weaving. My personal un favourite Slub yarn – I just dislike everything about it and can’t wait to hide it away! Last week we were given the Ponderosa Guild shawl that we made in September at the Sheep to Shawl competition. Ngaire and I spent a rainy Sunday finishing it off. I twisted the fringe and stabilized it with a single thread knot rather than an overhand knot and then added my corded edge treatment. I decided to add the corded edge for two reasons; because there were a few nibbled edges (the shawl was made in 2-1/2 hours in a competition after all) and to echo the thin baby camel down stripes outlining the Finnish lace areas. I think it worked well and was thankful that I still had some of the handspun marled merino and camel left.Ngaire, meanwhile was beading the fringe, she did a small seed bead treatment, with just one tiny Oriental metal coin in the centre. Just a light touch was needed on this shawl which will be donated to Evergreen a local fund raiser for the Youth Arts Program in Kelowna. We had another late night visitor on Thursday! This 4 inch long salamander was nestled at the edge of the deck and the concrete the deck sits on. I just looked him up and I found out he is a Western Redback Salamander. Amazing that this amphibious fellow lives in my garden, we are after all in a semi desert and other than a wee bird bath have no water at all!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More Method in the Madness Workshop

It seems like everything in the world is getting in between me and my loom. My garden is only partially tidied up for the winter and now a drizzly day is keeping me indoors. The good thing about a drizzly day is this loaf of Bara Brith that is ready to go into the oven! My workshop was a great success and it was a delight to see so many happy weavers. I was amazed by the noise we generated! Lots of laugher, the clang the Leclerc floor looms and many dropped shuttles! I’d do it again in a heartbeat! I know that a few of my ladies will be working on Echo weaves in the near future. It was quite wonderful sharing the ‘how to’ with them. Thankfully, they in turn shared ideas and suggestions with me, so everyone learned that day! There were four looms in my Studio.And two in my Laundry Room/Computer room next door .We still have the remains of the warps from each loom to weave off. The nice thing about having some left over warp is that I’m getting absolutely lovely, big samples. I was very pleased to note that all the weavers at my workshop went home with samples that were huge and barely fit into the binders!
The Guild of Canadian Weavers Table Runner exchange is now under my belt. Today I entered all the draw downs that didn’t come as wifs into PCW, photographed the runners individually and as a group and made them into a PowerPoint presentation.
Now thankfully they sit ready to hit the post tomorrow. On Sunday Michael, Ngaire and I got the final four new windows into place – whew!
Now we are officially ready to batten down for the winter. The interior finishing and trimming will get done over the winter, and thankfully isn’t my job. We had an unexpected visitor at 10:30 the other night. My husband was just heading out the back door and this tiny wee fellow was on the back deck. You can see how small he is by the screw head next to him – no bigger than a quarter!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Test Run for Method Workshop

Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day in Canada and it was a glorious day; family and friends and a wonderful meal made it one to remember. It was so much fun having four people under thirty at my table, what a lot of laughter! My turkey was picture perfect and the day was sunny and cool – absolutely grand. My son, his girlfriend and her roommate came up for a visit and to help us put in new windows! I love the boundless energy of youth! Ain't it amazing what you can get done for a few glasses of Crannóg Ale and a sweet potato pie! Our Federal Government is giving a home renovation rebate for materials used in home improvements before February, so it seemed like a perfect time to buy windows and move our home reno’s one step further along. The timing couldn't have been more frantic for me, but the end result is wonderful. Now all that will remain to be done in the Spring is changing the siding to Hardiplank and a lot of painting.I’ve taken my latest Turned Taqueté scarf off the loom and have done the finishing, but no beading; I’m still hooked on a bit of bling so it will happen! This scarf does not have as much drape as my previous Turned Taqueté scarf, changing the weft is the culprit! I’ve been working very hard on getting my Studio Workshop in order for Friday and have learned a great deal in the process. My plan is to “test drive” this workshop in a controlled environment. I want to know that the looms are working perfectly and that they are threaded correctly. I have modified all of the patterns from the original scarves that Ngaire or I have woven recently. I have simplified the treadling as you can see on the Turned Taqueté, still retaining the original flavour of the weave, but cutting the treadling sequence in half.
I have preloaded all the pirns and bobbins, both to save time for everyone and to ensure that they are wound well. You know what a snarl a badly wound pirn can cause in an end feed shuttle, horrors! That process took much more time than I would have imagined, and thanks need to be given to Ngaire for her help! I have also provided a quick treadling reference guide mounted on foam board on or beside each loom so that a pin can be used to keep track.

One of the other things I have done is to label the toggles on each table loom. I have noticed that not everyone starts number one on the same side, so I've labeled my choices with post it flags.

Each loom has a sample already woven to facilitate explaining the methods used to create the sample and to demonstrate how we will separate each persons' sample with a cardboard strip to make the ‘round robin’ work efficiently. I still have to lable the floor looms treadles. I have 3 floor looms and 3 table looms, so it's a nice mix I think.
The bead leno had to be set up differently. I have left one bout unbeaded and will demo that first off. These binders have also taken a huge amount of time. Somehow I managed to fill 27 pages with what I think is critical information…….hmmmm too much information? I’m now working on the second phase of the workshop – another six to create and refine. That’ll keep me weaving….and will keep my second year of blogging interesting I hope. Yup, it’s my 1st Blogaversery on October 15!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Echo Weave Using the Itten Star ~ Echoes of Sunrise

Mum has been doing lots of Echo and Turned Taqueté so I thought that I would try my hand at Echo also. I love the complicated patterns and the play of the colours.
Echo weave generally has two colours in the warp, they sit side by side on the colour wheel, in my case I used butter yellow and coral. The weft colour is found by looking directly opposite the two warp colours on the colour wheel, also known as the split complementary, which in this case is blueberry blue. The idea is to keep all the colours in the same tonal value.
Mum developed this 8 shaft pattern and it is going to be one of the samples for her workshop. It has a broken diamond pattern. The scarf has lovely drape and iridescence and the dominant colour changes on each side. It truly does look like a sunrise over the lake. I haven’t had time to bead the scarf but I have decided which beads to use, it is always a lot of fun to look through the bead drawer and try to find what beads work. I am not sure how I am going to bead the scarf but I have a great palate to work with here! I have not been weaving as much lately as I am cat/house sitting for some friends of the family. This is the view today from the patio on which I have been sitting having breakfast over looking Okaganan Lake. I sip my coffee looking for Ogopogo, and trying not to make eye contact with the huge herd of deer that wander by constantly eating the lawn!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Exchange Runner

I’ve no doubt mentioned before that I am the Exchange Coordinator for the Guild of Canadian Weavers and October 1st is D day (due date) for the exchange. This year the exchange theme was one table runner, no smaller than 16” x 36”. I have had my runner done for months and was contentedly waiting for everyone else’s to arrive. You may remember this from last spring.But, and isn’t there always a ‘ but’ …… I decided on September 27 to change my runner and weave another! Today I pulled it off the loom and just need to twizzle the fringe, before wet finishing. I was working out another weave to add to my workshop and got so inspired by creating this 8 shaft Twill and making it a hybrid Overshot with an Overshot treadling I just had to weave the runner - I think it worked out very well indeed. I used 2/8.5 Orlec in Silver Beige for the warp and the tabby weft and Navy Orlec for the pattern thread. I sett it at 20 epi and it has a lovely feel to it that pressing will just enhance. I must admit that I did take liberties with the Overshot concepts, but some rules just have to bend to get a profile you like. I was also lucky this week in that this little gem came my way! A Leclerc pirn winder! Heaven, I’m in heaven….

Well, tomorrow I’m off to Kelowna for the Guild Spin In and hopefully I’ll remember to take photos of the 50 or so ladies expected. I know it will be a lovely day of spinning, eating and visiting as we are expecting people from Oliver to Salmon Arm (that’s a good 200 kilometers distance).