Monday, August 30, 2010

Making a Blocking Board

I’ve been putting off the task of finishing my Overshot with borders piece for some reason, I just can’t seem to get enthused at all. It took me several woven pieces to finally make an original overshot pattern that worked out perfectly square, with 45 degree angles. After I finished this one, I pulled it off the loom and walked away; I just couldn’t face fiddling around with it anymore.

Several weeks have passed and I kept getting a huge case of the guilt’s every time I walk past to see it sitting forlornly on my work table!

Yesterday I decided to pick it up and do the finishing…..and found that after a few weeks languishing, the width had taken up about an inch! Not a good thing as the cloth was woven to be square….so I needed to block it to get it back in shape.

I started looking around for something to pin it to and couldn’t find anything, so I decided to make a blocking board. My friend Susan uses a board like this to finish her scarves and shawls, so I used her idea and thought I’d share it with you.

My husband went to the hardware store and picked up a length of rigid insulation, it came in a 2 foot by 6 foot length. He cut off a piece 2 foot long for me to use.
I also borrowed his builders square for this job, a bit rusty but the only way I could keep everything even. I used the builders square lined up against the factory edge to keep my lines straight and using a ball point pen I scored lines about 1/16 of an inch deep. I then turned the board and did the same to make my grid.I didn’t want to take a chance on the ink or dirt coming off the board, so a good soaping with dish detergent ensured that I have a clean work surface. I pinned the Overshot piece every inch or so lengthwise along one of my lines. Lengthwise it was still the correct size, then using my laundry sprayer I soaked the piece and stretched it out to the desired width. It worked really well as the rigid insulation is about 1 inch deep and I can really push the pins in.
I will keep it pinned out for a few more days and lightly spray it a few more times to make sure the wool is properly stretched. I will then use my McSteamy and give it a good hard press to finish it completely.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Crackle Weave Placemats

Seems that August is flying by and I’ve little to show for it! I have finally started weaving on my sunflower placemats after a really shaky start. I had a complete brain fart while I was planning and put the warp on the wrong way!I made the warp 20 inches wide and was weaving 14 inches long! This would have made the placemats have the fringe on the top and bottom rather than on the right and left of the placemat. So I had to turn the draft and rewarp the loom….Here is the start of the first placemat; it really doesn’t look like much from this angle. I've had to use a temple to keep the edges even as this pattern seems to want to draw in substantially.From this angle you can see the start of the sunflower or sunburst pattern developing. This is an interesting weave because there is no pattern repeat; I’m actually weaving a picture of sorts, so there is no repeat, just 309 unique picks.
Here is the draft I'm using, these placemats seem to be quite quick to weave, so hopefully I'll get them done poste haste.
I received an unexpected gift in the mail the other day from Ann Maxvill in Montana, one of the GCW scarf exchange participants.
Ann wove this book mark in very fine variegated yarn and dropped in a washer part way though; she then stabelized the washer by needle weaving through the centre hole to ensure that it didn't move and then allowed the yarn to find it's own level around the washer. Great idea eh?
There always seems to be things to keep me off loom in the summer. Imagine how nice a bowl of these local peaches is going to be in November with a dollop of yoghurt! The jams are pure peach and a peach and mango blend……yummy doesn’t begin to cover it! Now I hear the tomatoes calling me. I went to the Art of Yarn in Kelowna a couple of days ago, and needless to say, couldn’t walk out the door without something. I was completely gob smacked by this amazing sock yarn from Germany. The purples fading through pink to orange had me as soon as I saw them!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Fancy Twill Cloth Off the Loom

I’ve finished weaving the six yards of cloth that I put on Avril, my purpose is to try my hand at making a few garments. It was really fun to weave, especially as my Mum filled all the pirns for me – all 14 of them! This is pretty amazing number as most scarves only take 1.5 pirns.
I had to pull some threads out to make the yardage fit the loom as 36 inch loom isn’t actually 36 inches! There is a total of 144 threads at 6 yards so there is going to be two very pretty teal blue scarves in my future.
I have only used the AVL a couple of times so getting the tension and the beat correct can be a challenge but it seems that I was doing pretty well as the cloth looks just great. My beat is very consistent, I’m pleased to say. Here is the yardage fresh off the loom and ready to wet finish.
I’m looking forward to seeing the finished product but it won’t be for a while as I have to relearn to sew first! I haven’t sat at a sewing machine since high school, so another challenge ahead.

I already have a new project on the loom, no moss on this stone!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Can't Get Going!

Not too much happening on the weaving front for me this week. It seems that summer and the long sunny days in the garden are taking priority right now! I’m overwhelmed with French filet beans at the moment!
I thought I’d show you how the studio looks today.I have one inch woven on the Jane loom, this is yet another rug sample that I don’t want to do! I just can’t seem to get enthusiastic about this warp at all! I’ve made a promise to myself to get it done by the end of the month….mmmmm, well, maybe! This is the warp I've pulled for placemats sitting on Lily Louet. I have never tried weaving placemats in 4/8 cotton so this should be interesting. I’ve chosen this lovely warm yellow for the warp and a sweet milky chocolate for the weft. The pattern promises to look something like a sunburst or a sunflower – wish me luck! This should be up and going in a few days; but not too soon as I’ve given Ngaire the use of my warp protector for her yardage warp….need to source another 36” length of cardboard for her!I am actively working on yet another Overshot piece. This is a modification from my previous Overshot and is working out splendidly. The LeClerc Minerva jack loom allows me to get a really good strong beat to push all that wool down and make a 50/50 cloth. If you remember I moved the 2/8 cotton warp from the Spring loom to the LeClerc a few weeks ago and it was a very good call. Ngaire, my daughter, and I did a crazy day trip to Vancouver last Thursday; we drove to Vancouver (373 km) and back again in one day; trading the driving between us, it wasn’t bad at all! My son popped home for a surprise visit and using it as an excuse we decided to drive him home to save him airfare. Well, it wasn’t completely altruistic…I got to hit Maiwa and pick up a few bits and pieces at the same time. I was in a real rush so just bought every Procion MX dye colour that they had in stock, some Urea, Synthrapol and Soda Ash. Now I’m really ready to take advantage of the summer weather and get some dyeing done.I also found two lovely hand carved wooden print blocks at Maiwa. I’m hoping to try them out on the natural silk scarves that Ngaire wove.

Weaving Words
Diaper – is any turned twill as long as it is not proper damask. Thus both dimity and dornick are diapers.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fancy Twill Woven Fabric

I decided to do some yardage because . . . well I wanted to use the entire width of the loom – all 36 inches! The purpose of the yardage is for a jacket or vest, not quite sure at this point. There was a lot of pre planning that had to go into the project. I wanted to have lots of interesting designs and colours so I choose to do a variation on a twill gamp.
The stripes are all different widths but to make things easier when pulling the warp I made sure that each stripe has an even number of ends, it took more fiddling with the pattern than you think! When the garment is cut out I want to have the front panels of the vest or jacket match so the pattern has been mirrored with a delineating line of black in the centre. The warp is a mixture of 2/8 Orlec and 2/8 Tencel and the weft is black 2/10 Tencel. Originally the yardage was to be 36 inches but it turns out that a 36 inch reed isn’t really that long, more like 35.75 inches. Consequently I’ve had to drop a few ends off the back beam to make it work out. I did remember to keep the cross in the dropped ends and I’ll make sure to use them in my next yardage project.
There are 5 distinct stripes’, each stripe has a mixture of yarn colours. This was to give depth and interest to each stripe. The outside is a 1/1 mixture of soft green and soft blue. The next is pure pink. The wide one is dark teal on the outside blending through two shades of light teal in the centre. The next is purple, lavender then silver in the centre. The final stripe is a Fibonacci mixture of pink and rose.
I am really enjoying the weaving; the width is just at the edge of my reach. And it is amazing how fast I am going through pirns! Thankfully Mum is doing the hard work of filling them up with the electric bobbin winder.