Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer Funk!

The past few weeks have been notable only by my lack of weaving! I’ve found every excuse under the sun to avoid the loom! Even our lack of sunshine hasn’t kept me weaving. Our ‘summer that never was’ has had me dragging around in a funk!

Our family has been following ‘Le Tour de France’ avidly for the past three weeks and sitting glued to the DVR for 4 hours a day has sadly encroached on my productivity. I can’t believe how invested I became in the 3000 km bike race around France. I must admit that the aerial shots of all the Chateau and Churches has really whetted my appetite and has managed to really fire me up for our September in France.

Boys in spandex notwithstanding I did manage to knit quite a few of these sweet seed bead necklaces while glued to the telly.
I’ve knit the pendant necklaces in three different styles which are directly from Louisa Chadwick’s’ pattern book. My only contribution is my colour choices, gauge and finishing embellishments. They are amazingly fun to knit and end up being about 3 inches in length – soooo tiny for having more than 1000 seed beads in each!
This is the beginners’ pattern and it is the easiest to knit as the increments are easy to remember. This pattern is very much like the first but has a more tailored look.
This pattern is by far my favourite and is definitely the one you have to pay the most attention to while knitting. I love the diamonds!

I was asked recently how my Vogue blouse turned out and…..even though I had to pack everything up and put it all away several times, I have managed to complete the white cotton version. I rarely sample while weaving, but sewing is another matter entirely – this is my sample blouse in 100% cotton. I am a petite size so I had to alter every piece to fit, thankfully it all worked out! I can’t believe how much sewing and unpicking I did! It seems that if there were two ways to read the pattern I always chose the gauche! The pattern is very well laid out, but I over analyzed the collar to the point that I was ready to toss the whole thing. When I just followed the directions, it worked out just fine. I am now an expert in flat felled seams!Regardless of the lack of sun our garden is doing amazingly well. We are already dining very well on peas, beans, cucumbers, herbs and the inevitable zucchini. We have 64 tomato plants in 16 varieties that have set fruit and just need some serious sun to get sweet and plump.

I have the loom loaded up and waiting to go and hopefully I will have something on topic next time.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tale of Woe

I’ve wanted to re weave a Crackle pattern that I designed and wove awhile ago. It’s a great pattern that has a beautiful motif that resembles a city skyline. And as well I’ve had my eye on one of the cones of Tencel for a long time, it’s absolutely stunning. It’s dark sea foam green, a name which doesn’t really do the colour justice. I’ve also found out that it’s a really hard colour to photograph.
I had to try a lot of different colours of weft to go with the green of the warp. If the colour was too dark, slate grey for instance, it leached the colour from the warp. If the colour was too light like yellow it drew all the attention to the weft. Blue was the best colour but none of the four different shades that we have really worked. I didn’t take any photos of the Crackle because it didn’t work with the colour of the warp. The weft was too light coloured and the pattern wasn’t balanced. I knew that there wasn’t going to be any weft that I could use so I decided to scrap the whole Crackle idea.

The only choice that I felt I had was to use the same sea foam green for both the warp and weft. For me the best pattern for a solid colour is a lace weave. Another pattern that I wanted to weave again was the huck circles that I wove a while back.
This pattern is a joy to weave, the pattern develops quickly and the warp and weft floats pick up wonderful luster. The finished scarf is really pretty, I just love the circles.
The scarf needed a little something to help it along, like beads! I haven’t been beading scarves lately but something about this scarf just needed a bit of sparkle. Luckily the bead stash just happened to have the perfect colour!Rarely have I been so challenged by colour but the end result was worth the struggle.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Playing with Colours

As Mum said in a previous post we went through our inventory looking at the colours and how they played with each other. It was a really interesting process as we pulled the scarves out and kept rearranging them, for example, one of the scarves looked blue but when it went into the blue pile it looked green but with the greens it looked too blue. So we looked for solid colours that would help to build the story of the collection.We also noticed that we don’t have a lot of lace weaves in the scarves so we are going to be killing two birds with one stone, using solid colours and lace weaves together. The scarf that I am doing is a Twill Lace in blue Bamboo weft and blue Tencel in the warp. I really like playing with highlights and tones as it adds interest to what could be a plain scarf.I liked the pattern so much that I did it again with yellow Bamboo and yellow Tencel. I love the fact that one side is weft faced medallions and so shiny from the Tencel and the other side is warp faced medallions and is matte from the Bamboo. The play of the shine and matte really make the pattern stand out.For the first time I had a problem with Tencel, the yellow one, we had bought a large cone and there is black machine oil marks throughout the cone, it was really frustrating as some of them are faint but once it is woven and next to other picks you can really see it. I spent a lot of time unweaving these marks. I did leave some of the fainter marks because they were hard to see but with light behind the scarf they could be seen (so after it was off the loom) but they have washed out which I am really thankful otherwise I would have a new scarf!I am always astonished by the difference a hard pressing makes on the left the yellow scarf hasn't been pressed. The shine that seems to magically appear from beneath the steam press and the scarf now has a liquid movement. The pattern really pops after the pressing also.I love the play of colours with these scarves. The two tones of colour really bring a depth and interest to the scarves. Also I really love this pattern, it was easy to weave and so rewarding. It is definitely going to be a 'go to' pattern for me.There is a little tree in the back garden that has a new nest by a Cedar Waxwing. She is the prettiest bird with a lovely black mask and the shiniest smoothest feathers. The tree is really special because there is also a Robin’s nest just a couple of branches below so the tree it is a now a condominium!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Not much weaving going on this week as I’ve caught the sewing bug! My local fabric store was changing ownership and everything in the store was 70-80% off! I decided that this was the perfect time to try and make that ‘perfect’ blouse. I purchased an amazing Vogue pattern and have been trying to get it done for the past three days! Life and house viewings seem to be getting in my way! Today I’m determined to get it done…. I'm making one blouse out of 100% white cotton (I'll live with the fine wrinkles to avoid the awful feel of polyester!) and once I've figured it all out I've purchased some beautiful silk noil fabric for my 'special' blouse.

I did manage to fit in a tiny bit of weaving though. I decided to weave the Malbec scarf again after tweaking it and have named my newest creation Trebbiano after a lovely green grape. I rarely weave the same scarf twice without making a number of changes. In this case I changed the warp colour to Moss Green and the weft to Lemongrass. I made the scarf a tad narrower and moved the positions of the spot lace.
I wanted a clear asymmetrical vertical line and working with three blocks achieved this. I changed the sett from 28 epi to 24 epi and I’m thrilled with the result, it has a wonderful light feel. The tone on tone colours just shimmer with one side being predominantly Moss Green and the other being Lemongrass.

I do have another scarf on the loom right now and while I was weaving I ran into a huge problem……I am using 2/8 bamboo for my weft and while I was winding my pirn I came across this big weird lump. I thought nothing of it and just cut it out and tied the yarn back together and proceeded to finish the pirn. When I started to weave with this new pirn I noticed that the yarn was distinctly different – much heavier in grist! It seems that when the manufacturer repaired the broken end they carried additional fibre for yards and yards. I was despondent thinking that I couldn’t finish my project!I wound the larger yarn off the pirn and went back to the tube and started winding off the thick grist. What a waste!This lump in where the manufacturer finally got back to the correct grist of bamboo….I was so happy to find this spot. I was sure that my lovely scarf was going to end up as 28 inches of scrap….thankfully it’s going to be finished, just a little shorter than my usual 70 inches.