Sunday, November 20, 2011

Moving to Vancouver Island ~ A Big Change

We put our house on the market in the spring and despite plenty of viewings, our market was flat. So, we did what all sensible people do - we went on vacation! Our month in France was wonderful and you'll be happy to know that I won't bore you with my travel photos.

After our return we accepted the fact that our house would be ours throughout the winter, so we decided to pull out our pellet stove and put in a fabulous top of the line gas fireplace. Now things get interesting.....

On the last day of our listing November 3 - we got a request for a viewing. My immediate answer was to say no since we were in mid demo mode, but saner minds prevailed and I agreed to spit polish the house one final time. On November 4 the new fireplace was installed at the same time we were negotiating the offer for our house!

So now we trade this Okanagan beauty
For this Island dream
In the course of one week we got the offer, traveled to Vancouver Island and bought a brand new head is still spinning. We did this so fast that I couldn't remember what colour the house was painted! We move on December 14 and it feels like everything is happening so fast! So it will be Christmas in the small city of Comox which is about 1/2 way up Vancouver Island and about 3 hours drive from my best friend Susan in Duncan.
I thought I'd show you a couple of photos of our booth at the South Okanagan Slow Fibre Festival. I really think the booth looked great and the sale was a success for us.
We really had a wonderful space and the colour blocking we did with the scarves really increased their impact.
Just before the house offer came through I decided that I wanted to put a warp on the loom for a couple of table squares. I wanted to work on a fine piece and I was looking for a challenge. The warp is long enough for two table squares and it is only 2-1/2 yards long!
I decided to use white 4/24 mercerized cotton for the warp and 1/14 linen for the weft on the first table square. The square is 21-1/2" wide in the reed and the finished fabric should be 20" x 20". The sett is 40 epi and I needed 857 heddles for the pattern and border. I only have 100 heddles on each of my shafts and adding heddles is a pain, so I traded looms with Ngaire as she has 150 heddles per shaft. So now I'm working with very fine fiddly yarn and on a loom that although is the same make and model as my beloved Lily Louet - it's different!

The piece is bordered and so it has unique corners. The pink line is just a hem marker that will be removed later.
This is the bottom border repeat for the reversible hem I intend to do.

The photo above is the first glimpse of the pattern developing. I really like the large sunburst motif. I think that mixing a modern motif with traditional technique and materials can be very exciting. Now I'm in huge rush to finish both pieces so we can dismantle the looms! Such an exciting time for us!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Spot On

I have always adored the polka dot scarves that Mum did a fair while back.  I love the fact that I can lay in straight lines of weft and magically produce pretty little circles; it is amazing what networking a draft will do!  I have finally woven two of my own scarves and I thank Alice Schlein for the pattern. The warp is navy 2/8 Tencel and I put enough warp on for two 70 inch long scarves.  The weft for the first scarf is red violet 2/8 Tencel and the second scarf is a stunning celadon green 2/8 Tencel.
As I was weaving I noticed that the navy warp was releasing a lot of fibre dust, it was making the proverbial dustbunny under my loom!  After washing the scarves I hung them up to dry and careful smoothed the wrinkles away then I noticed that my hand was covered with navy fibres.

When I was steam pressing the scarves I noticed that they had a halo of navy fibres that really blurred the pattern.  So I used a sticky lint remover sheet on each scarf to remove the excess fibres and the scarves look amazing, the pattern is now crisp and clear.
These polka dot scarves are just wonderful!  I loved weaving them and I love the look of them, fun and funky enough for a young woman, but classic enough too.  The light dots on one side and dark dots on the other give the scarf a sense of depth and make them a versatile wardrobe addition.                                                      
This green is much, much fresher in real life - seems that greens are very temperamental about having their photos taken.
Both looms have had to be moved into the dining room and here they sit, back to back while the studio is having a remodel.  The dining table is pushed against the picture window and the chairs have had to be put into our guest room!  What a kerfuffle! We've pulled out the pellet stove and are in the middle of installing a gas fireplace, so the dust will be flying for a few days more. 
Right now the plan is to put one loom in the den/office and the other in the family room. I keep telling myself that change is a good thing!