Saturday, December 15, 2012

Wrapping Up Loose Ends

In my last post I had warped the 2/20 hand painted silk that was sitting on pirns for yonks, and today I got the new scarf started and half woven. I didn’t use any of the wefts that I thought I would…I went basic and chose black because all of the other wefts hid the wonderful variegations in the silk.
I’ve chosen a pattern called ‘Twill Complication” and even though it’s on 4 shafts it’s a real looker and I wove half of the scarf today! This pattern is a delight to weave and I'm really getting a kick out of it.  I have plans to do it with some other silks because the pattern is very well behaved and allows the variegations to shine through and not be overwhelmed by the pattern.
Here is the draft for those of you that don’t have ‘A Handweavers Pattern Book’.

This last week has been a whirlwind of activity. I’m hoping to start the New Year with a clean slate and so I’ve decided to clean up some of my mistakes!

I pulled the failed shawl with black and brown handspun out of the drawer that I had stashed it in, you know ‘out of sight, out of mind’! I can’t bear to waste the yarn so I decided to deconstruct the shawl.
I started by unlacing the hemstitching on both ends and then pulled out each warp thread one by one.
This proved to be a much easier job than I had anticipated…for some reason the shawl didn’t full as much as I’d expected; this was a bane at the time, but a boon now as the warp threads just slid out. Can you spot the 'French Apple Tart' in the background?  It takes a lot of energy to pull apart a shawl and that is my reward! Although it’s hard to see I left just 2 warp threads in place to keep the weft in some kind of order while I made balls and this really helped hold it in place while I made the balls.
Here it is separated into its basic components just waiting for a better project that will turn the handspun into the show stopper it should be!

It's had to believe but we have been in our new house exactly one year today, so as a celebration I made one of our favourite appetizers to have with a bottle of 1996 Merlot.  This photo is before they have been cooked.
These are called Piedmont Roast Peppers and are amazingly easy to prepare and they are real showstoppers. Just cut as many peppers as you need in half and clear out all the seeds, but keep the stem intact. Then stuff it with a half of a fresh tomato and some garlic. Put a teaspoon of your very best olive oil into each one and then salt and pepper it. Bake at 375 F for about 40 minutes in a parchment paper lined pan and serve with a big hunk of crusty bread to soak up all the delicious juices…..soooooo good!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Week in the Middle and Nothing Complete

This has been one of those funny weeks, where I’m in the middle of everything and have nothing to show for the past few days.
I’m in the middle of twisting the fringes on my Drall scarves, which after pressing are stellar, if I do say so myself! Then the task of photographing them for the Etsy shop….ahhh never-ending.
I’m in the middle of the sleeves on Ngaires sweater and they seem to be dragging on forever, because I’m only doing about 20 rows in an evening…..sooooo slow!
And I’m in the middle of warping my loom with my next scarf. I’m using 2/20 silk that I hand dyed for another project. I had this silk wound on pirns for two years and thought that now was the time to free them up! I had enough on the pirns to make 173 ends 92 inches long ~ just enough for a 6 inch wide scarf sett at 28 ends per inch.
I’m still waffling about which weft yarn and colour to use….yup, still in the middle of making that decision too. The two balls in the photo are bombyx silk singles that I dyed for another project and the cones are tencel with the variegated silk (all that's left over from the warp) in front….just gonna have to weave a few picks of each before I can make the decision!
In the middle here too, these are the ‘geranium’ urns that we’ve tucked into the entranceway. I’ve anchored the little wire Christmas trees with bags of beach sand to keep them weighted so they don’t fly away in our rather gusty area of Vancouver Island and have just 3 tiny ornaments on each. The greenery was gleaned on our walks and really typifies the rain forest all around us.  We even had a bunch of small bulb white LED lights leftover to outline the door as Michael has switched over to those rather nostalgic multi-coloured big bulbs like we had in the '70s to do the roof line all around the house!  They make the house look so friendly!
I’ve been gearing up for Christmas baking; a rainy day is a good day to stay home and bake I think. Although we’ve only got the Christmas cakes done so far….I just loved the way this Pineapple Upside Down cake looks, it reminds me of 'Black-eyed Susan' flowers, so I thought I’d share a photo although the cake is loooong gone.
The plant of the week in my garden is the Lily of the Valley Shrub (Pieris japonica ‘Valley Rose’). This is an amazing shrub that looks great in every season. When I bought it last March the new leaves were hot pink and creamy white. Then they slowly turned green and now it’s setting the flowers which will bloom pearly white in a few months. There is a good reason why everyone has this in their garden here, it’s a real giver!