Monday, December 30, 2019

Our Year in Review

We would like to wish you a wonderful New Year with health and happiness in 2020!

I like to wrap up our weaving year by compiling a list of what we accomplished at the loom;  2019 was a busy year for us off the loom too because we undertook some pretty major projects around the house, we changed our landscape and painted the entire interior of the house!
In between gardening and painting I wove:
8 tea towels
8 scarves
3 table runners that I never blogged about
330 Guild of Canadian Weavers samples
5 pictures to frame
I also sewed 5 pouches
1 capelette for Ngaire
and 2 vests out of handwoven fabric
Ngaire did a bit more weaving, as she garnered a whopping
15 scarves
5 table runners
8 tea towels
2 shawls
330 Guild of Canadian Weavers samples
and 1 picture to frame
Ngaire also did some major work on drafting which took much more time to figure out than to blog about.  After all of her hard work, I finally got a good idea about drafting Diversified Plain Weave!

All things considered it was a very good year for the two of us at WovenBeauty and DustBunnies....and to add some icing on the cake I received this book on December 24 ~ what a great present from me to me! This is Marian Stuenitsky's newest book 'Double Twist' and I know I will spend many, many hours trying to understand all the new concepts....wonderful!

Monday, December 23, 2019

The Last Scarf of the Year

Finally this scarf is off the loom, it was a joy to weave, but trying to get sat at the loom can be problematic at this time of the year.  I feel it took weeks to weave.
This photo was taken before it was washed and even at this point I knew it was something quite lovely.  I used hand dyed silk for the warp and aqua tencel for the weft.
The lighting is quite shocking with winter mizzle giving everything a grey tinge, but I perservered and this shot shows some of the pattern quite well.
This is the scarf washed, but not steam pressed or fringe twisted and the drape of the cloth is simply amazing.  I will definitely be using this pattern again, but, I could not get a decent photo inside the house so outside I went.  The winter grey sky has really muted the colours and pulled all the lovely silk sheen out.  The colours should show as aqua, navy, green and magenta, but you get the idea.

The final shot today is Orange Charlotte Russe that we made for a family birthday, now we can buckle down and get going on Christmas.
We wish you all things Merry and Bright, and hope you have a safe and warm Christmas surrounded by those you care about.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Finished Weaving to Frame

I have finally finished the guild study group challenge to weave something ‘frame able’ and it was not easy!

I wove a piece of cotton yardage with the idea of painting on it and was frankly underwhelmed by the result (check it out here).  Then I tried distorting the fabric to make rusching and again, hmmmm, not so much.

I started out with a piece of fabric twenty inches long and ten inches wide and used some iron on Pelon to stabilize it.  Then I cut it into three equal pieces to give myself plenty of chances to actually succeed in this endeavour.
My husband Michael found this product called Fabri Ink which promises to ‘create beautiful Watercolor effects on fabric’.  I finally got a glimmer of an idea and jumped right in.  The product comes in two parts; a refillable water brush and some concentrated ink.
I decided to do something simple and opted for ‘mountainish’ lines which I painted on dry fabric.
I then sprayed it with water to encourage bleeding.
I went a tad to far with the spraying and got a bit more bleeding than I had hoped for, but I could live with it by applying a few more lines of ink.
Here they are all in a row and as good as I'm going to get them.
This one lookes pretty mountainy, with a bit of cloud at the peak.
This one is almost mountain ranges and I'm liking it.
Number three and it is the most literal of the three.
Together they make a very satisfying triptich and I can finally put this project to bed with the knowledge that I met my commitment.  After Christmas I will hang them in my studio beside my loom.
Here is my kitchen Christmas tree all decked out in fine blown glass vegetables and pastries, every time I look up on top of the kitchen armoir I feel happy.

Monday, December 9, 2019

From the Wall to the Table

This 2/30 cotton warp is from my attempt to weave something to frame, see blog post here.  I had to decide if I wanted to proceed with the project or ditch it for something else.  So, while I was deciding the warp sat on the loom for a couple of days, just looking at me reproachfully!
I decided to ditch the original plan and weave a pretty table runner instead and I was instantly happier!  Looking through the multitude of drafts we have on PCW I found a lovely one that is 12 shafts and that perfectly used my 720 ends.  I still needed to add some extra heddles to some of the shafts, so I made them out of brown orlec, so I could find them later. I like to evenly distribute the extra tied on heddles on the shaft to make sure the tension remains constant.
I prefer to add heddles than to move heddles around because the black shaft holders on the Louet Spring, which I call biting penguins, are quite hard to remove and the top beak bites into your thumb as you push it through the texsolv, nasty.
Is it a coincidence Mom and I are both using the same colour of weft, light blue, for our weaving projects?  Mine is 2/16 bamboo and hers is 2/8 Tencel and both are lovely.
Here is the start of the table runner; I have woven 6 inches for the hem and the first repeat of the main box pattern.  I like this a lot!  Those streaks of white aren’t part of the warp, they are the texsolv on the treadles showing through.  This table runner is really fine.
At the end of the table runner I finished my pirn with only a few inches left.  So I measured out and then hand wound the next pirn so I didn’t have any weft leftover on a pirn.  And yes the picture is blurry, sorry.
This table runner wove up quite quickly so I don’t have a lot of pictures.  I originally put on only 3 yards, after cutting of the piece that I painted, I had an unknown amount left.  In the end I wove about 41 inches plus the hem.  But I used every last inch of the warp, definitely can’t get any closer to the heddles then this!
I finished weaving the runner yesterday, so I still have to wash and hem it but it is off the loom.  Yes, I only took this photo to show off my pretty pink Christmas tree sitting in the front window!
Final Garden Shot is a blue star juniper (Juniperus squamata "Blue Star") we finally had some sunshine yesterday after days of heavy fog.  The water droplets on the juniper twinkled in the sun.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Confressions of A Compulsive Organizer

I love organization, I love to see everything neat and tidy and if it’s colour coordinated, so much the better.
When I begin developing a new weaving project, my first step is to haul out my ‘stash book’ which I made and blogged about in 2009 , click to read the original post.  Honestly I use this binder nearly every day.
After ten years of hard use this binder is showing its age as I’ve pulled through the binder holes and it feels that now is a good time to re-visit how I made it and make a few improvements to the design.
I had recently bought some cardstock to make hang tags for the guild sale, so having the supplies on hand really motivated me.
I hauled out my wee Fiskars paper cutter and started by cutting the letter sized paper into 3 sizes:
4 7/8”x8 1/2”, 3 7/8”x8 1/2” and 2 7/8”x8 1/2”.  I was able to get multiple cuts from each page and I made 14 of each size.
I then made margins on the large page at 2” from the edge, 1 1/2” for the medium page and 1” for the small page.  I then made lines equally spaced down the page.  This is when I switched to centimetres because it just worked out better, my lines are 1 cm apart.
Punching the holes for the binder came next and frankly it was pretty hard on my hands.  It was at this point I discovered that hole punches can indeed become dull!
126 holes later and they are done, now just 840 more punches to go as I give each card 20 holes for the yarn!  This is the part that I made changes I made only 20 holes per page as I found the yarns near the bottom of the page tended to slip out of place and rip through the hole.  I also move the hole in further from the edge to make them stronger.
Now comes the really fun part for me.  I pulled out each of my yarn storage bins and weigh each item, then place a nice doubled strand on the card.  When I could I made note of the manufacturer and of the colour name and if I had mixed dye lots.  Naturally I colour coded too, just because it made me happy.
This is my on hand Tencel in all its beauty.   Ahh, one fibre down and 13 more to go!

I don't have a garden shot today because it's dull and drippy outside, but here is what we've been doing in the kitchen.  Cream puffs with cracklin crusts filled with creme patissiere, yummmm!

Monday, November 25, 2019

Handmade Christmas Ornaments

I have two scarves that I wove a long time ago, I love them but they are very short and very purple, but they are also very cute with lace butterflies.  I decided that it is time to do something else with them.
I have the idea to turn them into Christmas ornaments.  I tried to find some wood ornaments that I could cover but they were all too small.  The butterfly motif is 3 ½ by 3 ½.  So I decided that I cut my own shapes out of foam board and cover the back of the ornaments with decorative paper since I don’t have enough fabric to cover the whole ornament.
I used some cardboard to make some test pieces to see what size I wanted to make the ornaments.  Definitely the bottom one, the bigger the better!
I cut a test piece of foam board, then I cut a piece of test fabric from a scarf that just wasn’t woven well enough, my beat changed from really hard to just a gentle tap by the end of the warp!
First thing I learned was that my fabric was too short to go around the ornament.
So I cut off a ¼ of an inch.
I used school glue to attach the fabric to the foam board and I clipped the corners to reduce the bulk of the fabric.  I think that it worked out pretty well.  The glue attached the fabric well and it didn’t soak through the fabric.

I tried another ornament; I wanted to perfect the corners.  I made the foam board a little smaller and was more aggressive with cutting the corners.

The corners are definitely better on this one.  I think that they are cute, they look like little presents.

But I think that the ornaments don’t really suit the butterfly fabric.  So the new idea for the fabric is cards.  The pre folded card stock comes in three or four different sizes.  I used paper to see what size of window will work for the butterflies.
Today the card stock arrived!  Soon there will be butterfly cards.
Final Garden Picture is a Littleleaf Sage (Salvia microphylla 'Hot Lips') it is still blooming even after a couple of frosty mornings.