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.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Weaving to Frame Part Two

I wish I could say I’m finished with this project, but alas, no.  It may be one of those never ending frustrations.
The tulips have been woven off and, man are they ever literal.  I had wanted to create a suggestion of tulips, a mere hint of tulips, but nope, didn’t work, I made a picture.  I was hoping that after spraying liberally with alcohol that the image would bleed nicely and tone itself down.  Nah.
This is the reverse side and it has more potential, but I think I’ll set it aside for now and move forward with another idea.  Thankfully, I put on enough warp to try out several ideas.
Idea number two is all about distortion, so I started to move the threads around, a pull here, a pucker there..
I really started to like the look so I introduced some ruching for more vertical distortion.
I decided to add a few silk threads in gold and green woven through the largest distortion pull.  I’m rather liking this.
I think I’m happy with this look and now I have to find a name for it because that is part of the guild’s project guild lines.
I’ve laid the frame that I plan to use over top of the piece which I’m calling a rather uninspired, ‘Silk Road’.  It definatley looks better in a frame!  Now I just have to figure out the orientation, horizontal, vertical or a radical diagonal?

Thankfully, I have enough warp to give this problem one more attempt, but I’m already pretty much over it.
The garden shot this week is a photo of how we winterize our grasses.  We have eight large grasses in the garden and 'stooking' them keeps the rain off their hearts and protects them from the frost.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Getting Ready for A Sale

November is when we have our weaving guilds biggest event.  It is a two day sale, called Elegant Threads.
The funds raised by the Guild commission at this sale is essential to the Guild’s financial health so Ngaire and I always put in our weaving and lend the Guild our display racks and manniquins.
Frankly it is a huge amount of work to get ready for this event.  The first step is deciding exactly what to put in the sale. Everything has to be pulled out of storage and inspected and discussed.  Our spare bedroom is a disaster while we get organized.
The Guild requires us to use the Guild designed hang tags on every item.  We have tags for hand woven items and tags for handspun and knitted handspun items.    It takes a good day to print off the tags on cardstock, cut them apart, hole punch each one and add string to the tags, all the while I keep my fingers crossed that my printer doesn’t have a wobbly!
The guild provides us with an inventory sheet template, and we fill in our code number, item name (which is the same as on the hang tags) and price.  We keep one inventory sheet for ourselves and give one copy to the sales desk when we drop off our submissions. Each tag must have a unique number, so it is really hard to reuse tags from previous years and still maintain numeric integrity on your inventory sheets.  The part of the tag with the unique number is cut off when the item is sold and used to update the inventory sheets.  I do quite a bit of fiddling around to try and use the old tags and I spend far too much time avoiding rewriting and reprinting tags!
Each item has to be ironed and folded in a specific manner per the Guilds request; for example each tea towel has to be folded into three lengthwise and then the tag must be attached.  No other tags are to be on the item.
One tea towel down, twenty to go.
 I don’t even want to talk about the scarves, the shawls, the runners (which must be rolled on a cardboard tube for display) and the skeins in their basket which have to be measured for length and weighed!  It will surely take us another couple of days to get ourselves ready.
The front garden is much more sombre place today as we remember all those who fought for the freedom we have.