Monday, June 24, 2019

Finishing Up and Tour de Fleece

Finally, the Korndrall tea towels are off the loom.
They have been washed, tumble dried with wool dryer balls and are now being pressed ~ can’t say enough about the dryer balls, they really do reduce the drying time considerably.
When pressing we use a Singer Steam Press which we affectionately call ‘McSteamy’; an homage to yonks ago and the first few seasons of Grey’s Anatomy.
As with many weavers I began my love of fibre from wool spinning roots.  I began spinning wool in the 1970’s when I lived in Rotorua New Zealand.  Ahhhh, the good olde days!  I segued into weaving when the yarn began to pile up and I was looking for a beautiful and interesting way of using my handspun yarns.  Funnily enough, now I rarely weave with wool. 

I still have the very first wheel I ever bought, which is a Nagy purchased in New Zealand, she is made from Kauri which was recycled from demolition and it is still one of the most beautiful wheels I have ever seen.  She spins beautifully, but with only one treadle it is slower to spin and takes considerable effort.
I find that now I prefer to spin on my Lendrum double treadle as she is super fast and just plain fun to use!

Spinning is on my mind today as I have just joined Ravelry’s Tour de Fleece!  The idea is that you spin along with the Tour de France during the month of July.  This seemed like the perfect time to haul out a rather geriatric Gotland Fleece that I have had stashed in a closet!
I washed the locks of the fleece several years ago and stored them in beautiful condition.  Sadly, after years in a cotton pillowcase they are a bit dry and slightly matted.
I have decided to split the locks into piles by colour and this fleece has given me three distinct colours.  There are lovely long, silky creamy white locks, medium long light grey/cream locks and much shorter, curly dark grey locks.
I am about half way through preparing the locks for spinning and as I finish a group I spray it with a little water in which I have dissolved some hair conditioner in an effort to add back some of the lost moisture and hopefully make the spinning easier.
I have been using a flick carder and a piece of leather to open up the locks and it is working really well albeit slowly, but hey, it's all about the journey.
After flicking I am left with a bag full of beautiful wool puffs that have been pulled out of the locks.  I want to spin the locks as worsted (all the fibres in a line) and these bits of fluff are now prepared as woollen (all the fibres mixed up); so after I have finished the fleece I will spin this bit separately.

The garden shot for today is a shot from one of my perennial borders which are glorious right now, the tall pink flower in the centre is Agasache 'Sunrise Red' (Hummingbird Mint) and the low orange flower is Helianthemum hybid 'Ben Nevis' (Rock Rose), the tall pink flower on the right is Gaura lindheimeri 'Passionate Blush' (Wand Flower), and good old Alyssum for balance.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Denman Island Garden Tour

We went on the Denman Island Home and Garden Tour this weekend.  It is a charity fundraiser for the Denman Island Conservancy association which has protected over 700 acres of Denman Island.  Denman Island is up near us in Comox; it can be seen from our harbour.  It lies just off of Vancouver Island, just a 10 minute ferry ride.  It is approximately 51 square kilometers and is 19 kilometers long and 6.5 kilometers wide.

It was a lovely day for a short ferry ride across the Baynes Sound to Denman Island.
Baynes Sound is the area on Vancouver Island that grows oysters, you may have heard of Fanny Bay Oysters.  Fanny Bay is just 5 minutes down the road.
When we got to Denman Island we headed up to the Main Street to get our tickets and a map of the Island to start our adventure.  The first garden shows how hot and dry it has been and they don’t have the water to spare to water their lawns.  But still a field of poppies and dandelions is a pretty sight.
I am not going to show you all the gardens just some highlights that we went to but what every garden had in common was the roses.  Denman is an Island of roses, the smell was spectacular.
As we toured the island we found ourselves on the far side of Denman Island which is the view of another island called Hornby Island and the mainland (the British Columbia coastline).  This section of the Pacific Ocean is called the Strait of Georgia, which is part of the Salish Sea.
The theme for this year’s Garden Tour was wetlands and this has to be the prettiest, a lovely bridge arching over the pond with yellow irises.  There were Muscovy ducks running around too!
Now it is time for lunch we stopped at a provincial park called Fillongley and our view was of Hornby Island, you could see the whole island.
Onto the next garden, it was the best one by far.  It has been featured in many gardening magazines, it was a large perennial garden.
There was a large patch of Turkish Sage that just caught your eye.
And a Star of Persia allium, they may be short but they pack a punch.
At the last garden we saw this plant didn’t know what it was but with a picture and the internet we found it is called Jupiter’s Beard and have already been to the garden nursery and picked up some (and already planted!).
The best garden art was this heron, made from wrapped fabric and a crocheted table cloth!
We are hot and tired now so back down to the ferry terminal for the ocean voyage back to the Vancouver Island.  We arrived in time to see the ferry came in, that grey line isn’t the road markings it is the cable used by the ferry, which is a greener alternative than the traditional ferries.
Finally we are on the ferry about to go back home to the big island, Vancouver Island.  When you drive onto the ferry a crew member helps you park, they need you to park really close to be able to fit the most amount of cars.  I parked so close to the car in front of me that the man wasn’t able to open his trunk!  But I got a 'good job' from the crew member.
It was a long day but it really gave us a lot to be inspired by for our own garden.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Honouring Erica

Sadly, I have only recently learned that the Dutch weaver Erica De Ruiter died in March; Erica specialized in weaves that use 4 or fewer shafts.

Although I did not know Erica, I was always excited when I found one of her articles in Handwoven Magazine and I thoroughly enjoyed her book ‘Weaving on Three Shafts’.
It seems that Erica’s goal was to reduce weaving to the simplest number of shafts and still get the most beautiful result.  If you can get your hands on a copy of this book I would encourage it.

In an effort to honor Erica I thought that I would share two of my very favourite articles by Erica, one in Handwoven Magazine and one online at WeaveZine.

In the November/December 2007 Issue Erica’s article entitled Three Towels ~ or One Wall Hanging ~ or Both; is such an exciting idea.
The premise is that you can weave three tea towels (3 yards of cloth) and then with clever folding and a dowel you can hang it on the wall of your kitchen displayed as a Kimono. Then when you feel need for a change, you can cut it apart, hem the ends and use the tea towels for many years.  This is mind blowing for me, and I think shows just how inventive Erica De Ruiter was.  Due to copyright  I cannot show you any photos, but luckily, you can purchase this magazine from Interweave Press as a download.

The second really special and completely inventive article can still be found on WeaveZine and it was written by Erica in September 2008.  This is a recipe for making a Spiral Zipper Bag using a long zipper and a length of inkle band.  I found this so interesting and I have had it on my Want To Make list since I first found it.  I am inspired by Erica’s ability to think in a non-linear way and to create beautiful and functional items in ways that I had never considered.  I have included the link to WeaveZine here.

Our weaving community is much poorer since March and I will miss the joy of opening up Handwoven Magazine and finding one of Erica’s gems inside.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Eight Shaft Korndrall Tea Towels

Finally I think I’ve got a handle on the gardening and house maintenance for awhile, so I’ve actually sat at the loom for the last couple of days.

I have had a warp on the loom for quite some time.  I made some tea towels in January and they turned out really well.  I decided that I loved the pattern and I decided to amend the warp making the stripes and squares larger.  That was an unmitigated disaster as the edges were so uneven and bumpy due to the weave structure.  I had fun cutting the weft out.  I decided to leave the warp in place, but to re-thread and re-design.  I chose to keep the same tie-up.  This is the final draft, not the one I had thought to use originally.
The new stripes are almost exactly half the size of the original and so there was some warp thread manipulation happening. It was a bear to thread with all the crossing over.
On every coloured stripe there was one extra thread that had to be left dangling, to keep up the tension I’ve just hung them together with a weight.
I’m a sucker for stripes so these tea towels have 5 thin stripes at one end.  I tried to do stripes of varying thicknesses, but with the pattern it just looked odd, so five even stripes looked the best.
I love a shot of the warp wrapping ever so neatly around the beam.
Today I got this big boy, and I do mean BIG, delivered.  The roll of one sided cardboard is 3 feet wide and 250 feet long and Ngaire can't get her arms around it.  Yikes!
I ordered it to replace my current cardboard that I use on the front beam to make sure that the tie on knots don’t distort the first few wraps on the breast beam.   As you can see, my old cardboard is really
I will also use it to replace the paper rolls that I use for beaming and offer the extra to other weavers who may need a few yards for their looms.  Otherwise I may have enough cardboard for this life and the next!
Today I have two beauty shots for you.  This is the first dessert we made using dome moulds for Mothers Day.  It is frozen lemon cremeux with a lemon shortbread crumb and lemon curd.  It was so yum!
Todays garden shot is of Siberian Iris (Iris sibirica) at it's very best this week.