Monday, December 21, 2020

White Linen Table Runners Part 2

To begin we would like to  wish you all  a very Happy Holiday Season and we send you our hopes for a much brighter 2021!

Now to talk about weaving. The clear blue cotton of the final white linen table runner was a joy to weave, especially on the dark and rainy winter days that we have been having here on Vancouver Island. This pattern never fails to please me.

I took a quick photo of the two runners side by side before they went into the wash to see what they looked like together.  On one side the pattern creates large blue X’s and on the other side is large white X’s and I will need to decide which I prefer before the runners get hemmed, although we hem so nicely both sides could be shown.

Our  blog is called Dust Bunnies Under My Loom, so I guess it is appropriate that I show you some dust bunnies that formed on the carpet, linen is a real shedder! If you look really closely you can see them.

The table runners have been pressed and pinned ready to be hemmed, just waiting for a sunny day to sew.  This is a job that Mom enjoys and I'm happy to leave them for her.

Alas, when I was steam pressing the table runners I noticed that I had made a threading error.  It is a small error with one of the small X’s at the bottom of the larger X’s.  It looks like it has only half an arm.  I tried to figure out a way to needle weave in a thread to fix the error but I wasn't pleased with the result.

These table runners were to be sold on my Etsy store, Woven Beauty, but with the error they just don't make the cut, so they are mine, mine, mine!   I have more white linen and lots of the denim blue cottolin and blue cotton so I'm thinking I could remake them, but I'll wait until after Christmas to start.

The final Garden Photo is heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica); it is not a true bamboo but a member of barberry family.  Here it is in its blaze of winter colour, it truly stands out in a winter garden.  It is doing especially well this year because we have been having very mild wet weather.

Monday, December 7, 2020

White Linen Table Runners on Eight Shafts

After adding the new videos to our Etsy table runner listings, we have sold 4 table runners in the last month!  We are down to just 7 listings for table runners so I started a new project with white linen from Belgium.  I love the view from the back of the loom where you can see the pattern in the heddles.

I like a neutral table linen, so for the weft I tried a lovely warm beige cottolin.  It is a lovely colour but it brought out the yellow tones in the white linen.  It just made the warp look dirty so onto the next choice.

My next pick for weft is a faded denim blue cottolin which looks fantastic with the warp.  The linen looks white and crisp against the blue cottolin.

The pattern that I picked for the table linens is a classic one for us that I have woven many times and still enjoy weaving.  I last wove this pattern in January of last year and both of those table runners quickly sold.  There will probably always be at least one table linen in the shop with this pattern, it is just that pretty!  It is a snowflake twill with a strong graphic punch of the large X’s.

The faded denim blue cottolin runner quickly wove up and yesterday I finished it.  Next I had to pick a new weft for the second and last table runner for this warp.  I looked through the stash yarn book at all the different yarn choices and colours but this large cone of blue cotton spoke to me!  You may remember it from the wool throw blog post where it had been mislabeled as wool at a yarn sale but a burn test showed that it is cotton.

I am quite surprized by the difference between the two blues.  The cobalt blue of the new warp overwhelms the denim blue cottolin almost making it seem to be grey.  It could also be because of the grey and dreary light we have right now.

I wove a single repeat just so I can see what the new cobalt blue cotton weft is going to look like, and yup it is going to be amazing.

We have three hummingbirds overwintering in the back garden this year.  They are amazingly noisy with their chirping and chasing each other around.  But I caught two of them perching together against the stormy winter sky, staking out the feeder.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Weaving An Oldie...Part Two

If you remember my blog ‘Weaving an Oldie but a Goodie’ from a full month ago.  I was weaving a replacement scarf for one that wasn’t really successful, but still much worn! I loved the overall pattern of the scarf and I loved the seed beaded fringe.  I truly loved the bead sequence and overall look, so I wanted to re-use them on the replacement scarf.

I finished weaving new the scarf in pretty good time and then I cut the Japanese glass beads from the old scarf ready to add to the new one.

The first thing I did was carefully cut each of the bead groupings from the old scarf and slide them onto these long thin quilting pins.

I made sure that both sets of beads were identical because after dropping a few, they were a little bit out. I tried to keep them in sequence at all times.

Every time I picked up one of the pins I lost a couple of beads, especially off of the really long groupings.  I got this strip of ‘Fun Tac’ and jabbed them in, and that kept them corralled!  As an aside I use a strip of ‘Fun Tac’ to affix my treadling sequence to my loom; it keeps it right at eye level and doesn’t mark the loom; this stuff is useful!

Before I actually started to sew the beads in place I did a dry run to make sure I had the spacing perfect.  I really didn't want to get it wrong and have to re-do them.

I thought I’d show you the needle that I used.  This is an ‘Easy Eye’ needle from Germany, and as well as being very thin, it is sharp at both ends and the needle eye runs the complete length of the needle, seriously it’s the biggest eye I've ever seen in a needle!

This needle was gifted to me many years ago by my friend Susan from ‘Thrums Blog’ and I am thankful every time I use it. You can find a link to the Thrums on the sidebar.

I sew the beads on the scarf starting from right to left and I make sure I lock the thread very securely several times between each group.  The thread itself is hidden within the hemstitching. 

You can check out more on beading on the Tips and Tutorial page at the top of the post.

Here is the final fringe, it’s at this point that I’ll admit to adding two extra beads to each of the strands for added pretty!

The final beauty shot of my lovely new scarf; this really is a lovely addition to my wardrobe, with just the perfect amount of bling for me!

Monday, November 23, 2020

An Exploration of Parallel Threading on Twelve Shafts

My weaving study group, called ‘Exploring More’ is focused on weaving on more than four shafts.  The topic we have chosen this time is ‘Parallel Threading’ and boy is it ever an exciting subject.   The wonderful thing about parallel threading is that you can weave a huge catalogue of weaving structures as parallel.  Anything from Twill to Summer and Winter to Crackle Weave are good candidates.

Because I am a very practical weaver and I really don’t like to make samples I decided that I would weave two scarves on the same warp but with different wefts and see where it takes me.

I wanted to create a very basic parallel threading and so I started with a simple twill on six shafts. 

I chose six shafts because I have a twelve shaft loom and I wanted to have enough shafts available to host a true duplication.  A good rule of thumb when paralleling a draft is to start with only half as many shafts as your loom weaves. Not a hard and fast rule, but a good starting place.

I began by utilizing my computer program to parallel only the warp.

What PCW Fiberworks did for me was to insert a space between each of the existing warp ends on shafts 1 to 6 and then interleave the same motif onto shafts 7 to 12.  This is not really very exciting but it does show the process rather well.

My next step was to extend the tie up to twelve shafts and then to choose to treadle the weft ‘As Drawn In’.  As Drawn in means that you treadle your weave in exactly the same order as the warp is threaded.

Now that made a big difference and you can see a very pretty diamond pattern emerging.  I really liked this pattern and decided that this would be my jumping off point. 

Never one to weave something simple when I can really go for it; I decided that weaving this pattern as an Echo Weave would be the next step. 

What makes this an Echo Weave is that I’m using a ‘split complementary’ colourway.  This is two colours of the same hue which sit side by side on the colour wheel and then adding the colour in the same hue directly opposite them on the colour wheel, this trio is a split complementary.  Whew, that was a mouth full; what I mean by hue is all three of these colours have the same colour saturation, no mixing pastels and full tones!  I chose to use alternating blue and green in the warp and orange in the weft,!  It looks really full on, but what this trio of colours will bring is an optical illusion of a fourth colour, in this case that colour will be purple.

OK now I’ve explained what I thought I’d weave I decided to mess around with the pattern a bit and do a bit of copying and pasting and reversing and know all the fun things a computer program does!  

Then I thought.....hmmmmm.....why not see what happens when you mess about with the ‘split complementary’ and use green and orange in the warp and blue as the weft.

This is what I came up with and if you squint a bit you can actually see the fourth colour emerging.
Here is the project on my loom.  I have chosen to use Webs tencel in blue/purple for the weft.  I think it looks exciting and although my photo doesn't show it, there is already wonderful iridescence appearing.

Monday, November 16, 2020

How I Do Photos for Etsy

I’ve not been weaving lately but I have been tidying up our Etsy shop, WovenBeauty.  First I redid the photos for the tea towels.  I've been experimenting with styles of photos, trying to get photos that are quick and easy to do and still show the product to the best of my abilities.  I use to have the tea towels on a plain white background but they looked like weird flying carpets, so I started incorporating the kitchen countertop for the photos.  This gives a sense of scale and grounds the photos. One drawback is that the light isn’t the best in the kitchen because we have a skylight competing with a north facing window so the photos can be quite grey, especially now that we are going into the winter months.  Here are two photos for the purple striped tea towels, the first is the old photo of weird flying carpet tea towel and the second is the new style photo on the kitchen counter.  Much better!

I have also restyled the first product photos for the tea towels; this is the photo that first appears on Etsy.  I now use a wooden bowl to raise up the tea towels on the vertical, not just lying flat, because then you can see more of the tea towel and scale.  To the side of the photo I have included a stack of tea towels; these are the tea towels that match the tea towel being shown on the bowl.  When we do different colours of tea towels I like to split up the listings, one colour per listing; then by having the stack to the side customers can see that there is more than one tea towel available in the series.  Old photo for a turquoise and white tea towel and the new updated photo below. 

Last week I spent some time doing photos and making videos for the table linens.  Etsy recommends having seasonal photos so I did some winter themed product photos and I will change the first product photos for the table linens to the winter themed ones over the next week.  At the same time I did some videos of the table linens and that was a challenge!  Here is an example video for a red lace table runner. The winter light is terrible so I'll be redoing the videos in the spring, but these videos seem to work as I sold a runner just yesterday!

This week I’m retaking the photos for the shawls, now we can have up to ten photos for each listing, right now for the shawls I only have six so I took some more photos to fill the missing spots.  In one day I took over 660 photos of just 7 shawls!  Now it will take some time to process the photos so it’ll be a couple of weeks before the new photos hit the store.

Since the shawls are unpacked, I decided that I should do some videos for them also.  I wanted to do them outside showing the colours of the shawls in natural light, but the cold Artic air and the garden not being at its best, this means that I have to find a spot inside.  The slate fireplace in the studio made for a lovely backdrop.  The navy echo shawl is a good example on how well a video can help customers to see the true colours of the shawl, the green and magenta in the warp is quite hard to see in photos.

Looking at the shop I still need to top up the photos for about ten items; mainly for the knitted items and the skeins.  Hopefully I’ll get a couple more nice days for the product photography and maybe some more videos!

Final photo is of my orange, grow outside in Canada!  It was hard to tell when the orange was ripe, but the internet told me that when all the leaves fall off the tree the orange would be ripe.  Well there were still some leaves on the tree but one morning the orange had fallen off the tree, so I considered it done.  We cut it open to look inside, there is a lot of pith and the juice is quite bitter and we found three seeds inside!

Monday, November 9, 2020

Eight Shaft Undulating Twill Blocks

I finished weaving my ‘Checker Board’ scarves this morning and I am absolutely chuffed with them. 

Taking the time to improve the selvedges made a world of difference to the stability of the cloth, and since the selvedges weren’t constantly curling under, it made weaving the scarves just a joy.

To recap I put on 4.57 metres (5 yards) of warp for 2 scarves, each allocated 2.29 metres (90 inches).  The plan was to have 25 cm (10 inch) fringes and 178 cm (70 inches) of woven fabric.  

The threading and tie up for these scarves are an undulating twill with up to 3 warp threads grouped on the same shaft.  Due to this warp thread grouping, the reed choice is critical.  I sett the scarves at 28 epi and sleyed the reed with 2 ends per inch.  This minimized the reed marks which can occur and can be very noticeable in weaves that have multiple repeating ends.

Scarf number 1 on the loom, it was woven using Spice tencel and I treadled the pattern 1-2-3-4 X5 ~ 1-8 ~ 5-6-7-8 X5.  This produced a pattern that showed rectangular shaped alternating blocks.  

Off loom this scarf measured 173 cm (68 inches) long and 15.5 cm (6 inches) wide.  The weave structure itself took up more warp and weft than expected.

I had to leave about 50 cm (20 inches) unwoven between my scarves and my spacer of choice is slats of  1 inch metal Venetian blinds.  After 10 had been placed I threw five picks of weft to give me a cutting line when they came off the loom and it keeps the unwoven threads beautifully aligned.

Scarf number 2 was woven using Pompeii tencel and I treadled the pattern 1-2-3-4 X4 ~ 1-8 ~ 5-6-7-8 X4.  This produced lovely square alternating blocks and this treadling is my favourite of the two.  

Off loom this scarf measured 166.5 cm (65.5 inches) long and 15.5 cm (6 inches) wide.  I must admit that this is my favourite and this is the one I claim as mine, mine, mine, both because of the squares, but  I love the length too!

Right now they are in the set tub having a nice soak in Eucalan which is a wonderful product to use for finishing handwoven fabric.  It is very gentle and requires no rinsing which is very easy on the cloth.  I will post a photo of the scarves after they are dry and pressed later.

Here is a beauty shot of an orange drizzle cake that I just made.   I got the recipe from Taste Australia and I heartily recommend both the website and this yummmmmmmy cake! I changed it up a wee bit by adding a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of vanilla, but all the rest is as stated.   Oh, I changed the pan from a loaf tin to a small savarin pan, but otherwise.....

Monday, November 2, 2020

Weaving an Oldie and Not So Goodie

 Sometimes a project just doesn’t live up to expectations and this scarf is one of them. 

 I wove this scarf way back in 2009 and it had major problems right from the get go.  You can read about them here:

Even with all the problems there was something about this scarf which appealed to me and I wore if often and no one but me noticed all the weft threads moving about!  What people did notice was the lovely beading I put on the fringe ends.

The centre checker board area has stood the test of time well and the weft threads kept in place.

However the long portions when I didn’t alternate the treadling is a different story, the weft yarns slip and slide with complete abandon!

I decided to give this glorious pattern another chance, surely I can fix the problem.  I was determined to make a scarf that used these wonderful colours.  The warp is made from two different reds, orange, gold, lemongrass green and silver.  A true explosion of colour.  The blue is shown as the proposed weft.

I have pulled enough warp for two scarves, each 177 cm (70 inches) long with 25.4 cm (10 inches) fringes and it weighs only 118 grams, so this pattern is a perfect use for the last few metres on a cone.

My weft of choice was 22/2 bombyx silk in a mid blue tone.  I decided to weave the pattern in 5 cm blocks for stability.  Well, this weft proved to be a mistake. It was nicely sticky, but too lofty.  The silk beat in very densely.  I was not double beating or beating hard by any means and I was still getting a board like web as well as that problem, the blue silk completely masked the wonderful weft colours.  So out it came.

 I was not enamoured of the selvedges either, but before I addressed that issue I decided to audition a few potential weft colours.  These are from bottom to top, burgundy, Pompeii and spice tencel, all from Webs.  The hot colours are a complete about face from the blue, but they are what I had.

I decided at this point that I didn’t like the width of the scarf or the selvedges in general.  The original width was at 15 cm (5.9 inches) and I felt that was a tad small, so I went back to the computer draft and did some additions.

I added twelve ends to the left side of the original draft and fourteen to the right side.  This allowed me to balance the selvedges. 

To add the new selvedges I wound the warp onto the breast beam and then threaded additional ends through the reed and then then heddles before tying onto the back beam.  I re-wound the warp and here it is ready to go.

I have only just begun the weave, but already I am happy with it. The weft colour is spice and I think this one may be a winner!  I will keep one of these two scarves and I will move the beading over from the old iteration to mine. 

I thought I’d keep you up to date on the progress of my Flying Dragon Orange.  It is the size of a ping pong ball and now it is beginning to turn into a lovely yellow colour.  Fingers crossed it will hold on until it’s ripe as the weather turns mighty cool at night!