Monday, February 24, 2020

Tea Towels ~ Home Stretch

Finally my tea towels are off the loom, but in my haste I cut off the warp after nine tea towels instead of the ten I should have woven.  Obviously I was done, done, done with this project!
There is something so very satisfying seeing the big fat roll of tea towels and all the promise they hold.
This is just a beauty shot of the tea towels fanned out, such a happy moment!
Now that the tea towels have been washed, pressed and had the hems pinned up. I get to sit in the sun and sew them.  I prefer to sew the hems by hand as I have had mixed results with machining them.  I always seem to get them pulled out of whack.  I now have a ‘walking foot’ for my sewing machine so it may be time to try again.
I have been plodding along with my top down pullover and I’m really pleased with it.  I have amended the pattern to exclude the side split and to continue the increases in the body to make it an A line.
I am using this lovely wool in Worsted weight so I’ve had to make some adjustments there too as the pattern called for a much finer yarn.

Today in the garden the Bleeding Hearts (Dicentra spectabilis) is really showing a growth spurt, Spring is really beginning showing her beautiful face.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Table Runners Part 4

While I was weaving the grey silk and white cotton table runner something weird happened.  After I advanced the warp I noticed that one of the warp threads was loose, turns out that it had frayed apart.  I think that this is only the second time that I have had a broken warp thread.
I finished the runner with just the tiniest amount of silk left on the pirn.  The runner ended up being 58 inches long on the loom, honestly longer than I thought.  I was sure that the silk would run out at about 40 inches.
For the last runner I threw caution to the wind and used a coral coloured cottolin.  It is amazingly pretty.  The coral just glows against the cream warp.
The cottolin is a thicker grist then the grey silk so it woven up slightly wider than the grey silk.  I had to add venetian blinds around the cloth beam to support the wider width of the coral runner.  If you don't give the extra width support it will pull the warp tension tighter at the edge as it travels around the cloth beam at a different rate.
This warp seemed to be just as dusty as the last runner warp with the pima cotton.  Although this warp produced some impressive stalactites and stalagmites made from dust under and on the loom.  We are truly embracing our blog name and creating amazing 'dust bunnies'.
I have cut the runners off the loom and have machine sewed the edges to stabilize them before washing.  I’m hoping that I can wash them tomorrow; a nice, sunny day has been forcast.
Now that the runners are off the loom I’m trying to find my next project by going through some old Handwoven magazines.  I’m also doing some homework for my weaving study group; we are looking at weaving layers, like double weave/pique/Finnweave/Bedford cords/swivel/deflected double weave and the ilk.
This January has been record breaking as one of the rainiest and cloudiest in the last 60 years.  So it has been hard to take photos of the new pima cotton table runners but we finally had some sunny weather so here are the beauty shots for the pima cotton runners.

The pima cotton and blue bamboo rayon runner.  For Sale.

The pima cotton and green cotton runner.  For Sale.

And I also finally got photos of the fine white cotton and blue bamboo runner.  For Sale.

Final Garden Shot is of our first crocuses pushing up through last years alyssum.  These used to be in the front garden but the deer would eat the blossoms clean off, so I moved them to a cool spot in the back garden and hoped.  I am very surprized about how many flowers there are!  They started out with only 5 free bulbs that came with a seed order.

Monday, February 10, 2020

An Abrupt Halt

At the beginning of January I put on a 2/8 unmercerized cotton warp, eleven yards long in deep navy blue.  The plan was to make ten tea towels.
My pattern is a very lovely all over pattern in twill on twelve shafts.
By mid January I had woven eight tea towels.
I had decided to weave the tea towels in two different colour groups.  The first group of five were woven in deep jewel tones; red, turquoise(2), purple and green. 
The second group were a bit of a stash buster in spring tones and I planned on weaving, pale blue, lilac(2), celery and yellow.
This is a photo of the celery tea towel and I had one of those wonderful moments when the pirn and the pattern ended at the same time ~ so immensly satisfying!

Then it happened, I went to the medical lab to do my regular blood work and the lab tech somehow damaged a nerve in my left arm while taking blood.  The pain was nothing less than astonishing when I extended my arm!  This put my weaving on hold while I am coming to grips with allowing the nerve to settle down, no full extention was what feels best. I don’t want to even begin to describe the kerfuffle of getting dressed in the morning!
The upside of a weaving haitus is that I started to knit a sweater.  I have only begun the project and my plan is to have the colour sequence, cream at the top, gold in the centre and navy at the bottom.
I’ve had my eye on this top down knit tunic by Drops Design for awhile.  It's called the Sweet Nothing Jumper and it is a free pattern from Garnstudio and can be found on the web or on Ravelry.  Wouldn't it be a fine thing to morph into a tall blond at the same time!
Today I was able to weave for a short time.  I can throw the shuttle pretty well, but I can only beat using my right hand.  Needless to say it's slow going but I am determined to finish this project and set up for our study groups new challenge by the end of February. 

My garden shot today is of these sweet determined pansies stuggling after the wind and rain has bashed them about.  They still make me happy!

Monday, February 3, 2020

Table Runners Yet Again

The white 2/10 cotton warp pulled onto the warp beam beautifully.  I was a little worried because the cotton is quite sticky while I was separating it onto the raddle at the top of the Spring loom.  But, happily, it flowed on quickly and easily.
I was most of the way through threading the 650 threads when I realized that something was wrong;  I had a lot of heddles left unused on shaft six.
Off I went to the computer and compared the paper draft that I was using to thread the loom with the draft that I was looking at on the computer.  Well they are two different drafts!  But they are very similar; the computer draft had 4 more threads for extra flourish.  So I printed out a copy of the new draft and hopefully this will be the end to my problems.
I put on enough warp for a 40 inch a 50 inch and a 60 inch runner.  For the first runner I am going to use the rest of the blue slub rayon that I used with the Pima cotton runners.  At this point I am not sure how long it is actually going to be. 
The pattern is called Bethlehem Star, and the large diamonds are quite striking.
The runner didn’t take long to weave up; I think that it helps that the pattern is 'tromp as writ' so after threading the pattern twice it is firmly memorized.  I finished the runner with only a little bit of weft left; I don’t think that I could have done better.  The runner is about 50 inches long on the loom.
So for the next runner I had a good old rummage through the stash.  I found this cheese of silver grey silk.  It is really lovely with some subtle flecks of white.  I know the weight of the cheese, but I have no idea of the yardage.
The silver silk is weaving up quite differently from the blue rayon.  It is more subtle and it is a finer grist so the pattern repeat is shorter.
The silver silk keeps twisting onto itself.  I have to keep a close eye on it to make sure that the weft is straight.

But the runner is beautiful and well worth the effort.  I am still weaving this runner so I don’t know how long it is going to be but I think that it is going to be about 40 inches long.  So I still have one more runner to weave about 60 inches long and a lot of stash to bust!
The Final Garden Photo is the evergreen perennial Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens) that is starting to bud.  Unfortunatley we have a winter storm warning for tomorrow and it may snow 5 to 20 cms.  Yikes!