Sunday, April 26, 2020

This and That

The loom is still empty.  Next week looks like it is going to be wet and rainy so I have hopes that I’ll have something on the loom soon.
In the meantime I’m looking through some magazines for some inspiration.
With the pandemic a lot of craft shows are cancelling so more people are turning to online sources for selling, like Etsy.  I thought that it may be interesting to show how I take my photos.  The walls in my house are a lovely shade of yellow, which adds a terrible yellow shade to photographs.  The work around that I use is a sheet of rigid insulation covered with white fabric; it is lightweight and easy to move around.
The best light in the house is the master ensuite.  I usually wait for a sunny day to take my product photos but to show you the set up I took this photo on a grey rainy day.  I always take my photos in landscape, never portrait.
Below is a product photo I took a couple of weeks ago and then I use Photoshop to tidy up the background.  I like to leave the product in the photo as untouched as possible.

Orange watch 2020 update, we now have flowers!
Final Garden Photo is The Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis).  They are starting to unfurl and bloom, so pretty.  A neighbour gave us some daylilies that had a few Lily of the Valley hidden within, the daylilies are long gone, but the Lily of the Valley remain.  Funny how you start to accept that some things are going to live regardless of how many times you pull them out!

Monday, April 20, 2020

Still No Weaving

My loom is still sitting empty, but looking back at past years of the blog April/May have traditionally been slow in terms of weaving.  It is definitely because it's Spring and the garden seems to be moving, growing and blooming at a break neck pace.  So sorry, again no weaving but you are getting more garden photos!

The dwarf rhododendrons (Rhododendron yakushimanum 'Princess') are just starting to bloom.  They have a pretty pink candle that become lovely white flowers.
The dwarf Fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii 'Mt. Airy') is also starting to bloom.  There are two in the garden because the pretty white and lime bottlebrush flowers smell lovely in the spring and the fall colour on the leaves is nothing short of spectacular.
The Laceleaf Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum 'Orangeola') burst into leaf this week.  This garden bed has been enlarged this year because the maple is taking over the garden.  Some green sedum were added under the maple for some interest but already they are hard to see.
Last year the inside of the house was painted and this year it is the outsides' turn.  We have almost finished the prep and hopefully we will be painting in a couple of days if the weather stays fair.  The plan is for a big colour change, so fingers crossed on our colour choices!
The Mexican Orange Blossom (Choisya ternata) is super close to blooming.  It has a tight cluster of white flowers that smell very much like orange blooms, so very lovely when in bloom.
A week later here is the same Japanese maple (Acer palmatum 'Mikawa yatsubusa') that I showed you last week, with the Rock Cress (Aubriea cultorum 'Royal Red') under it.  Amazing how fast the garden is changing with our abundant sunny days.

An update on the orange tree (Poncirus trifoliata monstrosa 'Flying Dragon citrus'), it has tiny leaves and large balls that will soon be the flowers.  It may be happier this year because we got rid of the three large Hinoki cypresses that were sharing the garden bed with it.  This garden by the front door is looking very different now without the Hinoki gobbling up the space.
A Covid update, here in BC we seem to have flattened the curve and now we are in a maintenance period.  The British Columbia government is now talking about starting to ease some of the restrictions in May, so a bit of good news and some light at the end of the tunnel.

Monday, April 13, 2020

No Weaving But Gardening

During these strange times I’m finding that I’m spending a lot of time in the garden, so much in fact that my loom has been sitting empty for over a week!  Hopefully I’ll get some weaving inspiration and get something on the loom this week.  So, for the rest of the blog there will just be some pretty plant pictures of what is in our garden.

The Siberian Iris has really taken off this week, almost doubling in height overnight.  Behind it is the Flying Dragon Bitter Orange Tree (Ponciros trifoliata monstrosa) which is just starting to bud and we will soon start orange watch 2020.
The candy tuft is bloom.  It adds a lovely white cloud of colour to the garden.
One of the nine different Japanese Maples that we have in the garden, is unfurling its leaves.  Below is purple flowering rockcress adding a splash of colour against the lime green new leaves.
The blueberries are starting to flowering with their pink flowers bells and new leaves.
This year the dwarf lilac 'Miss Kim'  is just covered in blooms, last year it didn’t bloom at all so I’m quite excited to see them; and better yet, smell them!
Harry Lauder's walking stick or contorted hazelnut is just finishing blooming with its long catkins.  Underneath is a wreath of green sedums.
The Bleeding Heart has grown tall and has started to bloom, which is amazing because I thought we'd pulled it out last year.
We are still working on the back garden but the bones of the new garden beds are in place.
That’s it for the post; I hope to have something weaving related next week, we send our hopes to you for good health and happiness during this crazy time.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Deflected Doubleweave Rosepath Scarf

I must admit that I found it hard to sit at the loom and weave this scarf, not because of the weave structure, but because of the colour.  I just don’t care for the colour of natural raw silk ~ a bit too bone coloured for me.

I was not really pleased with the selvedges on my first scarf, so I was ready to try anything other than re-threading.  With 40 epi that was a not going to happen.
I decided to try the simplest of my options and I cut out the brown thread block on the left hand side.This left the pattern not quite centred, but it was not really noticeable.
After cutting the warp out, I replaced the brown floating selvedge with a doubled up natural thread.  I used it doubled because it is just a tad finer and more prone to breakage.
The cut out warp was bundled up into a weighted film canister and hung off the back beam.
I had hoped to replace the natural coloured weft with another colour in this scarf and I chose a lovely soft dark peach soy silk yarn that is about 2/30.  As you can see it completely muddies the pattern.
I accepted that I had to use the natural coloured silk for weft and with the new selvedges it worked really well.  On the first scarf I started both of my shuttles on the same side, but on this scarf I started my brown weft on the right hand side and my natural weft on the left.  This matched the hanging selvedges.  When I threw the weft I started out going over the hanging selvedge and coming out under the the opposite hanging selvedge.  The edges were much better.
On the first scarf I wove, I used a very firm double beat, I beat once on the open shed and once on the closed shed to get as close to a balanced weave as possible.  This made the scarf motif quite round.
On this scarf I chose to throw the idea of a balanced weave out the window and to beat it only once on the open shed.  The idea was to make a very drapey and open fabric.  I also chose to treadle the pattern in a more elongated form by repeating one of the sequences an extra set.
Here it is off the loom in it’s natural form and boy is it ever loose!
It was at this point that I decided to just get rid of the natural colour.  I soaked the scarf in soda ash and I was amazed at what came out.....yuk.....that is extra dye and sericin.  This is last rinse out of five!
I then made a light dye bath with turquoise Procion MX, salt and urea and popped the wet scarf into it overnight.
Whew, much better.  I got some lovely soft colour and the web of the fabric has come together nicely.  This scarf is very malleable and soft.
 I’m even pleased with the edges!
I am rarely one to stray off the weaving topic, but the past few days have shaken the world view of so many of us in Canada.  We feel very lucky to live on Vancouver Island, where our local pulp and paper mill is doubling production of medical grade paper for all customers.