Lilacs

Lilacs

Friday, June 24, 2016

Summer is Here

I don't know how much I've accomplished this month, I had a couple of classes and I attended Complex Weaver's Seminars.  I have done some small warps for my class samples.  I put on a warp for the Mermaid Scarf that was on the cover of Handwoven, but it is really slow to weave.  My biggest project is some shawls and scarves in alpaca.  I have been planning how to do them for most of the time, between classes and travel.

The first part of the month, we traveled to Logan for my DH's high school reunion...55th.  We had a nice dinner and he was talking to a number of the old friends.  They had a pretty good turnout for the occasion.  

I put a test warp of deflected double weave.  But it is similar to one I did last time I got interested.  I used 8/4 carpet warp and I put it on for my class to weave samples.  I will try to do a couple to have a washed and unwashed in the sample collection.


A local weaver had a great show at the City Library.  He does great things with color and paints on most of his pieces.  He does art and it is great to look at.

There were four walls of weaving.  This one was a number of overshot patterns with painting over them.
 This one was summer and winter with painting over it.  I love the way he brings out the colors by painting over the fabric in some areas.
This detail shows the summer and winter weaving and the painted stripes of blue and green.  John's work is great...check it out. http://johnhessart.com/


My trip to Complex Weaver's Seminars was great.  This is the second time that I have been able to go.  I think I was more overwhelmed last time (because it was the first time).  This time I enjoyed meeting people, and getting new ideas for my work.  The three things that really excited me were not even weaving.  I got to ride in a stretch limo for the first time, it was fun and a new experience.
 
Actually I rode from the airport (when I was surprised and there were just two of us), and then with a group back to the airport after the seminars were done...then we needed one because there were eight of us.  My second big thing was to see fireflies.  I had never seen them before and they are magical to watch.  My last thing was getting to meet Franklin Habit.  He was not attending the seminars but was just there with a friend, he is just as entertaining to talk to as he is to read...

I bought a couple of things that are wonderful.  My big purchase was a book by Alice Schlein.
Beautiful Lampas cover 
When we were at Fineline Craft Center to see the Complexity show I found the kit to make me some more fingerless mittens.  These are the ones that got stolen from my car last winter.  Now I can make another pair and keep better track of them.  
New kit for my new mitts

The Complexity show at Fineline was fantastic.  You can check it out on the Complex Weaver's website or if you are going to Convergence, it will be there.

I have written down in my Idea's book several items that I want to try/pursue from the information I got at the seminars.  Many of the seminars were using more shafts than I have access to, but the design and color ideas are rolling around in my mind.  The members and the teachers at CW are so sharing and love to tell you how they made something.

My DS replaced his sport car with a truck a few months ago and he decided to get a tent to go on it for his back country trips.  He likes to go into the back country of the parks and open land in southern Utah.  This gives him the four wheel drive that he needs for the rocky roads.  But the tent was a surprise.  
The first trip with the tent, he only made it partly down into The Maze in Canyonland National Park before getting a rip in the side wall of a tire.  He had to come home early, but he still got some great pictures and he will go back.  He is so new at driving in the truck, he is not used to judging it on the rocks.  By the way, the first week of July, we will go to St. George, Utah to see a picture that he got accepted in an art show...I'm proud of him.
Fun new toy for my DS
 I started putting the warps for the shawls I'm weaving for the next month.  I decided to put on a dummy warp because I will be doing four warps with the same threading.  I found some 8/4 carpet warp warps in a box at the studio.  I think they were taken off one of the old rug looms before it was sold.  I decided to use that up for the dummy warp.  The warps were chained in groups of 20 to 30 threads.  I needed a warp with 230 ends.
Rolled up chained warps

 It was a little messier for the warp that I hoped.
Yes, a bit of a mess
After the warp is straightened out, I will tie the alpaca warp on.  I just plan to use an overhand knot.  (I am so slow with the weaver's knot).  If the overhand does not hold I will work on the weaver's knot.  Alpaca yarn is slippery and I hope the knot holds.







Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May is Over Already

Last year during May, we were in Aix-en-Provence, and I have spent the past month reliving that vacation.  We had such a wonderful time and enjoyed the DS and DD coming over for a couple of weeks with us.
The family in Arles


Morning at the market
I found the calendar page that had all the events that we were doing while we were there and DH said to be sure to keep track of it so that we can remember the vacation again next year.  I don't know if we will ever get another vacation like that, but I am sure glad that we did it.  Like DH said it cost a lot, but it was worth it.
Looking out the window of our "home" for 30 days
Gardens at the newly finished museum 

It was such a great experience.

I have been doing some weaving this month.  I finally finished the alpaca scarves and I am pleased with them.  The yarn is a ragg yarn so the patterns are very subtle, but they feel fantastic.


In the bobbin lace group I am in, we had one of our members teaching some needle lace techniques and we started a small motif.

Here's my work so far, and a picture of the finished motif in a frame.  It would be fun to find an old looking broach to put my finished lace in!


Small runner from the Bronson lace sample
I managed to weave a small runner on the end of the Bronson lace sample I put on for the Summer & Winter class, if you look close you can see the error in the weaving (a white weft is floating over a red stripe).  Yes, I did repair the float in the finished runner and now you can not see it.
As you can see, I wove right to the very end of the warp!




I got some more yarn to weave some rugs (the large bumps on the floor) and for scarves and shawls (the eight cones on top of the loom).  This probably will keep me busy for the next couple of months.  I don't think I have enough warp yarn for the rug warp, so I will need to order more.  
You can also see the rigid heddle loom with the napkin samples and the spinning wheel ready to start the Greenwood roving (yes, I have not got around to that yet).



I finally got a picture of the socks from the sock kit I got from Mountain Colors.  I do love their color lines.  I have done socks in their yarns several times.  I followed the pattern that they provided in the kit, even though I thought I would like the ribbing on top smaller, and I ran out of the contrast yarn.
One toe has some dark yarn at the end!
It is really not that bad, the toes are usually in shoes anyway.

Next month I go to Chicago for Complex Weavers and I can't wait.  I thought I would have some handwoven clothing to wear this time...It seems that I need to up my game and spend more time finishing my work and less time watching Netflix!







Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Lovely month of May

Every day when I get up this month, I think what was I doing last year on this day.  Last May we were in Aix-en-Provence and having a wonderful vacation.  Below you can barely see me and DH looking out from our  apartment window.
We stayed in a great hotel/apartment
 The family was able to enjoy seeing some of the sites in the area.  We had a great time and today I realized that we are half way through the month and a year ago, we were saying good-by to my son when he left after spending a week with us.
Both kids were able to come over for some time.

This month has, of course, been much less of an adventure.  I have been worried about the continuation of my teaching...there is some concern that the city the studio is in does not want to continue the craft school.  We have had some good rain so the plants are doing well, I need to get some help with the Dye Garden...it is really overrun.

I would like to put in more traditional dye plants, most of the ones in there now are just marginally considered dye plants.  Again, will l be able to stay in the studio to keep up the garden?...can I find some hardy souls to help me clean it out?...I am not much of a gardener.

I did spend a couple of hours doing some garden clean-up at my Mom's house.  She is ninety now and not able to do as much as she used to.  My DS was willing to come up and clean the roof of the carport, cut out some dead branches in the weeping birch tree.  We planted some flowers in the pots by the porch and trimmed back a bush my Mom wanted cut back.
We chopped off two bags full.
 Some time this summer we will need to shape the poor bush.  It was way overgrown and many of the branches had been tucked back into the bush making a "hedgerow" formation.

We planted the pots next to the porch to add some color.

I have not done that much gardening in my yard and I really need to get to it.  The herb garden needs cleaning and new plants and the deck and patio need massive cleaning and bagging up the leaves and pods that fell of the trees last fall and winter.

I have been getting a little weaving done.  The twill on the scarves was getting me down, so I re-threaded for huck lace.
Of course, with lace you can hardly see it on the loom

Looking from the side, it shows a little better.
I hope after the washing, it will open up and make a lace pattern that looks good.  I will probably put more lace on the next one, instead of the lace and spot sections.

We had some wild spring weather here.  We did not get any at my house, but when I I was at the studio we got quite a hail storm.  
View from the studio door
I could hear the sound of the hail hitting the roof, when I checked outside it was coming down and bouncing off the roof onto the side walk.  We ended up with the side walk completely white with the hail...Then in a half hour the sun was up and the hail was melted.  Spring weather can be so unexpected.  I remember asking about the netting over the fruit trees in Southern France and the guide told us that it was to protect the fruit from the hail!














Sunday, April 24, 2016

My Days Fly as Fast as a Weaver's Shuttle

Don't I wish my shuttles were flying fast!  

I think I have finally gotten over the stress of my DH's health.  It really hit me harder than I though and it has taken longer than I though to get back up to speed.  I still am not able to get to the gym, but I have started walking around the neighborhood in the mornings.  It is hard on my knees.  They should be doing better after I have been walking for a couple of weeks.  I am trying to take boron to see if I can get the arthritis pain down and the bones stronger. 

I have really enjoyed the spring flowers and the blooming trees.  We planed a crab apple in the front yard and it is beautiful this year.  The buds were so red and the blossoms opened to white.
Sargentina Crab Apple
Today when I looked at the tree, the blossoms seemed to be turning to a yellow gold.  The blossoms are already going, not quite the "rusting" color that my Mom's tree used to get after a rain.  I will have to get a picture tomorrow!

I managed to empty a couple of looms and warp up four.  The first I emptied was the Dorothy.  I got the Swedish Art weave sample off the loom.  I ended up with four panels and I will apply them to some pillow tops.
Unfinished ends but off the loom
I need to stitch the ends to stabilize them, the hot turquoise header at one end looks wrong.  It is nice to have the Dorothy empty.  But after all the work upgrading the levers on it, I do not want to sell her yet.  I know that I will not use it as much now that I have the Woolhouse, but it is twelve shafts...

I warped up the Woolhouse with 5/2 pearl in a corkscrew pattern for the Robyn Spady workshop.  I still do not like the corkscrew that much, it seems so stiff.  It may make a good bag, but do I want that much pattern on one?  I was thrilled that the warp got finished and I did not bring home a warp (another loom emptied)!  But some of the other structures that we did are more interesting to me.  

I am very interested in trying bead leno.  I would like to make it two or three blocks of leno, but what product.  Scarves?  Shawls?  

I also liked the networked pattern.  I now understand the method of making the structure, but I need to get used to a computer program so that I can explore the structure before I put it on the loom.  

After taking the workshop for the second time, I think I am interested in Beiderwand.  With only sixteen shafts, my designs need to be simple, but I like the idea of an overall design, not sections of design.  Anyway, it has possibilities.


I threaded a Bronson lace pattern for a sample in my Summer and Winter class.  I did not get my sample done before the students started weaving on it, but I am interested in doing some blocks of lace.  The interesting part is that I put some color stripes in it.  Usually, I think of lace in one color...this is a good improvement for me.  Now I will have a block of lace in the white section and a block of lace in the striped section.
Warp for Bronson Lace

I warped a long length on my Rigid Heddle loom.  This is an old Schacht loom and I had a woodworker make an adaptation for me so that I can use two heddles.  I want to teach a class in two heddles, and I had some students ask about double weave on the Rigid Heddle loom.  Funny, the only reason I wanted two heddles was to increase the density and make it easier to use finer threads.  
I warped up some napkins in doubled 8/2.  I am weaving the first couple off for a class sample for plain weave (using a single thread in the weft).  I plan to have three other samples off this warp.  One with the same half basket, the next with basket weave,  then I will resley with a second heddle to show the different hand with the warp and weft single.  It should be a good example of changes in density, but I am still not at weaving double weave.  I have some cotton that I wanted to make a large table mat.  I was going to sew two panels together, maybe I should try it double width...
  
When I threaded the RH loom, I did direct warping, but I attached a warp board to make the warp longer.  It is easy to find space to do a warp that is only a couple of yards long, but harder to find a place to do a 3 to 5 yard long direct warp.
Direct warping with a warping board
I used zip ties to attach the warp board to the front of the rigid heddle loom, than I started threading through the heddle, in this case two ends through each slot and eye.  I pulled the loop the same as usual, but wound it on the board to get a longer warp in a shorter space.

I used rubber bands to hold the apron rod to the heddle, and I tied a red marker each place where I needed to make the color changes for the warp.
Red ties on the heddle for the color changes.
It really went pretty fast and I managed to use more of that pink yarn.  (I think I finally found a project to finish it off!  More on that in a future message.)  

I ties several "choke-ties" to keep the warp tidy and then I wound the warp on.  

This ended up being a good way to make a longer warp on the rigid heddle.  Using zip ties to hold the warp board to the loom, was much better than the rubber bands and string ties that I tried before.


My last warp is a run of alpaca scarves.  This is some local mill spun yarn.  All the yarn is the same beautiful rag, so it is hard to see the pattern.  I have been doing an eight shaft point twill and I hope that the subtle pattern will show when they are washed.  I have five scarves on this warp and I hope to put on a second warp of five narrow scarves tomorrow.  (I am half way through the last of five on this warp.)
I hope the pattern shows up more when it is off the loom and washed
So there is my work, four looms warped, and two emptied.   I hope to empty the scarf loom and re-warp tomorrow.  And I am on the second napkin/sample on the rigid heddle so I am over a third done on it.   The Bronson will take more time...I need to re-do the tie up and to weave my design.








Friday, March 25, 2016

Towels are finished and ready to sale

I have been spending time with my sisters.  First, our big project this spring is planning a 90th Birthday party for my Mom and her twin sister.  Trying to make it a special time, but not going overboard is quite a job.  We are looking at lots of pictures of "the twins" and planning a time line for display.  It's fun to spend time laughing about all the pictures of ourselves that we find in Mom's boxes.

We, "the sisters", also spent several hours at the Vintage Whites Sale.  It was much more crowded than I expected and it took some time to explore the different booths.  We all bought things but I think I got the most, although I did not spend the most.
My haul
Here is my purchases.  I did not get the roses, but the frog in the bottom of the vase was my purchase.  I have wanted a smaller frog for a while and I was thrilled to find one.  It was the most expensive piece I got.  The lace worker picture is one from some magazine,  they mounted it on a board, I will probably cut down the board to frame it.  I love that it shows the water bulb and candle the lace makers used to light their work.  I need a brighter light and sometimes I need magnification when I do my lace.  The little bag is micro needlepoint and is lined with silk.  The clasp is missing something along the top edge (the price tag is there now) and I am deciding what to weave or bead to replace it.  I also need to restitch the join on the clasp on both sides.  Over the bag is a small linen hankie.  I have been limiting myself on these...I have so many and I have not made lace borders for many of them.  Under the bag is a fillet work runner.  I really love fillet work.  This runner may be able to go on the table under the window in the livingroom.  I have several fillet work pieces mounted on the window for my valance.

My lace valance

I finished the Bumberet towels...washed and ironed and ready for sales.  I was surprised about how the hems worked out.  I pulled out the old sample that I wove in Leslie Ruby's class several years ago and the hem was even worse on it.  This piece has been washed and dried several times.  


This towel is a left over bit from the samples I wove in the class.  The plain weave hem is on both sides and is hand hemmed.  It makes a beautiful ruffle at the end of the towel!

Back of towels


Here are three of the towels after I hemmed, washed and dried them.  I did not do any ironing on them, yet.  The bottom towel has a plain weave hem and was hand stitched, the middle towel has a plain weave hem and was machine stitched (I used a blind hem stitch), the top towel has a bumberet hem and is machine hemmed using the same stitch.  I was surprised how smooth the plain weave is with the machine stitching.  Does that line of stitching prevent some of the ruffling?

Front of towels
On the front of the towels, you can see some ruffling on the bottom one, but the other two look pretty good.

I learned that I need to think about the structure on the hems when I weave my towels.  I like the bumberet structure, it make a substantial towel, even out of the 8/2 cotton, and I like the chevron pattern better than the column pattern.
Chevron Pattern



Column Pattern





























I took several "Beauty Shots" of the towels, but I need to get better at the layout.

Yellow and pink towels with Easter Bunny

Pink chevron and pink column towels with Desert Rose

Yellow and Rust towels with sheep

Beige column towel with tricycle












Friday, March 4, 2016

It's Spring

I was so excited when I saw my crocus blooming in the lawn, I ran back into the house to let by DH know that I had "five crocus blooming".  There has been more coming every day, and daffodils are showing buds. 

Many years ago, I had a couple of trees with crocus around them.  We took out the trees when they got too big, we dug up all the crocus and put in lawn.  Of course, the crocus still came up, but then they started coming up in the lawn down wind of the original plantings.  I look forward to these wild white crocus every year. 


As I said I only have daffodil buds so far, last year at this time I had full blossoms.  They looked great in the morning and were covered with snow in the afternoon.  Typical of Spring, this year I'm waiting longer for the daffodils.

I am excited about my DH also.  For the first time today, he dressed in regular clothes and went out himself to get the paper.  Since he had the fluid drained from his abdomen (almost 2.5 gallons), he has been able to breath better and move around better.  It is great to see him feeling better and I hope he continues to show improvement.

I lost my camera, in the mess of moving stuff around for my DH to be only on the main floor of the house.  (Really, I should say I found it in one of my bags of stuff I carry to class and the studio...not really his fault.  But it is easier to blame the sickness such.)  I was upset about not being able to take pictures of the few things that I have been doing, so no blog...sorry.

I finished the bumberet towel repair.  I had several treadling errors and spent too much time fixing them.  I decided that there was so much happening in my life that was out of my control (husband's illness and hospital stay), that having control over the correction of the towels helped me cope.  I corrected all of them...they look great.

I'm not sure how well you can see the error, it would really have looked bad after washing, but thanks to my jeweler's loupe, I was able to see the error well and this pattern is fairly easy to fix.

My new problem with these towels showed up after the wash.  (Yes, I found another error I needed to repair.)  But the new problem was the ruffled hems.


This looks so bad, after I hem, there will always be a ruffled/gathered look.  I just followed the pattern in "Handwoven" maybe I should have tested some stuff. I do have one towel that is only half size, so I will do some hem tests on that one with a plain weave hem on one end and a bumberet hem on the other to check out how it washes.  The towels feel good and should make a great kitchen towel...more colorful that I usually use, but I figured lots of people like a little color to brighten the day.

I finished the five yards of lace that I have been working on.  I really did get tired of that pattern, I guess because I have been working on it pretty steady.  I am now thinking of a very narrow lace to go on an apron that I have been thinking about.  And I need to pull down my other pillows from they shelves to see if I have any other half done lace.  I would like to spend some time doing some bookmarks.  I would like to have some available to give to friends.

I finished preparing the roving for my spinning.  I ended up splitting the roving in 16th's and I will spin it about the size of the 18/2 I am going to use for the ground.  I decided to two ply the yarn.  It will be two to four times the size of the ground thread when I finish and I think will look good in the threading pattern I have decided on.  
Little balls of roving and the ground thread

I decided to clean and oil the spinning wheel first, it has not been used for some time and needs a cleaning.  It is so much more fun to work on when it looks new and shiny!


I also pulled out some handspun yardage that I made.  I am hoping to make an additional length so that it can be a short kimono style jacket.  We'll have to see how much it fulls down to when I wash it.  
Plaited twill in handspun
This is the piece that I put on the Woolhouse loom to test the loom.  I loved working on the loom and the eight shaft pattern worked out great...except for one place I found when I took it off the loom.
Treadling error
I printed out the draw-down to see if I could correct the problem.  I spent several hours, but gave up.  The error is only about four inches from the end, so I will just cut it off for a sample in the records.  I have another skein of the dark yarn I used as the weft.  I will see if it is enough for a band and side panels to make the jacket.


My DD made the cutest bracelet.  She used that nasty tasting, heart shaped candy that you see for sale at Valentines Day.  

The hearts are dipped in resin so that you can still wash you hands when you wear it.