Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Of Resolutions and Gratitude

Here are a couple of the scarves Teresa dyed after I wove them in white and black silk.

As 2008 slowly ticks away, I can't help contrast this year's end with last year's end. And think about all that has changed, and all that hasn't.

For the last 3 or 4 years, my new year's resolution was Stash Reduction! Generally I've done pretty well at using up or selling off a fairly hefty chunk of my yarns. Even with not being able to weave at all for several months this year, I did a pretty good job of weaving quite a lot of my yarns when I could weave. :) And even accumulated more yarns when Lynn gifted me with some of her fine linens in October. :D

As I look around my storage room, I still see great mounds of yarns that need to be used up. Some of it has been shipped out for the workshops I'm teaching in '09, but there is also a lot that I'll have to use up myself, for one reason or another.

In addition to what's here,Teresa has more wound warps to paint and which I'll eventually get around to weaving once she's got them dyed.

So what has changed from this time last year? I no longer deal with bone-crushing fatigue and chronic pain - the two most obvious things that changed once my condition was recognized and dealt with. For that alone, I am truly grateful on a daily basis.

The other thing that changed was the nameless dread that followed me every day has now gone. When I think about how I was feeling just one year ago, I am once again amazed at the strength and resiliency of the human body and spirit. I wonder now how I could even move, let alone weave, dye, travel long distances to do shows and teach, given how I had been feeling.

I am also enormously grateful for a doctor who was willing to listen when I told him how sick I was this summer, and who was open to my suggestion that I was having a massive adverse reaction to the statin drugs. I'm not entirely sure that the Ezetrol is something I should be taking either, but that's something for the end of January when I see him again. I'll ask for a check of my liver enzymes to make sure nothing untoward is happening there. If I can't take the Ezetrol I'm not sure what else is available but I know there are some other medications to try yet.

What hasn't changed is my love of weaving. What hasn't changed is that I can now, finally, weave like I used to do - something I wasn't sure I was going to be able to achieve given how ill I was feeling this summer.

Whether or not I will continue to weave at this pace once my stash is used up I don't know. Neither do I know if I will continue to travel long distances to do shows and teach. Right now I'm just focusing on meeting my current obligations for '09 and will wait to see what opportunities come after those are met.

Every day I try to remember and be grateful that Doug and I are still alive, still learning whatever Life has to teach us, still able to be creative, and hopefully - helpful to others.

Life is full of challenges. We have been lucky that until this year our challenges were relatively minor - hindsight is always so clear - and that we have managed to survive this year after all.

May all your challenges be minor. May your warps be well tensioned, bobbins wound well, and any surprises that happen on the loom or in the wet finishing be pleasant.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Big Scarf, Next Installment

Here is the tail end of scarf #2, (on the left) and the beginning of #3. This time I remembered to reset the Compu-Dobby so I got the full 158 pick repeat. :)

I'll tweak it a bit tomorrow and do something similar, but a little different for #4.

With a 30 yard warp, I could get at least a dozen scarves off this warp. I don't think I'll have enough weft for that many, however, so I will likely get some small towels off this warp, too.

The question is, can I sell that many blue and white scarves? Probably not. So why am I continuing to make them? It's not just that I'm into stash reduction, although I am. I also know a professional dyer who will take blanks and turn them into gorgeously dyed finished items. So I expect I'll be sending some of these to her.

If I remember I'll take a photo of some silk scarves I wove in black and white and Teresa dyed for me. Teresa, if you're reading this, post the URL for your website in the comments? I'll put a link to it on the side bar, too.

Before and After

Here is a photo showing the rayon chenille Big Scarf before and after wet finishing.

The pattern is somewhat more obvious before finishing, partly because I gave the scarf a hard press which flattened the chenille and made it gleam. It also changed the feel of the fabric, which I like more than the unpressed, although others may prefer it unpressed. Both feel nice in their own way.

After finishing, the fabric was very supple which I think you can see quite well in the picture.

Finished weaving the first scarf on the new warp this afternoon, then re-tooled the treadling and started the second scarf. In the end, I had a memory lapse and forgot to re-set the treadling on the computer, so wound up with only a few picks (40) of the new treadling repeat. After weaving several inches decided that I liked the truncated version and will carry on with it. I'll do the longer version for scarf three. Since I've got 30 yards on the loom, variations are encouraged. :)

There is probably sufficient rayon chenille to do quite a few scarves. I'm looking forward to getting that used up!

I'm also winding some of the warps for the Birmingham Gamps Galore workshop and hope to get that into the mail on Friday. With any luck I'll get their Mug Rugs and More workshop boxed up on New Year's day and mail both at once. Over the weekend, I'll do the Columbus workshop (Magic in the Water).

I'm also trying to sample the buffalo yarn on the Fanny, but that may have to wait a bit. I'm supposed to be organizing a Show and Share bobbin lace day for Jan. 25th, too. Somehow I keep procrastinating over that one, though. :}

Monday, December 29, 2008

BIG Scarf

Had lunch with a friend today, then up to the guild room to dye a bunch of yarn. Got home around 4 pm, finished sleying the warp and started weaving after dinner.
Of course I had a sleying error to fix! Fortunately it was simple to fix - I put two working ends per dent, and about an inch from the beginning, I had only put one per dent for two dents. Really glad I spotted it so quickly.
Wet finished one of the chenille 'shawls' the other day and the shrinkage weft-wise was much greater than I'd been expecting - from about 22" in the reed to 14 after wet finishing. So instead of shawls, I decided to market them as BIG scarves. Instead of fringes, they will be hemmed - much faster than fringe twisting such tiny little threads! The fabric has incredible drape and feel. If I can get a good photo of the finished fabric, I'll post that.
Since this warp is narrower than I prefer for tea towels, I'm going to finish off all of the 3000 yard/pound chenille on it. If there is any warp left once that runs out, I'll weave the singles 12 linen on it. While the resulting towels will be narrower, they will still be about the same size as commercially produced cotton towels, so will be useable - just not as generous as I like my towels. They will make good hostess gifts, though.
The photo only shows a small portion of the overall pattern. I wanted to get a good close up so you could really see the fabric. I'll play with the tie-up and treadling so that each scarf is a little bit different.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Finishing - a Little

This photo doesn't really do these towels justice. The subtle colours make the fabric very rich. The cloth has two different sides - one more blue, the other more beige.

I got two of the cloth storage rollers cleared off and serged everything that could be serged. Today I ran a load of tea towels through the washer and dryer, and just finished pressing them.

The ones above were the most successful - and the ones I'd been most dubious about on the loom. The natural linen before wet finishing was a kind of drab greyed beige. It lightened up considerably after scouring. :)

The next most successful ones were those I'd thought were going to be too flimsy when they were on the loom. They turned out perfectly, while the ones I'd increased the ppi on were a little too dense and a bit stiff. Live and learn! Always...........

However I now know that I can go ahead with the next warp and use up the last of the 2/40's combined with the 2/20's with the singles 6's for weft and at 24 epi/ppi, I'll get some nice towels. And use up a bunch of yarn that really needs to be used up!

The current warp is nearly half threaded, but tonight I'm trying to finish transcribing WeaveCast's latest episode. I first met the Other Mary Black when I took a workshop at Coupeville Arts Center on Whidbey Island.

I never met The Mary Black in person, but did have some correspondence with her when I put together the original profiles of the Guild of Canadian Weavers master weavers.

GCW recently transferred what I had done on slides and a transcript onto CD. It is for sale at a very reasonable price. If you are interested in a snippet of the history of weaving in Canada, the profiles of these women (for they are all women - so far) you'll find lots to inspire on the CD.

Some of the people who achieved the GCW Master certificate: (The) Mary Black, Dini Moes, Linda Heinrich, Jane Evans, and of course, moi, along with many others.

I'll find the URL and put it on my list of links to the right.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Threading For Blue Warp

Not exactly a snowflake, but this threading fits precisely into the number of threads I wound so how could I not use it? This is how it looks woven as drawn in. No doubt I'll play with the treadling, although I think I'll use this one with the singles linen. It should be very pretty.
I started running out of threads on the spools, so this warp is a little bit narrower than what I've been doing for tea towels, but oh well. The warp will be 17.5 inches in the reed - smaller than I prefer, but when the yarn starts running out......
The warp could have been shorter, but hindsight is 20-20!
The bad news is that there is more 2/40's left than I'd hoped - dang that yarn is fine! So I may wind up doing one more warp with the 2/40's and 2/20's. It won't be nearly as long - maybe 15 yards instead of 30? We'll see.
With my first trip coming up so quickly, I doubt very much I'll get this one woven off before the end of January. What I really need to do is deal with the 3 cloth storage rollers with 20-30 yards of woven fabric on them. But first I need to do the warp yarns and instructions for Birmingham and Columbus. A job for tomorrow.

B-b-b-blue Christmas

When I moaned about how long it was taking to use up the the red cotton, I had obviously forgotten how much blue I had! It seems like I've been weaving predominantly blue for a long, long time. Of course, such fine thread weaves for a long time, so.....

This won't likely be the last blue warp as there is easily enough to do one more. But I think this is the last warp that will combine the 2/40 and the 2/20 - the 2/40 should be about used up on this warp. The dark blue is about as used up as can be - what's left will go to my lace buddies for making lace. While 2/20 is considered fat in the lace world, it suits us just fine! :^)

I haven't chosen a threading yet, I am just going ahead and beaming the warp wide enough for tea towels. Probably I'll use one of the 12 shaft drafts from ARS Textrina. Something 'fancy' - snowflakes?

We kept a very quiet Christmas, having an early dinner with mom. Then we came home and I started beaming this warp.

The best Christmas present is the fact that since I took myself off the Crestor (statin) about 10 days ago, my bp seems to be settling down nicely. I had one day last week with a small spike, but am suspicious that it was due to an allergic reaction and/or the fact that I didn't weave for three days. Anyway, since that small spike, my bp has been just about as perfect as one could hope for. Very reassuring as I set off on my teaching schedule in a couple of weeks.

When I saw the doctor on Monday, he agreed that I could just stay on what I am taking now for the next month - he didn't try to increase the Ezetrol (the other cholesterol medication) - for which I am grateful. It has equally nasty adverse effects, and I really didn't want to increase the dose. No doubt we will check my cholesterol levels - and liver - in the near future (the pharmacist said about 3 months was usual for cholesterol).

Since my cholesterol was not particularly high to begin with, I'm hoping that they won't get all firm about getting it way down.

Hope everyone is having a good holiday and finding a little time for some fibre activities.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Young Weaver

Here is Asaph at mom's loom. Sister Evangelina is in the background, sitting on the biggest spinning wheel I've ever seen. One of these days we'll give it a go and see if we can actually spin on it.

Asaph wasn't able to get started on the warp due to some mechanical problems, but we got those sorted out today and by the time I left, he'd finished the first placemat and started on the second.

This is the warp we designed utilizing the Fibonacci sequence to make the stripes.

Another picture courtesy of my Blackberry. Hey, I might get the hang of this yet! :D

Now it's back to the studio to finish getting the LA warps ready to be mailed tomorrow.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

No Weaving Today

Looks like there will be no weaving for me today.

The morning was spent getting the place mats and runners I pressed yesterday trimmed, tagged, priced, inventoried and delivered to the local consignment shop. (I also swung by the local book shop to buy Doug some Christmas presents.) :)

This afternoon I updated the Gamps Galore workshop for Tucson, winding four of the warps. Sometimes it's just easier to do it myself than try to clearly explain something. :}

There are 10 signed up, and I may duplicate a couple of the slower weaving ones in case a couple more sign up between now and January - although that's a bit of a long shot.

I still have to finish getting the master copies ready, type out a list of the warps and how many shafts, shuttles/bobbins the various warps will require, bag everything up and load it all into a box. Hopefully I have one that is the right size because this box really needed to be in the mail last week. :(

LA is still hoping for more to sign up, but I'll start on their box as soon as Tucson is done and get that into the mail on Tuesday. Both boxes will have to go by air mail. Hopefully everyone will have time to get their looms ready, although I've found that the longer lead time some people have, the longer they procrastinate. Sometimes a short lead time is a boon. I know it is for me! :D I'm definitely deadline driven, and the closer the deadline, the more driven I get! :D

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Back to Tea Towels

I'm back to the AVL and tea towels, weaving with the single 6's cotton.

My initial choice (to the left) seemed to be a bit flimsy to me, so I decided to change the weave structure and ppi. Instead of a fancy twill, I changed to an advancing twill treadling, and increased the ppi from 24 to 28. (the section between the red lines) The intention was to create a thicker fabric that was still supple. The advancing twill structure has fewer interlacements -the weft can pack in tighter without becoming stiff.

After a 3 day hiatus where I wove only on the Fanny, I went back to the AVL and looked at the web again. Even at 28 ppi, I felt the resulting fabric was still going to be a bit on the light side and changed to 30 ppi (to the right) You can see that the white looks more intense to the far right than it does to the far left or between the red lines.

Gearing down to 30 and 32 ppi, it sometimes takes an inch or two to get the ratio right, and you can easily see the section at the beginning where the auto cloth advance was actually advancing two clicks (I have the old gear wheel system) resulting in 15 ppi instead of the intended 30 ppi.

The down side of using more ppi is that it is going to take longer to weave a towel than at 24 ppi. The up side is that I will use up more yarn! :D

The yarn, being a single, shows the inconsistencies involved in spinning more than a 2 ply would, and the fabric has subtle weft wise streaks in it. This should even out to a large degree during wet finishing, which will include a hard press.

Many people do not understand that a hard press is not ironing.

When you iron, you sweep the heated iron back and forth across the cloth. A hard press is when you clamp the iron down tightly in order to compress the threads. This effectively notches the warp and weft together. The surface becomes smooth. Threads that shine become much more reflective and gleam - something that we prize in yarns like silk and linen (or Tencel, mercerized cotton, and so on.)

When I'm wet finishing my goal is to get a cohesive fabric, one where the warp and the weft come together becoming a whole that is greater than the individual parts. When I feel a fabric, I do not want to feel individual threads, I want to feel an integrated cloth.

Right now I am blessed with owning and being able to operate an industrial steam press. This makes the enormous job of hard pressing much more efficient. I used to use an Elna flat bed press - a small home press. Doug and I pressed literally thousands of placemats on it. Pressing yardage could be done, but it was difficult and slow. The industrial press makes short work of pressing yardage as well as smaller items.

I don't know how much longer I will be able to afford to house and operate the press. It's one reason I'm madly weaving up as much of my fine thread stash as I can. I can easily press scarves on the small flat bed press even though it takes me longer, but tea towels and larger items are more fiddly on the small press. :)

Friday, December 19, 2008


The January/February Handwoven arrived today. My article on fulling Harrisville yarn is on page 24/25. I also have the Endnotes essay on the last page. :D

For anyone interested, there is a video clip on my web site showing one way of fulling by hand. Go to then click on Store and CDWeaver. The video clip is available for both PC and Mac thanks to my web master.

I realized the other day that I've been posting an awful lot. Part of the reason is that I'm weaving a lot. One of the reasons I'm weaving a lot is because I'm not going to be home much from January to June. Los Angeles and Tucson have both confirmed their workshops in January, and I'll be working on getting the warp yarns and instructions ready to mail out, hopefully by Monday.

In the meantime, however, the warp on the Fanny is nearly done - one more table runner and it can come off - tonight, I hope.

It's looking good for the workshops in February, although Indianopolis won't know until later in January. The March workshop in Boise will go ahead, although they are looking for more participants. The April workshop in Grand Forks will go ahead, too. I'll drive to that one and hopefully visit a bit with friends along the way.

In May I'm booked to do two seminars at the HWSDA conference in Olds, Alberta. I'll also be at the ANWG conference in Spokane, but only in the vendor area. I'll be manning Teresa Ruch's booth while she teaches. :)

The last workshop of the year is in Lake Orien, MI at Heritage Spinning and Weaving. I was there a few years ago and am really happy to be going back. Joan and her crew are great.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

One More Place Mat Warp

This will be the last placemat warp for a while. I've got new yarns I need to sample and incorporate into the up coming workshops.

This warp is another doubled 2/8 cotton - one beige, one peach - threaded point twill and woven in point twill progression.

I finished off the thick textured yarn (yippee!) and was left with the two finer textured yarns. I added a third even finer thread which is probably some sort of rayon or other synthetic that's been lurking on my shelves for a long, long time. It's a sort of cream colour with darker beige nops or lumps - all rather fine - but introduces a little visual interest which you may be able to just barely see as beige spots here and there in the web.

The fine rayon is being doubled with the slub and all three wound onto bobbins at once. So far it's working well, and although the fabric is lighter in weight than the other two, it should work nicely for place mats.

The set on this warp is 16 working ends per inch and it's beating in pretty much square. Interestingly, the 'eyes' of the point twill show up more in the photo than on the loom.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


So, I am now the proud (?) owner of a Blackberry Curve!

Since I'm going to be travelling so much in the new year, I thought it might be a good idea to get a new cell phone and voila - my current cell phone provider sent me a letter yesterday offering me a free Blackberry Curve if I upped my service to use a Smart Phone.

Well, let's just say this phone is a whole lot smarter than I am. But I did succeed in taking a photo, and eventually figuring out how to get it posted to my blog! This is progress - I think!

Anyway, the reason I've got the yarn dangling from the back of my loom is because I made a mistake (one of the bundles) and the other I knew was going to be surplus to requirements. I have a bar near the ceiling that I use as a warping valet, but was originally installed in order to hang repair threads from. Occasionally it dangles surplus threads, too.

The extra yarn won't go to waste - I pass it on to my lace making buddies. Or else I'll offer it to the other Laura who was at the craft fair last weekend. She does surface embellishment and asked if I ever had 'extra' yarn left over when I was done weaving a project.

hee-hee - do I ever!!!!! :D

All Dressed Up

...and ready to go. Here are the placemats from the blue/grey warp tagged, ready to be priced, inventoried and delivered to the local consignment shop.

What many people don't realize is how much time 'finishing' a product takes. They don't understand that when you cut the web from the loom, it isn't yet ready to be sold or gifted.

It must be inspected and repaired (called burling in industry), wet finished and given a final trim if there is a fringe. After that, it must be tagged with care instructions (required by law in Canada and the US) and of course one's own label so that people can identify the maker.

My logo is a butterfly, and this incarnation was designed by local artist (painter and felt maker) Ruth Hansen.

No contact info is on my label due to shops not wanting customers to by-pass their shop and deal directly with the artist (and expecting to get wholesale level pricing by so doing!) My studio is not set up for retail customers, and in fact I discourage people coming here. My studio is a working studio and generally in a state of extreme chaos. Not something I really want people to see and judge me on.

In Canada, the manufacturer must provide contact info, so I signed up for a CA number which is on my label. The vast majority of people have no idea what the CA number is for, or that they can contact me that way, so I rarely get contacted because of the CA number. Since the rise of the internet, I have been contacted that way because people simply Google me. :D

The bottom line, however, is that if you don't include the time involved and the cost of the tags in your retail/wholesale price, you wind up working for free when you do this very necessary job. It is one area that most new wanna be craftspeople most often forget to factor into their prices.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Whoo-hoo! Another cone of yarn used up! :D

There is still warp left, so dug through the store room and came up with 3 different cotton yarns. One is a slub, one is a highly textured 'gimp', and the third is - well, textured.

So I combined the slub and the gimp and changed the treadling to a broken twill, but this one has two picks of plain weave incorporated in it. The treadling sequence of b,1,4,a on the Wall of Troy threading is producing an interesting fine stripe with a thick textured cloth. It should make great place mats.

Since I found three more cones of yarn suitable for place mat weft, I have started winding another doubled 2/8 warp, but this one will be at 16 epi because two of the textured yarns are quite a bit thinner than the heavier cotton/rayon/linen yarn I started with. And there isn't a whole lot of the gimp, but should be sufficient to finish weaving the blue/grey warp at the very least.

The bad news is that when I placed my yarn order with Brassard, I forgot to order the 4/8 cotton I wanted to use for warp with the buffalo rug yarn! Now I have to place another yarn order and since it's not economical to just order a couple pounds of yarn due to the cost of shipping, I've been thinking of ordering in more of the 2/8 bamboo. I wasn't sure if it was a floss like Silk City's Bambu 12, (which is approximately a 2/16 size) so didn't want to order in too much at once. But it is a true 2/8 with a tighter twist than Bambu 12 so now I'm thinking I'd like more of that yarn in some different colours in order to play with it. I'll make up my mind tomorrow as I think Brassard is going to be closed for a few weeks in the new year and if I want this yarn for the up coming workshops, I need to place my order before Christmas. :) Oh darn! More yarn! :DDDDD

Friday, December 12, 2008

Making Headway

While it feels like I haven't used up much of my stash (there is still soooo much left!) I guess I must be making some headway because I unearthed a bunch of huge cones of single 6's cotton that have been lurking in the corner of my store room for a very long time.

The yarn was a mistake - not mine, but the spinning mill who sent it out in error. Several cases of it! I kept one case because it was spun tightly and I figured it would work to make collapse fabric. It did, and I used up quite a bit of it both as warp and weft. But there are still half a dozen or so cones left and I thought I'd try it on this warp for tea towels. (I used to order natural 2/8 cotton by the case, a minimum of 100 pounds at a time. Cases were 50 pounds each if I remember correctly - it's been 20 years.)

Dimensional loss is going to be a lot higher with the cotton as compared to the linen, so I reduced the number of repeats in the treadling so that they don't wind up really long and skinny. They will be, overall, smaller than what I've been doing but that's okay. They will still work, and will make good hostess gifts if nothing else. :)

I wasn't entirely happy with the first one I did, which you can see below running towards the back of the loom and the cloth storage roller. I used a 1/3/1/3/3/1/3/1 twill for that one but it felt like it was going to be a tiny bit sleazy. So I changed the tie up to 1/3/2/2/3/1/2/2/ to provide a few more interlacements.

The design isn't quite as bold, but I think it will perform better this way. And it may not draw in in terms of width quite so much.

Oh yes - the beam, which is covered in sand paper, has a couple of cloths wrapped around it where it's bare. I do this to protect the shuttle when I flub it (yes, I do that, too) and the weft. Some wefts are really grabby and latch onto the sand paper which gets really annoying when I have to stop and go back to re-do the pick properly.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Blue/Grey Place Mats

Here is the blue/grey warp with the doubled cotton/linen/rayon weft.

You may notice that the twill line is not the ideal 45 degrees. This is where my adage "If you can't be perfect, be consistent" comes in.

I wanted this fabric to be thick, so the fact that it is slightly weft-faced is actually A Good Thing.

(In truth, the twill line looks flatter in real life than in the photo for some reason - perhaps the angle I took the photo at?)

Since the exercise is to use up stash and hopefully have a textile that will provide insulation from hot plates, I wasn't too bothered by the fact that the set could have been 15 rather than 12 in order to achieve that 45 degree angle. And if the set had been fewer in number, the fabric would be a bit thinner, so......I am just concentrating on having a consistent beat and not worrying about the fact that it isn't "perfect". :D


Being meme'd! Well, since I don't have folders, I just chose a picture of me. :D This photo is from CD Weaver, showing me doing a hard press with my trusty old GE iron.

I'm so new to blogging I don't follow a lot of them and one of them I do (Tien's) gave me the idea to just challenge other bloggers to do the same thing.

Choose your 6th photo folder, and then the 6th photo in that folder, then tag 5 others.

I'm not sure about protocol - if you can tag someone who has already been tagged - but since out of the few blogs I follow three have already been tagged, this seemed like the best approach. :^)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Place Mats Again

On Monday Karena got the next warp for place mats beamed, threaded and sleyed - and still had time left over to trim fringes, and vacuum. I think she was pleased that she's getting faster with practice. :D She used the warping valet and only needed a few suggestions to do it all by herself, including tranferring the cross.

Karena dressed the loom from start to finish - all 11 meters, 15 inches wide at 12 epi - in under two hours.

For this warp I chose a twill I learned about my first year of weaving. It's called Wall of Troy in M. P. Davison's green book. I like it because it's a very simple 10 thread repeat. Generally I thread it as shown above (two repeats shown in warp and weft) by threading the first 4 ends beginning from the right, then the 6 ends that make up the point.

Karena threaded it four ends, four ends, then two ends.

For treadling I count to 10. If I have to stop to replace a bobbin, I just hold whatever number I was on in my head. By knowing the number from 1-10 that I've just done, I know which treadle is next in my treadling sequence. If the phone rings, it doesn't usually take more than a few seconds to complete the 10 picks so that I can stop at the end of the repeat.

Part of the challenge with this warp is that the last was so recent that muscle memory is remembering the broken twill treadling. So I've had a few 'senior' moments when my feet were doing something other than what the brain intended. :) However, it won't take long for the new choreography to take hold.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Blue Towels

After trying several different treadlings, I've settled on this one. What can be seen is the hem portion at the bottom, with one repeat of the pattern at the top.

It's subtle but pleasing, I think.

It's been a challenging day as I got news that didn't please me from the doctor. My cholesterol levels, which had been very good after a trying time on Lipitor, went from very good to bad in just 3 months. So I'm back on medication - another statin, unfortunately. :P~

This one apparently is better tolerated than Lipitor, so I'm on the lowest possible dose along with a companion medication which when taken with a statin drug makes the combination more powerful than either one taken alone.

After the horrid 6 months I had on Lipitor, I'm not best pleased to be taking a statin of any description but neither can I stay off medication, unfortunately.

He also told me to double the Norvasc as I've been having bp spikes. Not anything dreadful, but not recommended over the long haul.

So after I got home I turned for solace to the loom and finished the last of the chenille shawls, then started messing around for tea towels.

The corn fibre yarn is thicker than the chenille, so I will have to change the pick wheel to weave with that. The linen is the same grist, or close enough, that I didn't need to change anything but my tie up and/or treadling. And since therapy and solace was what I needed most, I just wove, not being too concerned about the fact that I didn't like the first two options. They're towels - they will function just fine. Someone, somewhere will like them.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Red Towels, Finished

Not sure why this photo looks so fuzzy on the blog - it looked fine in my Kodak software. Oh well.......

These are the 100% cotton towels, woven last - October? My how time flies.

Anyway, I got them wet finished and pressed today. They will be used as gifts for anyone buying a copy of Magic in the Water until Dec. 15. A little extra treat for the holidays. :)

In terms of stash reduction, these towels are very satisfying. The 2/18 red cotton had been purchased way back in the 1980's and had graced my shelves for a rather long time waiting for the right time, the right project. Well, the time had come, and the project appeared!

Speaking of Magic, the Canadian dollar continutes to sink in value making the price in US$ more and more attractive. I'd hoped to sell the last copies this year, but there are still plenty left. :}

On the weaving front, I did do some today. Got another chenille shawl woven, and a second one started. I think it will be my last on this warp. I bought some corn fibre - not INGEO - from a knitting shop. I heard there was a new corn fibre out now, and it would appear this yarn is it. I'll do a melt test and see if it melts at a low temperature like the INGEO, or if it's more stable. There were 5 balls of it on sale at the shop, and I think there should be enough for weft for a shawl. Since I've never seen INGEO or corn yarn on sale before - only the fibre - I'm interested to weave this up and see what sort of cloth it makes.

After that, it will be back to tea towels..........

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Finishing Piling Up

Dawned on me today that I'd better slow down on the weaving because the finishing is really starting to pile up - literally.

While I have 4 cloth rollers, two of them now have yardage stored on them with the 3rd on the loom and being added to already. That means I'd better push the fringe twisting a little harder.

What you can't see is the bucket of shawls woven in September and October that still need to be fringe twisted as well. :}

The beam on the inspection table is the 25 yard warp I just cut off. The red cloth is about 20 yards, maybe a bit less. I cut the cloth off the loom part way through because I needed to get cracking on the place mats. They got taken into the local consignment shop yesterday.

It started to snow today - seriously - although Doug says he heard that it's supposed to warm up. I'm of two minds - I'd rather winter came and stayed, than freeze and melt. On the other hand we have a craft fair to do on Saturday, and I really don't enjoy setting up when the weather is bad. And people don't come out if the roads are nasty.

Only time will tell!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Place Mats

Spent most of the day Tuesday out of the stuido running errands, then pressing the placemats woven on the red warp. Only got some of the towels done, but they are now ready to be hemmed, and then given their final pressing.

After years of not making place mats and table runners, (we used to wholesale mats/table runners in the 80's throughout western Canada) I now find myself back to making place mats. :) The local consignment shop has had requests, and since I've still got stash to reduce.....

So this warp on the Fanny is for mats for the shop. Since they will most reasonably sell before Christmas, there's a deadline looming!

I tried the rayon/linen (it is, indeed linen) textured weft singly, but wasn't happy with the results for a place mat. So my first try was woven 34" long for a table runner. For the place mats, I've doubled the weft and am much happier with the weight.

With a hemming and fringe twisting pile beginning to resemble the Rocky Mountains, I decided to hem stitch these on the loom so that once cut off all I have to do is wet finish and trim them and deliver to the store. Hopefully sometime later this week or early next.

Since the body of the mat is woven with a very thick and highly textured yarn, I begin and end each mat with some of the same yarn as the warp but only a single strand, and hemstitch after 3 picks. About 4 inches has been left between for the fringes which will get trimmed to about an inch and a half after wet finishing.

Today I'll deliver the place mats and some towels that were pressed yesterday. All that's left is to tag and inventory them.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Little Help From My Friends

This is a picture of Karena beaming an 11 yard warp by herself using a warping valet.

The warp runs under the breast beam, then over a rod hung from the ceiling.

This warp is two 2/8 cotton ends which will be threaded together through the heddles for place mats. The weft will be a textured rayon/cotton blend. It may have a little linen in it, but I don't remember for sure.

The warp is 14 inches in the reed, and I find one jug of water works just fine for up to about a 15" wide warp chain. If I have more width than that, I wind two warp chains and use a jug for each chain filled to the same level so that they weigh the same.

For warp packing, I use bamboo blinds with the hardware removed. They are just under 2 yards long and because they are flexible it's not so critical to get them inserted as precisely as with corrugated paper. I find it more efficient than having to stop and insert sticks because I can wind 2 yards or so (depending on the fibre) before having to stop to insert another blind.

Karena used to be my almost full time studio assistant, but now she's a full time mom and comes for 3 hours a week to help me with various things. She's much better than I am at organization, so she gets to do things like re-organize my yarn and inventory as well as dress looms and other stuff that fits into her weekly 3 hours.