Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April Spool's Day

I have been hanging out here of late so this blog is a bit neglected.
These are the bobbins and thrums left over from my last 2 pieces of weaving for Meg's April Spool's day. Join us and show what is on your spools/bobbins/quills/pirns.

I will try to come back and let you know what has been happening at this weaving place soon.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A day in the life of looms

On the first day of the new year, Meg had been posting what's on your loom. This is my second time to participate in this. Once every few years, I have the opportunity to spend Christmas and New Year at home and get to weave in the new year.
So here are my looms:

KaTe has a 2/20 silk warp with weft Kasuri being woven. I have finished the first piece and am contemplating the second design. The wefts are being wound, then binding and dyeing to follow.
KaTe: Thorp 8 shaft countermarche
Chibi has a 150-thread black cotton pre-wound warp ready for Amy to come over on Friday to do some weaving. She had woven her own fabric before for her mum to make into an Arrietty bag.
Chibi: Saori SX60 2 shaft folding loom
Primo also has a 150-thread black cotton pre-wound warp ready for Ellen to have a go at weaving. I have set the loom on its stand so that it works with the peddles, like a floor loom.
Primo: Ashford 8 shaft table loom with stand
I will have to catch up on some blog posts but I have also been spending time here.
In the meantime, happy new year and happy weaving.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A good start........

Such a lot can change in a week. 
A bit of sunshine midweek, a bit/lots of chocolate (cupcakes, pearls, wafers), a bit of encouragement from friends, a bit of perseverance, and ignoring dishes, laundry and housework in general, I got the warp onto the loom.

There is something calming and beautiful about a warp on the loom, even when it not quite ready. This morning, I was quite determined to get some weaving started, but I did not have a long enough rod for the front beam. This is the widest I have woven on the table loom, almost the full width. None of the hardware stores nearby were open on a Sunday. Luckily, a good friend has some spare timber dowels and he helped me cut one to length with a barter of some chocolate/plum jam cupcakes from the freezer. It was a good trade. 

I got started. The spacing of the weft pattern and the balance of the cloth is working well in the first 5cm of the piece, at least to how I had envisage the piece. It is a good sign.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Out of the dark

If the 'dementors' were to visit me on friday, they could have sucked the soul out of me easily. It had been one of those weeks, months.
I threw out 2 desserts and barely rescued the third. I cast on 2 items but frogged them as I could not get them to work. Things that usually make me feel better don't seem to have the same effect.
I know that it is up to me to change that feeling from dark to light. I know that it is a matter of time. It is winter. I feel cold and pain. I feel tired and can't concentrate. We are past the shortest day. There are 4 weeks till craft camp.

I need to make something, to weave something. I have been thinking about this piece for a while. I had to ask myself though whether I was just asking for trouble.
I wound a warp with this yarn: 24 epi, 21 inches wide, 504 ends, 3.4m long. I don't know if I have calculated the sett correctly. It will be a light fabric, I think.
It looks beautiful. Like bundles of noodles.
And then I started to prepare to thread the heddles. I don't have enough heddles on some of the harnesses. I forgot to count them before I started...... I am out of practice.
It took me a couple of hours to fix this. I could have threaded the warp differently but I wanted the option to do plain weave or twill. There is enough length in the warp to do some experimentation. In fact, I think that this whole piece will be an experiment. I am halfway through threading. I think that I may be ready to start weaving next weekend......
And the weft yarn - a special hand-dyed yarn ( フリスビー手絣) bought from Avril. I think that this colour way has been discontinued.
Things can only get better. Right?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Small Piece exhibtion: Amy O'Brien

Meg from New Zealand has organised a virtual 'Small Piece' exhibition and I am hosting Amy's woven piece on my blog. 
Amy is 10 years old and this is only her third time weaving at a loom. Amy wove on a Saori loom, 2 shaft with a pre-threaded black cotton warp. She brought all the weft yarn with her from home. She wove this last Saturday and it took her about 3 hours.

"The idea of a ‘do whatever you what’ weaving piece sounded epic, but what the problem was … what should I do? At first I thought an aboriginal flag, then I thought about doing bubbles. Finally I decided an ocean landscape. I weaved different blues and greens together so it began to look like the ocean. Next was the hard part I made a sort of hilly thing and made clouds and sky above.
By Amy O’Brien"

Weaving by Amy O'Brien, Photo by Suzie Fry

Small Piece exhibition

Last year, 2 pieces of my weaving were accepted into the 'Petite' exhibition.
Meg has organised a virtual 'Small Piece' exhibition based on that idea, small pieces of textile work woven on a loom.

I repeated the 2 pieces that were acquired by Wangaratta Art Gallery, and added another 2 pieces into the series. This series of work was inspired by a lecture at the International Shibori Symposium in 2011.

'Yoshiko Wada explained at a lecture on ‘Slow Fibre’ that we must understand our materials in order to create something special.
My work explores the notion that in understanding how these fibres, made of different materials behave on their own and their interaction with each other.
It is then possible to manipulate them with calculated expectations.'

All the pieces were woven on a 2 shaft loom in plain weave with various yarn bases made from plant, animal and mineral fibres. All the pieces are approx. 23cm x 16cm.

From Left: Plant Mineral i, Plant Mineral ii. Plant Mineral Animal i
Plant Mineral Animal ii
Plant Mineral i - detail
Plant Mineral ii - detail
Plant Mineral Animal i - detail
Plant Mineral Animal ii - detail
This last piece is also new and is inspired by the Tour de France; the category climbs that the cyclists have to endure and conquer.
Col de Noir ii

Coinciding with this virtual exhibition, I have actually entered these pieces in the Brunswick Street Gallery 'Small Works' exhibition. If you are in Melbourne, you can see these pieces in real life and they are for sale.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Fade away

I swear that this year is passing at lightning speed. I can not keep up and too many things have been left un-blogged:
Another loom, Mirabelle, was given new life on Mother's day. Samm is off and running with her new weaving and some amazing paper self-spun yarn as weft. I look forward to when she shows me how to do that!
Winter is here with rain, lightning, thunder and a leaking roof. Enough said, will deal with that tomorrow when I ring up the roof plumber and then wait........
Craft camp (a week ago already), organised by Suzie, was a productive and much needed couple of days away. I had been feeling any trace of creativity has 'faded' away and that I really need to make something, anything as I have not really woven, knitted or sewn very much this year. Suzie pointed out this fabric (called Fade Away) to me a couple months ago at Tessuti. She said that I had to go and see it. In fact, I had seen it and decided that if I did not have a project for it, I was not going to get it. (You see I am trying to cut down on buying fabric and yarn this year, not very successfully I might add.) Upon second look, I figured it was the perfect thing for the New York cape. I have seen a sample of it in the shop and had seen a few of them made in blogland.
Jules and I did a sew-a-long and made hers out of Harris Tweed, complete with label that has the weaver's name on it! I can't wait to see her finished cape.
The fabric is amazing: a double weave with gradation of woollen weft from black to white with a mix of silk in the middle. I had a good look at the structure and will try to have a go at weaving something like it one day. I still have some scraps so will do a study of it then.
I think that this is the best use of the fabric that I can come up with to show off its beauty. As the fabric was reversible, I just managed to to cut out the pieces of the cape , less the front facing. Suzie, the most generous soul gave me enough from her piece to make the facing. I am forever grateful and relieved that I did not have to look for alternative fabric. 
The original pattern calls for an exposed wool binding. I didn't want that dark outline around the paler section at the bottom so I made some binding out of some silk chiffon I had in stash. I turned the hem under with the binding and then hand stitched it down so that there was no exposed stitching on the outside.
All the seams were bound with the silk binding (pattern calls for ready made purchased bias binding) as well but they are machine stitched. I was a bit confused as whether they were totally bound with bias tape or what is called Hong Kong finish. I think that the latter results in less bulk.
I also used sewn on 18mm press studs instead of buttons.
I felt like I had done this in a much more complicated method than what the pattern had intended. However, I think that the fabric itself dictated some of that. One good thing with having Tessuti in Melbourne was that I could try on their sample at the store before starting the project. There are probably a couple of technical things I would do differently but I like it that I learn something new with every project. A big thank you to Suzie and Lisa for all your help.
So bring on Winter, I am ready with cape.