Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The real thing

I have come to the conclusion that often I have to repeat something 3 times before I am totally confident with it, be it a weaving/knitting/sewing project, or a recipe. Each time I learn something new.
This is the third time I have woven this scarf and it is the second time that it is woven in exactly the same yarn as well. It had taken a few years to get to this point.
The first time, it was on my ashford table loom, in my second year of weaving. I was still learning how to keep my weaving balanced, how to beat gently and my selvedges neat.

Each time I threaded this pattern, I have made some sort of mistake. However, I realise that this often happens when I am in a hurry or if  I was distracted. I am learning to make better notes so that I don't do the wrong thing over and over.......

The second and third time was on the countermarche floor loom. Did I ever mention that she is named KaTe?
I practiced with some Bendigo yarn to get used to weaving on this loom. I think I have only had 3 warps on it previously. I did make a mistake with the winding of the warp but it came out fine.

I was surprised at how fast it was with the treadling compared to weaving this on the table loom, painstakingly manipulating the shafts for each pick. This pattern has a repeat of 50 picks. Of course, it took me a little while to get into the rhythm.
The pieces of red thread is there to help me check the measurements of each repeat pattern. This is a tip from Shipbuilding. In this case, I was on the verge of being obsessive as the pattern is circular and if it wasn't balanced, I would end up with ellipses. 

Finally, the scarf was washed, lightly pressed, boxed and gone onto its new owner.....

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Happy food

Where is Spring? It has gone missing.......
It has been a long winter. Not so much like European or northern American winters where there is snow and freezing temperatures. It has been gloomy and wet. Don't get me wrong. I am thankful for the rain but it is the greyness that gets to you after a while.
I read somewhere that yellow food makes one happy. This winter, I have been trying that out. Not sure that it is so effective as a long term solution but certainly satisfying at times. Here is my all time favourite yellow foods.

I stocked up on mangoes at the end of last summer. I scooped out all the flesh and froze the purees. During the year, I made mango sorbet. Easy recipe: equal quantity fruit puree with 1:1 sugar syrup and churn in the ice cream machine. Beautiful sorbet at the end of 50 mins. with no effort! I do the same with apricot, plums, persimmon, etc.

My other all time favourite is this lemon syrup cake, grilled. I used to love it fresh, on the day it is baked. However, a friend of mine has introduced the grilled version. Now, I can't wait till it is ready for that.
I cut up the slices, freeze it and whenever I need a fix, I can get a slice out and put it under the grill or in the toaster. Just make sure it doesn't get burnt.
Beautiful with ice cream for a after dinner dessert as well.

And last of all, my lunchtime staple. zucchini slice with farm fresh eggs. One of my other friends has moved to the country. She has established a orchard with all sorts of fruit trees and has her own chickens.Whenever she comes to town, she always bring me some eggs. They are delicious!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mixed frills

My shoulders have been playing up and the last item of machine knitting I finished was the purple frills. This piece was full of frustrations as the colour was perfect but the yarn was not of great quality despite being pure wool. It was made to go with 'Curly' and they were birthday presents for 2 little girls. In the end, it turned out ok. There were lots of broken ends to weave in, which is NOT my favourite task!

I was also keen to try out this version of the silk/stainless steel yarn and wool. However, I was also aware that more machine knitting is not a good idea. In the end, Christine had very generously offered to knit this up for me!
She is a real champion of the craft - generous with her time, equipment, enthusiasm and most of all encouraging with novices. I admire her energy at the MAKV stand, promoting machine knitting at craft shows, demonstrating alternative styles of knitting with simple shapes and interesting yarns.

This was knitted with some Avril grey silk/stainless steel yarn and a merino(70%)/cashmere(30%) variegated shades of grey by 'the bunny lady'. This is her nickname by another friend and I have adopted it. Once I remember the 'real' name, I will let you know.
She makes wonderful spaced dyed yarn in this mix and also beautifully dyed fleece for spinning and felting right here in Victoria (Australia)!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Weave juice

A little while ago, this beautiful parcel arrived in the post from Kaz. She had made up these cards called 'Weave Juice' to help inspire designing weave projects. (I think that most of them can equally be used for knit projects!) They are exquiste. They also came in this origami box that she had folded as well.

There is only 12 weeks left of this year. A few friends and I are planning to weave in the new year. We are going to set up the looms at my house and start weaving something on New Year's eve, through midnight and into early morning. (well, that is if we don't fall asleep)

We thought we can start planning to that the looms are warpped up ready to go. We can use these cards for inspiration and come up with various designs for each warp.
More to come as we progress........

Monday, October 4, 2010


Spring is a month late in arriving this year. Last Saturday, there was lovely blue sky and the temperature just crept above 20C. Perfect day to get out of the city.  Shipbuilding and I took a drive here to see this.

It was well worth the 2.5 hours each way!
There is something about seeing things in real life rather than just in photographs or in a book. The textures, the colours, the drape of the cloth. It was beautiful.
So if you are anywhere near Ararat, it is worth a visit.