Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy holiday season

Happy New Year, good health and best wishes for 2013!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Up for air

Thank you for weekends and public holidays, whoever invented them. It gives me time to catch my breath and to create.
A few weeks ago, I had a 5-day weekend and managed to get something on my loom. I have upgraded my 2 shafts (harnesses) Saori loom to 4 shafts. I did a lot of things that were new to me. I put the new hardware onto the loom (it now has 6 treadles). I wove with silk, in both warp and weft. I put my warp on to the loom from front to back. I was very satisfying knowing that I had enough time and did not have to rush! I enjoyed the process.
I used my new toy, the Saori cross box to keep my threads in order while I sleyed the reed.
I turned the reed setup around so that the chain of warp threads was at the front of the loom.
I threaded my heddles from the back of the loom and then wind the warp around the back beam.
I have never woven with a silk warp before and had some tension problems. There is almost no stretch in silk. Wool is a lot more forgiving. 

I started weaving and thought, this pattern does not look like what I had in mind. Maybe the variegated weft made it difficult to see the weave structure. There was a nagging feeling but I could not pin it down. Halfway through, I checked my tie up. I had done it correctly with the treadles but had forgotten to fix it to the same sequence at the shafts. Duh!
I liked the pattern though and decided to run with it........... 

I love the look and feel of the silk. I had enough warp for 2 pieces. The second one has a single solid colour weft and a straight forward twill weave structure. It looks and feel so different.
These are both Christmas presents so I will show images of the finished items next month.

Monday, September 3, 2012


It does not seem like more than 2 months had passed. I have been on the looms a bit this winter. Probably the most that I have woven in a long time. All 3 looms had warps on at one time or another.

There was the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show - Kaz and I took our looms there and had 3 days of intense fun with lots of people weaving on the Saori looms. Many of them trying it for the first time.

There was the trip to Wangaratta and Beechworth - my mum and I went for a weekend and saw the exhibitions at the Wangaratta Art Gallery and the Old School House Gallery. It was great to see those red dots next to my pieces!

There was the Olympics and I signed up for one of the challenges on Ravelry. I wove a baby blanket for a friend. Her baby girl was born last week.
There was a commission.
There was a young convert who came to weave on my loom and made her own fabric.
There was a football scarf long overdue (finals are this month and Spring is here), and I tried to make it not look like a football scarf!

There was craft camp, but that is another story.

It seems like I packed a lot into the last couple of months. Maybe the latest project on the loom is a reflection of how I feel...... a bit fragmented.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

They called me an artist.....

First, they accepted 2 out of 3 pieces submitted.
Second, they asked if it was possible to use one of the images for the promotion of the exhibition.
Then, this week, I received a note to say that the gallery would like to purchase a couple of my pieces.........
I am so excited you can not wipe the smile off my face.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Meltdown - stress inhibits creativity

After weeks of dealing with appliance service people, I was really pleased with myself that I only took my Saori loom with me to craft camp. A piece of equipment that does not require electricity, does not make a lot of noise and is calming and straight forward to use.

Warning, there is a bit of ranting here, so you can skip to the photo at the end if you prefer.

First, my microwave oven stopped. It happened at the same time as the light bulb in the oven blew. The latter was easy. A trip to the supermarket, new bulb, self installed. The microwave, however, took 2 trips to the repairer to get fixed properly.

Second, my fridge stopped. The repair man came, charged A$200 and ordered a new  temperature sensor part. Apparently should take 2 to 5 business days. Two weeks later, there was still no parts, rang them multiple times and I got answering machine each time. I left messages but no one called me back. I complain to the distributor. Hah! Part arrived. Finally, took time off work to wait for repair man. Texted to say estimated 9am arrival, 11:45am was the actual arrival time. Wrong part ordered! Still non functioning fridge after 3 weeks. 
Finally, decided to buy new fridge to avoid dealing with these people. They stressed me out! Do they think that because they are the 'authorised service agents' that I have no choice but to use them!?
Well, maybe but new fridge is the other choice.
I love my new fridge. The service was much better. Delivery was made within the time frame specified and they moved my old fridge out onto the kerb for hard rubbish collection. 
I also have other appliances of the same brand as the new fridge so I know that their service calls can be nominated within a 2-hour window, and they answer their phones.

Third, my telephone stopped working. Needless to say, I learnt my lesson. I bought a new phone and dropped non-functioning phone off for recycling.

In that whole month of electrical appliances meltdown, my level of creativity was zilch. Things that I have woven did not really work to expectation, sewing had to be unpicked and re-sewn.
Now, all that bad energy is gone and the creative mojo is back. I had fun and calm in the last couple of days. My loom enjoyed its first trip out of the house since arriving from Japan. Much happier now.

A glimpse of my creation at craft camp:

Now, if only I can get Blogger formatting to work better, but that will be too much to ask.......

Monday, May 14, 2012

Still experimenting with more of the same.........

I have been experimenting more with the combination of silk stainless steel, felting wool and non-felting alpaca and alpaca/silk yarns. I am getting to understand their behaviour more and so can control the outcome better. 
Here are 2 scarves that I have submitted to the Scarf Festival at the Wool Museum in Geelong.
Scarf 1
Scarf 2
 .........and some more sampling/experimentation for a submission to another exhibition.
on loom
after washing

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Textile treats

I want to share some textiles treats that I have received from my textile/weaving mentors.
Their works are inspiring, their comments encouraging and their generosity amazing.....
I am continually learning so much from them.

Saori scarf from Kaz, at Curious weaver.
 Woven sample (large one) from Meg, at unravelling.
Textile postcard from Neki, at a movable feast.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Spool's Day

Meg has suggested an April Spool's day post of bobbins and pirns. Here are some of mine:
From left to right:
Le Clerc's plastic ones, the Swedish cardboard ones, Saori clear plastic ones, timber ones in various sizes and bamboo ones. The last 2 types are for my Japanese boat shuttles.
However, being April Fool's day, the joke is on me as I don't actually have a bobbin winder that the timber and bamboo ones will fit so they have not really been used yet......

Saturday, March 24, 2012


My Japanese friend says that March is the season of parting and April is encounter and starting new life season.

Since the last post, I have had a lot of new encounters..........
New life: 
I have had this miniature water lily for about 2 years now and this is the first time it has bloomed! In the last few days of summer, I watched it come to life over a couple of days and disappeared just as fast.
New weave experiment: 
I bought this beautiful yarn from Avril when I was last in Japan. I originally bought it for my mother but she was not keen on the colour. So I kept it for myself and had been waiting for the right project /idea to come along.
The skeins have a very defined band of colour and I wanted to see if I could weave or knit it with the colour band expressed. I experimented on the knitting machine but the tension was hard to control. I did not want to start with the original yarn on the loom straight off as it is a lot harder to un-weave than to frog knitting!
Frisbiee Tegasuri (32B gray)
I dyed some cotton with the same concept, calculated the width of the warp required, and started weaving. It seemed to go according to plan and I was quite happy with the results.
That is until here:
and I understand why! As I wind the weft on the skein winder, the circumference of the skein increases as it then becomes wider than the warp. The ikat effect then changes as the colour sections shifts slightly off course for each pick, forming the criss-cross effect. I know all of these theories in my head but sometimes, I just have to do it to believe it.
So maybe when I finally use the yarn from Avril, it does not matter how the pattern emerges. I think I will still like it.

New weave project:
This is a glimpse of some weaving for an exhibition submission. I have not really done a lot of 'arty' weaving before, usually they are scarves or wraps. So it is a totally new experience....... 
New technique:
I started my first top down, seamless cardigan last week and have learnt a new knitting technique, the magic loop. Thanks to Sooz and Woollenflower for starting me off on the right track, helping me with working out the right size and how to keep track of the instructions. It made me feel more confident with knitting a garment. Again, I have normally stuck to knitting accessories with minimal shaping......
New knit:
and here is another one of those accessories in the most gorgeous red colour just in time for Autumn.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

On the loom......

Blink and it has been a month.......
I have not been idle but have been in a making mode rather than a recording one. I felt like I had to keep making and let out the ideas in my head, otherwise it would explode.

Here is a preview of what is on Chibi, the Saori loom. It is a 30cm wide black cotton pre-wound warp with a variegated colour wool weft from Lara Downs.
I am off to craft camp tomorrow and hopefully will have lots to show next week!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Happy New Year

Happy new year!

This is detail from an embroidered mandarin square, 15-16th century, China,
taken from a very old Unicef greeting card that I have found in my collection.

Monday, January 16, 2012


One of the pre-conference talks was on the Slow Fiber studio, by Yoshiko Wada, and this was on the road when I came out of that talk.
Slow does not just mean slow in time, but a considered and 'thoughtful approach to the making of things'.
Some of the examples she gave were:
Jurgen Lehl and Babaghuri, Sou Sou, Issey Miyake, and Christina Kim, etc.
I am going to be 'slow' this year, not only with making but with other aspects of life. I have not quite figured out how to verbalise this but I think I know what to do...........
For me, the time between the 1st January new year and Chinese new year is often a time for reflection. It feels like time in suspension. It is new and old year co-existing. It gives me more time to catch up, more time to get my thoughts together about the year ahead.........
Happy new year to you!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

8ISS: Yoshiko Jinzenji

I thoroughly enjoyed my first time at this event. The program was full of variety: contemporary, tradition, technology, processes, sustainability, and so much more. It was inspiring, intense and exhausting - both physically and mentally. I wanted to attend ALL the talks and demonstrations, but that was not possible.
Needless to say there will be a slow drip feed of information as I process things in my brain and gradually sort out my photos and papers.......
One of the speakers was Yoshiko Jinzenji.
I am not a quilter but had fallen in love with her book published by Interweave.
I did not know much of her other work outside of this book. When she gave her talk, I thought that there was a sense of deja vu and quickly realised who she was. What a revelation! As I had also bought some fabric designed by her just before I left for Hong Kong. (from Patchwork on Central Park, her designs do not show up in the online store but is available in store
One of her pieces at the exhibition was shibori dyed with bamboo! It gave this very subtle white on white pattern.
Who knows, quilting may be soon be on my list of things to do........


This is the last of the warp has been on the loom since 31 Dec 2010. 
It is a scarf length based on the samples that I have dyed. 
There is still about half a meter of warp left and will weave them up as test pieces for different dyes.
It is strange to be weaving white on white and I won't really know the final outcome until the piece has been dyed, and untied to reveal the patterning. It is a bit like writing with invisible ink....
PS These images are taken with small file sizes directly from my camera, I have not figured out how to reduce file size on iphoto apologies if they are crappy.