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.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Rebirth - Hilda

I was at an Ink and Spindle Open Day a couple of months ago and Teegs mentioned that she was given a table loom but she did not know how to use it. I said sure, come over and we can figure it out.
We had an initial inspection and decided on the parts that needed replacing. Teegs went to work, ordering new parts and refurbishing the loom.
Both of us are so excited that we needed to tell the world about the re-birth of Hilda and that Teegs is weaving! So this is a shared blog post:
Hilda is a portable 2 shaft/harness table loom, with a weaving width of just under 40cm. The 2 shafts/harnesses work by moving the handle on the top roller back and forth to create the shed. It was interesting to see that all the heddles were connected together, top and bottom. They were made of string with a metal eyelet in the middle. Unfortunately, they were very rusted and on the way to disintegration. The reed was 15 dent and also very rusted.
Teegs: Original, wonky, sad.
Teegs: The restoration & dismantling begins
Teegs replaced all the screws, the tying rods at the back and front beams, and the top and bottom timber bars supporting the heddles. She ordered a new 10 dent reed and Texslov heddles. The reed had to be cut down a fraction to fit within the frame of the beater.
Teegs: In pieces, hoping I'm as good
at puzzles as I'd like to think!
Teegs: Reconstructed, with a thick, fresh
coat of homemade beeswax & olive oil
timber conditioner for her very dry, thirsty wood.
Hilda was put back together again, in a much better condition! We just had to put the heddles back on with some adjustable Texslov loom cords.
Teegan: Hilda! Weaving!
The loom was made in Melbourne by Dyer and Phillips Pty Ltd. I did a brief search on the internet but there was not much information on the company. The address was in Flinders Lane, previously the centre of Melbourne's rag trade for the middle decades of the 20th century.
Teegs made a 7.2m long warp, 10 inches wide at 10epi, of Bendigo Classic 2 ply wool in black. We put the warp on front to back - sleyed the reed first, clamped to the table and then threaded the heddles. (Yes, I do work with a mix of metric and imperial measurements!)
The loom in action!
I had previously shown some of my Saori weaving to Teegs and she was quite interested in that. It has more of a focus on colours and textures, and is quite suited to a plain weave structure.
Weaving with a shuttle stick.
It took us from 11am to just before 6pm with a very short lunch in between to get to this stage. Teegs worked really hard all day and I just did a lot of talking.
Some tapestry techniques and fleece insertion.
Well done Teegs and Hilda! and all the best for your new adventure together. (Yes, Hilda is going sailing as well.) I cannot think of a more appropriate thing to do on a Easter Monday!

PS, I do wonder where did Hilda come from and what was woven on her before!?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Saturday, March 16, 2013

White and plain

It has been hard to focus this year but craft camp at the end of February restored some faith and inspiration. It has taken nearly another month for me to get my act together and finally got a warp on the loom. It makes me feel restless when my looms are empty, without warps. It makes me feel like I am neglecting them. Do they have feelings? I don't know for sure. I think they feed off my state of mind, as to how they behave when I am weaving.

White cotton, plain weave. A bit of experimentation. Hopefully it will turn out to match what I have in mind, or not.........

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


YABANE SCARF 矢羽 ya (arrow) hane->bane (feather) (jap.) - “fletchings, feathers of the arrow”
'Shaping of this scarf is inspired by the feathers of Hamaya - a “demon-breaking arrow”, a decorative arrow sold at shrines at New Year’s to ward off misfortune and to attract good luck. Pleated look of the scarf is actually based on Miura-ori style of origami that folds into a neat compact shape and opens into multi-dimensional textured accessory.'
quoted from Olga Buraya-Kefelian.
I met Olga on Skype through Sooz one day and she showed us her design of the Yabane scarf. I loved it and offered to test knit it for her. My most sincere apology as it is embarrassing to say that it had taken months for me to finish this project, despite the fact that it is a really simple pattern to knit. I have to admit that I am really SLOW knitter and always get stuck at the weaving in ends stage........However, the knitting part is completed, ends woven in and the piece blocked. Now I just have to wait till the weather turns cold to wear it.
I love the three-dimensional aspect of the structure and the simplicity of the design.

There was also the folded shibori/origami pattern that I came across at the workshop with Yoshiko Wada.

This book is also quite interesting. I have not tried anything from it yet, if only there are more hours in the day..........

What's more, it also reminded me of the 2-dimensional woven pattern that we  saw at the Nishijin Textile center
There was a display showing samples of the finished cloths.
woven samples
warp threads being prepared for dyeing
dyed warps
the 'warp shifting box'
warp threads being 'shifted' to create the arrow pattern
The pattern in the warp ready for putting onto the loom.
You can see some sort of bamboo reed to keep all the threads in place.
It is interesting to see how the pattern is formed to such precision.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Happy New Year (again)

I am lucky to get 2 New Year days. It is like having a grace period to get everything done. There had been a lot happening between the last blog post and this one. I call it the new year 'frantic panic' and it is about getting things done.
It will be is nice to start the new year with most things in order: a clean house, clean kitchen, clean laundry, as many finished projects as possible, completed tax return, stocked up fridge and pantry. In with the new and out with the old. It makes me feel like I am ready to face what is to come. I like these rituals and traditions. 

It is about family & friends, a very yummy dinner on new year's eve.......and new clothes, ready for tomorrow.

So again, happy new year, and good health!