Sunday, April 8, 2018

Twelve Shaft Advancing Twill Shawls

My last project on the loom was a pair of shawls using some hand dyed 2/20 cotton in three tones of blue.  The colour variations are very subtle, but it still shows enough to add a bit of interest.

This is such fine thread with quite a strong twist that I ended up setting it at 30 ends per inch and even with that it was just about transparent on the loom.
I chose to use a twelve shaft advancing twill pattern and I am more than pleased with it although, I did have some real issues with the selvedges, and no amount of pattern manipulation seemed to fix it.
So I ended up adding seven threads to each edge due to weird pull in on the pattern.
The selvedge edges were added using the same yarn as the weft, in this case it was 2/8 tencel.   I added the selvedge threads by winding them individually onto a sewing bobbin and popping them into an old film canister with seven pennies.  I really had to search to find pennies now that Canada no longer makes them.  Luckily, we had just come back from the Garden Show in Seattle and had a handful of US pennies.
With so many hanging threads in one place there is always the danger that they tangle, so a few holes punched into a piece of cardboard and clipped to allow the thread to be inserted and I was good to go.
I did make sure to take the weight off of these hanging selvedges when I took a weaving break.  My big footstool did the trick.
I decided to make my hem stitching in increments of two reed dents, so with 30 ends per inch, that was a huge amount of hem stitching and when it came time to twist the fringes it was a beast!
The first shawl was woven using a blue/navy weft and was woven as drawn in; you can see the warp colour variations in this photo.
The second shawl was woven using hunter green weft and an advacing M’s and W’s treadling.

The garden shot this time is my newest Japanese Maple ~ Acer Japonicum ‘Green Cascade’.  It is waiting for this darned mizzle to abate so I can plant it!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Purple Striped Tea Towels

In the beginning of the year we are always drawn to tea towels.  This year I wanted to do lively coloured and thick stripes.  I was really drawn to the purples and a lovely lime green to highlight the colours.
I found a charming pattern on Handweaving.net that forms little boxes.  The pattern is a 3/1 turned twill also known as a drall.
The stripes are an inch wide and there are three boxes per stripe which makes them look even wider.  The weft for the tea towels is a lovely shade of blue from Brassards called Denim.
I put on 7 yards of warp for 6 tea towels 36 inches long.  At the end of the warp I had 26 inches left, so minus 12 inches for loom waste, I had 14 inches left over.
I came up with a great idea, bookmarks!  I tried out a couple of colours of 2/8 cotton but they were matte and boring.
So I tried some 2/8 Tencel in black and two navies, they had shine and were exciting.  So I had found my weft for the bookmarks.
I decided to only use some of the stripes.  And here is where I made the mistake; I decided to cut out the warp stripes that I wasn’t going to use.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  The tension on the warp went wild and I had to finish cutting the entire warp off.  Here is the chained off warp looking sad, maybe I will do some temari balls with it.
Here are the finished tea towels.  They look fresh and cheerful.  They remind me of the first spring flowers, crocuses.  For Sale.
One thing about the tea towels is that the lime green stripe doesn’t look green anymore.  The purple stripes and navy weft has pulled the green colour from the stripe and now it looks yellow.  I still think that they look great, but not quite what I had intended.
Final Garden Shot is Bleeding Heart.  I wish I had a crocus picture but a bunny dug the bulbs up and ate them!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Rosy Red Paper Spots Lace Runners

Back in December when Mum was doing her three golden huck lace diamond runners and I did some lovely rosy red lace runners.  I used a stunning cone of 2/10 cotton in a colour called Zinnia, which we bought from Susan at Thrums.  It's always nice to drive 'up island' to see her.
Looking through our lace drafts I found a lovely pattern in paper spots or dropped tabby lace, which Mum had published in Handwoven Magazine.  I like to take of picture of the border so I can remember how to end the runner.  There is nothing worse than getting to the end of the runner and trying to remember what you wove for the border.
After taking the photo I noticed a small lump on the front with further check found a large snarl on the back.  So I got to unweave a couple of inches.
The pattern is wonderful large circles of lace highlighted by a trellis.  It was a simple treadling and a joy to weave so the runner wove up quite quickly.
I am always delighted when I finish weaving the runner (or scarf or whatever) and the pirn finishes at the same time!
I changed the pattern a little for the second runner instead of circles there are long ovals of lace highlighted by a trellis.
After washing the runners the lace does what it does and puckers the runner, this is the scary stage when you wonder if it will ever iron flat.
I usually use a steam press to flatten the final piece but with lace you need to push the puckers out with an iron.  It is amazing how the lace changes.
I then used the steam press for the final pressing of the table runners.  Here is the finished runner with the circles.  For Sale.
Here is the finished runner with the long ovals.  The runners are quite stunning and the warm brick red is a lovely colour.  For Sale.
Final Garden Shot is of some bulbs just popping up from the garden, I am not sure what they are I have to wait for them to bloom.  The trellis is to stop the deer from eating the tender tips.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Twelve Shaft Tea Towels

This time of the year I always seem to want to weave something simple and satisfying.  Tea towels always fit the bill.  My Louet Spring has twelve shafts but finding patterns using twelve is always a hunt.

This pattern was exactly what I was looking for, a lovely twill on twelve, and the threading and treadling couldn't be simpler.  Treadling a straight twill allows me time to make sure my posture and technique are correct.
I pulled an eleven yard warp in navy blue cotton and sett it at 24 ends per inch.  I beat these towels fairly hard to get a balanced weave. 
My plan was to weave ten tea towels in deep jewel hues; so I wove the towels in emerald, turquoise, ruby, garnet, sapphire and amethyst. 
Since I was weaving these in a single colour I did a short hem detail.
A tangle of towels waiting to have the selvedges finished.
A new addition for me is an upgrade from a Janome mechanical sewing machine circa 2003 to a Singer Quantum 2017.....holy cow have things ever changed during that time!  This baby even threads the needle by itself.  I think my only job is to choose the project.  Although some things will never change; that is my mothers sewing box in the background.
It was very satisfying to see the pile of sixteen tea towels ready to be washed and hand hemmed.   Ten are mine and six are Ngaires'.  We often share tasks, I cut them apart and finish the selvedges, Ngaire presses them and pins up the hems and then I hem them.  I’m still happiest with hand finishing because I don’t like the squished line that the machine gives to the hem.  It was a really good day for me, not only playing with my new sewing machine, but a couple of loaves of bread too.  The sweet smell of a successful day.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Cones

One of the great weaving questions is ‘How much yarn is left on that cone?’

I can’t answer that but what I can answer is, how much does that cone weight empty?  I started to keep a spreadsheet on how much the empty cones weight and the dimensions of the cone and I thought I'd share my data with you. 

I have found that Brassards from Plessisville, Quebec Canada uses the same tube for most of their 8 oz products – Average Weight is 0.40 oz.

2/8 Cotton Unmercerized

4/8 Cotton

2/16 Orlec

2/8 Orlec

1/16 Linen

2/9 Linen

2/8 Tencel

2/16 Bamboo

2/8 Bamboo


Webs in Easthampton MA, USA is another supplier that we use.  The 1 lb cones that they use are different sizes and shapes but I use this weight for a rough idea.

2/8 Tencel on 8 oz tubes is 0.25 oz

2/8 Tencel on 1 lb cones is 1.18 oz

2/20 Tencel on 1 lb cones


Sometimes weavers pick up cones and tubes from Guild Sales and you don’t know where they are from but maybe knowing the dimensions of the tube you can use these mystery cones as a reference.

Silk 2/6 weight is 0.90 oz

Mystery Blue Plastic Cone that contained 2 ply linen is 3.00 oz


I hope that this information helps you I know it helps me.