Thursday, July 23, 2015

Time to STOP

Okay, that's it, I'm done with the mess! I've enjoyed the weaving so far, but the mess associated with weaving in a tapestry-esk manner is just getting to me. I really need to stop and move on to a less messy weaving style.

Time to STOP!

I am normally a very organized and tidy person. My craft areas are the exception. While I'm actually working on a project, and need things nearby, it can really get out of hand! The problem is I am usually working on several different things at once. This means that there are messes in more than one area of the house and that, working on various interests in rotation, any one particular project may have to sit for awhile waiting for me to return to it.

That's where the weaving has been for a bit. I've been distracted for the past month by spinning in the 23 day long Tour de Fleece, and when I haven't been spinning my available time has been absorbed by exploring wire wrapping techniques. The weaving room has been a disaster zone for too long. I can no longer stand walking by the open door.

I'll post an update photo in a few days.

I hope.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Al Fresco Spinning

Yesterday, after a long walk, the dogs joined me for an lovely day of "al fresco spinning".

Blissfully Peaceful

The weather was perfect! There was enough sunshine for it to be cheerful, yet a light breeze and occasional cloud cover to keep things comfortably cool. The temperature was such that a person could be comfortable in either jeans or shorts.

Under the apple tree.

To add to the ambiance the ring neck doves were cooing in the background and the gentle breeze played softly with the neighbours' wind chimes.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Glamour Shot

Trying to take a photo of a skein of yarn for posting on a forum, daily for 23 days, while hundreds of other spinners do the same, can make you stretch to find some way to make it look a bit different.

Here was today's effort. 

I actually spun most of this merino/silk blend on Day 8 but didn't get around to plying, washing, and photographing it for several days.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Wire Wrapping Practice

It's surprisingly difficult to take a successful 'Ear Selfie'.

I have a large supply of the 22 gauge copper wire used as the base of many designs. It was coated scrap wire I received free, and just have to strip. I then only have to purchase the 28 gauge wire used for the actual wire wrapping/weaving. I've been practicing wire wrapping techniques by using this inexpensive copper wire rather than the more expensive silver. Once I'm happy with a style and technique I will do a "good" rendition in the silver.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Thick n Thin

I spent a lovely Thursday afternoon spinning with a few guild members and finished off some fine merino-silk I had started at home a few days earlier and then moved on to this:

Day 13 Tour de Fleece

It's a corriedale roving I spun thick n thin and then plyed with a black thread. I'm very happy with it. It should look great in future weavings.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Try, Try, and Try Again

I spent much of the day playing with copper wire. I started off using a tutorial and attempting a design that required a lot of hammering. The results were ---

--- lets just say "less than optimal"! Tricky little thing. It has extra, separate pieces that have to be wired in. I see now that attempting a symmetrical design while learning wire work is not such a great idea!

When I was finished I couldn't help laughing. This looks so much like those funny Pinterest posts were the novice creates a disasterous project that looks very little like the example and then exclaims, "Nailed it!".

After finally completing the hammered medallion I decided that I don't really care for that technique and will avoid it for awhile at least. I won't say "never again", but I think a lesson or at least more wire working experience should come first.

So after dinner I moved on to wire weaving and though this piece still uses three separate base wires it all fits together a little easier.

That still doesn't mean it was EASY. Nope, I found this one difficult too. Again with the symmetry problem.

I thought it wasn't too terribly bad until I took the picture. Why is it that the camera is always so eager to point out the flaws? Looking at these photos I realize that when I transitioned from single wire wrapping to wrapping 2 wires I made the same wrapping mistake EVERY time! Sheesh! Well at least I was consistent.

I'm not giving up!           Yet.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Day Eight

For Day 8 of the Tour de Fleece I spun the second half of the vibrant pink Superwash Merino and Tencel blend that I was working on yesterday, then made a 2ply of it.

The photo is before washing it to set it. It's in the sink now for its beauty bath.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Days 4, 5, 6, and 7

I spent a good chunk of Day Four of the Tour de Fleece spinning a denim coloured superwash merino in preparation for plying into a boucle yarn.

On Day Five I attempted the boucle (on the left in the picture below). Hmm, not really my favourite type of plying, but sure to be fun texture for a weaving some day.

On the right is the remainder of the previous days spinning chain plyed into a 3 ply yarn. Meh. The denim like grey blue colour isn't doing much for me.

Day Six was much more fun. Not that my chosen fibre for spinning was all that nice, it was a very coarse, dirty alpaca. The finished yarn will have to be used for something other than wearables. It is very scratchy, which is unusual for alpaca I think. I've heard that the fibre gets coarser as the animals age.

The fun of that day came in allowing my granddaughters to play at my wheel! My coarse alpaca fibre, plyed with thread, is the two skeins on either end of the next photo. The centre skeins are two the girls did as their very first attempts at plying.

The eight year old's skein is on the centre left. She not only did the hand work to do the plying, she also did her own treadling. She found it difficult to keep the wheel spinning in the correct direction but persevered and was very proud of her little skein.

The six year old sat on my lap and did the hand work for plying her little pink and blue skein while I handled the treadling for her. Both girls also worked hard using my niddy noddy to skein their creations.

I don't normally weight my skeins, but all four of these turned out a little over plyed and needed the blocking.

And today, after a busy day of running about, I spent a relaxing 1/2 hour or more at the wheel with a vibrant pink merino/tencel blend. I love it! After a bit of a pre-draft it spun like a dream.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Tour de Fleece

This year I'm participating in the "Tour de Fleece", a spinner's event that parallels the Tour de France bike race.  Spinners choose a personal spinning related challenge and spin throughout the 21 day time frame of the Tour de France. For some it's to spin as much as possible. For others is might be to learn a new spinning style, try a new fibre, or spin using a spindle when they have been primarily a wheel spinner.

My chosen challenge is to spin for a minimum of 15 minutes for each of the 21 days of the tour. It might not seem like much to dedicated spinners, but I normally only spin 2 or 3 times per year. To spin 21 days in a row is really something. Now that I've started I have found that for 2 out of 3 of those days I have spun considerably more than that. This is my accomplishments so far.

Day One I spun for only 17 or so minutes and got this bobbin of singles:

On Day Two I added a bit to the bobbin of singles and then decided to ply it as well.

On Day Three I spun the singles for this small skein and then decided to go ahead and ply it as well.

It's photographed sitting on top of the HUGE reel of thread I purchased specifically for this type of plying. I found it for only a dollar at a thrift store.

Today I'm spinning from a bag full of fibre that I won as a door prize at a spin in last year.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Left You Behind

I got so busy weaving, and doing other crafty things, that I forgot to update you all on this latest project.

  Warp choices for the Painted Inspiration Weave-a-long

A while back I initiated a weave-a-long on the "Saori Weaving for Everyone" group on Ravelry.  We now have 15 weavers participating!

warp wound

The idea is to choose a painting you love and then use it as inspiration for a Saori style weaving.

Warp Chain

The weaving does not have to be a pictorial representation of the painting. The idea is just to attempt to capture the 'mood' of the painting in colour and/or other elements.

Sleyed through the reed

So while I was absent from the blog I was busy choosing a painting to use as inspiration and then selecting yarns, winding a warp, and dressing the loom.

Reed upright and waiting for the shafts

The weather here has been hot, hot, HOT, so I dragged a portable table into the only air conditioned room in my house and sat there to do much of the prep work.


The dogs were more than happy to sit in the cool room with me while I worked.

Air conditioning is not to be enjoyed alone.

When I finally started weaving I was very surprised to have it take off, almost with a mind of its own, in a mildly tapestry-esk fashion. Not true tapestry, but kind of looking that way as I weave randomly in the colours I see as representing the painting.

Loving it so far.

I chose Evelyn Kirkaldy's "Kootenay Meadow" as my inspiration.

Kootenay Meadow

And here is how it looks now, after the second day of weaving. This particular technique, using a table fork as a 'beater' and weaving organic looking shapes in a wide variety of colours, thicknesses, and textures, is VERY SLOW going. I don't know if I'll be able to hold out for the entire four metres I wound, but I am enjoying myself so far.

slow progress

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Happy Canada Day!

About a month ago, in a fit of patriotic exhuberance, I sewed up a short sleeved Canada Day jersey for Gourd.

Gourd, Pumpkin, and Benjamin Bowser

I also managed a Canada Day tank top and red pants for Elfonda.

Zenawii and Elfonda

The dolls were then posed in my usual display area waiting for good weather so that I could do an outdoor photo shoot. You know, a Canada Day picnic or something?

  Happy Canada Day!

But that's about as far as my enthusiasm carried me before I was distracted, absorbed in other hobbies and interests. "Good weather" came and yet I procrastinated, caught up with company, year end school activities and so forth. Well, now that good weather has hung around long enough for it to become unbearably HOT outside and in, I just don't have the oompf to get out there in the heat and blazing sun to do all it takes for a successful photo shoot with the dolls.

In fact, I'm feeling kind of like Peanut and Neelie here. Too hot, tired, and lazy to get up and get moving!

Peanut and Neelie

So I apologize. All you get this year is a few low light, indoor, iPhone photos of the resin gang. This is no reflection on my love for Canada. I live in a great country! The heat, and a general feeling of lethargy, is just really kicking my butt today!
Happy Canada Day!