Monday, October 29, 2018

Fine cotton

For a change of pace I moved away from the wool for a while and picked up the finer weaving cottons again. For serious weaving it's actually not that fine - a 8/2 cotton - but it was a big change from the chunky 8 ply wool. On my four shaft loom I'd been weaving the 8/2 at 24 ends per inch, which was quite loose, so on the rigid heddle I used doubled threads in the 15 epi reed, making it 30 ends per inch. It ended up quite a solid cloth but I'm pleased with it.

It's two ends of navy/navy and then two of colour/colour, and the same on the warp. I used different colours in the colour/colour ends in sequence, so each warp end has two colours - I think it makes it look a bit more interesting. The overall pattern is a simple houndstooth again. The top photo is nearest to the colours; the one below is a bit too blue. I am still trying to find a good way to photograph these damn scarves! They are too long to be interesting.

The finer threads were much much harder to warp (with lots of cursing and tangles from me) - I used the direct warping but it might be a situation where indirect warping from the warping board would have been easier. Generally it's not, but I might try it on a later weave and see how it goes. Not that I am in any rush to do something with these fine threads again. Not for a while.

From the fine to the coarse - here is the hemp I ordered from Ice Yarns. I thought it might be quite interesting to use but it's super coarse and immobile. Not overly thick, but very rough with no bend. This is the disadvantage of shopping on line.... but I have been thinking about placemats or even small rugs, and this would be perfect! And such a pretty a colour.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Random flowers

It's been beautiful warm spring weather this week so I've been trying to get outside whenever possible - including walking home when I can - and it took me to the azalea gardens. So very pink and so very pretty.

The gardens here are a constant reminder of what I could do with a team of several dozen gardeners and unlimited water. Hahahahaha.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Sparklers and skeins

Number two son had his birthday - fourteen!!! Very grown up. He went into town with some friends for ice cream and karaoke, which is a thing they enjoy apparently. OK, fine by me, especially since no parents are required other than for transport.

He wanted a pavlova for a birthday cake, which my husband made. It might be the first pavlova he's ever made - I don't think I've ever made one. We have always had people in our lives whose speciality dish is the pavlova (it's easy to make but difficult to get perfect) so we have not had to brave the pavlova waters. It was absolutely delicious, with cream, raspberries and passionfruit on top. And a special souvenir from Berlin - number sparklers! They were a bit broken in transit and funny looking so my husband worried that they wouldn't work, but he needn't have ...

They were very spectacular and sprayed little burnt bits all over the pav. Which didn't hurt the taste at all. Speaking of gifts from Berlin, I got some lovely Frida Fuchs hand dyed merino. I should have taken a before photo because they always look so pretty wound in a hank, but I forgot until I was halfway through winding it into balls.

You don't get a good idea of the colour from this photo but it's a lovely warm reddish purple. He also got me a lighter red so I'm going to use them together. This is my yarn swift and ball winder which was a Christmas present the year before last and which I've never used until now. I was a bit intimidated by all the moving parts but it's actually a very simple piece of kit when you get it together, and so handy!!! I made my hanks into balls like a pro ... well, the last ones were like a pro. The early ones were a bit dodgy.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Wild storms

I managed to get a beach weekend for the first time for a while ... and there were rocketing storms all Saturday afternoon and evening. Wonderful to get the rain of course - apparently some even fell in Canberra - but it hampered my plan for long walks and fresh air.

There was a huge swell and lots of surfers. I paddled but didn't swim, although there were quite a few families on the beach and in the water (Saturday morning that is, before the storms came through). What it is with toddlers and not feeling the cold? Some of them were completely blue and still having fun. At least the weather did help with my plans for sewing, eating and watching the Wentworth by-election.

And then on Sunday it was a lovely clear sunny day and I got a proper walk in - down to the river to say hello to the pelicans before driving back home on Sunday afternoon. I swear that a weekend used to be a reasonable period of time and it now it barely seems more than five minutes long.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Fluffy wool scarf

Here is my first scarf with the Ice Yarns wool - I felt very adventurous getting yarn all the way from Turkey, but it arrived safely and now I've woven it up. It is a lovely soft variegated wool in quite strange shades of brown, pink and blue. They shouldn't work together but I think they do.

There are three stripes of the bamboo/wool cream, just because I thought it might need something more interesting. I'm not sure it does, but I certainly don't hate them. It was a little bit challenging to weave because the wool was quite fluffy, so hard to make a good shed on the warp. The fluffiness tends to stick together so it makes it harder to get the shuttle through neatly. Not impossible, just a bit awkward.

And two of the warp threads broke, which hasn't happened to me before. It's a bit of a pain but not insurmountable - you just try to weave with it as soon as you can and then weave the ends in afterwards. But it's another good learning experience about what you can and can't put on a warp - it really does have to stand a lot of tension and a fair amount of friction as you weave away.

This is the pooling test photo again - it doesn't drape quite as nicely as the bamboo but it's still very soft and cuddly. And the ends made lovely little fat fringes. Otherwise nothing to report here; back to school, back to work, jet lag in a minor way and random uncovering of tourist souvenirs. Number one son bought himself some Underground socks in London - he's pointing at Bayswater because that's where they stayed.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

More bamboo/wool

I was so pleased with the yellow and blue bamboo/wool herringbone that I went and ordered some  more from the excellent Bendigo Woollen Mills in green and cream. And maybe also some other wool because if you order more than $50 you get free shipping so I was really Saving Money. But that is for another post, today is all about the awesomeness that is this yarn and a log cabin pattern!

I think this pattern is amazing, and it looks so complicated but it is really straightforward. You go green/white for seven ends, then go white/green for three, then repeat. And do the same on the weft, and it turns into incredible three-dimensional boxes! I find this extraordinary.

This time I remembered to do some plain weave at the other end, although I couldn't quite remember how much I'd done, so it looks a bit odd. And it's in a different colour, but I will say that that is a design choice.

And because the yarn weaves up so beautifully and drapey here is a shot of it crumpled on a chair. It doesn't crumple, it sort of pools in a soft and elegant manner. I just knotted the ends rather than twist them into a fringe.

Pam asked what I was doing with all these scarves ... an excellent question and of course I have no answer. I am wearing them into work and making my work colleagues admire them (they are very polite) then folding them up and putting them nicely in a pile. If they start to bother me I can offload them to friends I guess, but they're much smaller than quilts! Less useful unfortunately because no-one uses them except me, unlike quilts which can find homes with all the family and the dog, but they definitely take up less space.

Monday, October 15, 2018

End of the holidays

I started to write this post yesterday - with the words "it is a very very quiet Sunday afternoon" but then the computer ate my blog post, so I stomped off. It was however a very very quiet afternoon ... I did a lot of weaving, number two son lay on the sofa with Youtube, and number one son and my husband (and the dog) slept. The dog had no excuse, but the other two had just come back from a two week holiday in Europe! And it took them forty hours to get from their apartment in Berlin to Canberra, so all they wanted was sleep.

The trip was my son's 16th birthday present - because we have never travelled much with them we said when they turn 16 they get an overseas trip anywhere in the world with one parent; their choice to destination (and parent). So he chose London and Berlin, and they had an absolutely wonderful time. Lots of Third Reich walking tours and natural history museums, so a very good idea he took his father and not me, but they both thought it was awesome, and they both think I should get there one day! I've never been to either city ... but I will.

And I think this might be the last fire of the winter (although I've said that a few times now).

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Still quiet times

Not much to report here - despite the onset of spring I'm having little fires in the fireplace to keep myself warm and amused. It is lovely to have the firelight, although I don't think I can spin it out for much longer. I went for a run on Saturday and it was positively roasting. There was some new public art around the lake - I think it's temporary for Floriade. It was pretty cool.

I did some more weaving on the weekend, a little bit more on-line shopping, and lots of binge watching of Brooklyn Nine Nine with number two son. We also watched the new episode of Doctor Who and loved it! I think she'll be a great doctor. We were both sitting there on the edge of our seats with a creepy new alien saying "we've missed this!!!" ... doesn't take much to keep us entertained. And when we needed additional amusement we put the snuggly blanket over the dog's head. She didn't care.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Bamboo and wool

Well, this is lovely. After the disappointment of the horse blanket, this 50/50 bamboo-wool blend wove like an absolute dream. And it is soft, and drapes beautifully and looks awesome! It is absolutely impossible for me to look at a ball of yarn and tell how it is going to weave up, but I suppose I'm learning. I hope I'm learning.

So this is just two colours in a basic houndstooth. The colours in the top picture are the most realistic - the other photos are a bit duller. Two gold, two blue, repeat on both the warp and the weft. Isn't that unlikely? It looks so complicated and it is so simple. I have worn it into work too and it is extremely comfortable. Despite having sworn off shopping I'm going to order some more because I'm so pleased with it. I think I can get the edges neater, and I forgot to finish off in a stripe of blue like I did at the start. Ooops.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Hobby = shopping

Like always happens when I get a new hobby, I've gone a little crazy on the on-line shopping. I have never really bought yarn before, other than the occasional bit from the chain stores, and I am only now realising it is a wonderful wonderful world of on-line possibilities. Ice Yarns in Turkey have delivered me some variegated 100%  wool for a bargain price. And some very fine alpaca, with 2% elastane. I didn't think it would be very stretchy, but it is. I have absolutely no idea how I'm going to weave with it, but it is very soft and fluffy.

Left front there is some silk - the yellow is thicker and the beige stuff on the cones is very fine. I'll have to ply it with something else to be able to weave with it on the rigid heddle, but I'm quite keen to try silk. Actually I'm keen to try ALL THE YARNS ... the far left blue and burgundy balls are a mostly wool, with some alpaca and silk blend. Time to stop shopping and start weaving.

We had a peaceful long weekend, mostly warm but some use of the fireplace anyway. I had brunch with a friend and did some errands - number two son had his last day of school on Friday and last theatre performance on Saturday so he spent the following 48 hours in his pyjamas not doing much of anything! And I don't blame him. The days are long enough now for me to walk home from work which I did .... the shadows are coming across but it was sunny and very pleasant.