Saturday, 11 May 2019

Catching up

The choice tonight was to weave in the garage where it’s started to get quite cold, wind a new warp or stay where it’s warm and take the time to catch up with the blog.  Guess what won?

The past couple of months seem to have been particularly busy so this is what’s been happening around here

In the last post I mentioned that I’d been allocated a stall for the annual outdoor market

and if I had written a post just for that outing, the title would have to have been ‘Too good to last’.  On the 2 previous occasions, here and here, we’ve been up the ‘better’ end of the street.  No trams, good cafes, good ice cream shop and kind weather as well.  I guess it was our turn to be up the not so good end of the street at what was more a foot path (sidewalk) festival than a street festival.  For readers not familiar with the workings of a tram system, there are a few points where the trams can reverse and go back down the other side of the track and clearly, when part of the road is closed to trams, they need to reverse somewhere to service the rest of the line.  The reversing point was just at the back of the row of tents, so close in fact that when there was a barrier extending from the back of a tent a couple up from mine, the tram hit it and caused half the tent to collapse.  However the problems started even before the tent collapse.  We had been sent instructions to use a parking area quite close to where the tents were.  We arrived in good time complete with the directions we had been sent, to find a very cross woman, who was just trying to run her business using the same parking area.  We said this was what we had been told to do, waving our instructions and she told us sternly that it wasn’t a legal document and we were not parking there.

Rather than facing the street and being part of the action, our tents faced the footpath and there was a step down to the gutter for anyone who wanted to look more closely. Fortunately  for us, we looked into the church yard. 

There were not a lot of people going past, and we had trams behind us, about a foot from the back of the tent, at very regular intervals. The local shops were very limited and it was just so hot. Surprisingly, I did manage to sell a couple of scarves even though I thought it was far too hot to even think about trying them on.  

At the beginning of the day I had managed to get everything to the tent with assistance from some of the members of the Rotary Club who run the market and had then parked some distance away.  During the day I realised that getting packed up could be an issue as I had brought a few extra things, thinking I would just be able to park outside the tent.  I didn’t want to leave everything unattended in the middle of the road so I took the suitcase full of weaving and my favourite folding table back to the car with some effort. I moved the car a bit closer, and the market gods must have been looking after me as the parking place closest to my tent was vacant when I needed it. Somehow, I managed to get everything else back to the car in just one more trip – but I know I had at least 3 trips worth of stuff to move.  Never underestimate a determined woman who just wants to get home and out of the heat!

I’ve finally finished the white runner, including proper hemstitched hems.Here’s a couple of photos though it’s hard to show the detail well when it’s white on white

I’ve managed quite a bit of sewing, possibly inspired by Polly my new assistant although I now realise that having gone to all the trouble of adjusting her to fit me, I’ve managed to lose enough weight that she’s probably now bigger than I am.

I wrote last post about using the pattern from Burda 3/2016 to make a knit dress, then a woven top.  Since than there have been 3 more knit tops,

all successful

especially the last.  At a distance, it just looks like a repeating design

but up close the little cat faces become obvious,

much to the delight of cat lovers.

I saw some upholstery fabric that spoke to me and managed to draft a jacket pattern from a favourite in my wardrobe.  I’m happy with the result

and can think of other ways to use the pattern as well.

A couple of weeks ago I needed to have a day procedure, nothing drastic and results all good.  It was at least 20 years since my last encounter with the hospital end of the medical system.  I remembered the long wait last time and went prepared with some kumihimo braiding. 

I got some strange looks but just kept on braiding and 5 hours of waiting later I’d done about a metre.  In case you're wondering the design is my kumihimo version of leopard skin, here's a close up

As I was in recovery, I studied the heavy cotton blanket and was able to analyse that most of it was leno,

with what appeared to be a summer and winter border that included the name of the laundry in very long floats.  When I moved on to a critique of the border – floats far too long to withstand the rigors of a hospital laundry – I knew I was just fine.  I even took photos but clearly I was not quite as fine as I thought, because I was sure I took a photo of the other side where the floats were much worse but somehow ended up with this one

of the better side.

Apart from all that I've been to the April and May Hawthorn Makers Markets with reasonable sales.  There's some renovation going on near our usual spot.  Hopefully by the time winter comes the second set of doors will be finished and it will be a warmer inside

My tea towel stock has been replenished with the Neutrals with a touch of spice range finished

as well as a set in blue tones, using every blue, green and aqua yarn in the stash

I still have lorikeets in my garden, when I looked they were playing close attention to the lacrosse game on the oval

I'm off to wind a new warp


Friday, 1 March 2019

Back to work - there's a market on Sunday!

The summer holidays in Australia – also known as the ‘silly season’ - are over with schools back already.  Unfortunately, it’s still hot, pity those kids going back to school in heavy new lace up school shoes to go with their school uniforms. 

I heard that I had a place the outdoor market that’s part of the Glenferrie Road Festival, the one I’ve attended the past couple of years, so I needed to get back to work too.

The last of the broken twill blocks tea towels are done, 2 pink, 2 lake combo and another in aqua.

I often struggle with variegated yarns.  They look great on the cone but never work so well when knitted or woven, to the point where I keep saying 'no more variegated yarns' to myself when I'm buying yarn.  However the lake combo one worked so well I may need to reconsider.

The Bumberet tea towels were finished last night, soaked overnight to remove any excess dye and had a hot wash this morning.  They should be dry by the time I get home and hopefully I can find the strength go upstairs to the very hot part of the house to hem them. 

I have a new warp for Tencel scarves on the 8 shaft loom.  I’m using the spot twill draft I used late last year but with a silver grey warp.  There’s enough for 3 scarves and I think almond and shale will work.  I have plenty of Tencel and should be able to find another colour that will work with the silver grey.  I thought that I would have at least one finished for the market but a run of very hot days meant that I could only finish the tea towels.

The white runner looked as though it was becoming a ‘dog on the loom’ but I needed the loom for the next set of tea towels.  I worked at it steadily, managed to get the length I needed, identified where the mistakes were occurring – Shaft 2 kept wanting to join in with 1 and 3 when I did the tabby picks - and used what was left for some overshot motifs which made good card inserts.

There’s a new member of the team – meet Polly.  A couple of years ago I was given an old, adjustable, dressmakers model.  I’d used it a couple of times adjusted to a smaller size and realised how useful it would be to have it closer to my size.  Over the break I managed to adjust it more or less to my size – she turned out a bit bigger than I expected - and made a black cover for her.  It’s already been good for the top I just made.  The knit dress I made last year also used the draped top in non-knit fabric as a summer top. I wasn’t sure it would work but I found some lightweight cotton on the ‘throw out’ table. it must have been very old as it was only 36 inches/90 cm wide and I can’t remember when we changed to 45 inch/115 cm for cotton fabric but it’s a long time ago.  Here’s Polly in my $10 top

– 2 meters of fabric at $5/meter, pattern, thread and buttons from the stash – just waiting for the next hot day to wear it.
It will be good to have a more solid model for photographing scarves

I enrolled for a class in iridescent weaving at my guild's Summer school.  I had a great couple of days and went in at the weekends to warp the loom and do the homework rather than taking the loom home.  The Sunday class memebrs came to see what I was doing and when one of them said 'it looks like oil on a wet road' I knew that it was working.  A lot of weaves look better when viewed from the side but the effect was even more marked with iridescence.  As I wove my sample, nothing seemed to be happening

but the people looking over my shoulder could see the iridescence.  I stood up and looked at it from different angles and realised that the effect is greatest as you move around and look at it.

Definitely want to try it again with another warp when I've got more time.

I'm working through the list of things to do before the Market tomorrow.  It could be an interesting day as the forecast is for mid thirties/nineties with a thunderstorm late in the day, possibly around the time we will be packing up. It should be an interesting day


Friday, 11 January 2019

Taking Stock

The start of a new year is always a good time to take stock. Here’s the tea towel stock,

what little of it there is.  In 2018, I made around 36 tea towels and have just 2 left after selling most of them and gifting the rest.  The total is probably more than that as there were several left from earlier years at the end of 2017.  
I even checked the numbers from 2017 and 2016 and found that I made 23 in 2017 and 18 in 2016.  I know there’s a message there, quite simply, make more tea towels.  They sell easily and my friends who are on the Christmas tea towel list, have started to ask, hopefully, if there will be tea towels this year.

I have 5 or 6 left on the broken twill blocks warp, the pale pink one looks particularly nice

and as the weather hasn’t been too hot, it’s very pleasant weaving in the garage with the door open.

I decided I wanted to weave some more Bumberet tea towels but in more neutral colours.  I even found the black and white setting on the software so that I could compare value.
Here’s what I started with 

Here’s the black and white version

And here’s the warp

I used the values to make a plan for the main colours – black, light grey, taupe, dark grey and white, and back to black again – and, as Bumberet needs groups of 9 ends, warped 2 of the main colour and one, randomly chosen, accent colour. After a few repeats, I added the terracotta/pink because I felt it worked.  Hopefully by the next post I will be able to show whether it worked – or didn’t

I also made around 17 scarves and probably sold or gifted much the same number. Here's just 2 of them

I made a coat for the Sheep Show

and managed to wear it a couple of times before the weather got too hot but it will be great for next Winter.

I am still working on the white runners, I suspect there are a couple of mistakes in the one I’m doing at the moment and hope there is still enough warp to start again.

Next week, I’m off to the Guild Summer School to do a workshop in Weaving Iridescence. Here’s the warp,

I’ve followed all the rules, but only time will tell if I achieve real iridescence
In my spare time I’m back at work though not working too hard as everyone seems to have gone to their beach houses for the Summer, and trying to convert the jungle that is currently where my back garden should be, back into garden


Sunday, 30 December 2018

Back in action

Finally Christmas is over and I’m having a few days off.  As happens every year I have delusions about how much I can accomplish in a few days but this year I didn’t put too much on the list and have already crossed off quite a few items and have reached the one that says ‘blog’.

Things were a bit quiet around here on the weaving front for quite a few weeks.  The plaid towels sat on the indoor 4 shaft loom, almost finished, for far too long and it was too cold to weave out in the garage.

The weather finally  improved, except for rather more rain than usual at this time of year and both looms are now back in action.

First up was a scarf in an 8 shaft spot twill from some yarn I had spun.  It was a wool/silk mix in shades of grey, plied with a fine grey silk and then overdyed in blue and turquoise.

I wanted to wear it to a function in Canberra to celebrate the centenary of the Optometrists’ Association. I did manage to get the scarf, and the matching dress finished in time and was happy with it.

It was a great celebration, especially the after party where it seemed that the more people drank, the more exaggerated the stories of dealing with the bureaucrats became.  They even made a fuss of me for being the first female president of the association, perhaps more than when I doing the job.

I took an extra couple of days off and planned to have a short holiday.  The first day was great, visited my favourite Canberra gallery – Beaver Galleries – visited the Canberra Spinners and Weavers Guild and in the afternoon went to the War Memorial. One of the main reasons was to replace the poppy next to my great uncle’s name on the memorial wall.  I wrote earlier that he had been part of the inspiration for my Red Crosses and Poppies coat, a new poppy was the least I could do for him. There are lots of poppies on the lower part of the wall but if your name is near the top, it’s only relatives who make the effort to get poppies that high.  There was a staff member on duty who very kindly fetched the steps – and then told me that I was climbing them. 

I wonder what occupational health and safety rule says that it’s not safe for the staff to climb the steps but it’s OK for visitors, perhaps 40 years older, to do it. At least she took some good pictures.

By the end of the first day in Canberra I knew I was getting a cold – and almost 4 weeks later, it’s still not gone completely.  It was a really nasty one and made the Christmas preparations seem like a lot of hard work.

The next project was a white on white table runner for a Christmas gift in 20/2 cotton – not surprisingly it was a slow project and hard to work on for long periods.  It was almost finished in time and while I had taken a photo of the beginning so that I could make the other end the same, unfortunately I had the photo upside down and managed to make a runner with non matching ends.  I guess I could call it a very large sampler and I did actually take it to the intended recipient to make sure it would fit the coffee table.  There was plenty of warp and I’ve already done a couple of repeats of the pattern, only 15 to go.

I warped the 8 shaft loom with tea towels for gifts and for the next market.  I’d planned for broken twill blocks, white with grey stripes and warp in different colours.  The variegated blue was a bit close in colour to the grey

so it was followed by black, red and terracotta. 

Since then I’ve done a couple more black ones, a taupe one, a mint one and an aqua one. 

There are still a few more on the warp, not sure how much warp I’ve wasted with all the cutting off.

One of the things that absorbed my spare time was a car accident probably just after my last post.  My car was 18 years old but not giving me any major dramas and suited my needs – transport to and from work, transport to the craft market and occasional country trips, very well.  I was driving to work one morning when someone parked by the side of the road opened his door without looking and very neatly trimmed off my side mirror. 

There was a dent in the door and a scratch on the glass but it was driveable and fortunately no-one was hurt.  Too many phone calls later after the other driver finally remembered the correct name of their insurer and their registration number, their insurer decided that my car was a total write off so my old car went off on the back of a car carrier

and I’m now driving around in a new red Honda Jazz,

just perfect for driving to work and with so much room in the back that the first time I packed it for a market I had to consult my market list to see what I’d forgotten.  As it turned out everything was already packed and there was room to spare so it all turned out well in the end.

Somewhere in the middle of all that was the Hawthorn Makers Market December Market.  We did quite well which was great as we've not done well at the Christmas Market in the past, perhaps things really have settled down well at our new (old) venue

In my spare time I did all the usual Christmas baking, here's a small sample of it

Tomorrow, I’m off to the country to visit a couple of friends and to give the new car a long trip, time to start packing