Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Glenferrie Festival 2018

The Festival on Sunday was a great success.  It was a beautiful day.  The small chance of rain turned out to be a few tiny drops on the windscreen as I drove there, not even enough to wet the road, and the temperature was a balmy 20˚C/70˚F with just enough cool breeze to move the scarves near the front of the tent.

I teamed up with another stall holder and we organised adjoining tents so that we could watch each other’s belongings while we moved cars to and from the car park, about 10 minutes away.

I was all set up by starting time

and I was just admiring the way the sheer scarf looked against the white tent wall and moved gently with the breeze when someone walked up and bought it.  

A great start to the day, and later in the day the one in a similar position on the other side of the tent sold, as well as 3 other scarves, including one of the chenille ones I’d just finished.

I wrote in the last post about making tea towels in 17 different colours and how they fitted into every colour scheme I could devise.  Clearly I must have missed a few colour schemes as I took all 17 with me and brought all 17 home again.  

That’s the amazing thing about selling at markets, some days it’s all about scarves, some days it’s all about tea towels – and some days the customers seem to have left their purses at home.  Not that I really have any concerns about last Sunday, 5 scarves is a very good day and it was great to be able to talk to people about what was involved in weaving scarves and tea towels, and about the Makers Market and its imminent move to its new (but actually back to its old) home.

There was a lot happening at the Festival, plenty of people,

lots of kids,

and lots of dogs. Directly opposite my tent was someone selling organic dog treats.  She also had the good sense to provide large bowls of water. 

The dogs were queuing up for a drink and then, if they sat nicely, got some organic dog treats as well.

We had a Chinese dragon,

but it seemed a bit smaller than last year and I was quite taken by the three small daughters from one Chinese family who were all dressed up for the day in their tiaras and eating blue fairy/candy floss.

We had the mascot from the local football club

and lots of small boys, and a few small girls as well, dressed in their club jumpers and clutching helium balloons.  I saw one small boy lose his grip and the balloon floated away.  He was last seen eyeing off his even smaller sister’s balloon.

We had the local Scottish pipe band which has been going for over 100 years, helped no doubt by a regular supply of new recruits from the nearby Presbyterian boys’ school where one of the music options has always been bagpipes.  I tried hard to include a couple of snippets for those like me with Scottish blood but unfortunately Blogger had other ideas.  I could upload the videos but they wouldn't open so just imagine the skirl of the pipes!

There were Thai, dancers, Spanish dancers and Colonial dancers.  There was food of every description and camel rides again although I didn’t have much opportunity to explore anything except our immediate neighbours where I found good coffee, a tasty lunch and a very welcome mid afternoon ice cream

A good time was had by all although I was very tired at the end of the day and was fast asleep by 9 pm, which is several hours earlier than my usual bed time


Wednesday, 28 February 2018

A rainbow of tea towels

The tea towels are finished, even hemmed and wet finished.  In the end there were 17 exactly with nothing left over for a bread cloth, all different colours which probably says something about my stash.

I think that as I chose the colours, at the back of my mind was the market customer who claims that ‘they wouldn’t match my kitchen’.  I’ve covered a lot of bases this time.  The only towel which wasn’t really great was the yellow one, simply because there wasn’t enough contrast between the yellow and the natural.  On the other hand, it would have been perfect in my 1970s kitchen, the very first room I decorated in my first house.

I had already woven the light orange and the lime towels, the other colours in the wallpaper and knew I had to do the yellow one just in case anyone is still in their 1970s kitchen or maybe it’s come back into fashion again.

I can do modern classics – black and greys

I can do naturals

I can be patriotic – red, white and navy

I’m ready for Christmas

I’ve also got:
Cool colours

Warm colours

High contrast

Low contrast



A rainbow

The purple one which works well by itself

and the terra cotta one which is another loner

And here’s the complete collection

I’ve had fun with these and even if the colour isn’t an exact match, well it can always contrast and show that ‘tea towels are the cushions of the kitchen’ 

I’ve still got a few days before the Glenferrie Festival, the forecast is a coolish day with 30% chance of 1 mm of rain so all things considered, not too bad.  I’ve still got scarves and glasses cases to finish, so enough playing around with colour schemes, there’s work to be done


Friday, 9 February 2018

It's here

My parcel finally arrived last Tuesday which was Day 13 of the estimated 6 to 10 day delivery time, I should probably be glad that it didn’t take longer. 

After its whistle stop tour of the US and the stopover in Auckland, it cooled its heels for 5 days at the Sunshine West Mail Exchange, known locally as the Bermuda Triangle of parcel deliveries.  The USPS tracking eventually told me it was at my local post office while the local tracking site told me it was still in Sunshine so I went up to try my luck and after searching several times they eventually found it.  The post office just asked me for feedback on their service, so I told them what I thought

Here’s what was inside

About a third of the natural 8/2 cotton has been made into a warp already and weaving is underway. 

The warp was 15 metres long, 528 ends and not one knot in the yarn.  There are some cones of basic black and white 8/2 cotton and some cones of Brassard 8/2 which I’m looking forward to trying.  The Bluster Bay shuttle is so beautiful that I just had to stroke it every time I walked past, black walnut in case you wanted to know.  I’m now weaving with it and know why people rate the Bluster Bay shuttles so highly.

I planned for 24 ends per inch, 3 per dent in an 8 dent reed.  One look at the reed marks told me they would probably not disappear with wet finishing

so I started again with the 12 dent reed which was much better.

The first towel has a black weft,

the second is terracotta

and the current one is sage.

I have plenty of colours in 8/2 cotton so may run out of warp before I run out of suitable wefts

And what did I accomplish over the weekend, where the weather was so hot and humid that I wouldn’t have been able to work on the big loom in the garage, even if I’d had the yarn?

I finished the fringes on the silk/linen scarves.  They both probably need a second wet finishing to give them a bit more drape, particularly the one with the linen weft.  I finished the band for the glasses cases and put a chenille warp on the 4 shaft loom.  I’ve made good progress there, 2 are woven but need to be finished and another chenille warp is on the loom.

Then I retreated to the air conditioned bedroom to watch the final of the Australian Tennis because it was the only comfortable spot in the house.

Fortunately it’s now cooled down and it’s on with the weaving with the first market of the year coming up on March 4

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Best Laid Plans

With a long weekend coming up and a Yarn Barn of Kansas gift voucher from my cousin burning a hole in my pocket, I made a plan.  I would order yarn for tea towels and a Bluster Bay shuttle as a (not so) little treat, and spend the long weekend working on tea towels as my stock is very low after the last market and some gift giving. So last week I did my order for the yarns and shuttle on line as well as some colour cards as I wanted to know just what the Brassard cottons looked like, apart from the ones I’d already ordered from my computer screen, hope they are not too different.  

Unfortunately yarn is heavy and postage to Australia is expensive but I used the gift voucher for most of what I’d ordered and paid for the rest and the postage myself.  I chose the 6 to 10 day option on the postage, and here I am on day 10 but with no parcel.  I’ve been following it on the USPS tracking app, and the Australia Post app as well, and it’s had quite the whistle stop tour.

It left Yarn Barn in Lawrence almost immediately, went to Kansas City then to Chicago where I would have expected it to take a trip to Los Angeles or Fort Worth and pick up a direct flight to Melbourne.  But no – it’s been to Houston and then Auckland and arrived in Melbourne the day before yesterday.  It just has to clear customs and get to my local post office.  I made a quick and unsuccessful trip there late yesterday.  It’s now a public holiday, followed by the weekend with no mail deliveries so although it’s in town and probably not that far away, I’m not going to get it before Monday.  By then I will be back at work and the long weekend, with extra weaving time, will be over.

I think that means that I will just have to work on the unfinished projects. With the first market for the year coming up on March 4, there are plenty of those to keep me occupied.

There’s a very little bit of warp left on the 8 shaft loom (where the tea towels are going),

once that’s done it can join these for fringing and wet finishing.

There’s a little bit of warp left on the 4 shaft loom as well, and a couple of other warps ready to start. 

This one is for glasses cases and I need more glasses cases for stock.  Actually I don’t need to finish this warp or even need to get out the sewing machine to get started on these.

In case I get all of this done there are about 12 kumihimo necklaces for glasses that need some finishing and to have findings attached.

Obviously I shouldn’t be bored over the long weekend but it’s just not like unpacking a new box of yarn and getting a fresh long warp on the big loom.
Enough complaining, back to the finishing


Saturday, 13 January 2018

Is it January 14 already?

I had planned to write a year in review post to mark the start of a new year but time has flown – so briefly there were:
About 23 tea towels

5 scarves

And 7 meters of fabric for a jacket for the sheep show in July which won best handwoven garment in show

There was a bit of sewing - 3 small shirts and a silk jacket for me, a short trip to the US and in my spare time, I worked full time so not too bad an effort.

2018 is off to a good start.  The first task was to get all the treadles on the 8 shaft loom working again.  Treadles 1 and 4 refused to work and while it is possible to weave a straight draw 2,3,5,6,7,8,9,and 10, it is so much nicer to be able to use the treadles in order and to consider all the 8 shaft drafts, not just those needing 8 or fewer treadles.

My loom had been modified in the past so that tie ups are done using long cords secured with golf tees to a board, somewhat like to 20+ system.  As I pulled one of the cords on treadle 1, one day, it just kept coming because the knot securing it to the lam had come untied.  It was easier to fix than I expected and with the help of the curved upholstery needle and some dental floss I was able to pull it back to where it had come from and re-knot it.  The dental floss was well attached to the cord at this stage so I just cut off the loose bits and left the rest there.  In any case, it was a perfect match for the nylon cord.

Treadle 4 was a different problem.  Some of the cords had jammed and just wouldn’t move.  I thought that most likely, a pin from a broken warp repair had dropped into the mess of cords and was stopping them from moving.  I got as close as I could, and with the help of a good light decided that while there was fluff there, there were no pins. I pulled the cords in both directions and with the help of pliers got the stuck ones working.  So glad that I finally got this job off the ‘to do’ list.

I put on a new warp on the Toika – 20/2 cotton painted with splashes of blue to make a finer version of scarves I made in 2015.  It was all going so well, good shed, nicely tensioned warp but treadle 4, maybe not so sure about being put back to work, managed to spit out one of the golf tees so that one shaft didn’t lift.  By the time I had realised, I had done too much and decided that, given the very fine yarns, it would have to be a design element. 
Here it is with the design element

I’m now on to the second scarf on this warp and have finally got treadle 4 under control. Here it is the way it should be

I need to get quite a few things finished as this will be a busy year for the craft market, off to the street festival at the beginning of March and then back to its original home at the Hawthorn Town Hall, now known as the Hawthorn Arts Centre, with a new name for the market as well – the Hawthorn Makers Market.  This maker had better get back to her making


Sunday, 10 December 2017

It's back

My weaving mojo that is.  

I found the Bumberet tea towels in the last post a bit laborious, they were on the loom from June to the end of October for 7 tea towels and a breadcloth.  I know part of the problem was that there were a lot of colours in the warp and some of them were 4 strands of 20/2 cotton.  Not all the strands lined up precisely and there were quite a few joins in the warp – note to self: just don’t ever do it again.  So there were joins and loose threads and fishing weights hanging all over the place.  

Once they were off the loom, I put on the burgundy tencel warp I’d saved from the double harness project last year.  It was the first time I’d saved a warp and it gave me no problems at all.  It was so nice to have something without loose threads and fishing weights and the 2 scarves were finished in no time. I used a draft from VAV and did one with a turquoise weft and the other with multi coloured tencel in jewel.  Both turned out well although I’m happier with the turquoise.
than with the multicolour
as there’s a battle going on between pattern and colour – as usual colour is winning. Clearly it's not nearly as photogenic.

A couple of weeks ago it was Melbourne Cup day – a holiday for a horse race at just the right time of year to make Christmas cakes so that’s what I did.  They need to be cooked very slowly so once there were in the oven I turned my attention to the next warp which was to be more tea towels for Christmas presents and for the December market.  Despite my problems with the Bumberet tea towels I knew I wanted to explore it further so I planned a warp, all with yarns from the stash.  I did a couple of wrappings before I was happy with the colours – I wanted green but neither of the greens I had contrasted with the grey but the bright aqua was fine so I went with grey, aqua, rose and just a dash of maize yellow.  

I knew I had 2 cones of the rose and started with the smaller one but there wasn’t quite enough.  I found the second one, hoping that it would be close enough in colour.  It seemed fine so I checked the dye lot and they were exactly the same.  I know I bought one from Halcyon Yarns in 2007 or 8 and the other from Village Spinning and Weaving in Solvang several years later.  I don’t know if I was just really lucky or that UKI dye colours in very very large batches.

The Bumberet towels went really well – the colours worked together, there were only 2 threading errors and both easily fixed, the weaving was an easy 4 pick repeat and any errors were so obvious that they could be fixed without unweaving more than a couple of picks.  

There’s just one problem – they’re not the same as the previous Bumberet.  I knew from the earlier towels that Bumberet needed groups of 3 ends and I planned and wound my warp carefully, taking the 3 end groups into consideration.  I threaded it in groups of 3,4,3 and 2,1,2 and away I went.  First I used a grey weft, just a little lighter than the grey in the warp, then white, then turquoise, then rose.  The warp was behaving and the texture of the cloth was great but something told me that they were different from the previous ones.  Eventually I looked at the draft I’d used for the previous towels and what I’d threaded was point twill – 2,1,2,3,4,3 – not the Bumberet I’d used last time which was 2,3,2, 1,4,1.  This set me off on a search which turned up an article by Madelyn van der Hoogdt (it's at but Blogger won't let me provide a link and another by Alice Schlein that I will try to find next time I make it to the guild library.  I now know that there are quite a few variations in the Bumberet family and the one I’ve used this time makes very nice, slightly textured tea towels with no long floats – what could be better than that?

I finished 10 towels and a bread cloth easily in time for the market last week even though it was a challenge getting them washed and dried in the middle of a few very wet and humid days. I wasn’t too concerned when none of them sold, as other things sold and it means that I still have a nice selection of tea towels for Christmas gifts and I don’t have to make another batch in the next couple of weeks.  

It was the last market for the year and there had been a question about the plans for 2018.  We received the good news that the market is moving back to its original venue after an absence of about 5 years and will now be known as the Hawthorn Makers Market – even though we had moved to the next suburb, we kept the name of the previous location in Hawthorn and were using the somewhat unwieldy title of ‘Hawthorn Craft Market – in Camberwell’.  It will be good to move back home.

As I had enough tea towels, I made a warp for another batch of glasses cases instead. 

It’s simple plain weave, just the thing for a bit of relaxation in the middle of the silly season.