Thursday, 30 July 2015


Back in March I put a fine dark teal wool warp in an overshot pattern on the 4 shaft loom for 3 scarves.  The first one

went to the Geelong Scarf Festival, the second had a delicate overshot in matching Tencel

and I started the third in the waves pattern in 3 related shades of reeled silk.  Then I did most of the plain weave centre section and stopped so that I could work on the 8 shaft loom for the Sheep Show.

This week I came back to the dark teal warp, did a little more plain weave, and with the pattern section at the bottom

completely hidden, started work on the pattern section at the other end.  I was very careful to make sure that the waves had their peaks and troughs in the right place.  Imagine my surprise when I took it off the loom a couple of days ago and the second end looked like this.

While I had looked at the draft to get the peaks up the right way, and even undid the first few picks because they were the wrong way, I didn’t notice that I’d used more than one pick of each row at the other end.

I guess I could call it a design feature but it would just annoy me, knowing that it was not what I’d planned.  Of course if I can take digital photos to use here, I could also take photos to record work I've part finished, especially when I know that I won't be returning to it for a while.  Fortunately,this morning I had a flash of inspiration – for a nice dark teal bag with different feature silk overshot panels on each side, a frame of dark teal wool, probably quilted, and with a matching handle and a bit of bling somewhere – that should be a better use for the fabric than making it into a scarf I would never wear.  Just need to find the time to play with it.

And for something completely different, I decided to try weaving chenille for a cowl.  I got it threaded and tied on last night and have started weaving. 

So far so good or maybe it’s just that the furry surface feels warm in this cold weather.  With luck it will be finished in time for the Hawthorn Craft Market on Sunday


Thursday, 23 July 2015

Sheep Show 2015

I spent last Sunday at the Sheep Show.  I left home very early on what turned out to be the coldest day in 18 years and here’s the frost and fog just over my back fence to prove it.

I had planned to meet a couple of weaving friends there which may explain why there was much talking but not much photography.  The only photos were the ones I took during the parade, so here are a few highlights.

A couple of felted garments, great garments but unfortunately I can't remember who made them

A lovely tabard from my fellow weavers - Members of Black Pearl

An entry from the students at Genazzano College who were inspired by the ANZAC Day centennial with poppies on a khaki background

And my jacket, looking good on someone who is tall and slim, unlike the intended wearer.

Though I probably won’t wear it with a very short skirt and bare legs

The jacket was woven in 6 shaft turned boulevard weave, with the last meter woven in plain weave for the facings, button, cuffs and pocket detail.  The yarns were 2/22 weight wool from my stash.  I was happy with the selection of colours I had.  Most were machine washable, a few were not so I dyed some machine washable yarn in the colours I wanted.  The fabric of course did not shrink or full at all so I backed it with the lightest iron on interfacing I could find and after that it behaved almost like store bought fabric.There were a few places where there were multiple thicknesses of fabric and it wasn't as smooth as I wanted. Then I remembered that I had a tailor's clapper in the cupboard.  
I don't think I had ever used it but with plenty of steam and vigorous clapping the lumpy areas flattened very nicely, just as they were meant to. 

We went to the showgrounds dining room for lunch.  The Sheep show is one of the few places where the lamb served at lunch is breed specific.   On the menu were not just any lamb pies but Dorper lamb pies.  They had obviously come from a local bakery and were just glowing in the food cabinet.  We couldn’t resist and not only that, they were served with 5 vegetables, nothing like a hearty country lunch. No pictures of the food either, too busy eating it!

And here’s the obligatory Bendigo stash picture, some bought, some won, some gifted, everything from knitting markers and snail biscuit cutters to wool detergent and everything in between.

A good day all round.

I’ve started spinning, not sure what moved me to do it though it might have been a perusal of the spinning fibre stash before I went to Bendigo.  I’ve finished a braid of Angel Bunny – angora bunny, cashmere, blue faced Leicester and Tencel -  from Charly, colours ranging from silver to indigo.  I’m very happy with the yarn, beautifully soft and after trying 2 knitting patterns, then 2 crochet ones, I finally think I’ve found the right one

It’s still winter here and while I realise that people who live in places where it snows regularly would consider it to be quite mild, it wasn’t mild enough when my heater failed during the week.  The control panel looked fine, the outdoor heating unit felt warm but I noticed that it had tilted a bit away from the house.  Fortunately I was able to get someone to look at it the next day and when it had tilted, the duct from the heating unit had parted company with the rest of the duct work.  Sure enough everything was working OK but the hot air was all under the house instead of inside it.  There was an emergency duct transplant, secured I was pleased to see by duct tape, the unit was returned to its usual, vertical position with the help of a couple of pavers and everything is back to normal and Winter is more than half over


Thursday, 16 July 2015

One out of two is OK

It’s easy to have delusions about the time needed and available to complete projects.
I was sure that I had plenty of time to complete a ‘hand woven article’ – HWA - and a ‘hand woven garment’ – HWG - before the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show so entered both.
As usual, life intervened in the form of full time work to say nothing of the very early arrival of winter, making weaving at night in the garage particularly uninviting.

At the week end sanity prevailed. The HWG was well under way but the HWA was struggling – fine wool yarn, double weave, breaking ends, weird things happening in the layer I couldn’t see and unevenly hand dyed yarn producing a lot of unplanned stripes.  I realised that I had at least 16 hours of work to do but only 11 hours of spare time available so I made the sensible decision, took my time to finish the HWG properly and it was delivered with at least an hour to spare. 

About this time I read Tien’s blog and could really relate when she talked about ‘the gap between what your mind can envision and what your hands can create’
The HWA was nowhere near what I had envisaged.  I had made a sample scarf in the same design and yarn without any dramas but on the table loom.  I thought it would be easier to weave on the floor loom and it was as there were only 4 different picks.  Maybe the floor loom was the problem, putting more stress on the fine yarns.  I will sort out the HWA when the weather is a little warmer.  There are 2 scarves on the loom, the first one will be sample 2, I think the second one may work with a different weft yarn – or might turn out to be sample 3.

Other things have been more successful.  Before I could start weaving for Bendigo, I finished the rainbow painted Tencel which had been on the loom for far too long. 

I've ended up with a panel to put in a garment and 2 scarves, all in variations of plaited twill. Here it is in all its rainbow goodness and I've even managed to capture the sheen of the Tencel in some of the photos.

And I just looked at the Woolcraft catalogue – the HWG, now properly identified as a jacket, has been placed first in its section.  Here are a couple of progress shots, I always roll my hand woven fabrics on to a cardboard roll before I cut them out, that way I can almost convince myself that they are 'store bought' and that cutting into them will be easy.

More about that and the Sheep Show next time