Monday, 19 October 2015

Time to plan and play

The Royal GeelongShow is over for another year and while there are still plenty of projects on foot, there are no pressing deadlines at the moment, so it’s a good time to stop, tidy the studio, take stock(of the stash and the ideas) and think about what might be next.

I finished 2 of the 4 entries I had planned for the Geelong Show, so feeling a recurring theme here.  One was my first attempt at weaving with handspun.  I had a braid of wool, silk and angora bunny from Charley, spun finely and plied with some very fine silk.  The contrast was an 85/15 Merino/silk blend, again plied with the fine silk.

The yarns behaved perfectly, better than some store bought ones I have used.  There were no broken ends, shredded warps or other problems.  I used an advancing twill and there was a bit of a conflict between the stripes in the warp and the advancing twill.  In some lights the twill is hardly visible but when there is less light it just pops out. I'm not sure whether I should have spun the weft thicker, used it double or chosen a braid with less contrast in it - maybe a bit of all three.

The handle is great and the judges gave it a second prize and the E Marion Long Memorial Award for the best exhibit using a variety of colours – thanks Charley!

The other entry was a narrow silk scarf in huck lace.  I had a nice hank of mulberry silk, planned the warp and weft using the measurements on the label but at the last moment, just before I wound the warp decided I should do a rough measure – length of hank x number of ends.  Imagine my surprise when instead of the 1200 metres I thought I had, there were only about 550 metres.  It was back to the calculator, fortunately as the yarn was thicker I didn’t need so many ends to the inch and I ended up with some left over as I had made the warp a little on the short side.  Fortunately with the Toika loom there is only about 12 inches of waste at the end, or 12 inches minus the fringe.  

The judges liked this one too and it was awarded to Marjorie Donnan award for the best article using any natural fibre.  So a successful event all round and nice to see the Geelong Guild celebrating their past members

I’ve been making slow progress on my Weavolution Halloweave tapestry but got the colours selected at the weekend in daylight and I’m now 2 rows into the coloured part, but not showing up very well in this picture

I’m in the process of putting a warp for a cotton scarf on to the Toika loom.  The warp has been maturing in the stash since at least 1999 and cross has been mislaid along the way.  Next after restoring the cross, will be a run of tea towels for the next market, the last for the year and for Christmas presents.

I’ve also finished the backpack from leftover fabric, and got it into the mail today, that’s a good feeling.  I was surprised how much work there was getting all the straps, tags and pockets made but once that was done it went together very quickly.

Here’s a picture of the clematis flowering profusely on the back deck


Sunday, 4 October 2015

Many balls in the air

I wonder why I feel I have too many balls in the air, even though Friday was a public holiday – for a football match that was played yesterday, not on the day of the holiday – and I thought I would catch up a little.

The Geelong Show is 2 weeks away, and as yet there are no actual finished articles, though one is close and I still think I have time

I have finished the bulk of the sewing, 2 small shirts and 2 small pairs of pyjamas, just want to turn the left over pieces into a back pack.

The Hawthorn Craft Market was on today, there was a new batch of tea towels finished,

also the chenille cowl which was woven in time for the last market but still too damp to sew. I’m very pleased with it, now it’s finished.  Spring seems to have come early here and even though my model looks pretty cool, it was too hot to model it in person, let alone entice someone to buy it. 

A couple of sales including a tea towel from the last batch but none of the new ones.  There were not huge numbers there, maybe it was the long weekend, maybe they were hungover after the football yesterday or out celebrating the victory – it is the Hawthorn Craft Market after all and Hawthorn won the game – or maybe it was that Daylight Saving started this morning so they missed an hour’s sleep.

I decided to take part in one of the Weavolution Halloweave teams.  For a long time I have admired woven tapestries but decided they were not for me and then I started to take more of an interest.  When Spotlight had small weaving frames on sale recently I bought one and thought I could give tapestry a try, I unearthed some photos from a visit to the Getty Villa in LA which I’d always thought had potential for weaving and when there  was a Tapestry House – Weaving Spells forHalloweave,  it just seemed like the right time. 

So far I’ve put a warp on the loom, unearthed some yarns that should work, found my single tapestry bobbin and a small comb but haven’t put weft to warp yet.

There was an interesting piece in the Halcyon Yarns newsletter this week about Ann Collier, who is an academic psychologist at the Northern Arizona State University in the US, who is also interested in textiles.  She’s been researching why working with textiles or even with hands in general is good for you.  I looked at her academic site and was even tempted to complete her survey but it had already closed.  Seemed like a lot more fun than the traipsing all over town interviewing people with macular degeneration I did years ago when I was studying psychology.

Off to make some more progress on the entries for the Geelong Show, it’s good for me