Friday, July 31, 2015

Parekareka, Spotted Shag

Parekareka or Spotted Shag is a medium sized grey-blue marine shag feeding up to 16km from shore.  Adult breeding birds have small black spots on their backs and wings and have yellow legs and feet.
Image from NZ birds online by Ormond Todd.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Big Reveal "Plumage"

If you have been reading the blog over the past few months you'll know I've been working on a secret project.
This year Pauanesia has been in business for 20 years and to celebrate 
Heather, owner of Pauanesia, asked 20 artists who customarily supplied the shop to create 20 articles each.  Heather and I have collaborated together to design 20 scarves celebrating seven New Zealand native birds under the collective title "Plumage".
Ta Da ...
From the bottom we have Tui x3, 
kotare (kingfisher) x3, 
kakapo x3, 
parekareka (Northern Spotted Shag) x3, 
Taraiti (Tern) x3 
and kereru (pigeon) x3.
I know, that adds up to 18.  Kokako was delivered early and didn't make it to the stack.
Kokako x3
All 21 scarves are hand woven with hand dyed merino yarn, the fleece of which originally came from Armidale Station in Central Otago, New Zealand and was spun at the Bruce Woolen Mill, Milton.
  This was a real fun project with each scarf within a family a different pattern, some chosen because of their relevance to New Zealand culture, some because they reminded me of the way bird feathers lie.
We'll talk about the birds individually over the next few days.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Kotare blanket 2

 I often sit on this deck and watch the kotare in the reserve
so a fitting setting.
This Kotare has flown off to Sydney where the recipient pronounced it awesome.  Lovely to get great feedback.
A last glimpse of the secret project for a while.  Weaving is complete, wet finishing and labeling done.  They have been delivered and much appreciated but still a wait till August for the big reveal.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Hot Pacific blankets

A while back I decided to use up some yarns which had been around so long I don't know where they came from.  It always takes forever to wind warps of left overs, lots of little chains with ties galore
but I think this one was worth it.
 And a close up.
Think I might know a little girl who would enjoy this.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Red scarf

That inspiring title was a result of this skein of handspun yarn.  As you can see it ranges in tones from deep red through hot pink with flashes of orange.  I think it was spun after a workshop with Tracey White of Inspired Fibres quite some time ago.
There wasn't much, about twelve threads of warp length so I combined it with other textured yarns, ribbon, velour, thick and thin.  The fine background threads are angora, alpaca/silk and wool.
 Used the same threading of recent scarves; tabby on shafts 1 and 2 and the textured threads on 3 and 4 which means I could make a feature of the textured threads
 as seen in this close up.
Very soft and interesting to wear.

Monday, June 22, 2015

This week

The secret project was progressing well until I ran out of yarn.
Will pick more up on Thursday when I go to the Cambridge Exhibition and trade day.
 In the meantime I am still playing on the table loom.  This shibori sample uses the same threading as was used for these scarves.  The bottom part of the sample uses one thread for weft and where the end sticks out the left side I changed to a double thread giving wider stripes.  I tried and tested various yarns I have to hand by draping bits around my neck, smooching under chin etc and thought this merino/mohair blend would be OK but N O.  Once woven in the sample it was obvious it couldn't be worn as a scarf so off the loom it came.
 Warps have been wound in lovely fine yarn from Anna Gratton but thought I'd weave a few more striped scarves before closing up the sett.

I took this image for colour inspiration, its a flower from a bromeliad but if you enlarge it you'll see a sharp barb on each of the florets - nasty thing, it got me several times!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Kotare or kingfisher

New Zealand's sacred kingfisher or kĊtare is a cousin of the kookaburra in Australia. It’s ancestors flew here from Australia around 10,000 years ago.  Kingfishers are found widely in New Zealand in a wide range of habitats, the key ingredient being an elevated position for observation.   The Kotare is a distinctive bird with a green-blue back, buff to yellow undersides and a large black bill.
 My interpretation of Kotare in this blanket would cheer any cold bleak day.