Friday, March 27, 2015

Trip to Nelson

Have been back from our fabulous road trip for a few days now and sort of coming up for breath but still way too many jobs on the list to get through!

We started our trip south by breaking the drive in Taupo and caught up with friends there for the night before continuing on to Wellington ready to catch the early morning ferry, the Kaitaki, to Picton.  
Kaitaki leaving Picton
Note the cloudy sky, the only effect from cyclone Pam

Decided we needed a walk to stretch our old bones so headed for Queen Charlotte Park and drove up hill and down dale while winding around tight corner after corner but didn't find what we were looking for so, after a welcome coffee, headed west for Nelson.

Had a lovely morning with Meg over coffee and a great show and tell.  Meg and I met at a workshop with Randal Darwall way back 2006.  So much nicer to talk in person and see and touch fabric than look at pictures.  But I'll have the pics until next time.

The weekend with Professional Weavers Network was fun, energising, informative, inspirational.  We visited I-con Gallery, had afternoon tea with the Kayan backstrap weavers from Burma (that is a very sad story), had a physiotherapist show us exercises to help our bodies weave longer, had a talk on marketing and another on preparing an exhibition presentation.  There was lots of food, drink, talk and laughter and over all too soon.
Kayan weavers - the lady with the coffee is the "tree",
holding the loom firm

Outside Nelson yarn shop.

We visited Jointworks Studio, chatted with Jane and Tony and saw Anne Field's AVL loom that was recently rescued from the Art Centre in Christchurch after many years exposed to the elements after the earthquakes.  After several weeks tender loving care and some electronic know-how its working again.  We then headed over Takaka Hill to explore Golden Bay and ending at Puponga at the base of Farewell Spit.  

Farewell Spit on horizon
Enlarge to see poor attempt at an arrow.
Took the walk to Wharariki Beach and was enchanted by a colony of seal pups playing around.  Pics on Pete's camera, I was too busy watching.  Those pups were just like any youngsters, jumping on each other, nipping, chasing, racing.  And posers - the older ones would slide out on the rocks and pose for the camera.
Lake Rotoiti, St Arnaud, Nelson Lakes Area

Wairoa River

Queen Charlotte Sounds
While in Blenheim we went to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre which I'll talk about in another post.  While there I got a text message to say our ferry back to Wellington had been cancelled and we had been placed on a later sailing.  Over the week we had been travelling rough seas caused by cyclone Pam had made the ferry crossings later and later so to get back on schedule they had to cancel one trip.  Bother!  I had visits planned.  What to do to fill in time.  Go visit a weaver of course.  Peg is not far off being a centenarian and, after major surgery, can't wait to get back to her draw loom.

Spent the night with Esther Nitschke in Feilding, a dear weaving friend who used to live nearby, before making it home late on Sunday.  Apart from two nights at seminar we had different accommodation each night for 12 nights, a wonderful trip but glad to be back in my own bed.  Good night.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Blanket reflecting Anawhata Beach

Two blankets off the loom this week and on their way to Pauanesia shop in Auckland.
They reflect the muted blues of Anawhata Beach and the bush leading down to it.

And we're off on a road trip to the Nelson area and to attend the Professional Weavers Network annual Seminar.  No doubt there will be more to talk about in a few weeks.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Loom is fixed.

Where are the days going?  One more day and it'll be autumn; must make the most of the sunshine while we have it.

So, I finished two garments for the Festival fashion parade and I hear they have both been accepted and I finished three pieces for the Exhibition, well one really, the other two were woven last year.  Selection is next week.

Since then I have been working on trying to solve the fault with my compu dobby loom.  As I wove away it would just stop, like putting your foot on the car accelerator and nothing there.  Sometimes it would happen after two pics or 200, or anything in between, very inconsistent.  I could trace it back to the start of last year when I changed computers.  We tried everything we could think of to fix the problem and in the end I gave up and accepted it was as good as it would get.  Seems a strange thing to say but I was kind of relieved to learn of another weaver with same loom and same problem and then a third, so, OK this had to be fixed.

Many emails have gone back and forth, even across the Tasman sea.  As I was reading some of them to Peter a light bulb went off, he emailed No. 1 son who came back with the solution to my problem.  Not a hic cup since but unfortunately it doesn't seem to be the answer to the fixit of the other two looms.  I am so grateful to all the help from the weaving community and it is such a pleasure to be weaving properly.

If you're interested it was because I was using a 9 pin to USB converter cable which are notoriously unreliable.

What did I weave on while testing the loom?  Cotton linen towels which I tied on to the previous warp.  This one is echo weave with a pale green (which looks dirty white) ramie weft over green cotton and olive cotton linen.  I didn't realise I was getting long floats at the points, probably not the best for towels.  Don't know how the ramie will work as a towel but this experiment will let me know.
 And the last one is 4 colour double weave which is looking rather exciting though in reality not so bright.  What is showing violet is more a grey.  There are a couple of others on the roll so look forward to seeing them soon.  A fun way to experiment.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Exhibition deadline approaching fast

Hurry, hurry, hurry!  I thought I had another week to create a piece for Creative Fibre exhibition but, guess what, the form has to be in by Sunday!
Yikes, I've just tied on the warp!

Well actually I took the photo this morning and have now started weaving, not without its problems.  
You might notice the MP3 player resting on the beam.  I've been listening to "The Master's of Rome" series by Colleen McCullough and rather enjoying them.  Up to "Fortune's Favourites" so will enjoy that tomorrow while weaving.
Also have to finish and label garments for the fashion parade to be delivered by Wednesday so best get on.  Catch you later.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Some things just keep going wrong!

I see its quite a while since I talked with you.  I have been very busy weaving, sewing and knitting but not things I can share as some are for the Festival fashion parade, some for the exhibition at Festival and others for my tutoring.

And some things have gone really really wrong!  Lets just say I wove a complete alpaca silk shawl before discovering an echo threading with 840 threads was wrong - a week designing, a week threading and weaving and not until I cut it off did I find the booboo.  Woh is me.  And what's worse the whole point of the exercise was to then expand the warp threads the full width of my loom to weave a banner for festival.  Well!  I couldn't believe so many things could go wrong, even this morning when I wove 30 rows of the pattern and discovered it was scrolling backwards.  More unweaving.  On the right track now and hoping all will be straight forward.  I mean its not complicated.
Now what do we call this - American? 4 colour double weave - two colours in warp and two in weft.
Marian Stubenitsky's 4 colour double weave has 4 colours in the warp and 2 in the weft.

Lets see if I can explain what went wrong.  Make a new drawdown by taking the threading then draw the weft exactly as drawn in.  One diagonal line through the tie up and you get this.  If reduced to its tiniest form all looks well (as I did) but enlarge it slightly (click on image to enlarge) and you will see the diagonal lines are different.  Not a mirror image of each other.
 As they should be below.
A simple way to check before weaving 2.2 metres of alpaca silk which is now in my wardrobe waiting for winter (which we are told will be late this year).

Green Poncho

Remember the post back here
where everything looked so green and the pile of yarn I've accumulated over the years.
It is now a poncho.  Well some of it is, there's still an awful lot left.  In the brief moment I put it on, on a 28 degree C day, it looked as good as I had hoped.  I really must get a 'dummy' that reflects my robust size as it would photograph better.  I haven't decided if this will be part of  the tutor's display at festival in April or part of the workshop I'm presenting on using our unique yarns.  

Saturday, January 17, 2015

By the Skin of my Teeth

By the skin of my teeth.
What an odd expression! 
Where did it come from? and what does it mean?
(by a very narrow margin; only just.)
My mother used to say it a lot.
I think its probably appropriate for this.

840 threads 72/2 alpaca silk hand dyed, 
that's all that's left.
Now to thread the loom.