Thursday, April 29, 2021

Summer Blue blankets

What better way to celebrate summer than with some beautiful summer blue blankets?
Available from
 Pauanesia store in central Auckland.


Thursday, April 8, 2021

Red blankets

So here we are into April with autumn knocking on the door and the first weaving story of the year.
This is not a warp under control but a lot of patience and stubbornness got the warp with about 50 and more different types of yarn and different red shades onto the loom.  I tie onto a dummy warp which allows me to spread each variety of yarn reasonably evenly across the loom thus avoiding the seersucker effect.  I say reasonably because I use the eyeball method.  One rule I follow is a smooth yarn always goes next to a fluffy mohair one.
Some of the threads are quite fluffy especially the mohair so I find it useful to raise every second thread opening a shed while winding on front to back.

A pleasure to weave once its ready to go.
Two very different blankets from the same warp and they have both found their forever homes.


Monday, January 4, 2021

More 2020 Roundup

During the year a friend asked me to weave her some napkins/serviettes reflecting Tapa Cloth.  At the time I was playing with designing using techniques from the book Stubenitsky Code and the two came together perfectly.  The threading remains the same and the treadling is tromp as writ;  its just the tieup that changes.  There is a set of six of these available to purchase if anyone interested.

I was commissioned to weave a wrap reflecting the Puriri tree flowers which can vary from burgundy/wine shades to pale pink.  Not being very confident in using The Code I just dyed enough of a beautiful fine 74/2Tex merino which I had bought in Rome, Italy on a previous visit for one wrap.  I think its the only time in the many years I've been weaving I've woven just one piece on a warp - and do I regret it.  It is a devine garment.

Some time ago many of us acquired some very fine cotton hanks from Agnes.  I love the structure and sheen as its wound but what a lot of work winding enough to use.
In the past months I have woven many metres of fabric for pillow slips.  I love sleeping on handwoven fabric and The Code makes a soft but dense fabric so ideal.  Some were made for gifting, some for an exhibition so you may see them in the future.
Another event which happened this year was a very quick course in Crochet Basics.
My physio/pilates instructor had been asking me to teach her for several years so we finally put it together as a workshop.  Now there are a bunch of happy hookas out there.
And through it all the waves kept rolling in and rolling out twice a day cause no one told them its been a hell of a year for some.  
Wishing everyone the very Best Wishes and Good Health for 2021


Other fibrey things happening in 2020

I think I know why this blog isn't kept up to date.  It is so damn difficult getting photos from phone to laptop or PC to organise them.  In previous years I have done a roundup of the years work at this time so lets see if I can do a year's blogging in one go!
Early in the year two enthusiastic new weavers arrived in my studio.  Interestingly Mr 9 was very interested in the set up, threading etc while Miss 6 1/2 loved the weaving.

The result.

You may have read the post about acquiring a new to me Oxabach drawloom just as NZ went into full Covid lockdown.  While dear hubby built a flyshuttle system for me I wound warps using many left over threads from projects from a lifetime of playing with fibre.

The loom was bought specifically to weave blankets.  I have always tied one warp to the next so this was ideal to mix up the many different types of thread to avoid differential shrinkage.  A technique not for the faint of heart!!
 Threads for Paua blankets

Sea blues blankets for Pauanesia

One of the things about lock down was that I was getting very low on my regular blanket yarn, both wool and mohair.  We had called at the mohair place on our trip home from Coopers Beach before lockdown but they had closed already.  
I got very inventive and found enough to keep me busy.  Like the boucle mohair used in the blanket below reflecting Moeraki Boulders, South Island.

NZ had 6 weeks in full lockdown from 25 March to 28 April.  I have to say it never bothered me, in fact it was wonderful having my groceries delivered.  We have about 5 different walking trails within reach of our door without getting in the car to go to other reserves.  And two looms and a houseful of yarn ...

Level 3 was less restrictive and we could go to businesses to purchase stuff but socialising from a distance.  May 14 we hit Level 2 and I wrote on the calendar FREE.  Not quite but no big gatherings didn't bother us.  I didn't record the date of Level 1 but did organise a weaving workshop with Rene Corder Evans for the Bay of Plenty Area for August 11 and 12.  We had a great time with enthusiastic students the first day but that night we were shifted back to Level 2 (Auckland at Level 3) and the second day of the workshop had to be postponed.  6 weeks later on September 21 we were back at Level 1 but in the meantime Rene kindly gave us the second half of the workshop via Zoom.

Forgive me recording this here but in 10 years time I'm thinking I may appreciate the memory.  It may seem this country has had an easy time through Covid and maybe we have but tell that to those who are unemployed and those who lost businesses. We are an island nation which helped and because of this I believe we could have locked our borders a lot earlier while setting up quarantine facilities and getting prepared to cope with the huge number of citizens returning.  There is a cliche - we went hard and early.  If we had gone earlier we wouldn't have had to go so hard - just saying.
Back to weaving which is what this blog is about.
A run of bright red blankets for Pauanesia (who celebrated 25 years in business this year - Congrtulations)
Another run of bold moody red blankets, again for Pauanesia.

Lets continue with blankets.  These below reflect Anawhata Beach, West Auckland, again for Pauanesia.

And below are blankets reflecting the NZ native bird, the Tui using more threads from my stash;  I recall this had 64 different chains of different threads.  Available at Waihi Beach Gallery.

Part 2 of the catch up for 2020 will follow.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Oxaback Drawloom

Early in the year I was in Waihi Beach Gallery and Ana suggested I should make my weaving art for the wall.  Yeah yeah I thought, I like the dance of throwing the shuttle, beating the beater,seeing the cloth grow.
Then I was sitting at the table bemoaning the fact no one wanted my beautiful garments, all anyone asked for was blankets.  Well said Peter what would make it easier to weave the blankets.  Oh a 60 inch wide loom I answered and the subject was dropped.  I have always woven my blankets double layer to get the width I needed.
Three days later a friend in Coopers Beach, Northland advertised a 60" wide Oxaback drawloom for sale.  Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined owning a drawloom and must admit I'm still not sure of the workings of it. 
It wasn't convenient for Agnes or I to pick up the loom until mid March and, of course, by then Covid-19 was just arriving in New Zealand and we were at Level 2 shut down. (I think we had something like 5 cases.)
One morning Peter said pack your bag, I think we better go collect your loom.
The day we dismantled the loom and loaded the trailer the country went to Level 3 and we were told that wherever you are in 48 hours time is where you have to stay through Level 4.  Since we are both over 70 and shouldn't have been out and about anyway we scarpered home without even stopping in Auckland to see our kids.

Meet Maude
I call my loom after Maude, my maternal grandmother who was a wonderful needle worker and seamstress.  Unfortunately she died 2 years before I was born.

Who would have thought I would spend 6 weeks of total lock down inside a loom trying to get the countermach system working.

Before agreeing to purchase the loom we realised I'd need a fly shuttle system which Peter studied intensely and built from what was to hand.  Remember we were locked down.  An old rimu book case provided the wood for the box, kwila decking extended the beater to attach the box to and also provided a bar near the top of the beater to attach the cords and later to attach a light.

At Level 2 we were able to go to the city to get timber for Pete to build my seat.  And what a seat it is; sloping top adjustable height, solid on the ground and a tray to put my "stuff" in.
The only thing I need now is a coffee cup holder.
The Taj Mahal of seats.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Colour, Texture and Maipulation

I spent a good part of last year weaving towards this solo exhibition "Colour, Texture and Manipulation" which showed at Laughing Pottery in Waihi.  I wove the pieces with the shibori resist threads in them but had to set them aside as I had a large commission looming and would have to rethread the loom.  So in the new year, that is the beginning of 2020, the magic started in the dye pots.

I had two walls in the studio plus the windows.  Started with the green pieces which blended into blues and the second wall was pinks into reds.  One window showed a blue blanket and the other window my woven coat with freeform crochet back.  My friend, Rene Corder Evans helped me hang the exhibition and it turned out exactly as I planned.  When hanging was finished I stood back to look and have to admit to shedding a tear or two.  A proud moment.

I have to admit I didn't give the pieces names. 
This piece was probably the most experimental with three wave design lines intersecting each other, one in the weaving and two shibori lines, hence it went through three dye pots  It was very hard to catch the magic and the colour.  Sold.
This piece in shades of blue had two design lines, one in the weaving and one a shibori resist.

The following was rather a mission working out the curves to fit within the length of a wrap and you never know quite how the dye will show.  This was rather a surprise.  It looks fabulous draped around a body.
                   The next piece you have read about in another blog post "Pounamu".

Below Pounamu is a neck piece, part of a series of woven jewelry.
This gives you an idea of how the resist threads are drawn up before the white merino wool and/or silk has dye painted on them.
As someone commented to me - you paint you work after its woven!
Sometimes my heart is in my mouth as I do it but ...

Bold orange and yellow on a deep olive green background.

Of course I make art.

Goodness its difficult to keep a length of weaving folded until it can be clamped.  I don't recall how many times I'd just be tightening the clamp and sprong ... it would explode outwards and I'd start again.
But what an effective result.  The blue/turquoise cowl at the top is a double twist, the other two are single cowls.

The table runner beside the cowls has sold.

This silk piece was pole wrapped several times with a different dye colour each time

This silk piece was the only one I made with hand stitching in the resist; mokume.

Another piece in the jewelry range with a woven tube around the neck, cotton medallion and silk tassel.
More jewelry, another tube.  Surprisingly warm to wear.  Sold

More pieces you've seen before.  A machine knit wrap that has been felted, the felt bars making it very organic.  The second piece is a woven cowl with an interesting accent yarn.
A narrow silk scarf shibori dyed with the folds creating the resist.  It has a ring at one end that the tassel end slips through; ideal for warmer climates.
A square silk scarf, again the folds creating the resist.
I really liked this so much I was tempted to weave silk to try several ... until I realised I'd be threading over 2,000 threads.  Nice dream.
And the last piece I'm sharing was woven with shibori resist threads in the body and clamp resisted at the ends, again going through several dye baths.

Andrew from Laughing Pottery was a bit surprised at the number of people who came from far and wide specifically to see the exhibition and asked if I could leave it hanging for another few weeks but, of course, Covid-19 changed our world and New Zealand went into complete lock down on the night of 25 March so my last activity before I was grounded was to go collect my exhibit.
Many thanks to everyone who went to see it.