Friday, August 21, 2009

Preparing the next set of blankets

Dyeing warp threads for the next project, blankets for Pauanesia. You can see I have a very scientific take on making variegated warps. Threads tied to an old clothes drying rack picked up from the scrap metal bin at the tip. The thermometer came from a home brew supply shop and I couldn't be without it. The bundle of loom waste to match shades from a previous project and always my tea mug on hand. No, I don't use the jug to make my tea from, its solely for use with the dye. The dye pottles are Landscape brand which I rather like the shades of. I also use a lot a Jacquard acid dye.

And here are half the warps drying on the deck with the view out to Mayor (Tuhua) Island across the Pacific. The day before this was taken the ocean was a churning mess with huge waves crashing and churning wildly. The tuis love the banksia trees in the foreground, especially at this time of year when the flowers are out.

Today I'll be tying these warps on to the previous project and winding them on to the back beam.

What to do with loom waste?

"Kotare (kingfisher), Kea and Kiwi", a throw and cushion woven in double layer double two tie unit weave with ghiord knots using loom waste from a previous project. This particular weave pattern is occasionally used to weave flax kete.

Another cushion, again using loom waste to create a lovely shaggy finish.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Mini exhibition

Last year the Katikati Art and Craft Trail was formed and I joined as an experiment as I live 20 kilometres away and thought it a gamble that anyone would travel so far but had a few visitors to my studio. This month we have a mini exhibition at the Katikati information centre. Each week a different group gets to put up a display and today I went in to do my bit. Forgot to take the camera, bother it! Anyway the ceramic doll lady had already set up on her table and put an extra doll on my table which, of course, left me with less space and crowded my area, but I am very concerned someone will pick up a scarf or wrap and knock the doll over so I've made it clear that I take no responsibility for any damage. The display does look very professional and even though its work from 6 artists it is co-ordinated and works as a unit.

I'm not fat

This has nothing to do with weaving but a friend sent one of those internet jokes and the catch phrase is: Now I know I'm not fat: I'm just short. I love it, it gives me license to eat chocolate without a conscience. I come from a family of tall people. My Mum was tall, my brothers are 6 feet as is my son, my daughter is tall-ish. But I missed the gene. I remember when I left home aged about 17 Mum had put 6 inch hems in all my clothes so they could be lengthened when I grew. It never happened.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mohair cloud

This is how the blankets start, 1.5 kilos of gorgeous fluffy mohair and 2 kilos of white 8 ply wool to make 2 blankets. I dye it all in the laundry often dip dying the warp for a painterly effect.
The skein winder on my Majacraft spinning wheel is the most wonderful gadget I have. Probably used more than the wheel is used for spinning.

I have been weaving ...

In the last week I have woven three scarves in shibori style but rather boring until they are pulled up and dyed. I have finished a piece of Theo Moorman on my table loom which was a
practise for a special project. And these warp threads

have now become this blanket with a mohair weft.

I weave these blankets double layer with a join on one side. I find it easier on my back to weave this way than stretching full width and besides this loom is only 40 inches wide which isn't really enough for a decent sized blanket. And, yes, I tie my warps on to the previous one and pull through the reed and heddles. I've always done this, I've done it on fine merino warps, silk wraps, everything. Never a problem with tangles or tension and the wear on the threads is miniscule compared with the strain every time a shaft is raised or the beater is moved. I put a cross of contrasting thread in front of the beater before cutting the project off, and with a cross in the new warp of contrasting thread, I take one thread at a time and tie an overhand knot. So long as the threads are kept flat in the crosses there is no problem with tangles.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Shibori using thicker yarns

I like to weave with fine threads, TEX 74/2, 110/2 sett at 24 - 30 epi but because I was doing a little teaching of Woven Shibori I thought I should experiment using thicker yarns. This wrap, measuring 40 x 190 cm, has a warp of 8 ply knitting wool sett at 9 epi and a boucle mohair weft. As you can see it has taken the dye well though the weight of the fabric has caused the texture to flatten. The boucle loops reflect the light adding a different dimension. It was woven in a network drafted twill and the shibori resist lines follow the twill line.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Saving shibori texture

A tip I was given at the Tauranga workshop to save the texture created in loom controlled shibori when laundering is to put the item in a stocking or pantihose and gently lower it into wash water. I have had a scarf sitting around here for some time because I didn't like the colours so I put it in pantihose and soaked it a short time then put it into a dyebath of weak red (about half a teaspoon of dye powder to 5 litres of water) and nearly boiling water and turned the heat source off. It absorbed just enough dye to blend all shades and now looks great. It might be an exhibition entry! The pantihose are now red also.