Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holiday Season

The New Zealand Christmas Tree - Pohutukawa
Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season and best wishes for 2010

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Well, I hope there will be more than one as I'm so excited by this one.
I'll have to take you back to Crete again I'm afraid.  While in Chania, our first stop, we went to a market, a huge market, two or three blocks and up side streets, lots and lots a veges and fruit but right at the end several stands of ordinary things like shoes, knickers, embroidered table linen and .... fabric.

                                         A Russian lady selling Turkish fabric to a Kiwi in Crete.
This trip I travelled with a small suitcase and an empty back pack thinking I would have plenty of room in the pack for purchases.  This would have worked but as we moved from town to town the pack was used for food.  So how to choose which fabrics and restrain myself and this was the first stop of a months travel.  I loved so many of them and seeing this photo again I could have chosen many more.
Anyway, duh dah - 

I think I'll call the range "from under the bed" as a friends mother used to hoard beads and treasures under her bed and I was given a few years ago.  They still inspire creativity.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Taking it to the line - er reed

This was a very economic warp.  After two blankets you can see how close the fabric is to the reed and you can see the previous red warp through the heddles, the knots were touching shaft 8.  I tie warps on and pull through.  With 15 cm allowed for tassels there was about 5 cm waste.  And even the mohair weft had minimal waste.  That is all that's left from 350 gm.  I hand dye all these threads, the wool and mohair, so if I run out its pretty difficult to get a match.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I have been weaving

Before leaving for Crete I had started weaving this double weave scarf, the black is 100% merino and beautiful, the white is 75% merino and 25% corn silk and is awful.  It feels harsh to the touch and didn't full.  A local newspaper recently ran an article on how corn silk had been added to carpet wool making it strong and durable.  I ask you, who would put it with merino?  And in a scarf?  Duh!  And it took so loooong to weave, every stripe change was a change of dobby chains.

Number 2 scarf has been improved considerably by weaving a lovely soft grey wool over the corn silk.  Notice the barber pole fringe where I twisted a black strand with a white one whereas on the striped scarf I separated the layers and twisted black with black and white with white which I like better.

I had some warp left at the end so wondered what would happen if I turned the dobby chains around, back to front and circling backwards.  Not only did the colours reverse but the circles offset also.
As I worked on these I was inspired to use the same threading for some sculptural pieces using monofilament and shells as part of a body of work for exhibition.

On Thursday afternoon I had about 20 ladies from the Mount Maunganui Creative Fibre club visit my studio and we had a major show and tell.  A lot of fun.

I'm now back to the bread and butter of weaving blankets for Pauanesia which I love doing as the colours inspire.

Spindle whorl

I thought you might like to see this image, number 8, of a spindle whorl from a shrine, 7th Century BC taken in the museum of the Athens Agora.  No. 7 is a clay disk cut from a pot and no. 6 is a stone disk.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


The last island we visited was Naxos which I enjoyed far more than Santorini, more down to earth and not existing with the sole aim of fleecing the tourist.
One day we took a bus ride to a historic village called Halki, about 20 minutes drive from Naxos town.  Wandering down a street I heard swish, bang, bang and my heart jumped and thought that can only be a loom in action.  Sure enough there was Marie beckoning to me in her shop window.

She was using 4 shafts, 80cm wide,1080 threads and the warp was 800 metre long.  She thought it would take 2 years to weave it all off.  I was surprised that there didn't seem to be any seperaters in the warp.
A bit further on I met Penelope.

She had been taught to weave by her grandmother who also was called Penelope.  Her warp was shorter at 600 metres and she used an 18 dent reed, 36 ends per inch.  She told me she loved her work made with love and taste from her hands and feet.

More Crete Textiles

While in Heraklion, our last stop in Crete, we walked past a yarn shop which was closed.  Bother!  But later in the evening while looking for a restaurant for dinner we passed it again and it was open.  Lots and lots of yarn from Italy.  I chose a couple of unusual balls of black to go with a vest I'm knitting/crocheting for myself.  Might have been tempted by more but the shop assistant was not at all obliging so left her to her missery!

Our hotel manager told us of an antique fibre collection held by the Lycium Club in a wee street nearby.  Quite a challenge finding it as it wasn't marked but ended up yelling through a grill door up the stairs of the only place it was likely to be and a lady appeared and showed us around.  Well what a collection.  Costumes from all areas of Crete, and all sorts of weaving, beautiful bobbin lace, antique bags, old weaving shuttles.

I saw such a wonderful bag at the Lycium club I decided I had to have one.  Most of the ones I saw in the market place felt like they were made with acrylic and very simplified patterns.  Until ....Pete found this one.

Wow!  Turns out it was antique with a price of Euro300 which was about NZ$650.   Needless to say I came home without a bag.