Thursday, June 28, 2012

Karaka blanket

I better write some catch up.  With winter settled in everything takes longer to do and the brain goes into semi hibernation.
The karaka tree, native to NZ, grows in coastal and lowland forest to a height of about 15 metres.  It produces a large crop of berries in summer which are a good source of food for birds but the seed or kernel is poisonous to mammals.
(Photo of computer screen and I can't find the site I got it from.)

Karaka blankets on display at Pauanesia now.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Continuing Diversified Plain Weave

Well, winter solstice has been and gone (yesterday) and the day seems longer, maybe that's just because the sky is azure blue and the sun warm.

I figured I had sampled enough to know where I was going so threaded the loom with the threads I'll be using for the finished DPW project.
Warp thick: navy cotton/rayon
Warp thin:  violet 20/2 cotton
Weft thick:  violet 8/2 cotton
Weft thin:  navy cotton, probably 16/2
Threaded and treadled the older way 2 3 2, 1 4 1, 2 5 2, 1 6 1 etc  If I try this again I think I'd use 12 3, 12 4, 12 5, 12 6 etc as more versatile and blockier.

Tried 12 dent reed, 36 epi and a mock up of 10 dent reed, 30 epi but still felt like hard cardboard.
Rethreaded to 8 dent reed, 24 epi, and its much better but then, of course, the proportion of the flowers (do they look like cherry blossom to you) was way off, short and squat.  A couple of hours on PCW fiberworks last night and we're away.
This wee bit at the top used a black thin weft to save on the navy I will use.  See how squat the blossom is compared to what's on the loom.  (The light/darker area is where the loom apron begins.)
Close up of fabric.  As I've never seen DPW in reality can anyone tell me if this looks like it should.

Happy Matariki

Hope you all enjoyed Matariki yesterday.
Remember back here when production had just begun.  This is what I was making for Pauanesia to help celebrate Matariki, the Maori New Year.
 They do look rather superb on anyone who has tried them on.  

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Diversified plain weave

I've been experimenting with diversified plain weave for a project.  This is the first sample so there have been many since then.  I put on some waste thread to see how my pattern was developing and to see if I understood what I was doing.  I had read as much as I could find in Handwoven magazines, books, on line lists but my biggest problem was figuring the ratio of thickness of yarn to sett in reed.  This, while looking as I wanted it, is far too heavy for a garment collar.
Warp:  cotton, centre part thick and thin (it gave me an idea of coverage), outside edges cotton
Weft:  one thread cream cotton, several gold lurex.
One thick, two thin threads per dent 12 dent reed.
I tried spreading the warp out to the equivalent of three threads per dent in a ten dent reed which was a nicer feel but the gaps didn't close up so the pattern was compromised.
The experiments continue.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Opening of Spinning A Yarn

My friend, Caroline, and I had a wonderful day out on Sunday driving one and a half hours to Inspirit Gallery, Tamahere, Hamilton for the Opening of Spinning A Yarn.  We stopped at the Crazee Cow Cafe in Morrinsville for a quick lunch and coffee on the way and got to the Gallery just in time, i.e. politely late.  We mingled for a while until the speeches - just Jenny and myself.  I guess no one else would front for her as I keep telling Jenny I can't make speeches, I just read.  Do you want to hear what I said?

New Zealand - nature's miracle fibre.

The Wools of New Zealand website describes our wool as a sustainable natural fibre with outstanding beauty, performance, maintenance and well-being benefits.
Wool is natural and renewable.
NZ wool is grown in open pastureland following sustainable land use.  Every year sheep grow a new fleece.  Wool products use less energy than manmade fibres during manufacture.
Wool has natural insulating properties.  The crimp structure of the wool traps millions of tiny pockets of air which create a barrier preventing heat loss.
Wools unique structure repels liquid but allows it to absorb and release water vapour into the atmosphere keeping you warm in winter and cool in summer.
Wool has a natural ability to shrug off dirt and spring back into shape after crushing or stretching ensuring long lasting beauty.
Wool is versatile.  It can be made into strong carpet or a tiny merino cap for a new born baby,  NZ scientists have figured a way to attach nano gold particles to wool for the finest shawl and it can be used to soak up oil from shipping disasters.  Whatever its use its a joy to work with.
Jenny's talk reminded me of a trip last year, standing in a queue at Fumicino airport outside Rome  listening to a loud male voice going on and on about everything when suddenly I heard him say Italy made the best merino yarn in the world.  I was about to go up to tell him that the merino clip actually came from New Zealand when we got the call to board.
Enjoy the beauty of this exhibition honouring the New Zealand wool clip - the best in the world.

After this there was a small fashion parade which was just enough to make the event.

As usual I forgot to take photos.  Most of my pieces reflected the tui but I also had quite a bit of weaving throughout the gallery which wasn't actually in the exhibition.  This piece sold.
 My friend, Agnes Hauptli, from the far north of New Zealand was another of the contributing exhibitors.  Here are four of her pieces woven in silk, silk and merino depicting NZ waterways and the taupe scarf in the middle reflects the Desert Road.  The brown shawl on the right is made from the newest natural fibre in the world, cervelt which is harvested from the chest of the NZ red deer.  Each deer produces only 20gm of fibre so a very precious thread and I think I'm correct in say the NZ harvest goes to Italy to be spun and woven into high end garments.
There are about 12 contributing artists so lots to.  The exhibition is on until 10 July so if you are going to the Cambridge Spinners and Weavers exhibition make a day of it and visit Inspirit as well (phone first).

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Puriri blankets

The Puriri tree is a native of New Zealand, found mostly in the upper half of the North Island, and grows to about 20 metres tall often with a trunk diameter of 1.5 metres.  The largish flowers occur in loose clusters of up to 12 blossoms and appear mostly over winter.
Puriri tree flower (from Wikipedia)
Puriri page in workbook
 On one of the pages of my brief I read the phrase "dilute rich burgundy with blood".  It actually said blond but I read it wrong and got the gist of what I had to dye.
Puriri blanket
If you fancy owning one of these blankets - tough!  They've found a new home already.  But you can always let the girls at Pauanesia know and we'll see what happens.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Recent walks

 We recently discovered the Golden Cross mine walk.  This track follows around the top of the tailings damn of the old mine.  Incidentally the mine was closed some years back due to the tailing damn moving so now it is monitored and measured frequently.  That water supposedly contains all sorts of undesirable metals and elements, among them arsenic, but there must have been several hundred ducks living on the water.  Strange how ducks know where to go to a protected area during shooting season.  I love the colours in the rock.
 We went to Orokawa Bay (again) recently and of course we struck high tide.  At the very start of the walk at the north end of Waihi Beach the waves were breaking on the cliffs so we had to time it and run like mad from one rock to the next.  I didn't get wet but the emphysema nearly did me in.
 That's Tuhua (Mayor Island) in the background.  The waves were huge and mighty.
And what do you do while DH spends a lot of time getting the right shot, bring out the knitting of course.  There have been several calls for peggy squares to be made into blankets for the people of Christchurch still suffering from the earthquakes.  As I have kilos of loom waste I thought why not, I can make a blanket.  Well, it takes longer than you would think to knit garter stitch squares.  All the knots are on the other side.