Friday, May 31, 2013

Exhibition at Little Blue House

Earlier this month the Pahoia Creative Fibre group hired the Little Blue House in Katikati to exhibit their work and maybe make some sales.  The Little Blue House is owned by the local Council and managed by the Art and Mural Group.  Any art group can hire the House for a week setting up on Sunday morning and dismantling the following Saturday afternoon.  The drawback for me is having to man it oneself meaning a whole week away from my looms - not a happy situation for anyone!  So I was happy to help and take part with the Pahoia ladies.  I think we probably need some guidance in display and a bit of selection next time but isn't it colourful?

This little pixie on a mushroom was delightful.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Anne Field

Early this morning the fibre world lost a giant.  Anne, spinner, weaver, author, was an explorer and experimenter of fibre and shared it with all of us.

I started writing this yesterday but was too sad to find the words.  Anne has been described in recent days as courageous, inspirational, caring and sharing, unbelievable strength and elegance.

She went through a lot in recent years while fighting this illness.  During the Christchurch earthquakes she lost her entire studio, looms, yarn, books, teaching archives.  At the time I remember standing in my studio and thinking what if I lost all this.  Two new looms and a new start in a room of her home which was also earthquake damaged.  During this last summer Anne had to move out of her home while repairs were done.  She spent the time, while visiting with family, spinning yarn which, on returning to repaired home, she wove into yardage to enter into a new category of the Creative Fibre Annual Exhibition; 5 metres of yardage.  The winning yardage to be made into a garment designed by a leading New Zealand designer.  You can see pictures of Anne's fabric here.  I think this is amazing.

I heard this morning that Anne taught three classes about ten days ago before going to respite care.  A strong lady indeed. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Some weaving, some spinning

Just taking a break from winding a blanket warp.  I was silly enough to dye the yarn in its hanks, one colour per hank, but now I'm having to wind each warp chain as one thread 5.5m long, 70 threads per colour.  Won't do that again.

Yesterday was gloriously sunny so I was out on the deck winding a pile of fluffy mohair ready for the dye pot.  Today its cold and overcast with a storm predicted tonight.

The latest stack of blankets in Pauanesia shop already.  I say this because I'm astounded at the speed of the local post for a change.

This bag of loveliness  has become a skein of 100 gms of more lushiousness.  At the time I couldn't resist the colours not realising there was a lot of white and black in back of the green and mauve.  A cowl perhaps.
 Another skein off the wheel.  It was spun quite some time ago but I couldn't decide on plying or navahjo plying.  Navahjo won.
 Thanks for the break; now back to the warping reel.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Scarf sample

I couldn't wait to show the next scarf sample.  Same warp as last post; medium teal, light aqua cotton but with bright red cotton and navy rayon wefts.  The darker teal tones down the brightness of the red when it crosses it and the light aqua lightens the red to a pink.  Loving it.
PS  I've made an edit on last post.  The warp is threaded in a 6 shaft echo of 16 shaft network twill.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Three looms warped

Occasionally I'm up before the sun; had to share the view from my kitchen window.

For a short space of time this week I had all three looms warped and ready to create.  The anticipation ...

8 shaft loom was threaded for blankets with a deep bordeaux warp to be crossed with 'orchid' purple  mohair weft.

The table loom is warped for a project for Pauanesia.  14 inches wide, 10 tpi .  I didn't want to tie up the big looms and its growing quite fast on the hand manipulated table loom.  But what a pickle to get it threaded.  There is a group of local ladies, about 4 or 5, who want to learn to weave and it wasn't happening, the lessons that is.  No one would set a date to suit everyone and I got thinking if this doesn't happen soon the ladies will lose interest.  My problem is I have always threaded front to back and didn't think it right to subject new weavers to the flack and, at times, brutal opposition to this method.  So I thought it a great opportunity to learn back to front method while threading the table loom.  I had the arbitrary thought that not all table looms have a raddle so threaded loops through the reed in alternate spaces and looped on the back rod.  First problem, I had wound 6 threads together so one arm of the loop was 6 threads away.  Oh well muddle through, but then I couldn't transfer the cross and also I had two chains as I wanted the final project to be alternate threads of wool and mohair.  By a gread deal of luck I did get the loom threaded and its weaving off beautifully but guess I need to attend class as a student not the tutor.

And at the other extreme I thought I'd give myself a challenge and experiment with 4 colour double weave.  There has been quite a bit of information about this in Complex Weavers journals of late.  I've used a networked twill threading mirror imaged and echoed by 8 (Edit:  actually echoed by 6) and therein lies a problem.  I can't print from my computer and DH's computer doesn't have an active Fibreworks program.  So to thread the loom I used the treadle as threaded method which went beautifully for the first 170 threads then I must have stopped for lunch or a phone call, I don't remember.  When starting the pattern again my program always starts with the last row woven so, in this case, if the last heddle threaded was 14 when it starts again it will tell me to thread heddle 14.  Wrong, but that's what I did which, of course, put my dark, light alternate threads out of order to the pattern.

See how the right side is greener than the left side.
During the night, after I'd discovered this major problem, I figured if I moved every thread over by one heddle starting from the outside I'd sort it.  As you can see it worked.  Thank goodness I threaded for a scarf sample and not the dreamed of fabric width.  Changed the treadling to a completely different option; oh how I love the computerised dobby.

And now the blanket loom is waiting for the next warp to be tied on as is the table loom and I keep thinking of new treadlings for the 4cdw.

Today is haircut day and a long walk will be in order as rain is coming.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Saori weaving

I mentioned Saori weaving in my last post and thought it worth taking a little further as I was rather grumpy last week!

I did sit and use the two shaft loom and it is very light and free moving, in fact lovely to weave on though the shed wasn't very wide.  Plus the loom closes up meaning storage is not a problem in small spaces.  A four shaft loom has been manufactured but it wasn't available to try and I'm just presuming one could weave any four shaft pattern on it.  I do admire the textural cloth, colour patterns including meet and separate and some of the fun things being woven.

My biggest bug bare was the selvedges.  To be encouraging weaving with every thread sticking out from the cloth and calling it free and beautiful - well, no.  And the second antsy was large areas of deliberate skipped threads making the cloth structurally unsound.  As Doe said in a comment on the last post many weavers who have taken to Saori are experienced weavers.  In a way this practise is subverting the skills and standards many of us have taken many years to develop and it will reflect on us in the long run.

Some years ago when we ran a motor camp I had my loom in the office/shop and a shelf of work for sale.  I remember a lady from Europe asking 'is this the stuff that falls apart'.  I was very quick to assure her it wasn't.  At the time someone was marketing scarves by weaving wide cloth and cutting it apart into scarves etc with no finishing on the edges and word had got as far as Germany to avoid it.

I think from now on I'll just talk about my own work on this blog and, boy have I been in a pickle this week.  More later.

Friday, May 3, 2013


This past weekend I took the opportunity to go to the Creative Fibre Festival in Porirua, Wellington.  I hadn't planned to go but a spare seat in a car and a motel bed became available so off I went.

There's nothing like having work rejected to get the hackles up and vow to try harder.  It started with the piece I submitted for the exhibition, Tumbling from Japonisme exhibition.  The selector's comment was that the background overpowers the weaving.  I have it hanging in the hallway and most of the time I think she was talking through a hole in her head, especially at night with the lights on it, and then other times I see it and think, well maybe she is right.  It all depends on the light.

While at Festival I did manage to go to the Fashion Parade which was a great show and the next day I did the fashion floor walk with the selector.  This was important to me as I'll be one of the selectors at the Creative Fibre Experience in Hamilton later in the year.  I felt my thinking with both the exhibition and the fashion were so different from these selectors that maybe I shouldn't be doing the job.

One of the comments from the fashion selector was that she selected for "fashion" and "creative fibre" didn't come in to it. I did agree that my kimono wasn't fashion and it did look strange with stiletto heels.  When she got to my coat she muttered "old lady colours and there's plenty of them here".  Diplomacy was not a strong point.  So there you have it, rejection!
(I can't insert photos because while I was away the hard drive of my husbands computer crashed.  He has rescued most things but I can't find the photos and he's out.)  Try this link and scroll down to Shibui and Tumbling.

The third rejection was my own doing.  Before going away I had put a black merino warp on the dobby loom, enough for three scarves, thinking I'd whip them off pronto on my return.  Six inches, 15 cm, and six broken warp threads, so out came the scissors and "gone by lunchtime".  Life's too short to struggle with that nonsense.
Saori weaving and looms are making an appearance in NZ and I did spend some time wondering where they fit into the scheme of our exhibitions.  I had a quick look through the original book published about Saori and  it didn't seem to correspond to a recently published book or the work that I saw being produced.  I've just spent some considerable time reading about Saori on the web.  To be totally frank its one thing to be "free" and quite another to produce "crap".  I'm not a perfectionist by any means but I do believe cloth has to be structurally sound and hold together when in use and be beautiful.  I would say my heart and soul goes into the cloth I make and I probably spend way too much time running my hands over the cloth admiring it.  And if you want to "find your true self" go sit on a cushion and meditate.

 And just a little stash replenishment that I couldn't resist, just 100 gms of  wool, mohair, silk, milk, cashmere, soy and nylon from Nanny's Burnished Batts.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Wedding wraps 2

Well, the spell has been broken and it rained torrentially the evening of the wedding.  Everyone got into the church reasonably dry and then it started, not that we let it spoil the fun.  I think it was one of the best weddings I've been to.  The bride wore an ivory strapless frock with glorious red shoes while the bridesmaids were dressed in short black frocks with red bouquets and as you can see the wraps were welcome.  The tables at the reception were dressed in black and decorated with beautiful old china, cups and saucers, cake stands etc.  Every place setting was marked with a wee bottle of lemon cheese spread made by the bride, a very special touch.
It just happened that when the parcel of wraps was delivered the grooms sister in law was there and the cry went out, I want one.  Well, me being me, if you put a warp on for three you might as well make a fourth.
I'd also made a wild raspberry one for someone else.  Showed them both to Sue and they're now living in Dubai.  It's so hot in Dubai, I did ask why they would be necessary - in a word "air conditioning".   Enjoy wearing them Sue.
Crammed and separate is so versatile in that it scrunches up for a scarf or makes a cosy wrap.