Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Magic Yarns Workshop

Recently I had the opportunity to attend a workshop organised by the Bay of Plenty Area Education committee called Magic Yarns presented by Rene Corder Evans.  This was the only workshop I'd really wanted to do at Festival but missed out as it had filled very quickly so was delighted to have a rerun available.
Rene has an impressive stash of unusual yarns, many of which we don't have the opportunity to see or use so to be able to sample without an expensive outlay for yarn was wonderful.  Of course texture in our weaving was the objective.
My warp is ramie Nm 15 sett at 30 epi.  8 shaft loom threaded two blocks, straight draw, 12 threads per block.

First sample is Habu silk (69%)/stainless steel (31%)
First half of sample tabby then 3:1 1:3 blocks.
I can see this being fun with a shrinking yarn like merino with just a few threads of the stainless
or knitting machine.
 Sample 2 Hanji paper, tabby didn't allow much texture but more within the blocks of twill. 
The skipped floats were me using pickup to see what happened but it was taking too long in the workshop.
 Next I tried copper wire (about 37 gauge) on the ramie, when wet finished in hot water the ramie did all sorts of hijinks.  Scuptural forms come to mind with this.
 Chizimi, product of Husquavna Viking, is a polyester which shrinks about 30% when steamed.  When I handle the sample the first instinct is to stretch that wonderful texture but there is no stretch in the Chizimi.
 Colcolastic on the other hand has lots of stretch.  The bottom band is tabby and the other two stripes are twill, by this time I was hurrying so samples were 2x2 twill.  (I believe Agnes at Fibreholics stocks Colcolastic.)
 The sixth sample is Sanjo silk lycra and it has the most pull in, bands top and bottom are 2x2 twill while the middle band is tabby which is almost covered by the ramie.
 And the last sample so far is Z twist single.  This would have been interesting to see in the block weave or alternated with the S twist thread but was beaten by Father Time.
I still have some threads of my own I want to sample like elasticated wool from DEA and some overtwisted merino from Anne Field.
Would recommend this workshop with Rene to any weaver though those in Canada might need to plan ahead as the stash is in NZ.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Pounamu blankets

Sunrise with cloud formation over Tuhua Island.
If you follow diannedudfield'sweaving on facebook you will know that a while back I wove a blanket dyed in the colours of pounamu (greenstone) to compliment the By Nature Exhibition now showing at Inspirit Gallery, Tamahere.  This partner will soon be in Pauanesia in Auckland.
 This closeup shows some of the nuances of colour, one of my favourite blankets so far.
 I'm in the middle of a big secret project which involves over 50 metres of weaving, all threads hand dyed first.  This probably explains my absence of late.  Come June quite a bit of work will be able to be revealed.