Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Hello Dear Readers ...

Hello Dear Readers, Its been a while.  Actually longer than you think 'cause I kind of cheated and preloaded a post or two thinking to fool anyone wondering where I was, not realising the joke would be on me and it would be so long before I got to write.

Pete and I took a wonderful trip back to Italy from mid August to mid October; yep two months in all.  We landed in Milan, worked our way down the East coast including Ravenna to see the mosaics which inspired my award winning piece, Arezzo where we attended a joust and Spoletto which I loved. 

We then trained across country through Rome to Salerno south of the Amalfi Coast.  Salerno offered much to see and do but have to say we did not enjoy our day trip via boat to the Amalfi Coast.  Too crowded, ghastly beaches and nothing of interest to us.

We then spent three weeks on Sicily which we thoroughly enjoyed.  Such things as swimming on Ortigia Island, ice cream and wine festival in Palermo, watching Stromboli volcano erupt and more.  A week in Naples was wonderful and four days in Rome was just enough before heading home via Singapore.

I saw one wool shop in Ferrara, the second town we visited, and was told no one does weaving anymore.  Unlike a previous visit to Tuscany I never found another yarn related activity until we were back in Rome where I found a wonderful shop (almost a warehouse) and a 1.25 kilo cone of fine merino may have found its way into my suitcase.

And a man in the seat behind us coughed from Rome to Singapore and, of course, I developed the virus soon after getting home which laid me up for a month.  It left me so lethargic I wouldn't have cared if I touched my loom ever again.  Slowly getting my mojo back thank goodness.  (I'm told a salt nasal spray helps prevent these bugs.)

 My first priority on getting better was blankets for Pauanesia as I heard a rumour they had sold out.  Pohutukawa and Coromandel Seascape were the briefs I had to work on.  These were the very first colourways I did for Pauanesia maybe 15 years ago and they're still popular.
Talk soon ...

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Pohutukawa Knit blanket

 What do you do with your thrums?
For the uninitiated thrums are the waste yarn left at the end of every project warp, the 10 to 15 inches of yarn left from cut off point to back rod.
When I weave blankets the warps are all a double knit or 8 ply thickness and I keep tying one warp to the next until I can't get a full 8 metre length on the back beam.  I then take all the waste off the loom and start again.
But what to do with the waste; all lovely had dyed yarn in about 3 metre lengths.  So I keep them in reasonable order and start winding it into a ball tying the next length as I go.  I've probably said before I live about 50 minutes from the nearest city so if Pete is driving that's a lot of knitting time each way to say nothing of sitting outside the "Men" shops, Bunnings, Mitre 10 etc.  I'm not a great traveler but can manage garter stitch without having to look at it.

Aren't the patterns in the lighter strips wonderful - pure fluke.  Each of those strips had 40 stitches, the dark reds had 20 stitches and I think the centre panel had 60 stitches but that wasn't so good for travel especially getting to the end of the 400 rows.  It got heavy and awkward to work.
This organic side with all the knots reminds me of a cloak or korowai.
Now available at Pauanesia shop.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Bright scarves

I gave myself a little treat and as sort of "time out" I wove a couple of one off unique scarves in bright colours.  The first one is yellow through reds to a deep wine, woven in crammed and spaced in a 2:1 twill.
This one is available at Waihi Beach Gallery.

A friend popped around to natter and asked to see through my suitcase of work I have here.  She ws very taken with a red scarf but when we went upstairs for coffee she saw this Kotukutuku (Tree Fushia) wrap and her eyes lit up.  That was the one for her.
Its a fun accessory to have as there are several ways to wear this wabi sabi wrap.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Harakeke flower blankets

We decided the Harakeke scarves were such a hit we'd do a run of blankets as well.

And here they are in the window of Pauanesia shop 
along with baskets and baskets of scarves
and many other goodies.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

July Catchup

The month started out with me selecting the Tauranga Creative Fibre exhibition.  Everyone had had two years to work on creations and there were a lot - must have been close to 200 in all mediums.  I think approximately 185 were fabulously displayed.  I was exhausted at the end of the selection day and not happy to be held up in traffic for one hour - not knowing that a power pole had chosen to fall across the road.  No one was hurt but live wires had landed on two cars.

The following week Pahoia Creative Fibre group arranged a day of all things spinning; try new equipment, try new spinning techniques.
 I took my blending board and gave it a workout with some sliver that I've had since Darren was  boy.  Haven't spun it up yet but I will.
Jenny from Inspirit Gallery commissioned me to weave a blanket for one of her customers who related to forest, land and sea.  We agreed on a colour scheme and I dyed the warp threads and the mohair weft and
"Driftwood" was woven.
Mostly I weave three blankets at a time as I do them double layer and due to the thickness of the fabric there is some movement of one layer to the other.  Jenny took a second one for Inspirit Gallery and the third is at Waihi Beach Gallery.
Then I thought it would be a good idea to use up some of the stash and a bag of angora (from the rabbit) seemed like a good bet.  After much winding and dyeing
I was ready to weave on this lovely wine, plum, pink warp
Where the colours change shows the top layer as opposed to the bottom layer.  (Try getting that on the loom in correct order!)
A mohair weft (from the angora goat) gives a particularly soft blanket.  Again one is waiting for its forever home at Inspirit Gallery, the other at Waihi Beach Gallery.

Unfortunately one can hardly see where the warp threads were taken from the bag.  This is what's left.

There has been some knitting when darling daughter asked me to knit this jacket.  The pattern is available on the internet but I wouldn't recommend it.  The fabulous bobbles make the sleeves very heavy and as you can see pull the body sideways thereby shortening the garment.  Fine for someone vertically challenged like me but not my tall daughter.
Didn't realise I had coordinated it with the picture on the wall - Theo Moorman weaving then machine stitched to enhance the shells.
We had occasion to go to Rotorua for a day so took the opportunity for a walk in the Otanewainuku Forest Reserve.  We chose the Summit Track (640 metres above sea level), 1.8km up and 1.6km down on the circular track.  A tower at the top allowed me to look down on the punga trees and way in the distance is Mt Ruapehu.

Winter days.
A bleak day doesn't worry the gulls when there are fish heads around.
This one is for Lynette because she thinks life at the beach is all blue skies and sunshine. xx  It had been raining just prior to this.
More soon.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Pauanesia Scarf Collection 2018

It has been my privilege to create another collection of scarves for Pauanesia.  This year Heather chose  to work with a botanical theme choosing four flowers plus the New Zealand fern. 

So from the bottom of the stack we have Pururi, Harakeke, Pohutukawa/Rata, Kotukutuku and Fern on top.
 I didn't quite have the order finished before a family trip to Auckland but it was an ideal opportunity to deliver what was ready.  On returning home I finished the last half metre of the sixth fern and quickly tied on the Kotukutuku (Tree Fushia) warp and completed the last two.
The Puriri tree can grow up to 20 metres tall and  is one of the few NZ native trees with colourful flowers which can be bright pink to dark red, rose pink or pink blush.

Common flax or Harakeke grows up to three metres high and its flower stalks can reach up to four metres. It has seedpods that stand upright from the stems.  Tui, bellbirds/ korimako, saddlebacks/tīeke, short tailed bats/pekapeka, geckos and several types of insects enjoy nectar from the flax flower.

Pohutukawa flower
Rata flower

Rata and Pohutukawa are known as New Zealand's native Christmas trees because of the bright red blooms that decorate them during the Christmas and summer season.  Rata has glossy, dark green leaves while pohutukawa leaves are leathery and olive green.  Trunks on both species are typically gnarled and twisted.
Rata and pohutukawa are closely related (i.e. members of the same genus) and they both belong to the myrtle family, which also includes trees such as guavas, feijoas and eucalypts as well as the native manuka and kanuka.
Notice that the Kotukutuku tree has two different coloured flowers.  The green flowers let birds know nectar is available while the pink flowers tell the birds not to bother visiting.  The trees don't want to waste energy providing a food source if the flower is already pollinated.  (Ali McDonald)
 Close up of a couple of the weave patterns.  Quite a difference by keeping the same point twill threading but just changing the tieup and treadling.

Silver fern

The silver fern (Cyathea dealbata) has come to embody the spirit of New Zealand. 
According to Māori legend, the silver fern once lived in the sea. It was asked to come and live in the forest to play a significant role in guiding the Māori people.
Māori hunters and warriors used the silver underside of the fern leaves to find their way home. When bent over, the fronds would catch the moonlight and illuminate a path through the forest.
This distinctly New Zealand symbol is considered a badge of honour by the people, products and services of our country that carry it. (Tourism NZ)

Friday, June 15, 2018

Kete blankets

 The brief was for "hay" or kete blankets.
I tried something different with dyeing the mohair this time.
Soaked the balls in warm water and dish liquid then put them in the dye pot as a ball instead of the usual rewind to a skein.  Naturally the outside of the ball was quite dark while the inside was just a pale cream.  Carefully wound the pirns to get a flow of colour; one ball outside to inside and the next inside to outside.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Its the little things .....

Was getting, oh I don't know, like homesick but I was missing my family like mad so took a short trip to Auckland to see them;  two days with no. 1 son and grandies and 2 days with daughter.
One activity was to take the Grandies to Maraetai Beach. 

Did I mention this before?  I was gifted some beautiful bobbins crafted by a friend's husband to fit a Mecchia small shuttle.  They are made from wood from the Kauri tree, feel wonderful and give a very soft tinkle as the yarn unwinds.  Love them, thanks Gav.

In the last wee while I've given two talks on Colour, the first to our monthly weaving group and the second to Tauranga Guild.
And look one hour in and the table looks just like my home!!
Question:  everything I've read and know from experience is that black brightens, white dulls and grey makes colour almost disappear.  Is this statement correct?  How can white make a colour "pop" or stand our?

I opened the spare bedroom wardrobe door to get one skein of yarn from "down there".  As I pulled it out a very slow moving avalanche started.  There was absolutely nothing I could do to stop it coming, it just kept sliding and all ended up at my feet.
 I've been weaving a large order of scarves and thoroughly enjoying the challenge of meeting the brief, dyeing the yarn and weaving.
Couldn't wait to get started on these beauties.

Back in the spring my grandson asked me if I'd knit him a sleeveless vest.  Who could resist that commission but summer came and it was hot and there were other things to do.  I eventually delivered a vest in autumn on trip to Auckland mentioned above and, oh dear, it'll fit him when he's a teenager!  So back to the knitting machine.  Hope its keeping him warm now.

And, of course, there are always blankets on the go.  Warp chains as they were going on the loom
I'll be back when the scarf order is finished.