Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
OK, so we have a woven structure on the front of the fabric, these stuffing threads in the middle and a floats on the back that trap the stuffing threads. That's how the ridges are formed. There's no stuffing in the black striped areas of the warp.
Two more interesting features
- It's woven with two shuttles: red and black in this case. Two picks of red, two picks of black, with the relevant striped areas weaving up as a plain weave in each case and the opposite colour thread disappearing as a float on the underside.
- The spots are formed by raising the stuffing threads in the middle of an area of red coloured weave. So the stuffing threads become a surface decoration.
As for weaving it, you need the heaviest beat ever. You really need to bash it to get everything to sit right. After the stresses and frustrations of the past few weeks, having something legitimate to bash into was just what I needed! Maybe that's why I got my homework done right away this time, whereas the previous homework sample sat neglected for a whole week.
Now I've finished all the samples in the Round Robin exercise other than one of the Colour and Weaves. That one's probably turned out to be the second most troublesome in the set and since I had a good go at a similar exercise done in a different yarn, I'm planning to treat it as optional.
Now I need to catch up on my Summer and Winter sampler--remember the Summer and Winter Sampler . . . hmmmm . . . and then get ready for the end of year project. Right!
Monday, September 28, 2009
There was an alpaca tent set up just near the entrance to the festival. Not just any alpaca tent, Freshfield Alpacas--these are the people who sold me my beloved Little Gem spinning wheel. Their alpaca fibre is a lovely thing. And apart from the cute animals to admire, they had tables full of beautiful textiles. I came home with a bag of hand-dyed red-burgundy alpaca fibre. Just one bag. It has E's name on it. She has a birthday in November. By then it will be so hot in Queensland that the thought of giving her a hand-spun crochet hat will be totally ridiculous, but she wants the hat, so I'll do my best to make it for her.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
- I was crouching down looking through my camera lens, intent on a flower--sounds right;
- I was a long way from home--correct, we drove more than an hour to get there;
- I wasn't wearing any wool: knitted, crocheted, woven or hand-made in any shape or form whatsoever!
Now her last point is the most telling of all. If only she knew that bits of my collection of warm woollies were adorning teenagers scattered around the grounds. That's my crochet hat on E's head in the daffodil picture. Anyway, it was fun hearing her analysis. Meanwhile, E is tired of wearing my blue hat and can she swap for another one please? She's going to take her pick from my collection next time she's here.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
I even got a bit of knitting done--it's been a while. This is going to be a little head-hugger for J. I guess it's about half done, so I doubt she'll get to wear it on this trip. The regular cables have just enough interest to keep me going on it. And since I don't use a cable needle, the rhythm of knitting is easy enough to maintain for knitting in company.
Friday, September 25, 2009
So this tulip photo is for D: The challenge in dyeing ribbons is to get just enough variation in the colour. It looks as though whoever designed these beautiful tulips was having fun experimenting too.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Today we're heading over to the Tulip Festival. I've charged up both my camera batteries and am choosing my most comfortable shoes. There should be plenty of beauty and inspiration, plus good coffee and company.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
- The first was from my quilting buddy J. Her news? She's finished quilting the quilt. This is a chocolate box, queen sized quilt that she's been working on for seven years now. And when I say "working on", I really mean it. The entire quilt is hand-stitched and all the quilting is done by hand, so I can only imagine how she felt putting in the last bit of quilting. I remember when she brought the first fabrics to our quilting group after an outing with her mum to choose them. And I've seen the various stages and challenges she's gone through with it over the years. I'll try to get a picture to share on the blog, but a picture will never do justice to the incredible effort that's gone into that quilt.
- The second was from my spinning buddy, Teresa. Her news? Her team won the "sheep to shawl" challenge at the Royal Melbourne show. You can see a picture of the winning team here. The Sheep to Shawl is a race between teams of three spinners/knitters. The challenge is to make a shawl (size and pattern defined by the race organisers) from raw fleece in the shortest possible time. It took the three team members three hours and fifteen minutes to complete. Starting with a freshly shorn fleece, spinning and plying it into yarn and then knitting it up. It's a great activity for the Show because it helps to make a link between the fluffy sheep and the lovely hand crafted garments on display. And a lot of fun for participants and spectators. Spinning and knitting are usually fairly low key activities, so the fun of a race like this is so unusual. I really wanted to be there for the Sheep to Shawl, but I couldn't be in two places at once and my friends from Queensland's arrival at the airport took precedence.
So congratulations to my textile buddies!
Monday, September 21, 2009
So while the girls enjoyed the colour and culture of Sydney Rd, I enjoyed the colour and culture of the girls. I won't even try to pull a textile story out of that one. I just wish I could have a bit of the attitude for myself.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Oh and yes, I do have spinning and weaving to do and I promise to post a shot of the double-faced twill sometime soon. But my textile reflection for the day is that all that linen and bedding and stuff that filled a couple of cars yesterday--yep, it's textiles at their everday basic level.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
As for textiles, I didn't get anywhere yesterday, but I'm hoping to do an hour of weaving this morning. One of my fellow students has finished with her sample--it's the double faced twill that I'm particularly keen to do--so I'm meeting her at the Guild this morning to do a loom swap.
Friday, September 18, 2009
I'm working on the Engagement Gift blanket and even though I only managed just over a row, with several interruptions, it was good for me just to have it in my hands and stitch away for a bit. Here's how it's looking: It's now big enough to drape over my legs and keep me warm as I work, and it's definifitely taking on a life of it's own as far as colour scheme goes. The engaged couple arrive in just a few days. I had hoped to have it ready for them to take home. I don't thing that will happen now, but they will get to see it while they're here. And meanwhile it's there to give me something warm and soft to hang on to when things are tough. I so rely on my fibre therapy to keep me going!
Thursday, September 17, 2009
The fact that I'm posting this at 4.00 am, since I've been awake worrying--again--might illustrate how welcome that email was. And yet, I can't help analysing the colours in my mind: admiring the complementary contrasts of the deep pink against the green in the foreground and the pale gold against the blue sky in the background. And starting to play in my mind with ways of using those colour combinations in fibre of some sort. OK, that's got to be a good thing, even if that's all I can do for the time being. I wish I could say, "I'll sleep on that"--realistically, that's not how I feel--but at least I'll try to hold the image in my head. So, thanks for the flower.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I've already complained that I only had my phone camera with me, plus the concert was booked out, so my attempts to photograph the carpet were limited and unsuccesful. I'd made a point of talking to the nearest staff member before I even tried to get a shot of the carpet--bending down in a crowded room with a camera is rather unusual and potentially suspect behaviour. To get the shot I wanted I would have needed a decent lens, plus I probably would have been lying on the floor to get and "ant's eye" perspective. That was not going to happen in the circumstances!
One of our class exercises in the Weaving Course is an undulated twill. I completed my little sample fairly quickly and was rather unimpressed with the pattern overall, but now it's coming back to me in a new light when I think about those walls. I might see what I can do with it when life settles down a bit.
Monday, September 14, 2009
I'd heard a lot about the new Recital Centre--all of it good, but I wasn't sure exactly where it was, nor what it looked like. Well here it is: It was worth the effort of going out for the building itself, let alone the concert! This is the front of the building. The inside is pretty much 100% wood. Beautiful carved natural timber! In fact one of the surprising things about all the talk I've heard about this hall is that it is universally praised, by musicians. The acoustic is brilliant--and that's a rare thing.
Anyway, today I should be made to write out 100 lines, "I must carry my camera. I must carry my camera. I must carry my camera. . . ." There I was with this magnificent, intricate, beautiful building on a clear Melbourne evening and no camera. Not good. At least I had the phone, but when the light is as good as it was and the details as wonderful, the phone isn't quite the thing.
As for textiles, there's a large tapestry in the upstairs foyer from the Melbourne Tapestry Workshop. I'm not too sure of the protocol around that, so I didn't photograph it, but I'd love to find out more.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
I love lumpy bumpy yarns. Spinning the noils on their own is challenging, because the fibres are all different lengths and predominantly short. Short lengths are hard to control in the spinning process. Mixing with wool helps to hold the yarn together. We had the option of using coloured wool, but I chose white. That's because I'm looking forward to dyeing what I've spun up. The silk and wool will take up the dye differently. I'm hoping that the noils will dye as brilliantly as silk normally does. If that works, I'll have random flecks of brighter coloured silk in amongst my dyed wool. But first, I have to spin another bobbin of this stuff and ply the yarn. Then I can get on with some of the other forms of silk waste we had to play with yesterday.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Today we're spinning silk noils and silk waste--translation: lumpy, bumpy, interesting stuff! I have to admit, I'm a bit over fine white yarn for now.
Friday, September 11, 2009
So, what's with all the free stuff? I'm a member of an online group called Freecycle. Their slogan is, "changing the world one gift at a time". The idea is that instead of throwing away things you no longer want or need, you offer them to the group. Someone who does want or need the item can ask for it. And the basic rule is, it's for free--hence "Free-cycle". Technically I guess it's more like re-using than recycling, but what the heck, it's free.
Now I am a great believer in Op shops, but it seems that they are more and more restricted in what they can offer for sale. A terrible lot of donations end up in landfill. And looking for a particular item in an Op shop is very hit and miss. The excitement is in the thrill of finding an unexpected treasure. Whereas with the online group all I have to do is scan a daily list of offers. If there's something I'm interested in and it's nearby, I can send off an email to ask for it. When I have something to offer, it's the same deal in reverse. And when I've offered an item as a gift to some-one in the group, they come to collect it from my house, usually with smiles and thanks. So, I like it! And this little travel iron is a gem. I can keep it in my quilting box and press my tiny little patchwork seams anywhere, any time.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Now my word challenge is "pique". I want to know, what is the connection between "pique weave" and English expressions like "pique my interest" or "a fit of pique". You could say, "the word 'pique' has piqued my interest". Suggestions please . . .
Monday, September 7, 2009
And of course, the inevitable sea gulls: I had a crazy idea and implemented it before I had time to think . . . I can verify that these gulls will do just about anything for a chip! They dive bombed to catch chips from the air; they took chips from my hand and they even plucked chips from on top of my head. Putting a chip on my head and holding very still while a gull grabbed it was my crazy idea! What can I say . . . ? my brains were fried after a day of weaving.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
My preference for performance enhancing stimuli comes from Filou's patisserie around the corner. Their chocolate flourless muffins bring out the best in me. As for the weaving, I had a good day. Having completed two of the compulsory exercises beforehand, I didn't feel too pressured. As it turns out, not feeling too pressured brings out the best in me more than anything else! I got through colour and weave, undulated twill and pique samples. I've brought home a loom with another cell weave exercise--similar, but different to the one I did last week. I'm also hoping to get hold of the tartan double-faced twill weave before our next class. We've got a three week gap in classes because of other events on at the Guild, so it's going to take a bit of communication betweeen students to coordinate swaps during the break. I think we can do that. So, you can expect to see various of those samples popping up over the next few weeks.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
There's another version of Cell Weave on the list of projects, but also several completely different weave structures to tackle today. My plan is to do the most different ones first and then come back to the ones that are similar to what I've already done. Of course there will be a bunch of other people all with their own priorities, so I'm hoping for a bit of cooperation and expecting more than a bit of chaos today. If I can keep my head straight, I might even get all the required samples done by the end of today, but I'm not counting on it. We'll see how the day goes. For now, my priorities are porridge and coffee so I'll be ready for the day.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Now just to keep things in perspective, I do still have an entire Summer and Winter sampler to do, which I missed out on during my flooring chaos, and there's a lot of fine spinning on my "to do" list, but I think the sunny yellow has got into my heart--I feel as if I've got some good momentum going here.
One of the distractions was trying to identify a little honey eater who has been visiting my grevilleas. There were two of them there the other day and I'd managed to get a fairly clear picture without scaring them off. Usually as soon as I move to get my camera, my dogs jump up. Since the grevillea is just outside their favourite sunny window, that usually means that my shy little visitors take off. But the dogs were particularly lazy the other day, so I got a couple of good shots at them before they saw me and flew away--the birds, that is, not the dogs.
Now V knows a lot more about identifying birds than I do. To prove the point, she just happened to have a Field Guide to Australian Birds in her car! We decided that my little visitors are probably New Holland Honey Eaters, though one of the identifying features--a white tip to the tail--doesn't match up with the details in my photo. I'll have to have another good look when they next come along. Observing little details like that is easier said than done, since the honey-eaters bob and flit and fly off quite quickly, but I'll have a go.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Now lace would traditionally be done in a light-neutral colour, but this warp is nearly 4 metres long and there just wasn't enough white or cream yarn of the right weight in the teaching stash at the Guild, so I've ended up with Sunny Yellow.
It's a cotton-linen blend yarn and I'm getting fond of the warm colour already, although at first I was rather unimpressed with it. I've made my first threading error, but thankfully I'd only threaded about thirty ends, so I can pull it out and try again this morning. If I can get a good run at it today, I'll be very pleased with myself. I also need to prepare for the last of my Triangles classes at the Neighbourhood House tonight.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
That's my Silver Princess gum tree. Look at all that beautiful new growth! There are dozens of delicate little tips like that all over the tree. And yes, the sky really is that colour blue this morning.
Now remember, this is Melbourne and the forecast is for 16 and partly cloudy, so who knows what will happen next. There was snow overnight in the mountains. I've got my heater on in the living room and crocheting a wool blanket which is draped over my legs as I work is quite comfortable, but despite all that, it does feel like spring. Maybe I'm finally getting used to what Melbourne spring feels like after more than ten years away from Sunny Queensland.