Monday, November 30, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Over brunch we talked about keeping contact next year. We're going to meet up every month or so. We all figure we've got a lot to learn, and meeting up, encouraging and challenging each other should help. There wasn't really an air of parting around the table at all. We'll be catching up in a few weeks time when we have our certificate day.
I'm already thinking about what I'd like to weave next! Will I start on another version of the double weave bag, just to prove to myself that I can get it right, or make myself a nice woollen shawl like the one that inspired me to join the Guild in the first place? Then there's the Le Clerc loom to sort out, not to speak of the house to tidy so I don't get too overwhelmed by all my textile projects mixed with dust and dog hair.
Today I'm supposed to be at the last class for my Spinning Certificate. I'm going to stay home. It's a revision class and I can't really take advantage of it without first sorting out the work I've done and have yet to do. That's a priority. Besides, I just don't have another day at the Guild in me after the last week. A day off is in order.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Anyway, now I have a couple of hours to tidy up all my bits and pieces before I go in to the Guild to hand in my work and meet up with my fellow students for brunch.
Friday, November 27, 2009
I did get to the Guild yesterday and I have one more exercise done on my Summer and Winter sampler and one to go. My day was sabotaged by a nasty tummy bug which kept me up all night. I never thought eating a slice of toast would feel like such an achievement! I've eaten the toast and had a rest and I'm starting to feel human again, if still rather wobbly. I've discovered that there is no option of handing work in late for this course--marking will be done tomorrow or not at all. That certainly simplifies my decision making, and I just don't have the energy to fuss, so I'll do what I can and hand it in.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
There's at least one more exercise to do on this warp. That's the lesson I missed, so I've arranged to meet our tutor tomorrow morning at the Guild. I'll have Friday to get it done. I think I can manage that, now that I've started.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
I'm looking forward to having these blinds to cope with this summer's heat. Where I grew up, a hot day means opening the windows and trying to catch a nice breeze. Here in Melbourne the wind is hot. Shutting up the house is the way to go, but I don't like the feeling of being locked up. So I'm hoping the blinds will let me regulate just a bit of natural light in the room, while keeping out the worst of the heat. That's the plan. Meanwhile I'm off to the hardware store to see if I can get any attachments for me beloved cordless drill to make installing the next three blinds any easier.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Yesterday I bought a new insert binder. I'm trying to convince myself that this isn't going to be too bad . . . Probably I'll only be convinced once I get on and do it!
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Now for a reality check:
- this bag is just about done;
- I've been building up the folio for the bag as I go, so there's not much more needed for that, though I could fiddle with presentation for ever--note to self, "you don't have forever"!
- The notes for the rest of the year's work are in a lecture pad and just need a bit of a tidy up. That's another task that could gobble up more time than it's really worth.
- I've got all of the weaving for the Round Robin exercise done. I need to sort out the corresponding notes.
- Then there's an unfinished project . . . well actually it's hardly started. That's the Summer and Winter sampler from the weeks around when my floor chaos was happening. Can I get it done in a week and still keep my sanity?
Friday, November 20, 2009
My major learning is about beat--the tabby layer which will form the lining is not beaten firmly enough, so it's weak. I can solve that problem with some iron-on stabiliser. The tabby layer was the underside while I was weaving it. Using a mirror would have let me check on how it was going. I didn't use a mirror!
My frustration is also about tension. The tension was very uneven at the beginning and the end of my warp. I don't know why and so I don't know how to avoid the problem next time. I didn't have trouble with tension on either of my samples. I'll have to consult about that one. The process of weaving the two layers for the lining and flap of the bag: one in twill, the other in tabby made the tension troubles worse, especially because I didn't pack the tabby down firmly enough. The result was that the bottom layer kept getting looser relative to the top layer.
OK, writing that down helped. I'm not kicking myself as hard as I was when I sat down at the computer. Now, to tackle the challenges and make the bag look good. I think I'll make a page of learnings and questions to include with my folio.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
I did get down to it after a bit. I had some wierd tension troubles when I got started. So much so that I called the first six inches another sample and started again. Thankfully I'd allowed myself a bit of extra warp for sampling. Ah, sampling!
The body of the bag is woven. It was surprisingly quick once I got started. After breakfast I'm going to start on the next section which is the flap and lining. Since it's double weave, these will weave up at the same time. Then it will be time to finish it off and put the folio together. Hopefully that will be done by Friday.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
There are a few patterns in the back of the book: Believe it or not, the pattern on the right hand page is for slippers. I'm planning to explore that one. My experience of slipper patterns is that simple looking ones rarely fit well and more complex shapes are hard to understand without a diagram. So here's one for me to play with, diagram and all.
Now, I have been working on my weaving project. All the threading is done, checked and double checked and I'm ready to weave the heading. That will let me know if I've made any errors. Then the bag will start to take shape. I'm looking forward to that.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Meanwhile in the lounge area, I've made the warp for my double weave bag project. Dyeing the cotton for that was the beginning of this burst of dyeing frenzy. The warp is ready to go on--all 456 ends of it! I spent a frustrating hour or two yesterday morning calculating the yarn requirements using the unfamiliar units we've been told to include in this write up. I was ready to put a hex on Tex (g per 1000m) until I finally found my mistake. We'd been told to weigh 10m of fibre and that's the figure I'd written down. Once I multiplied it by 100 to get the 1000 m measure it all worked out. Normally I do like maths, but yesterday morning I just wanted to get back to the fibre. My task for today is to put the warp on the loom and start threading. If I can manage a bit of multi-tracking, it would be nice to get some of the newly dyeing yarns rinsed and reclaim a bit of my kitchen, but that might not happen today.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
- Happy because it's always a trash or treasure type experience with the hall full of books, yarns and equipment for sale.
- Happy because several of my Weaving classmates were there, preparing to take the next step in our textile adventures
- Happy because I had lunch with a friend to look forward to and an exciting array of creative tasks waiting for me at home.
Here's my loot:
- a cone of lovely mercerised cotton--can you see the sheen? I've been using mercerised cotton for my double-weave bag and I'm really enjoying it.
- Several books ranging in price from 50c all the way up to $2! The one on the right is by Mary Atwater--a classic. The one on the left promises to bring together my dressmaking skills with my hand-weaving--just what I need.
- A couple of sweet little stick shuttles: lovely timbers and light and smooth in my hand.
I didn't make a lot of progress on my weaving when I got home. Somehow my happy morning took up all my available energy. I curled up for a nap in front of the fan. Then I wound off the cotton for my warp into balls, while chatting with my friend D on the phone. I did manage to skein up some other fibres and get them ready to dye up overnight, so I have those to rinse this morning. Now I need to do some maths before I make the warp for my double weave bag project. Maybe another coffee first, since I've already been awake far too long.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Here are my results:
The sample on the left is a mini version of the whole bag. I've stitched the sides of the lining and bottom of the bag itself by machine. I hand stitched the edges of the flap together with an overhand stitch.
The top right sample shows the main seam which will attach the lining to the bag flap.
The bottom right sample is another way of finishing the bottom of the bag. The hem stitching isn't as neat as I would like because of the way I tackled it. I can do better hem stitching than that.
I found that hand-stitching with the same yarn I'd used for weaving gave me a better result than using the sewing machine.
I realised that beading the fringe would be tricky because there are going to be nearly 500 warp ends there! And even though the yarn is reasonably fine for weaving, it's definitely not what I would consider fine for beading. So either there would need to be an awful lot of nice little seed beads, or I'd need to use beads big enough to take several thicknesses of my warp yarn. Either way, it would be bottom-heavy, both visually and physically. I could still use some beads just decoratively. I won't make that decision until I've got the whole thing together.
So, my task for today is to make the warp for the real thing and start threading those 500 ends. I'm going to give myself a little more room to sample. I want to test the handle of the cloth if I use the silk yarn I've dyed up. I'd like to make the front of the flap with the silk weft.
I'm going to drop in to the Textile Bazaar at the Guild this morning. Hopefully I'll come home with just a little more fibre for weaving.
Friday, November 13, 2009
From there we went just around the corner in Bruswick St Fitzroy to another treasure house. This time Jasper Coffee:
You can just imagine the smells that greeted us as we walked in. The front of the shop is full of coffees, teas, coffee pots, tea pots, cups of all shapes and sizes. And then there's a cafe and courtyard. We sat in the shade, sipped and munched and talked. The talk got quite heated a couple of times when we discussed the pros and cons of protecting Australia's local publishing industry. It was great to be in the sort of company where silk and the value of Australian writing were the topics of conversation.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
I wound off 840 metres of perle cotton on my niddy noddy before it got too hot. That was six 20g balls from my crochet cotton stash. A few years ago, I went through a phase of doing very fine cotton crochet. These balls were leftover. Now they'll get a new life in my weaving. Winding yarn on the niddy noddy is surprisingly physical work when there's that much of it to do.
My next step was to soak the cotton in warm soapy water to get rid of any sizing or other additives. Meanwhile I mixed up the soda ash and dye stock solutions for my dyeing.
Here's the yarn with the dye added: I used my two primary blues and just a touch of lemon yellow mixed with the turquoise. There's a bit of dishwashing detergent in the dye solutions to help me paste them up, so the whole batch was a bit soapy--especially because I used as little water as I could get away with.
The beauty of dyeing cotton on a hot day! I just left the batch in the sink while I went out and about for the afternoon. Then it was time to rinse. By that time splashing around in a sink full of cold water was a welcome relief.
I left the yarn to soak in the sink overnight, just to be sure it was fully rinsed. Now it's ready to dry. Tomorrow I should be able to weave with it.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
It was thrice sweet:
- because it was real, made from scratch pumpkin soup
- because it was made for me by my friend
- because the pumpkin was home grown--I'd seen the vine sprout and flower and bear fruit.
Now I'd like to be able to reproduce that glowing golden colour in my dyepot.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Problem: what to do on a lazy, hot Sunday afternoon. Solution: sit on a riverbank with a cold drink, a good friend and a drop spindle. We spent the afternoon at Warrandyte, on the upper reaches of the Yarra River. It was still hot, but much more pleasant than sitting at home. There was a nice flat rock to sit on and a bit of a breeze off the water. I rounded off the day by sharing fish and chips with the ducks.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Yesterday there was a steady trickle of people, peering at the damage and longing for their cake and coffee fix. My friend Teresa was one of them. I'm not the only one who loves the personality of this place. I hope they had good insurance--and that they know how much they're missed.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
Apologies for the orientation of the photo--that's the front of the loom at the top of the pic. There is something wierd about the technology of blogger that doesn't let me rotate the photo the way I'd like to. Maybe it's something wierd about me! In any case, that's the way it's going to stay.
I've woven a tube. That will be the body of the bag in the finished project. I found I'd made an error in working out the threading, since the underside of the lower layer weaves up as a mirror image of what I'd expected. I've got plenty of warp left, so I should probably re-thread it and try again.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Notice that "Emma 3" is written on the base of the cup. The cafe owner had commissioned the local kindergarten to paint his cups for him. The effect is quirky and heart-warming.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
These nylon-wire pieces of weaving are almost lighter than air! I was only sorry that they were confined to the walls of the gallery space and not free to fly.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Yesterday I mixed up some earthy oranges and yellows in the dye pot. Those skeins are on the line drying. Today, I need to do some tidying up--never as much fun as creating, but essential.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Sunday, November 1, 2009
I now have a new tool on my wish list. We did the cram pot dyeing in an old electric frypan. It was ideal for sprinkling the colours and keeping the water as shallow as possible. On the other hand, I'd better not acquire any more space occupying objects before I've tidied up a bit more.