Saturday, July 30, 2016

Weaverly Stuff

I forgot to tell you Mom's good news: Mom's second weaving teacher Mrs T so enjoyed Mom's exhibition she came out of a decade of retirement and resumed lessons in May. Or June. Or April? On odd week Wednesdays Mom teaches at home, and on even week Wednesdays she gets advice on her own projects from Mrs T. Mom's enthusiastic as ever, bursting with ideas. What's better, from the old house to Mrs T's house took nearly two hours on two train lines; now it's three or four stations on one.

I was bi+ching and moaning to Dianne about how hard it's getting to buy good NZ merino at an affordable price. That's all I got on the subject; it's hard, and we've no solutions as yet.

I'd been in consultation with a client about a toddler blanket for eight months because I couldn't find good pale/mid grays around 16/2. I can find plenty of charcoals, but we wanted a mid- and pale grays, or light gray with undyed/white. I dug into my stash, where there were a few good grays but not enough of any for a blanket. Although Japan does a variety of inviting grays, they were out of our budget. I checked NZ sources but found nothing I liked except one I used to use, now twice the price.

So we talked some more and decided to look into finer yarns, (i.e. thinner/less cushy than the others blankets; it's the same grandma and this is toddler blanket #5!) and/or mixed with other fibers, but not mohair, and not textured yarns. I made a merino/mohair warp, (shhhhh, don't tell her yet; I know this particular yarn works like shiny merino that doesn't full as much,) intending to use charcoal Possum/Merino/Silk in the weft.
I checked around one last time, widening, (or thinning,) the scope of my search and found a perfect mill-end (?) pale-to-mid gray marled 28/2 merino of the softest kind. I must now elongate the design as the skinny weft flattens the motif, but this is going to be a lovely piece very much to my taste, and I believe to hers. (The undyed is whiter in real life.)
I also made a two-taupe New Zealand Crossbred warp as an alternative, unsure if I had enough for a blanket. This yarn is coarse unless woven with very cushion-y weft, and would have worked well with the charcoal P/M/S. Turned out I didn't have enough, but I remembered every time I weave double-width, (i.e. her blankets,) I want to try two layers with stitching, so I'm making a slate-and-black warp of the same yarn to play with stitching. Although... Who knows when I'll get my head around two-layers-with-stitching drafting. (The picture is straight, but the warping board leans on the wall.)

While gazing at stitching drafts way after Insomnia O'clock, I found an article on cutting (?) eyelashes on combination single/double-layered cloth. (Schlein, Alice, "Raising Eyelashes", The Best of Weaver's: The Magic of Double Weave, Interweave, pp.95-97.) You know I'm no good with words explaining weaving, but it appears once the cloth is woven we cut the double-layered part to create eyelashes. The example had diamond shapes surrounded by continuous bands of eyelashes. I would have thought cutting around the diamonds would have given us a bunch of little diamonds with frayed edges, but no, magically the cloth remains in tact. Well, blow me away!

Don't ask me why but while flummoxed by the eyelashes, I wondered what shadow weave in complementary colors would be like, with one yarn being much thinner than the other like a real shadow. This one is easy, but I have almost 30 ready-made warps now so I'll wait a wee bit before I whip up a few of these.

I was intrigued by a picture of the piece on the cover of Nov/Dec 2015 Handwoven I saw on Facebook, so I promptly bought a digital issue. It's a plain-weave-based pickup using a variegated weft, and the author mentioned Technique of Freeform Design by Nancy M. Searles, a book I'd never heard of. So I Googled, and what do I find but Kaz writing it about it two years ago. She thought I'd enjoy the book so I bought it and now am waiting. It's been a while since I bought weaving mags/books so this is exciting.

This all happened not in since I last posted by slowly over the winter. I'm enjoying the current inability to focus but not feeling guilty jumping from one idea to another and not worrying about discarding. It's been over a month since I got on meds and that's definitely working this last week, so every morning I've faced the conundrum of giving up my sloth life and generating output. Reading all morning in front of the fire has been hard to give up, especially on cold or rainy mornings. I've been reading.
Albeit slowly, stash-busting is happening. Although sometimes it's a bit forced, my cone tower is growing taller.
And because this post has been devoid of colors, here's my wee beetroot forest in the kitchen. It's about the only "gardening" I've done in, oh, six or so weeks but the colors are so cheerful.


Happy slow days.

2 comments:

  1. I love reading in front of the fire... It dawned on me the other day that I don't read nearly so much when I am not sitting in THAT chair, and I wanted to rush ahead into autumn. Although I don't really mean it, because I still need to savour the long evenings.

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    Replies
    1. I'm already lamenting the approach of the warmer season. We had a very warm winter but I had the fire on regardless, some nights raising the indoor temperatures so much we were in out T-shirts. :-D

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