Sunday, April 26, 2009

Yes, I'm still here........

Yes, I'm still here.....have just been busy prepping for a couple of presentations and enjoying a visit from my brother from back east. I've got all my samples finished up for the surface design program but still a few projects to get done in the remaining 13 days....yes, I'm counting the days now, getting a little panicky. Tuesday I'm speaking at an American Sewing Guild meeting, these are fiber folks not familiar with weaving at all. They'll be holding their meeting here at my house and studio so it will be easy to explain/demonstrate weaving with the aid of looms. One loom was naked so quickly yesterday afternoon I planned a project of 3 summer shawls so there will be something on the big loom. I just finished getting it threaded and tied on and started above. I'm using Henry's Attic Queen Anne's Lace, Silk City Avanti and 2 colors of 5/2 perle cotton. I quickly realized I needed to use a wide reed with multiple ends sleyed through each dent since the Avanti has very fat slubs. For this first shawl I'm using the same Queen Anne's Lace for the weft, 2nd and 3rd shawls the weft will vary, haven't decided what to use yet. It's fun to put on a quick project like this.

This coming up weekend is a guild sponsored workshop with Anita Luvera Mayer called Vested Interests - it should be very fun. I've heard Anita speak several times and took a class last year at the NWRSA conference called Mud Pies for Adults - all surface design techniques. She's incredibly creative and such an inspiration. I'm so looking forward to this workshop.

Another fiber thing going on in my life is the Southern Oregon Placemat Exchange. I've already started receiving placemats from 6 guilds here in SW Oregon. I'm compiling notebooks with all the drafts and swatches or photos for each guild library and will handle the exchange of the mats. The end of June all those involved will attend a potluck luncheon in Jacksonville - a day of fun and getting to know weavers from other guilds.....and to meet those whose placemats we've received. I had this brainstorm 3 years ago about doing this and presented it to one of my local guilds and it took off from there - first year was a towel exchange, second year napkins. I don't know if it will happen again next year.....depends on the group as a whole.......and maybe next year someone else would love to spearhead it!

Hopefully sometime this week I'll get to writing about how I got into weaving - the challenge was issued by Susan, Lynnette has followed through, I need to too.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Surface Design

Today was a day of playing in the studio. I started out with samples using the Shiva Paintstiks - I finished the samples needed but still felt like playing with them so I took out several silks scarves I had hand-dyed...these were ones I always felt needed something else. Well, the paintstiks were just the thing - I used them with rubbing plates. Above are two examples of scarves - guess I only took pictures of the two purple ones so they look similar....but they're not.
Also made freezer paper stencils and printed samples, did some monoprinting and made up a couple silkscreens. Hopefully tomorrow samples of stamping (all different kinds of stamps) and silkscreening samples will be done. Oh, and dyed a silk scarf using bleeding tissue paper - an experiment, can't wait to see the results tomorrow when it's dry.
Did spend some time outside - absolutely beautiful day...........sprayed the dreaded poison oak in Bailey's yard to hopefully combat a repeat of the 3 month bout I had on my arms last spring.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Mary's handspun from my hand-dyed roving

Mary from New Mexico bought this peonies colorway from my hand-dyed roving that was in my etsy shop. She spun it up and then knit this great hat with it. Aren't the colors wonderful! And isn't that hat stunning! Check out Mary's blog.....there's also a link from her blog to her etsy shop so check that out too. Thanks for sending the pictures Mary!
edit: just noticed I still have another peony colorway for sale - it's up in my etsy shop.

An older scarf

My friend Libby who owns several of my handwoven scarves sent me this picture to show how one of them looks with an outfit of hers. It's beautiful with that turtleneck and jacket. It's been a while since I wove that scarf but I'm thinking it's tencel. I did hand-dye the warp. It's woven in a 8H turned twill block design. I had forgotten how much I liked it - will have to weave some in that same weave structure in the near future. Thanks Libby for sending me the picture.

Today was a very fun day of knitting and eating with friends at our local get together, Sock It To Me, hosted by friend Karen at Applegate Country Fibers. I should have been home working on surface design samples but this was way more fun!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Discharging black chenille scarves

This is an example of using discharge paste which takes the dye out of fibers/fabrics. It's much safer to use than bleach and has very little fumes. This is a picture of one of my handmade silkscreens made using my Gocco machine which will burn small silkscreens. The pink around the edge is duct tape (quack, quack) to protect the cardboard frame from moisture. The discharge paste itself is the consistency of a thick pudding which is easy to work with - I applied it with the foam brush.
After the discharge paste is totally dry I press it with an iron (steam setting) and it magically pulls the dye out of the handwoven chenille scarf. The color that comes out depends on how a fiber was dyed - blacks can be anywhere from golds, to rusts, to deep reds. It's a surprise each time I use this process which is why I always sample before actually discharging a scarf.
These are pictures of sections of each of the scarves. The one on the left is the color the black discharges to. The one on the right I added Jacquard textile paints to the discharge paste so as it discharged the color would be absorbed into the fiber.
So, adding this to the other black chenille scarves posted earlier I now have 5 scarves to twist fringe on........will eventually get to it...........

Surface Design

This is just a little of what I've been up to - making samples of surface design techniques for a guild program. These are just made on either white or black cotton for ease but these are techniques I would usually use on silk or my handwoven fabric.

The sample above is using Fabricfun Oil Pastels with rubbings, stenciling, and drawing directly on the fabric. The sample doesn't look like much but these are fun to use.
This sample is of Shiva Paintstiks using rubbings, stenciling, a grid of masking tape for making little squares and using the edge of a manilla envelope that was torn.
This is the same Shiva Paintstiks used on white fabric.
This is bondable Angelina. It's holographic fiber strands that are fused with heat - sorry it really doesn't show but they're very shiny & glitzy. I fused pieces for one sample, another there is novelty yarn fused in the middle of pieces - those are not fused to the fabric, they will only fuse to themselves. The other samples (left) are fused to the fabric - the top I applied the angelina to wonder under and cut it, the other I used 007 Bonding Agent to fuse it to the black fabric.
This is foiling which is very fun - the shine doesn't show in the photo very well. My favorite way to use it is silkscreening the foil adhesive (bottom left), letting it dry and then ironing/burnishing the foil on.

I also spent time cutting handmade stamps out of various materials and making handmade stencils and more discharging done on black cotton fabric(forgot to take a picture). I worked on my WOW factor for my guild presentation - many mock-ups done, finally figured out exactly which I want to use which will use 3 surface design techniques. Can't spill the beans though since it's a surprise - will post a photo after my presentation in May.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Chenille Scarves

So here are the 3 chenille scarves washed late yesterday afternoon - there are so yummy feeling, so soft & drapey. Am thinking at some point I may need to weave myself a big chenille afghan - I'd never want to get out from under it! Nothing done in the studio today - was off to a weaving guild meeting and then the dreaded grocery shopping. Hopefully tomorrow I'll get the discharge silkscreening done on the other two scarves as well as other samples for my guild presentation on surface design. I took my hand-dyed rovings from my etsy shop to guild today and this past Saturday. Many thanks to many members who bought from me.....this will help keep Bailey's toys coming. When I sell at guild meetings I donate $3 from each braid sold (approx 8 ounces) to the guild scholarship funds. Oh, I should mention the table covering you can see underneath the scarves is a crocheted tablecloth that was made my my Great Aunt of those old italian women who puts curses on others! Anyhow, it's a beautiful piece that I treasure.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Black Chenille.............

Finally the black chenille scarf warp is off the loom. I was thinking it was on the loom for a record length of time but that's not true......there's a mug rug warp on the small loom that's been there for what seems like forever......just doesn't excite me, but I'll have to weave it off in the near future to so I don't have to look at it anymore. Actually the mug rugs are really nice, just boring to weave.......... So, back to the black chenille warp - the first scarf on it was done in a clasped weft technique, there's a picture of it in an earlier post (oh my gosh - that was on March 27th!!! - what have I been doing???). The next four scarves were woven in solid black - two I worked on today couching a design on them, the other two will get silkscreened using discharge paste, ran out of time today so that didn't happen.
I went into my local Bernina store last year with one of my chenille scarves asking if there was a foot for my machine for couching - lo and behold there was this great foot. First I pull the yarn to be couched through the foot, then I close the top of it. Boy, does this ever make the job easy......not that it was hard before but this is really easy. Below is a picture of the yarn in the picture above being couched on the scarf.
Of course, the yarn I was using for the scarf below has big nubs in it (not showing in this picture) so they won't fit through the cool foot above so I went back to my regular foot.
Right now these two scarves along with the clasped weft one are soaking in the sink, will hang them to dry soon. When the chenille dries it's as stiff as a board and still pretty flat looking but after I put it in the dryer on fluff for 15 minutes they'll be full, soft and drapey....actually pretty yummy feeling.

Are there any indestructible dog toys out there???

So are there any dog toys out there that last longer than 24 hours? I picked up this great big lamb at Petsmart on Saturday for Bailey's easter present......well, he came down to help me unload the car and saw it immediately so I had to give it to him before we even made it in the house. Within 30 minutes two of the legs were gone, yesterday the other two. The ears have bite holes in them, and I just stopped him from tearing off the face. But he's happy so I guess that's what counts...........

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Old Shale Shawl started

So, this is what I've accomplished today - so little but I had a good time.....I spent more time talking with friends than working on this shawl. It's the Old Shale Shawl pattern by Evelyn Clark. This pattern is lovely, my friend Cathy has knit a number of them. It starts at the center back at the neck and builds out from there. There are lace holes down the center back of the shawl and along the front edges - after 92 rows of this I will start the old shale lace border for 48 rows followed by a bind off in crochet for a pretty lacey edge. Good thing Cathy was patient with me telling me helpful hints while getting started on this because I sure wasn't focusing today.......must be from too much sugar.....strawberry cupcakes! Anyhow, I'm knitting this out of some of my handspun wensleydale.

More handspun....but I didn't spin it!

Here is more handpun from spinner friends of mine. Three weeks ago they each bought some of my hand-dyed roving and have spun it up.
This blue/green was spun by Karen of Applegate Country Fibers, sorry I don't have a picture of what it looked like in roving form.

And this yarn was spun up by friend Linda - I still have some of the roving so it's pictured with it. I named this roving dalmation but after Linda spun it up she thinks it looks like an abalone shell - I have to agree. There is one more braid that will be in my etsy shop soon.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Etsy Shop

On another note - if you haven't stopped in to visit my etsy shop when you get a free moment please pay it a visit. If you're not a spinner or knitter (lots of hand-dyed roving and sock yarn) there are many finished items that may interest you. I still have a few handwoven towels, some felted soaps, jewelry, shibori dyed silk scarves and a number of my handwoven scarves. And I have many items here in the studio that aren't listed so if you're looking for something else contact me and I'll let you know what else is available at this time. Many more designs of scrabble pins available. I also have handmade bead and silver or goldfilled earrings and necklaces.

Streaming Leaves Lace Scarf Finished

Yesterday I blocked the streaming leaves lace scarf - in spite of it being warm out it didn't dry until today. I'm fairly new at blocking - most of what I've knit over the past 10+ years have been socks or knitted felted items. It's just been the last two years that I've been knitting more. This scarf was knit from my handspun merino/silk.
After the blocking wires are in place I stretch the wet scarf to size and then place t-pins to hold the wires in that spot. The surface I use for blocking is great and inexpensive. A knitting friend discovered these kids foam floor blocks at Big Lots - there must have been a run on them after that discovery. I've had these for a couple years but have just heard that they still have them at our local Big Lots.
This is how I start the blocking process - I use blocking wires and thread them through the edge stitches of the scarf.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Oregon Coast

Ok, so I haven't been weaving......I should be weaving, that black chenille warp has been sitting on the loom since the day I started it. But I had research to do and a 19 page rough draft of a handout to put together on surface design.........did that, ready to get back to the loom this week and then on to making samples for the program.

So yesterday we decided we needed some of those negative ions flitting around on the coast, so off to Bandon we went for the day. It was beautiful, sunny, a little breezey which made it cool but not too cool. Fish & chips on the dock, candy sampling at Cranberry Sweets, a trip to The Wool Company, yes with purchases and a couple free patterns, (and the golf store for Sam) then playing on the beach. I did get some sock knitting done on the drive over and, I was not driving and knitting!

I hope to get the streaming leaves scarf blocked today in-between pulling weeds and grass out of the flower beds - picked up a number of new plants to get in the ground too. I only have a postage stamp size area to tend since the majority of our 5 acres is wooded but it still seems to get the better of me.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Om is where the heart is..........

Om is where the heart is.......I start many of my days out with yoga practice which centers me for the day, today I'm feeling especially peaceful after my practice, just put potato leek soup in the crockpot and now enjoying my cup of tea in front of the computer. I haven't been weaving the past few days but am working on a presentation for the weaving guild in May, have finished up my research and am now working on typing up 50 pages of notes into some sort of organized first draft of a handout. With this program, surface design, I'm finding I need to work on the handout first in order to organize everything in my little pea brain so I can get to work on samples. So many applications to cover. Going back to yoga - found out today that one of my favorite teachers is back in town and is subbing occasionally. She'll be subbing Friday morning - it's been a long time, yoga practice at the club can be very strenuous, this class the most difficult.....and I'm crazy enough to be really looking forward to it.