Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Summer of Weaving

There is one copy remaining of the Else Nielsen bookmark edition of Reflections From A Flaxen Past. Thank you WeaveTech members! Seven copies were gone within 48 hours of the announcement on WeaveTech List. I’m hoping that someone will obtain that last copy before the end of the year so I can make the full contribution to OHS. Though I've not been updating my blog, I have had a weaving-full summer, doing a bit of gardening scrubbing and staining deck and generally having a blast. This past weekend we celebrated our daughter's (can't possibly be 50th) birthday. She is holding up astonishingly well.

A 3-shaft self-pleating shawl in handspun Jacobs from my sister's flock, woven for my sister's 80th birthday.  The draft is Erica deRuiter's article in Fabrics that Go Bump.  I had to open the set waaay wider than I expected to get the action with the singles wool.
This was the warp design process for the Belinda handspun scarf.  If I were smart enough, I could get this picture next to the scarf on the loom.

Handspun Merino by guild mate and new spinner Belinda Aguirre was my lucky draw in last year's Christmas exchange.  Here is the piece on the loom.  I sort of trained my eye to get the rhythm of the beat to copy the rhythm of the sleying.
The 'snowflake' draft that friends on WeaveTech List helped me trouble-shoot, here becomes the 'Cross Twill' draft for weaving Corporals and Purificators of 40/1 linen.  To keep my beat consistent, I marked every 60 picks to check if I was staying at one inch.  The interlacement changes from area to area of the pattern requiring a constant adjustment to the force of the beat.  Our beloved Bishop Hebda, now Archbishop in New Jersey, was recipient of the first set.
An exhibit of 13 different napkins in the Australian tartan was rejected from the local juried show, so they will soon be on their way to my friend Kay Faulkner and her daughter Down Under.  Hope they aren't disappointed in receiving rejects.
Our new bathroom's custom-designed rug.  It is actually just folded into the 90 degree turn, though I have woven rugs with  angles to fit in our living toom and diningroom.  The cloth was found in a box in the attic of our Kalamazoo house.  I kept those draperies for over 30 years before finding the perfect use for them.  The look and feel underfoot is like sand.
I have learned that a dowel and asparagus rubberbands -as well as an extra pair of hands - are most helpful in rolling a tight roll of cloth before slicing into 1/2" strips with a French knife.  I then sew the strips together, trim the corners and wind the rug shuttle.
New clothes for my 'teenager's' Morris chair.  He received the yarns and a promise for Christmas 2011.  I did get the tweed tartan woven in 2012, but it took another year for my courage to allow tackling the upholstery job.  I've learned the hard way to not trust anyone else to do my upholstery work.  It actually only took a week, once I decided to just DO IT.  It meets with little Fiona's approval, though she prefers Himself's lap between.
Detail of the upholstery job.
Because I had never woven with singles handspun Jacobs, I wanted to keep an eye on the entire warp. Here, by using two looms plus the Trapeze, I had a most enjoyable and trouble-free weaving of my sister's shawl - plus one for me.
This is another project that happened because of the help of friends.  Marg Coe, Ingrid Boesel and Bob Keates were all involved in helping my poor brain deal with keeping the twill, the tartan pattern, the blocks and the basket-weave (because I "only" have 24 shafts) plain side all working in proper sequence.  I wanted to weave this stole with the Michigan tartan on one side in twill and plain cream on the other, changing places for the cruciform and ground.  This would probably be easy for most weavers, but my vision (and brain) problems made it a serious challenge.  This prototype has some flaws, but I'm thinking I'll solve them on the next one - for one, I'll weave with the tartan side UP so I can track the 45 degree twill angle!
Our local grocer, Hal Neiman is celebrating 30 years and his colorful newspaper ads turned out to quite spinable.  This is a small transprency  trade-mark "N" woven with spun paper.  He was quite tickled to receive the "Spin Off from Local Advertising'.
The Pure Michigan Handspun entry was my only accepted piece in the local juried show.  Here the Jacobs 3-shaft shawl, Belinda's handspun spaced plain weave and a third scarf in plainweave from some rainbow-dyed fleece are on show.
Flamepoint upholstery on the bench.

Flamepoint upholstery on the kneeler.  The trim is three-ply 'rope' in the same wool yarns used in the weaving.  The same trim edges the pad under the statue.

Flamepoint pad under the Marian statue on top of the cross-twill linen piece in the Marian Shrine.  It was an honor to have been asked to do the weavings.  The pieces are dedicated to the memory of the  husbands of two dear  friends from  our parish who 'left for home' this past year.  I gave each of the widows small pieces in the two weaves.
Because of skyrocketing shipping costs, We’ll be having to make some adjustments to the cost structure of the books we fear, come the first of the year. In the meantime - take advantage of current good deals. Till next time - Treadle with Joy, Kati

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Special Bookmarked series in memory of Else Nielsen

Seal on the cover of numbered
enhanced copies

Title page with bookmark
Lithuanian linen bookmark detail with
 5-thread pick-up-pattern
Inside back cover tribute to Else Staal Nielsen and attachment of bookmark
There are ten enhanced copies of Reflections from a Flaxen Past: For Love of Lithuanian Weaving that have been prepared with a handwoven, pick-up-pattern bookmark in linen from Lithuanian for the special memory of Else Staal Nielsen, 1929 - 2013, handweaver, organist, teacher, lady, friend. For each copy of these enhanced books purchased, I will donate $10.00 to the Ontario Handweavers and Spinners Scholarship fund in memory of Else Nielson who invited me in the late 1980s to be a guest at her cabin so I could attend a week-long workshop on self-publishing at the Sir Sanford School in Haliburton, Ontario. Because of her interest in and support of this author, I will be forever indebted to her and cherish her friendship and memory.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Yes, Australia was wonderful

Australia is still on my mind and in my heart, four months after our return! It was warm, clean, bright, beautiful, filled with new sights, sounds, aromas, and rich with the friendship of Kay Faulkner, her talented daughter and son, and her commitment to showing us her beloved homeland.

John in his new rabbit fur felt Akubra, on the ferry in Sydney Harbor. A tourist from Toronto took the picture for us.

In ten days we pretty well covered the territory from the aboriginal home island of Stradibroke to big-city Brisbane, into the bush (but not the outback), down the interior of New South Wales to Canberra, over to Sidney, up the coast and back to Birkdale outside Brisbane. Hundreds of miles (even more kilometers)about  the distance from Northern Michigan to Georgia, to the Mississippi river and back!

We walked hours over and around Straddy Island, waded in the South Pacific surf, walked mountain and dune trails, saw Aboriginals piloting boats, walking the streets of Brisbane, riding the trains. We saw great watersprays up through fissures in the rocks along the shore of the great ancient sand-dune of an island. We learned how to ride trains and ferries, we heard Bell Birds at Cunningham’s Gap, picnicked with Wallabies who soar (not hop like the Big Reds) at Girraween National Park. We drove through recently burned but already re-greening lush farm land and many sheep stations. We stopped at roadside stands for fresh-picked stone fruit, saw the Southern Cross, (the constellation that is Australia's symbol)  from the park a short walk from our motel.
In Canberra, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary, we spent hours enjoying amonumentalToulouse-Lautrec exhibit at the National Gallery. We walked paths and sidewalks through stringy barks and gum trees in profusion with NO bark - just all smooth patchy-colored trunks and branches.

The stringy-bark trees have both round and lancet leaves and bark continually in tatters, exposing smooth tree-skin underneath. There are many 60-foot tall Scheffleras (umbrella trees) with foot-long bundles of beautiful red flowers. (I took pictures to show my five houseplants what they should be doing.) We watched Gallas do their silly somersaults around wires and branches, marveled at the lovely tuneless songs of the butcher birds. We visited Kay’s Sturt teaching studio in Mittagong, explored Sidney by train, foot, and ferry. We saw Emus, horses, sheep and cows.

We visited many museums and here at the glass works, saw 'silk scarves' in glasss

Cutting down Kay's most recent drawn-loom weaving far finer than anything the loom saw when it lived in Michigan!

Kay invited me to cut down her latest piece from the drawloom she imported from my studio and has greatly improved it, as well as giving it a far more interesting weaving life. We dismantled it for a move to Mittagong - the 5th take-down for me - it is pretty easy. Sheila Virgo introduced me to the new modified Merino fiber called Optim. I’ve did find a NA supplier but I’ve not yet spun it.

In Kay's Brisbane (Birkdale), Queensland studio taking apart her Glimakra


John and Kay high above the South Pacific and the goat that keeps the shrubs pruned

Fitzroy falls, so high that one picture could not contain it all so this is two shots.
At Fitzroy Falls we caught a glimpse of the elusive Lyretail (but didn’t see any of the more elusive Platypuses.) Back in Kay’s tour-car she drove up through the Gold Coast. We saw road-kill Wombat, ‘roos grazing the golf courses, escaped "Easter Lilies" lining the roadside ditches for miles. We walked out to the eastern-most point of Australia where a goat prunes the brush on the cliff-side 300 feet above the Pacific surf. We ate fresh cherries, plums and peaches, kangaroo steak, prawns, and lamb burgers. I tried Vegemite on buttered toast with coaching from Kay's kids.

I took about 1,000 pictures and would return at the drop of another $5,000.00 - as soon as I can find it.

Not only is Kay a Master Weaver with vision and energy, she can create a beautiful and delicious Pavlova,

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Out of my Office until February 18th

I will be out of my office until February 18th.

Please forgive the delay in responding to any correspondence or orders.

I’ve been weaving, if not keeping my blog updated. I have tweed Michigan tartan upholstery on the loom now and recently finished two very wide 5/2 cotton picnic cloths. That was a test of my reach on Bene Toika - much better than on a treadle loom!

With the computer doing the treadling, I was just barely able to reach the 45 inches!

In November, the Linen Rabbi, Nahum Ben-Yehuda, http://biu.academia.edu/NahumBenYehuda

from Israel visited with his wife. We worked on reproducing some ancient wool fabric, exploring weft face, balanced, warp faced - and some ranges in between. After multiple re-sleyings, I cut to the chase, set up for weft-faced, then stopped using the reed to work the warp narrower, then produce warp faced on the same piece.

On a set warp width weft-faced and weft dominant were possible in both madder and natural.
Then the fun began with a piece that transitioned from weft faced to warp faced.  The labels identify the ppi's.

The Rabbi had sent some singles linen, about 20 lea; some tow, some dry-spun, and some wet spun. We explored how to get any/all of these to weave successfully. The plan came out to a sort of “singles linen tartan”. It did take careful tensioning and a warp dressing to tame the 3 to 4 inch protruding fibers, but yes, every one of the five qualities wove up quite successfully.
The reed marks will be visible for a couple washings yet, but the cloth makes a wonderfully absorbent towel.
Until I return with tales of Australia and Kay Faulkner's two studios......

blog: www.kayfaulkner.wordpress.com   web: www.kayfaulkner.com.au