Monday, 31 December 2012

The Road Less Travelled

One of the great things about getting older is that you earn the opportunity to try new things and really do what you want. For example ... I have recently retired from my profession after a fantastic career that gave me a variety of challenges, wonderful colleagues and a lot of personal fulfillment. But one often gets to a stage when, in my case, 36 years of schooling and work in one professional field was enough. It felt like time to do something different. Really different!

In 1979 I worked as a university exchange student in Finland. Two dear friends (who still are) introduced me to weaving by giving me a backstrap loom called a pirtta and showing me how to use it. I made some long strips of thick fabric in white and shades of blue, and I still have them buried away somewhere with the pirtta itself. When I returned to university for fourth year, I took an after-hours weaving course on campus and loved using a floor loom. Then, with one of my first pay cheques after graduation, I bought a 36" Lerclerc Artisat loom and began a passion that I had no idea would take me this far.

Weaving was a hobby while I pursued my profession, but now the tables have turned and I'm taking the road less travelled from my Finnish summer - that of being a weaver and craftsperson and selling my work. So as 2012 comes to a close, I have a lot on which to reflect: a really good career working with great people, and now a journey on my own road less travelled.

Life is a series of different compromises, but traveling on one's own special road at some point in life is important.

What is your road less travelled?

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

28 Towels

I finished these cotton towels on the weekend:

I wove the stripes of alternating green/teal and yellow/beiges with different twill treadlings, using the warp colours and some other ones. And there always has to be at least one purple towel!

The twill patterns are so perfect for towels; here are two photos of details:

The winter solstice heralds the new year to many people, including me, so I feel as if we're into a new year already. But whether you regard the solstice or the calendar as your new year, happy 2013.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

A Special Favourite Blanket

This blanket really wow'd me after washing. The handspun Shetland wool fulled up nicely making a blanket that is fairly thick and heavy. The combination of fibres and colours in the undulating twill pattern works really well. This is one of my favourite blankets of all ...

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Undulating Twill Blankets

The undulating twill blankets were fun to weave and will be great in different homes. Two are completely finished (fringed, washed, pressed, labeled), and the first one is about half wool and half machine-spun alpaca:

The second one was woven with handspun Shetland wool in a lovely pattern of waves, and is thicker and heavier:

Four more blankets are in the finishing process; they include more brown Shetland wool woven in the alpaca blanket pattern, cream handspun wool/mohair in the waves pattern, and more. Let me know if you're interested in any photos or information.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Undulating Twill Wool Blankets Underway

The wool blankets in an undulating twill pattern like the silky scarves look really super on the loom. The neutral colours work well together. The first blanket has the same wool in the warp used for the weft.

The next two blankets are woven with handspun brown Shetland wool, and this one uses the same pattern:

This third blanket is almost finished, and then I will weave with handspun grey Romney wool from the Wenger Sheep Farm.

I know I'll return to the twill blocks someday, but for now the undulating twill is a refreshing change and the dreamy waves are great for blankets.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Grey Blankets in Undulating Twill

My next blankets will be in my common natural tones of greys, black and cream but in a new weave structure. I'll weave them in an undulating twill like the silky scarves. So imagine that my previous blanket colours will meet the scarf waves - it should make for a very nice effect.

Beaming the grey blankets

Back beam full and ready for the next steps of threading, sleying and tie-on to the front beam
And a big thank you to all who shared some very useful input and ideas at the Ottawa open house and last weekend's medieval market. I have so many new projects to weave!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Towels in Use

My friend, Shirley, bought two more towels at the Medieval Market and just sent me this photo of one of them on her table at home. Like so many people, she said "I could never dry my dishes with this lovely towel!" But I think, and hope, that many dishes and hands eventually meet up with my towels.

Thanks for this photo, Shirley!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Medieval Market a Huge Success!

What a great weekend that was! Thank you to .... all who visited my booth, other vendors for their company and good advice, and the organizers and many volunteers for another fantastic medieval market. I enjoyed having my own Cariboo Handwoven booth with many friends stopping in to chat and browse.

Here are some photos (all by P. Teti):

Columneetza students with the 10:00 am line-up waiting to get in

Stretching out a wool and alpaca blanket with Michaela

With another friend, Rick, looking at cotton towels

Youth fiddlers on Saturday - music all day through the Medieval Market

Quintet Plus sang both days - thank you!

Magical Jesaja - this guy is GOOD

Two of the Patenaude girls - Pharis Romero and Marin Patenaude. Pharis and her husband Jason recently won  New/Emerging Artist of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards

Thanks again to everyone, and a quick thanks once again to Pat for all his help. :-)

Friday, 23 November 2012

Ready for the Medieval Market!

The Medieval Market is this weekend in Williams Lake at Columneetza Secondary School. It has a new website with lovely graphic design. Hours are 10 am to 4 pm both Saturday and Sunday.

Set-up for my booth went well early this evening, after a trial set-up in my studio this week to figure out how to arrange and display all my blankets, towels and scarves in an 8x8 space. Thank you very much to Pat for his essential help today. :-)  And thanks to Janet, my booth neighbour (and friend) for her typically great ideas that helped me out.

Thank you also to Josh and Tom at Speedpro Signs for banner design and production, and special thanks to 100 Metre Woodworking for my beautiful blanket rack, cash box, stool and postcard display.

Two other weavers are selling their products this year: Eva Hoelzler and Laura Fry. I'm looking forward to an exciting weekend at the Medieval Market!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Seven Scarves

Seven scarves are ready to go. Three are pure cotton (on the top of the rack) and the other four are silk and cotton. They all include gradual colour shifts in the design.

All of my scarves are generously sized: these are 25-26 cm (approx. 10 inches) wide and 155-180 cm long - long enough to wrap around the wearer's neck a few times and still drape down each side.

They're off to the medieval market this weekend ... let me know if you're interested in more information.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

A Memories Blanket with Many Memories

Cariboo Handwoven Memories Blankets began as baby blankets that I wove over many years and gave to family members and friends with a new baby. I usually produce them in classic waffle weave which forms insulating air cells, and always in 100% cotton that can be machine washed and dried - good thing, considering how they are used! I've modified the colour scheme to reduce the pastel baby colours while staying with soft shades that suit many ages. These blankets are enjoyed and admired for many years by the parents and the growing child.

My friend, Diane, recently posted this comment and sent me these photos about her well-loved blanket:

"I can sooo vouch for these blankets. We are fortunate to have one of Jane's that is now 23 years old. It was so cozy to cuddle up in for those late night feedings when you didn't think you'd ever get 8 hours of sleep again. Two children and dozens of washings later, and it has only gotten softer. It'll be used with our children's children next ... "

Thanks, Diane!  

Friday, 9 November 2012

The Scarves Continue

I've now woven a few scarves with lovely silk in three colours: navy, magenta and mauve. They combine with the navy, purple and burgundy warp really nicely. I'm looking forward to seeing how they work when fringed, washed, pressed and ready to wear.

It's snowing lightly here this morning and it's beautiful outside, but good weaving weather to be inside.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Medieval Market

The Medieval Market is fast approaching on November 24-25 in Williams Lake. The organizers have done a great job again on the poster!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Silky Scarves

My latest project on the big loom is a series of cotton and cotton-blend scarves in undulating twill. I used to weave scarves often, and usually in very fine cottons and silks. It's good to back.

The warp starts with dark blue on the left, then morphs into purple, then morphs again into a bluey-red on the right. This is producing a beautiful effect of colour blends. The weave structure is undulating twill, which lives up to its name by producing dreamy waves across the cloth.

At 32 threads per inch, the cotton is very fine and not much thicker than thread. These scarves are taking awhile to weave! But I think they'll be worth it. The pure cotton scarves will be very silky, and then I am also planning to weave with bamboo (first time) and silk. At the second scarf, I'm already keen to finish all eight scarves, fringe them, wash them and see how they look. Typical for me ...

Here are two samples on the loom:

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Shipment to Ottawa

Today I finished organizing all the items and paperwork that my sister will need for her open house in Ottawa. Tomorrow I'll ship her six wool blankets, six cotton blankets, 20 towels and 6 towel sets of two that go together. Some of the invitees have requested certain items to view first, and that's all organized for her.

Here's the stack of things that I packed in two boxes. (I still can't get a vertical photo to insert properly in a blog post - sorry!)

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Green Towels Finished

The green towel project produced 22 towels, ready for sale individually and sets of two. Three sets are going to Ottawa for my sister's open house in November, and more sets and individuals will be available at the Medieval Market in Williams Lake on November 24 and 25 in my first-ever booth. :-)

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Green Towels

A friend came over to my studio a few weeks ago to buy some cotton towels. She suggested that green would be a popular colour for future towels. Great idea, thanks!

Here's a sample on the loom showing the olive green with two shades of medium green, along with some blues - it's a good combination. I'm weaving about 19 m and they've been fun to design and make. All are in 8-harness waffle weave in this square pattern that pulls together nicely after washing. I know this weave structure well and it's both useful and beautiful.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

19 Metres of Towels

Today I finished 28 towels on 19 m of warp. Here it is spread out on the floor, back and forth a few times (sorry, but I can't get the image to rotate):

Here are the towels wound onto the front beam, and close-ups of two towels in progress:

Monday, 15 October 2012

Pageviews and Pageviewers

One of the interesting parts of blogging is seeing all the stats. The breakdown is amazing, although nothing can be followed back to a certain individual. I thought that when I reached 500 pageviews it would be a good idea to blog about it, and share some of my insights with pageviewers (you) and anyone interested in starting a blog about any topic they wish.

First of all, blogging takes a bit of figuring out ... but if I can blog, anyone can. Bloggers have to get a sense of how to make their way through to the formatting, layout, stats or whatever they need to change or see. It's a bit of a labyrinth, but it's sure interesting and very satisfying to figure it out.

Two-thirds of my blog readers are from Canada, and the remainder are from the United States, Russia, Germany, South Korea, Finland, Australia and other countries. I know that some pageviews are unintended from random searches, but the blog stats also list the traffic sources, which are the websites that led to finding my blog. I also know what browsers and operating systems were used, as well as the number of pageviews by post. And there's probably more information available, but that's certainly enough for me.

Recently I installed the total number of pageviews to the right of the latest post. As I write this, I'm at 522. It's a good start. Anyone wanting to receive blog updates right away can add their email address under "follow by email." This does not give me access to your email address; it's totally confidential as far as I know.

If you're a weaver or just interested in weaving, feel free to email me at cariboojane "at" shaw "dot" ca and I'd be happy to hear from you.

Thanks to all readers for their interest!

Sunday, 30 September 2012

First Two Beige and Cream Blankets Almost Finished

The first two beige ("sand") and cream wool blankets are drying on the line and soon ready for finishing.

B127 on the left is 100% wool and will have a price of $190. B128 on the right is wool with 50% handspun wool/mohair, and it's very light and soft. However, I noticed it's a little short in length and so I'm reducing the price to $250. The rest of the blankets are being finished on the loom and then off to fringing, washing and all the other steps I outlined in HLDITTMAB  - Part 4.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Plain Weave Blanket

I haven't used plain weave for a very long time. Plain weave (also called 'tabby' in the weaving lexicon) is the most basic weave structure - under one, over one, under one ... This gives plain weave the maximum number of interlockings of the warp and weft yarns, meaning that it tends to produce a fairly loose cloth. My preferred twill patterns enable a tighter packing of the yarns, making for a sturdier cloth. How the cloth is finished can substantially affect those general statements though.

Using some fine, loosely plied wool/mohair handspun, I'm weaving one blanket in plain weave.  I think it will make for a light but warm blanket. I like the log cabin effect between the solid-coloured blocks where the warp yarns alternate between beige and cream.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Beige and Cream Blankets Underway

I'm on my third blanket of this set. The beige is actually a warm sand colour, and the cream is also soft to the eye. Here I'm weaving with a blend of handspun, undyed wool and mohair. This blanket will be very soft and a bit fuzzy but really warm and light.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

New Beige and Cream Wool Blankets

I've started warping the loom for eight wool blankets in beige and cream. They are designed in my usual twill blocks, like you've seen before and know I like to do, some as wide as 8 inches (20 cm). The soft colours will work well in the large blocks, and I have lots of different handspun to weave with. The beige and cream are pretty basic ...

After lots of summer fun through to a recent hiking trip in the mountains, it's time to get back to some serious play!

Monday, 3 September 2012

Eight Cotton Gemstone Blankets Ready

The last three cotton gemstone blankets are ready to go and posted here for closer viewing.

The last three shown below are C133 on the top, C132 in the middle and C131 on the bottom. The blankets are 100% cotton and fringed, and woven in beautiful rich colours.