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!