Monday, 29 July 2013

Fifth Batch of Shetland Wool Blankets

It's true that I really enjoy weaving with a fine, two-ply Shetland wool that I've found. I'm now halfway through a set of seven blankets that have a warp of wide stripes in browns and alternating charcoal and very dark grey. The weave structure is twill blocks, also known as turned twill, which I've used a lot in the past and really like. Most of the wide colour stripes have a change in block threading, which increases the fabric's complexity and gives a look of wide interwoven stripes. Here are some early samples on the loom:




After this set of blankets, I'll be on to my sixth batch, again in twill blocks (I think) and different wefts to produce a wide variety of blankets.

And this is my 100th blog post. Thank you, readers!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

25 Towels

I finished a second batch of towels; this time I made 25 and the last project was 28. I had to stretch my creativity for this project and that was good for me. These towels in light blue and light green with taupes and cream were a bit of a slog by the time I wove all 20 metres of cloth. I changed the treadle tie-up and then returned to my original twills, but I felt I was grasping at something that would work ... so I was particularly glad to finally see the end of this warp.

However, once the long cloth was unwound from the front beam and the towels cut apart, they looked much better stacked up and ready for hemming. Then, once hemmed, the array looked very nice out on the line drying on a beautiful summer evening.

Stacking up the towels when they were almost dry was like pressing them. And they look even better after a good pressing. I learned some things about design and how to balance colours and stripe widths.

These towels will look great for a long time without much more pressing, and I expect they will work well for their owners as they find new homes.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013


Williams Lake's Artwalk runs this year from Tuesday August 6 (right after the long weekend) to Saturday September 7. I'll be one of an amazing 54 artists showcasing their work in businesses and offices around town.  And ... I was invited as one of six artists to show my work in the Tourism Discovery Centre. We set up yesterday.

I decided to display one of my Shetland wool blankets. To my left (your right) is Gene's painted ram carving - he also took this photo. And behind me are four paintings on easels. This is a great promotion of the Artwalk, as the booklets will be available for tourists once printed, and we hope people will venture downtown and do the Artwalk.

Thanks to Arty Walker (aka Willie Dye) for inviting me to the Artwalk and for this special promotion.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Summer Spinning

One of the joys of a mellow summer is having time to spin outdoors. Lately, I've been spinning some intriguing fleece that I bought at Fibres West last March. This fleece was produced by Jude Pilote of Ewesful Creations in Chilliwack, BC and consists of Romney, merino and other wool along with mohair, silk and Angelina (a very fine, luminescent metallic yarn used in small amounts - I had to look that up).

The colours are blues, greens and turquoise with beautiful little splashes of purple, fuchsia, watermelon and chartreuse. The colours and fibres as a combination have been fun to spin, and the three batts I have will be spun as single ply, then plied into double ply, washed, and eventually woven on a wool warp later in the year for a unique blanket.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

A Blanket Aging Well

A longtime friend visited last week and I asked her to bring her wool blanket that I gave her at least 20 years ago. It hasn't seen a lot of hard use, but some fringes had unravelled and it was due for a handwashing. After washing, I hung it to dry in the warm Cariboo summer sunshine.

After ironing, I fixed a few pulls and pressed them carefully with lots of steam. The blanket softened up nicely with washing and benefited from a little sprucing up, although it really didn't need a lot of care. My friend's blanket has returned home and it should look well for at least another 20 years.

Friday, 5 July 2013

A Special Wool Blanket

On the recent Shetland wool warp of browns, I wove my handspun Romney wool from Beaver Valley, east of here. A friend raised the Romney sheep long ago and produced beautiful lustrous, long-fibred roving. I bought the roving after her felting workshop a year ago, ostensibly to felt the stuff, but I preferred to spin it and it was gorgeous to spin.

It made a super blanket that is soft and thick, but not heavy. It measures 195 cm (77") long by 135 cm  (53") wide.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Summer Towels

I recently finished a big towel project of 28 cotton towels. They're a combination of wide stripes of yellow and Tuscan gold with khaki and ivory. I wove them in twills again and made various sets of two that match but are not identical. A big batch is being shipped off to Ottawa tomorrow.

Narrow accent stripes of black work well in modern kitchens with black floors or granite countertops.

Accent stripes of brown and black are even more versatile for many new kitchens.