Tuesday, 29 October 2013

"Autumn Storm" Blankets

Earlier this fall I was inspired by an impending storm in the distance. The darkening clouds against the bright golden aspens, red and orange willows and shrubs, and dark green Douglas-firs and lodgepole pines presented a remarkable blend of energies. The imminent cold rain from the dark clouds against the bright fall colours and dark conifers led me to thinking about this contrast. This increased at the thought of finding refuge as well as the warmth generated by my body when I picked up the speed to get home in time.

The Autumn Storm series of Shetland wool blankets uses these colours to create a similar energy and warmth: the dark and lighter greys of the clouds, bright oranges and gold of the aspens, birches and shrubs, and the warm green of the conifers.

Part of the sequence of the Autumn Storm warp

The blankets will be quite different in appearance when finished.

SH031 | 100% wool

SH031 | 100% wool

SH032 | 100% wool with approximately 50% handspun

SH033 | 100% wool

SH034 | 100% wool

I'm looking forward to weaving the rest of the warp, and then fringing and washing the blankets.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Big Cotton Blankets

These cotton blankets were woven in complex twill patterns in soft neutral colours with different combinations of more neutrals with yellow and Tuscan gold, as well as in stronger colours such as blues, burgundies, brown and olive green. These blankets are large, ranging in size from about 170 cm to over 2 metres long, and all are about 136 cm (53.5") wide. They drape well and become a favourite both indoors and also outside in warmer seasons.

Here are some samples:

C141 | Beige, yellow, Tuscan gold, natural | $160

C144 | Similar to C141 but with narrow natural stripes throughout | $160

C145 | Olive green, brown, medium blue herringbone with narrow black stripes | $160

C147 | Burgundies, medium blue, olive green, brown | Extra long (206 cm) | $175

C148 | Blues in diamonds and herringbone | Extra long (207 cm) | $175

Please contact me if you're interested in more information or photos of any of these big cotton blankets.

Monday, 14 October 2013

"Paddling Upstream" Artisan Show and Sale

Saturday in Quesnel, BC was the final outdoor farmer's market of the season with "Paddling Upstream" held indoors. I set up my Cariboo Handwoven banner and blanket racks and had a super fun day. Thank you to Konny and the other organizers for all their work to host this event. And special thanks go to my friend, Barbara, an experienced market vendor who was full of good ideas as well as strong muscles for setting up the booth and reloading the car.

I also enjoyed meeting visitors, many of whom were interested in the work of all the artists. Hope to be back next year!

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Cotton Blankets

Two friends asked me to make custom tablecloths - which can be identical to a hemmed blanket, depending on one's wishes or needs. The warp is the full 60" width on my loom and the cotton is lovely to weave. I know that these finished blankets are really nice to wrap up in. They're cozy and soft but nicely warm.

Here are some samples from the loom:

C141 | Wide stripes in yellow and Tuscan gold with narrow stripes in natural

C144 | Yellow and Tuscan gold with natural

C145 | Olive green, brown and medium blue wide stripes with narrow black

One of the amazing surprises in this project was finding a threading flaw after weaving almost the entire 20m warp. It was only when I viewed the above photo that I thought ... "What?!!" Can you see it? It's not serious, and if it eluded me for this long then I hope no one else minds it.

Let me know if you're interested in photos of these finished blankets/tablecloths or of any other ones in this project.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Finishing Handwoven Fabric

One of the early tenets of weaving that was fortunately impressed upon me right from the start was the need to wash handwoven fabric before it can be considered finished. Washing not only cleans the fibres of any oils or dirt picked up during production, but washing is very important to help the fabric work as a unit instead of remaining as only interlocking threads.

A very experienced weaver on this topic is Laura Fry. Laura has produced "Magic in the Water" and teaches workshops on wet-finishing cloth. I like how Laura has not only taught many weavers about the importance and techniques of wet finishing, but also been able to make this a part of her business.

Here are three samples of Shetland wool blankets. From left to right, they are unwashed, handwashed and machine washed.

Detailed samples show the unwashed sample as very loose and gauzy. Fabrics right off the loom are also stiff and not very soft to the touch, and they don't drape at all.

This next sample was handwashed gently as I would do for all Shetland wool blankets after fringing:

And the final sample I tossed into the washing machine with the laundry. It felted quite nicely, which would be great for a jacket or vest. However, for a blanket it's just a bit too thick. As well, the width and length were reduced.

Every single fabric I produce, whether of wool, alpaca, cotton or silk, is washed after hemming or fringing. The cloth is simply not ready to use until it's had one washing suitable for the fibres and the fabric's intended use.