Tuesday, 28 April 2015

April's Big Cotton Blankets - Part 1

My big cotton blankets are creating lots of interest and they're very practical for spring and summer, so I made another two sets of them, 16 in total. Two from the first set have arrived in Ottawa for the Mac Fair Bloom Sale on May 9, where Cariboo Handwoven will have a booth. Six more are here and I'll list them below.

First of all, this project was a nice challenge because I wanted to weave cotton blankets in neutral tones but without a perfect supply of colours on hand. This is actually not a problem, it's a solution (or you have to see it that way). Artists often talk about, and even admit, that limitations help them focus on a particular project. If we all had unlimited time and resources, we'd get nothing done, right? This project was a reminder of that and I had to be a bit extra creative to find enough fibres to warp eight blankets, 60" wide on the loom.

Each of the six blankets below has a warp that's a blend of soft beige, natural and some yellows. I wove with more soft colours for some of the blankets, and stronger colours for others. The eight blankets are remarkably diverse, which I always consider a success.

The first four blankets are machine hemmed, and the last two are fringed and a bit more elegant. All are machine washable.

Here they are. As always, feel free to contact me if you're interested in any.

C205 | 100% cotton | 186 cm x 135 cm | (73" x 53") | Sold

C206 | 100% cotton | 182 cm x 137 cm (71.5" x 54") | Sold

C206 Detail | Shades of green

C208 | 100% cotton | 178 cm x 135 cm (70" x 53") | From the Energy Series | Sold

C209 | 100% cotton | 180 cm x 135 cm (71" x 53") | Sold

C210 | 100% cotton, fringed | 178 cm x 135 cm (70" x 53")
From the Energy Series | Sold

C211 | 100% cotton, fringed | 172 cm x 136 cm (67.5" x 53.5") | Shades of blues | Sold

Thursday, 16 April 2015

New Leclerc Colonial Loom

My current loom is about 30 years old; I bought it lightly used in 1988 and by now it doesn't owe me a thing. It's a Leclerc Colonial 60" loom with an overhead beater. It came with four harnesses and a sectional warping beam for 2" sections. After I bought it, I added four more harnesses and doubled the number of metal spacers on the sectional rakes to give 1" sections. The loom is a very functional tool and beautiful piece of furniture, made in Quebec, and something I've enjoyed and appreciated for coming up 27 years. I know it will last much longer, especially if I replace a few small parts that are wearing out.

But I'd been thinking in the last year or so that this loom would have to last me the rest of my weaving career - which I hope is for quite awhile longer - or I should splurge now and buy another one. Two looms would not only give me some variety between the warping and weaving processes, but would also enable me to have enough heddles for different setts for my full-width blankets. In other words, I need almost 200 heddles per harness for my big cotton blankets, but only half that number for wool ones. That means strategically pushing empty heddles into the warp threads to prevent a bulky mess at the end that would not be suitable for an even selvedge. (It's hard to describe but weavers will get that.)

So ... with design improvements made to the Leclerc Colonial, and a Canadian product that I knew would work well for me, I ordered a new loom from Nina Manners at Camilla Valley Farm Weaver's Supply. Nina has been great for all my yarn orders, and since she's a Leclerc dealer, it made sense to begin with her.

The shipping process was interesting to watch. Eleven pieces, total 393 pounds.

All the boxes are labeled in beautiful handwriting in kind of a traditional way. I won't get help setting it up for a few weeks, but I'm glad to know all's here for welcoming a second loom into my studio.

Thanks again, Leclerc and Nina.

Friday, 10 April 2015

A Second Cotton Blanket in Florida

My Canadian friend who spends time in Florida through the year (probably the winter, mostly) bought a second cotton blanket from Cariboo Handwoven. She'd already sent me a photo with her comments for a blog I posted last month.

As soon as she saw this blanket in soft blues and greens at the open house in Collingwood, she immediately thought of her newly refurbished bedroom in the new Florida house. So she had to have it!

Here it is in its new home, at the foot of the bed:

This is my bedroom in Florida where I bought your beautiful blanket for. The colours are perfect and L. and I love it. Thanks so much for your extraordinary work. You have added some wonderful 'Canadian' touches to our southern home. 

I always love to know that my work is being enjoyed in its new home. This is another good example of that, and it gives me a great feeling.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Big Cotton Blankets in Blues and Green - Part 2

As promised, here are the siblings of the big cotton blankets after my post of the first four. Every one of the eight blankets has turned out really well, and these will be great to wrap up in. The first two blankets below are hemmed; the last two are fringed.

C195 | 100% cotton | 175 cm x 135 cm (69" x 53") | Sold

C198 | 100% cotton | 180 cm x 135 cm (71" x 53") | Sold
C198 Detail

C202 | 100% cotton | 188 cm x 137 cm (74" x 54") excluding fringes | Sold
C202 Detail

C203 | 100% cotton | 202 cm x 137 cm (79.5" x 54") excluding fringes | Sold
Combinations of blues and purples on warp of blues and green

Thursday, 2 April 2015

First Cotton Blanket in the Energy Series (C201)

I recently posted the first cotton blankets from my latest project and want to feature the fourth one. This big cotton blanket, C201, includes an energizing blend of burgundy, blue, purple and orange on the warp of blues and green. It's not too crazy, it's just fun to look at and probably to wrap up in, too.

Here it is under construction on the loom:

And here it is finished and draped. Measurements are 179 cm x 136 cm (70.5" x 53.5") and both ends are hemmed, making it easily machine washed and dried. Update: This blanket sold in November and is going to England!