KEEPING OUR HANDS BUSY

The guild has not been able to meet since February.  Our Winter Retreat  cancelled and study groups hosted via emails.   Here’s hoping we can have our June BBQ.  I asked our members to send me photos of their work – finished or in progress.  One of our members in a senior retirement home has been confined to her room for a month or so, but her hands kept busy working on something for her door and for our Fall Flower Power Challenge.

Here is the result of the past month’s endeavours.

ANN                   I am planning to mount some knitted flowers (1 narcissus, 3 crocuses, 4 tulips and 1 dandelion) on a board to display at the entrance to my apartment.  I have finished the crocuses but the other flowers are not yet ann photoassembled, and the leaves not yet knitted. It is a bigger project than I had anticipated. But I am having fun and learning a lot.

The photo is of the parts being blocked before assembly and of the finished crocuses.

 

JILL                         I am knitting (thank goodness for you tube) an Isabella Shawlette from Wellington Fibres.  If  I ever finish this one I will be starting a second one in blues.  Also my first attempt at a fork woven flower.

PAM                        The shawl is worked from the tip to the top so I figured when I ran  out of yarn that would be the size of my shawl.  The fibre is 50% alpaca, 30% mohair and 20% wool from Wellington Fibres.  I didn’t  count on the shawl being deeper than wide so when I ran out of fibre it wasn’t wide enough to wrap in front.  I didn’t have anymore fibre and neither did Wellington Fibres so I spun fiber from Fullin’ Woolens after separating out the blue to get the copper color.  It is a blend of Merino, Bambo and Stellina.

The blue towels are called ‘Keep it Simple’ by Mary Ann Geers and the tea towels on the loom are from a Viking draft from Anges Geijer as woven by Gunnel Oresjo.  Marian had photocopied Handwoven’s collection of Best Tea Towels featured in their magazine and she shared the book with us when we were at Burleigh Falls.  I borrowed the book and saved these patterns.

JESSIE                      I’ve been knitting and spinning up a storm while I’m stuck at home.  If I get bored with what I’m doing I just start another pair of socks.   The socks are from Marian’s stash –  the shawl’s Pat’s Shetland wool and the mobious is Spinrite no name.

PAT                            Here is my spinning
The white and green are left over bits.  The green is mohair and wool 60/40.
The white is polwarth.  The brown is natural Icelandic

The shawl is made from Marian’s yarn , mohair and wool 60/40.  I call it Marian’s shawl.
It’s not yet blocked or washed but soon it will be ready to give me a warm hug.

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BARB                            Tea Towel warps of Snowflakes and Feathers have been on my loom recently.  Just finished this Feather Towel – the treadling order is a real PITA, so I have to talk to myself to  keep it straight.  I guess this one would be Peacock Feathers, since I used Brassard’s Peacock 2/8.

LOUISE                          Baby blankets and placemats have been on my loom. I also finally finishing a beaded bracelet.

 

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Social Distancing in a Weaver’s Life

I should be writing about Guild and Fibre Happenings.  Usually Spring is an awaking, not only of plants, but of weavers, Fibre Shows, Seminars, and Workshops.  Snow has melted and out we go into the world.  Not this Spring however.  These days Emails, photos, telephone conversations are our social interactions.  We search the web not for news of this horrid virus but for mind stimulation, ideas, and colours.   Fibre people are a lucky group.  We tend to have a stash of yarn, fleece, rovings, etc to keep our hands, looms, and spinning wheels busy.

Over the years I have become the person who stores guild display items and even some weaving equipment.  Two years ago the guild participated in a Seminar Challenge…Get Wired.  We consulted the keynote speaker and a local source who had taken a course on wire weaving and then enthusiastically put on a bronze wire warp.  A few of us wove off some wire pieces for our display.

As there was still warp left on the back beam, I retied the remaining wire  so that eventually someone could use it to explore this medium.  This never happened.  The loom sat in my studio for months and the months became years.

Recently after moving it once again to another corner, I decided that enough time had gone by and no one was going to take it off my hands and out of my studio.  I recommenced my venture into wire weaving.  Warp tension was terrible at first.  (Maybe that was due to the cat!) It was hard to get it to unkink.  I persevered and  ended up with 5 little sections of weaving.  Ironically the closer to the end of the warp the more even the tension became.  I had also learned that on this Dorothy Loom I could beat more evenly if I was as close to reed as possible.

Here are my 5 little vases.  Without having to stay home, and keep my distance from others, this warp would not have been finished.

As I cleaned up my studio I decided to try and gain 5 or more inches of shelf space by tossing out old copies of Shuttle Spindle and Dyepot.  Before sending them to the garbage bin, I of course read through them one last time.  Low and behold what did I find but an article on WIRE WEAVING.  It was in Winter 2002/2003 written by Donna Kaplan.  The weaving was done on a rigid heddle loom.  If you happen to still have this magazine check it out.  Maybe you too can explore wire weaving.

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INSPIRED BY NATURE

Last year one of our spinners, Jessie, showed us an article in which a fibre piece was inspired by a piece of a tree. As every year our guild tries to choose a challenge that is not linked to a conference or a seminar, we decided this might be fun to do. The “Big Reveal” was held at our January meeting. There was quite a variety of techniques and fibres….woven linen, bamboo, tencel, cotton. Felted cobweb to reflect water, or a shell or a stone. The spinners choose a similar stone to inspire their knitted pieces. The fibre pieces were then put in a display case on the 3rd floor in the Mississauga Central LIbrary.
My photos do not do the pieces justice…too much reflection, but you can get a sense of the display.

 

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CELEBRATING THE SEASON

This is the second year that our Guild’s Annual Xmas party was held as a lunch rather than a dinner.  We were pleased the weather co cooperated as winter came early here in our area.  The food was delicious as usual and there were an incredible variety of handmade gifts.  It amazes me that our members are talented in other disciplines.  Pam’s  marquetry is beautiful  and amazingly perfect.  The hand knitted cowls, socks and slippers are beyond me as I never managed to learn to knit.  Louise’s felting is outstanding.   As we draw a number to pick a gift and then the gift is often stolen by another person, I am never sure who goes home with what.  The important thing is we all have fun.  Sue’s home was a perfect venue. Thank you Sue.

The Spinners also held a Christmas lunch.  Their gift exchange entailed the challenge of creating something to keep your feet warm.  Check out the variety of footwear!  Pat hosted the party for them and as you can see from their happy faces (complete with silly hats) that they enjoyed themselves. Louise’s stuffed Brie was a hit as always.  I am going to try this out myself this year.

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SUMMER TIME WEAVING

I finally finished the warp on my cottage loom.  My sister had asked if I could do her some more tea towels but lighter weight.  Somewhere on the internet I saw a photo of a woven piece done in taquete polka dots but in pastel colours.  It reminded me of summer sherbets.

I had a plastic bin of 2/16 cotton and sure enough there was a variety of pastel colours.

So I wound a warp in the 2/16 alternating natural with a pastel colours.  I set it at 30 epi.

July and August were too nice to be inside weaving so most of the weaving was done in September and October.  I managed to get 5 teatowels.  Perfect for next years summer parties.  And they are a nice light weight for drying dishes.

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THE HAT AND SCARF CHALLENGE

At the 2018 OHS Spinning Seminar, the spinners were challenged to create headwear from a bag containing 50 grams of white and 50 grams of grey Corriedale wool.  A package of Kool-aid was also included to dye the wool.  The finished hats were to be  displayed at the 2019 OHS Spinning Seminar.  The Spinners chose to make the same hat – the Merrie Dancers Torrie Hat by Elizabeth Johnson who developed it for the 2018 Shetland Wool Week.  SWW18-Leaflet-LR (click to see image of inspirational hat)

For our Guild challenge, each spinner was matched with a weaver.  The weavers were given the colours that their assigned spinners were using.  They could use these colours or some of them or use the designs in the Merrie Dancer Torrie Hat  as their inspiration.

A very interesting combination of hats and scarves were the end result.

 

 

 

 

All these lovely items were placed on display in a case in the Central Library in Mississauga.

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CABIN FEVER

Our guild members have been trapped at home due to successive ice and snow storms.  Just stepping out your front door can be hazardous.  When poised with the question…What are you doing to offset winter cabin fever, I got some interesting replies.

Jill visited the RBG to study Snow Fleas.  No joke.  They really do exist!

Our spinners, Jessie and Pat, kept busy creating beautiful coloured yarn and of course knitting. Shawls, socks and mits will be the result.

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Louise experimented with needle punch embroidery.

She was also inspired by a article in Handwoven… and is now winding a warp to create her version of the scarf using 2/60 bamboo silk.

 

Lynn, one of our past members now living out West, reports that she has just finished a quilt top for her sister’s wedding in September. The floral pattern is a great antidote for Cabin Fever.  She has also been weaving tea towels and stitching.

Lynne's Quilt top

Barb and I have been experimenting with weave structures…..Boulevard Weave and Deflected Double Weave.  Both of us wondered what happened if you altered our tie ups.

Here is a detailed description of Barb’s Boulevard Weave study.  The results were well worth spending time under her loom to change the tie ups..

”Dr. William Bateman’s Boulevard Weave has been on my to-do list for a long time.  On Ravelry  a while ago I came across a photo and description of some Boulevard Weave tea towels that were very interesting.  The weaver had been inspired by drafts #606 and 607 in “A Weaver’s Book of 8-Shaft Patterns”, and so I decided to try it out for myself.  The warp and pattern wefts are 2/8 Cotton, and I used 2/16 for the tabby.  I followed draft #607 for the first two towels, which resulted in a 7-end float.  I wasn’t too concerned about the float length, as I figured it would only measure about ¼” after finishing (and I was right on), but decided anyway to try and change the tie-up to shorten the floats.  With the help of Fiberworks I was able to come up with an alternative which worked well.  On weaving the 3rd towel I noticed columns forming, which resulted in a different look, and so I used a solid colour next which emphasized the columns even more.

I had enough warp left for one more towel, and so got under the loom (again!) and tied up #606.  The black and white illustration in the book looked like birch trees to me, so I used charcoal for the pattern weft.  After finishing though I thought it looked more like stacked rocket ships or maybe even robots – shades of “Star Wars”.  If you squint properly, you can still see birch trees.”

Tea Towels (4) Boulevard Weave

My Deflected Double weave experiments were less dramatic.  I think if I tied on different colours the changes would stand out more.  The black square changed positions.  I did not change the treadling so possibly other patterns could result.  I am debating tieing on another warp….who knows what the results will be.

 

 

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Weaving the Bronze Challenge

Inspired by Dianne Totten’s talk at the Association of Northwest Weaving Guilds Conference in the June of 2017, one of our guild members, Marian, decided to try a second pleated scarf to enter into our guild’s Bronze/Get Wired challenge.   Loom controlled Shibori is a method of placing weft pleater threads, similar to smocking threads, every few rows in a plain weave ground cloth.

The pleater threads should be strong and smooth for drawing up, flexible enough to knot and fine enough so that the holes don’t show once the thread is removed.  Polyester upholstery thread works well and fits easily into a shuttle.   A weave structure is chosen to allow the pleater threads to be placed in a pattern; diamonds for instance.  Twills work well.  Marian chose a simple overshot pattern which allowed the pleater threads, set every 6 rows, to form large diamonds. .

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The ground cloth weft should be 50 -100% man made thermal reactive thread such as orlec or polyester. This ensures that the finished product, once steamed with the pleater threads drawn up will be permanently pleated. In this scarf orlec was used for the pleats and bamboo for softness and hand and they were woven pic-on pic.  (If the colours are close enough the thermal and the natural threads can alternate every 6 rows when a new pleater thread is added).  Pleating the scarf doubles the weight so using a fine weft such as 2/16 ensures a light weight scarf.

Pleats Warp

 

So here’s how it went.  After winding a 2/8 tencel warp using a couple of bronzes with a ‘duck egg’ blue accent at a weaving friend’s cottage on Georgian Bay this summer, Marian rented a nice Ashford table loom from the Greater Vancouver Weavers and Spinners Guild to use in her daughter’s garden during a visit out west.  After setting up the loom, Marian wove off and on while they all went off to work or daycare.  It was lovely.

Overshot Pleater Thread Diamond Pattern

One day close to the end of her stay, she took her work off the loom, finished the ends, pulled up and knotted the pleater threads and set it in a steamer on the stove for a couple of hours.  45 minutes is recommended but this was a small double boiler style steamer and she had to adjust the coils a few times to ensure every thing got thoroughly steamed.  …because, once you remove the threads, you either have pleats or you have flat cloth  …there is no going back.  And she got pleats!  Once the pleater threads were removed, the scarf was rinsed in luke warm water to remove the traces of any holes left by the pleaters   …and the pleats remained.

 

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THE GUILD GETS WIRED

It was a lovely fall day for the 2018 Five County Seminar hosted by the Guelph Guild at the Wellington County Museum.  The theme was GET WIRED.  Keynote speaker, Sayward Johnson, spoke in the morning about her journey into weaving with wire.  She was an excellent speaker and if you get the chance check out her work.   https://saywardjohnson.ca/

The afternoon program offered mini workshops and a tour of Wellington Fibres.  http://wellingtonfibres.on.ca

The Museum also held tours of their textile collection.

 

Seven guilds took the Get Wired Challenge.  The displays were awesome.  Such a lot of talent and creativity.  You would never know that most of the items were created  by seniors!  Each guild was given a metal to interpret either in fibre, wire, beads or felt.  The displays were inspiring.

Bronze was our guild’s challenge metal.  Our display had a variety of items.  Some were woven in bronze colours, some were created by crocheting, knitting or wrapping wire.  There were even baskets that incorporated wire and metal into their woven vessels.

 

Five guild members took on the challenge of warping a small table loom in wire and a long metal piece was woven using wire, beads, paper, fibre, and metal findings.  This piece proved to be the highlight of the show winning Best Weaving Award and the  Peoples Choice Award.  We were so surprised.

 

Here is a sampling of some of the other Guilds’ interpretation of the theme.

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THE STOWE EXPERIENCE

Each year a group of guild members make the journey to Stowe, Vermont to take part in the Basketry Festival.  This year only three members made the trip.  Here is Jill’s experience of her week in the mountains.

Tidal Wave Basket  (Instructor: Debbie Hurd – Garfield, AR )

This basket was woven over a class mold to achieve a perfect shape!  It is made of cane. We learned several techniques including 4-rod wale, 6-rod wale, twill weaving, triple twining, triple twine arrows, packing rows and a folded rim.  There were lots of colour choices.

Abalone and Cedar Basket  (Instructor: Pam Talsky – Waterford, WI) –

In creating this basket, we were taught traditional Haida weave techniques using finely, hand prepared Alaskan yellow and red cedar from Thorne Bay, AK.  Beautiful large Abalone specimens are included.  We learned square to round start, adding warp (spokes) and a sweet border at the top.  Beads were used to add an extra sparkle.  Waxed linen twining experience is a great base to learn from.  Harvest and preparation were discussed.  Pam harvests and treats her own yellow cedar.

Hinges, Doors, Books and Lockets  (Instructor: Mary Hettmansperger – Peru, IN)

This was definitely not a basket class but as the guild challenge this year is Get Wired,  it was a very approprite class choice.  Using copper sheeting and silver accent, we designed a hinged locket.   Mica was used to protect the image she brought for the locket and cold connections held it in place.  We made one locket with a copper back and a sterling front and other materials were available to make more books and lockets using just copper.  Patinas, texturing and metal applications, including embossing, were also explored.  The focus of this class was to master the hinge using tabs to create a variety of moveable doors.  It is a low-tech process with fabulous results.

     Wrapped Up   (Instructor: Annetta Kraayeveld – Beloit, WI)

Unfortunately Jill did not finish her basket but the photo below shows us what her 20180517_161142finished basket will be like.  It is a  little market style basket.  It starts with a woven filled base and is woven with round reed, hamburg cane and seagrass.  We were also taught a great method for hiding weaver ends.  The focal point of the basket it the eye catching wrap – one more great technique!

 

 

 Sculptural Antler Basket  (Instructor – Anne Bowers – Kearneysville, WV.)

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Jill did not take this course but could not resist showing it off.   It was woven by the daughter of the festival’s organizer, Merry.  This crazy colour basket was made using 10 different colors of round reed in addition to seagrasses, jute, baling twine and other materials.  Techniques include how to weave in hills and valleys and how to make use of windows and beads.  It sits on a  antler.  The baskets made in this class were all amazing!

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