This is a small selection of the weaving I have done this year. It doesn't look like much but I've been quite busy going back and forth to England more than usual and I can't weave on the train!
Knitting has been more productive and the above is just a selection. I love the one of my mother-in-law wearing the pink cardigan she asked me to make for her.
The hat is a random selection of different reds and greens, knitted in a fairisle pattern with no planning in mind. You can't really see the pattern but it will keep me warm this winter.
I love the mittens - handspun falkland wool and lovely to wear.
The bottom left photo is a work in process. Originally made for my husband it is not really going to work so I am going to get the scissors out and cut it down to fit me. The problem is simply that I am a little nervous about attacking all that work with scissors!
I have finally given in to the inevitable and given up the upholstery side of my business. My thumbs have become so painful that it simply isn't worth it anymore. I will continue with the paillage and the cane work.
Am I sad? Not a bit. I see it as an opportunity for new things and to that end I have reopened my Etsy shop. Not a lot in there yet but watch this space as I hope it builds up in time for the Christmas (can I use that word in August?) rush.
And in my shop, yes you've guessed, you will find my woven items plus a few knitted items. Believe me, if you want the best kitchen towels in the world, you want handwoven ones. Thick and super absorbent, they cannot be beaten.
Please let me know what you think. Or indeed, what you would like to see. I need your help and feedback to make this work.
In the meantime, a big thank you to my upholstery clients. I've only worked for people I like and have found it very rewarding. Beautiful furniture and some gorgeous fabrics are a joy to work with.
I was so pleased with my Surprise Shawl and so delighted with the beautiful Jaggerspun Zephyr yarn that I decided to quickly wind a warp with the leftovers to make a scarf.
I worked out how much I had of each colour and then wound the warp with the colours evenly distributed across the width of the scarf. It looks random but in actual fact it was very carefully worked out...and took me ages to do the maths!
After weaving 15 cms at the beginning I dug out my spool of high twist black wool and completed the scarf relatively quickly. A simple twill and a very light beat passes the time so long as it is accompanied by a good play on Radio 4!
The magic of the high twist yarn becomes apparent when the scarf is made wet. This is the scarf when it is dry.
It looks wonderfully "normal". But take a look at this which is after it has been washed and dried.
A rubbish photo but here is a closer shot which might explain better.
So really you have two scarves for the price of one!
My thanks as always to the wonderful Helen at My Fine Weaving Yarn who did so much to help me choose the colours. If I ever get my shop open again I will make more of these scarves to sell. Let me know if you are interested.
I hope it will be a surprise. I don't think the recipient is one of my two blog readers. She did me a big favour last year and was extremely kind after my mother died. I thought I should thank her with a birthday shawl.
It's finally on the loom. I bought the yarn in January but various trips to England at the beginning of the year meant I didn't have time to start until now. I wanted to be able to enjoy it and not have to worry that I would be interrupted.
And to help with the winding on??
It isn't very scientific but the bottles have a very small amount of water in them and they help to keep the tension even.
Warping front to back is massively easier. The warp ist already evenly spaced and the tension stays even throughout the work. Or at least I hope it does!
Here you can see the little windows appearing. I do like this draft. It is very straightforward and enjoyable to weave.
I bought the yarn from Helen Brotherton's My Fine Weaving Yarn. To help me choose the colours she sent me photos of various colour combinations and put up with me changing my mind every other day. I can't recommend her enough. True customer support.
Tea towels are always useful so I made some more last week in order to have a few gifts over Easter if required - I tend to leave the chocolate gifts to other people.
These are a Monk's Belt design and wove up very quickly. Partly, perhaps, because I had a very short deadline and basically didnt do much else! But I was pleased because for the first time I warped the loom front to back and it made the tension very even.
This is a great way to use up ends of colours. I just grabbed whatever took my fancy on this one.
There is general agreement that the green one is the odd one out. Lesson learnt...Monk's Belt is not designed for blocks of single colours.
I suspect it would be better next to other towels in single colours.
A happy Easter to you all.
Whilst in Vancouver, we went to a yarn and craft fair and having got there it seemed only reasonable to buy some yarn. So much yarn, so much to choose from and all the time Max watching my every move. If I spent more than ten seconds admiring a particular yarn or colourway he moved in.
"Aren't you done yet? Look at everything before you decide what to buy."
Hmm, not bad advice and a license to buy it would seem. So we did the tour; it didn't take long.
"So, all done? Can we get back now?"
I firmly started on the second round having narrowed my choice down to three or four very modest options. Having never woven with tencel that was one of my choices and I went striding back to the stand and bought a large roll. Enough for a warp so it needed a plain weft, or two. No sooner thought than bought.
"Oh that's lovely. Now, if we get back to the car now we should be back in time for lunch." As if the thousands of bars and restaurants in Vancouver all close at 2pm...
I zeroed in in some sock yarn and chose a couple of beautiful colours.
"Hmm, don't forget we've got to take this back with us. Overweight is expensive - surely you can buy all the wool you want in France?" Yeah, right. My bag had been packed in France with a lot of thought, leaving plenty of room for the important woolly things of life.
In the end I was worn down. I took the view that Max would only be persuaded to visit another yarn fair if he saw how reasonable his wife can be. I bought a tiny pair of foldaway scissors which even airport security didn't object to and left happy with my tencel. And a secret plan to sneak down to Granville Island before we left to "support" the local wool outlets. Support, you understand, is very important...
Anyway, I finally had time last week to wind a warp with the tencel. It is gorgeous and was unbelievably well behaved - no knots, no tangles, no problems. I'm using the blue first, the second will be the fawn. Two wide scarves - almost wide enough to be a shawl but I didn't have quite enough; should have risked the suitcase and bought a second cone.
More photos when it's off the loom.
I decided before Christmas that I needed to do some major destash work. Max would appear from time to time in the workshop with yet another bag of, um, wool. The upholstery workshop started to look like a major wool warehouse. What took up a little space in a room of over 80 square metres suddenly took up a lot of space in less than 40.
I've probably mentionned before (ad nauseum I hear you mutter) that this house would not be considered fit for human habitation if a health officer was to walk in during a cold spell and measure the temperature. In fact, he'd probably assume his thermometer had broken as it almost certainly wouldn't register low enough. But I digress. The obvious solution to the stash problem was to weave a huge shawl to keep me warm during the winter.
I simply removed all the Rowan yarns I had, plus two small orphan yarns, and wound a totally random warp. No thought given to colour order except that I tried to keep it proportional to the amount I had of each colour. I then did the same with the weft. The result is, not surprisingly, a totally random shawl!
This photo was taken during a break in the cold spell when I could take it off without freezing to death.
Made almost of entirely Rowan this is challenging my Summer Roses for the warmest shawl of the year award. It doesn't have the delicate detail of the roses but it certainly has the weight of warmth which was, after all, the whole point.