Saturday, April 17, 2010

Warp and Weft

"Weft goes left". At least that's how I remember it.

Here's my first official weaving project that is something useful.

Just in case you're not sure what it is - it's a scarf.

I'm quite happy with it.

The warp (the strings on the loom at run north and south) is a navy blue wool.

The weft is a denim coloured wool. It's roving from Northern Lights that I spun on my spinning wheel.

It was interesting to see the fabric's finished look as the yarns were combined to make the cloth.

The homespun is a much lighter blue so I can compare to see how much the navy of the warp changed its final appearance.

This project took me (a beginner) about 2 days to make.

That estimate includes making the warp, dressing the loom (stringing the loom) and then weaving the project.

(Photo - the weaving is done and the threads have been cut at the back of the loom, loosening the tension of the warp).

The happy dance at the end was only about 30 seconds :)

The only good part about our weather turning cold and more spring-like is that now I can wear the scarf.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Wishing and Wondering

I was sitting quietly in the back yard on a warm and sunny afternoon. Spring was blessing us with a few unusual warm days and I've been very much appreciating them.

The children who live behind me were all outside and I could hear their laughter while they played. Some of the children must have gone inside and one child remained outside.

Suddenly the air was filled with loud singing. This child, I guesstimated to be about 6 or 7, had burst into a spontaneous made-up song.

I smiled.

Such unabashed joy and hope were so strongly felt that she couldn't help herself but to express it.

I remembered I used to do that too. I particularly remember one afternoon in the barn at Grandpa's that I sang Jim Jimmeny over and over (from the Mary Poppins movie). I sang it while I attempted to balance on the edge of the manger and walk the whole distance of about 8 feet with my arms stuck out sideways. I just loved that song.

I asked myself what had happened to me. To us adults. Why can't I suddenly burst out into spontaneous song? (Why do I feel I can't?) I guess I grew up. And I fear 'men in white jackets'.

But listening to that little girl I couldn't help but let go a few tears, remembering and regretting growing up maybe a bit too much.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Another New Hobby - Weaving

Oh I've been busy!
Spring has sprung and all the little jobs spring up just like the tulips and crocuses.

My honey bees have been busy flying and I've been tending to them - spring feeding and taking their winter hive wraps off.

Between getting the taxes done, Red Cross training courses, a really bad cold and some other mundane must do's I managed to take weaving classes... and I purchased a used loom.

Her name is Fanny. She's a Leclerc loom made in Quebec and she's now resting, her maple wood polished to a high shine, in my living room. I think the loom was made in the 1970's, but I'll get more details on that later.

For now, I have a new vobulary, breast beams, beaters, shuttles, heddle hooks, and other parts of the loom. Then there's the different weaves you can make, the plain being a Tabby, the most common a Twill and my favourite so far, the most difficult called Broken Herringbone.
For the classes you learn to make four coasters.
Thoughts of coasters don't really get me enthused a whole lot but when I realized that the purpose behind the four coasters is to learn the four basic weaving patterns, I realized the method behind the (boring) coasters.
We used table looms for the classes and they're really nifty, portable too.
The final part of the class is the fun part and that's when you get to really make something.
I'm not big on table runners so I opted to make a scarf.
Hopefully my loom will be up and running in the next week or so.
I plan to make lots of blankets... maybe even some cotton curtains for my garage.

For the scarf I'm making in class, I'm using my own homespun wool.
How is your spring going? What projects have you been working on?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

In the Lap of Luxury

It took my Dad most of the day to design and make it.
I evicted Jeremy squirrel on a warmer winter day but I knew he'd be intent to get back into the garage. After all, he'd spent considerable time making a home there in the roof joist.

He'd carted dried leaves to use as bedding. He snooped through the garage and found plastic shopping bags. These he chewed up to make soft bedding.

Then he committed the ultimate crime and stole the curtains over the garage door window. I'm sure he couldn't resist the cotton fabric.

But Jeremy was chewing the wood, probably to make his home bigger and he couldn't be allowed to stay and create damage. So he was nicely evicted.

When Dad heard his plight he opted to help. If Jeremy could be happy with a home elsewhere he'd stop trying to get back in the garage.

So Dad made him a house. Not just an ordinary house. No, this house is lined in carpet and cut to size. There's enough room for a tubby Jeremy to sleep in a whole bunch of different positions.

I set the house up and it took about 2 days for Jeremy to move in.

Now he rests in the lap of luxury - scraps of sheep's wool, alpaca fibre, leaves, straw and best of all, the garage curtains.

On this sunny afternoon Jeremy was trying to sleep but a talkative neighbour next door kept waking him up. He'd poke his head out and lean out of his doorway to see what was going on.

I talked to him to ask him what he was thinking.

He sat back down inside his house and pulled the door closed - see the photo where he pushed the sheep's wool up to cover the doorway.