Saturday, May 23, 2015

Change of direction

I've had a difficult year and was second guessing myself about what I was doing and specifically not doing.
I'm over it now and decided that giving up is just not my way. I feel this design is a challenge - and I am going to meet it.
After all when down the only other direction is up :-)

This is the picture which initially inspired me and I have now started weaving again. I should have some progress photos by next time!

I'm currently spinning the yarn for the lighter back ground - the kind of white  "over dress" on the left.

 Meanwhile I finished the 3d scarfe on the same warp, woven with brushed wool yarn and hand spun silk, - This one is 2m (7' ) long not counting the fringes - long enough to snuggly wrap around against any cold wind.

Below is a picture of the 3 scarfes together
to show the differences better,

left, the scarfe with brushed wool yarn and hand spun silk,
Middle - with recycled hand spun Sari Silk
right - with bulky synthetic wool.

at my Etsy shop :
They are all nice warm and just the thing for the coming winter :-)

Am now setting up the little loom with a new warp for more Sarisilk table runners and place mats.

With good wishes for all your projects!
until next time, :-)

Friday, April 24, 2015

New territory

My tiny "Morning glory" seedling has settlet in well and is busy climbing on my shade house and threading themseves inbetwen the roses to the open area. The climbing roses do not show any desire to cover more than 1/4 of the roof area and more shade for summer would really be good. I thought of the morning glory as I had it growing on a veranday many years ago and I love the big deep blue flowers.

No tapestry photos this time but I will catch up next time. I had the thought for a long time to weave "something ancient egyptian" but had not found the picture which inspired me to actually go ahead. Now I found it - a scene where pharao Seti I is welcomed to the after life by Hathor. I have been working at it for a while, experimenting with colours, shades and yarns. I have found that the simpler and clearer an image is, the harder it is to get it right :-) I was nearly about to give up on it, but I am feeling now that I am on the right track and getting ahead easier. It's very intense - I am weaving the background with hand spun (by me) silk which is variegated - I don't want to produce the type of souvenir bright colour "egyptian" but rather also show the age of the art work. I have done more un-weaving than weaving - this is unknown territoy for me - but maybe this is the challenge I need to go on to other things after this.
There is just enough warp left on the loom for this piece - I am "pushing it" it's just enough and hope the loom tension will stay with me :-) and after that I will set the loom up for the next 3 to 4 tapestries. Hence I am a little irked at going so slow - but remind myself that one has to be able to walk before one can run...

I also finished another pair of socks for this winter
and a pair for
my next door neighbour.

Handspun Merino wool
with kid mohair, hand dyed and knit all by me.
They are really lovely warm and comfy.

 Also been busy weaving scarfes,
this one with SariSilk
the one below with bulky acrylic wool.
Both on a warp with cotton, hand spun wool and
 acrylic wool.

Both are soft and warm!
Weaving one more with the same warp with italian Mohair yarn and hand spun silk
at my Etsy shop

It is cold and very rainy here, I hope it will stop for the ANZAC celebrations.....

Until next week best wishes for your projects!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

busy again

In answer to the 2014 challenge of the AusNZ Tapestry group I wove something abstract to give the feeling of  "Light and Shadow", which was the set theme.
Unfortunately my camera did not cope with so much contrast. Firstly the "Light" side is woven with a yarn which has a sparkle in it, which one can not see, and the "Shadow" side is woven from hand spun natural black wool and a shade of dark hand spun brown wool (dovetailed) which one also can not see - and the beads on the "Shadow" side are most beaufully speckled wood from Africa. They reminded me of the patterns the shadows of plant leafs make, when some light filters through - which can not really be seen well in the photo. The beads on the "Light" side do not have those patterns, though they have a dark surround which can be seen as shadow.
To sum up, though most of the effects do not appear on the photo, I was happy with the way it looks in reality. We get a CD with the pictures of all tapestries when the tapestries come back from their travelling exhibitions through NZ and Australia - I just hope that whoever photographs the tapestries, has a better camera, producing a more accurate picture. If not, it will be another of those tapestries which look best when actually viewed.

I've also crocheted a new vest for myself to keep warm
in the colder weather.
It is made from recycled wool, which I dyed in dark and lighter shades. The original wool was a fawn colour.
Even though there are so many "holes", the vest is very warm!

I've also crocheted a shoulder bag with leather/fur patches.
They are from tanned sheep hide and I used pure wool rug wool
in 2 shades for the crochet - after punching an innumerable amount of holes all around the edges of the leather patches :-).

I made a lap afghan from one part of the blanket which I wove previously and crocheted an edge with eucalyptus green hand spun wool.

The last part of the blanket is now a baby blanket
edged with hand spun white wool which I plied with undyed kid mohair.

I am still weaving my single bed blanket,- I am weaving two single bed lengths (which seem to take "for ever") which I will then crochet together to make the width for the single bed.
I did not think double weave would work well with hand spun bulky wool.
It should be ready for this winter :-)

 Still spinning silk,
This one is variegated, spun for texture -thicker and thin - and is navaho plied (3 strands).

Now spinning a "Sea green" Silk ...

I also started weaving at my other tapestry again, now that the weather is nice to work in my studio.
The only problem are those overcast days when the sun comes out for a while and then it gets dark again, but I am getting there :-)

Until next time,
happy working at whatever you are doing and hopefully you enjoy nice weather too!!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Slow start

The "Queen of the Night"

opening it's petals.
They are so beautiful, I adore them!

Planing to paint ... :-)

They also come in red,
but are smaller than the white ones, and they open day over.

and there is a pink variety, smaller again,
but the one I used to have did not survive my last move.

Inmidst all the work in the garden, -

 I need a new vest and I am using reclaimed teal coloured wool to crochet something "more lacy". It is quite thick wool and the squares turn out 17 cm square.
21 squares done, -
keeping going until the wool runs out :-)

though I have not worked out how to arrange - connect the squares yet ...

I've started a new tapestry with an ancient Egyptian theme.
It took a while to work the design out
and transfer it.

The "little bits" of black, colour and gold go along the whole width.

The background colour is the solar dyed - natural dye stuff - hand spun silk. For the main figures, I will mainly use wool, cotton and gold yarn.

A slow start, but going now :-)

I also have a tapestry for sale in my Etsy shop (link to it is in the right hand space of this page).
It's ideal for a small space,  for example next to book shelf or fire place ...
A climbing Vine with Butterfly.

17 cm x 90 cm with a green brocade surround and backing
and a hanger.

Closer up picture.

Otherwise I am busy making presents, - that time of year!
And since there is Thanksgiving on the other side of the world,
I take the opportunity to thank all my Blogger friends
 for reading and commenting or just being there :-) !

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

cold again and windy

 I've spend some time trying to work out how to convert my ball winder to wind by hand and finally "got it".  It has a new spindle and once I wound balls on I could only get them off the spindle with difficulty! - more delay varnishing - two coats. Now the balls slide off happily.
Here is my "winder table" with normal ball winder left and the floss card winder above it and the "special ball winder" on the right. The reason this ball winder is so important to me is because it makes a smaller hole in the ball and I can wind up small balls to use for my tapestry weaving (instead of 100's of bobbins), without those getting in a mess.
This ball winder also has a second spindle which is smaller in diameter, again which allows me to  put the  weaving shuttle bobbins on it and wind them up. I like it better than using a drill :-)

I finished the set of 4 place mats with different colour edgings.
Cotton warp, with ribbon bands and cotton-slub with recycled Sari silk weft.
Here is a close-up which really shows the colours nicely.

Finished spinning one skein of natural white superfine merino plied with natural white angora-mohair kid ...
scrumptious! Very warm, turns slightly fluffy when worn in socks ...someone will have to wait for all the knitting to happen :-)

Though the weather has turned stormy, windy, drizzly rainy and cold again, - my cat Niddy is molting. She turns brown on top until she will have her sleek black summer fur again.
So, there is hope that the weather will improve!
I can not work in my studio when it is so windy and cold, though I have used several good hours in preparing the cartoon details and working out the yarn to use.
I am planing to use multiple strands of sewing cotton and hope to try out tomorrow how that weaves...
Please come back dear Spring! :-)

On a positive note - my tiny fig tree has already sprouted new leaves...

wishing you all a good week and that all projects will go well :-)

Friday, September 13, 2013


Very "happy camper" here :

I sold my "Secret Garden" tapestry.
It went to a very nice new home!
half way around the world ...

New mini tapestry: "Friends"  :-)
 Hand spun silk and gold yarn
mounted on painted stretcher canvas

New hand woven  recycled Sari Silk table runner
woven with two strands of Sari silk - one a happy yellow the other a multi coloured strand.

and another hand woven recycled Sari silk table
runner woven with 2 multi coloured strands of Sari silk on cotton warp.

You can see those and more in my Etsy shop click here

Spring is moving in - my little Bluebells are flowering ..

Wishing you all a great Spring time,
 with lots of new creativity!


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Friends now ...

Lucky find on eBay - an Ashford Traditional Spinning wheel for $25 !
It had been used for display - numerous thumbtack holes around the inside drive band run, but since the drive band is now on top in the run, nobody has noticed those yet :-) I replaced the leather on the conrod and the new one still creaks a little, (like a gentleman's shoes :), but that will wear off with use.
I sold the old one speed flyer for $25 and ordered a new standard flyer with ratios for $45.(from Petlins)

I got a lovely surprise!
Several months ago, I tried out the sliding hook flyer on the Ashford Traveller. I didn't like it for silk spinning  as the textured silk - like spinning from cocoons, would get hung up in the wire clip and there was not enough space with the Traveller set up, to get the drive band past the maiden bar on the smallest ratio without having the flyer at a weird angle just to allow the drive band to move freely..I sold the sliding hook flyer again opting for a standard flyer. It came with 3 ratios, whereas the sliding hook flyer had 4 ratios.
 I wrote to Ashford and asked if the standard flyer could not also have the 4 ratios ...

Can you see it? The new standard flyer has 4 ratios! Wow! it is nice when suggestions are actually taken up!
The 4th ratio (the smallest one) is of real help when spinning silk. Silk needs lots of twist, a small ratio means not having to treadle "hell for leather" (which I wouldn't mind while riding a bicycle, but with the spinning wheel it is not really fun!).  So - here is a happy spinner!!! - and of course on the Traditional there is no problem with the drive band since it goes nowhere near the maiden bar.

I spun some left over bits of silk,

and a larger skein of brown variegated silk.

I also prepared some wool for washing -
I tend to wash wool in staples, sandwiched
into the old "onion bag" tubes. I put all the
"not so interesting"and "pulled-apart" bits
into a separate bag and found to my surprise
that it was quite alright for spinning in the grease.
 I haven't spun in the grease for years, these are rather old fleeces and contrary to people usually advising that one can only spin fresh fleeces in the grease, I really enjoyed it!
 It also reminded me that wool doesn't like drying in cold winter wind, even though the sun is shining :-) - which is why the wool got uneven as it very slightly tried to felt.

Another mini tapestry is off the loom
still has to be sewn up and mounted.
All woven with hand spun silk (except for the gold)
and weaving more runners with the rest of the Sari silk, this time on a (happy) yellow warp.
Just started runner 3 by now. More pics of those, next time.

I did not have much chance to weave in my studio. We either had such windy weather that I rather not be there, or it was soooo cold, that even my thick jumper did not help and I gave up. I can not weave tapestry with fingerless mittens :-(
Waiting for a little warmer weather (rather not catch another cold) - the Snowbells have been flowering and the Bluebells are sprouting, even my "Bird of paradise" is flowering, the Rosemary is flowering, as is the Lavender .. some of the succulents have had lovely flowers too - surely spring is coming soon?

I will know when the wind is warmer and spreads the finished almond blossom petals all over the garden and into my studio - A lovely way to start working in my studio again :-)

 And here:  Friends now!  Yeva (my RSB guide dog 2 1/2 yrs old) and Niddy (14 yrs old) enjoying the sunshine together!

Yeva had no experience with cats. She has learned that cats are "spoil sports", they don't play like dogs, - especially an experienced cat like Niddy, and maybe Yeva is getting more mature instead of "over-sized puppy dog"
But now they are friends ♥  :-)

Wishing you all happiness with your creative work!