Saturday, December 11, 2010

Weaving clouds, spinning clouds ...

Clouds appear on the sky, - it is fun to weave clouds!
the black small mark on the warps above the clouds (left)
is the END line.
I am hoping to get the tapestry finished before it gets too hot in my studio. It doesn't look so far off, but it is still quite an area to go. One pick at the time ...

This is the top of the sail and mast of the boat
with the little flag - more golden yellow sky
colour to go ...

I am spinning kid mohair, hand dyed
with darker and light shades of blue and
a little of violet.
I use Earth Palette cold water dyes.

I flick card the locks and they get all fluffy like clouds. I spin straight from those and enjoy it very much.

This is how it look spun on the bobbin.
I like the sheen of the kid mohair! When I am
finished I will ply it with some superfine merino which I have already spun.

I will update again before the end of December.
For anyone who is going away: Have a good holiday!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dyed sik cocoons and sunset colour

I had bought a small packet of hand dyed silk cocoons, to see how it would work spinning those. I was very surprised, to find that it was easy to draw the silk from the cocoons. I really got the feel of the long silk fibre, much better even than spinning from silk hankies. It was imensly enjoyable. I had been warned that the spun silk would be more textured and on the bobbin it looked rather bumpy in places. What was nice was that the colour from the outside of the cocoon is darker and is not as strong on the inside - nice darker and light shades.

Now look how nice it turned out after
washing and drying!

It makes a big difference to spin the long silk fibers. In the silk tops the fibers
seem to be only between 5 to 9 cm long from being processed through the machinery. From the cocoons the fibers seem to go on in one stream.
The resulting silk is softer and "blooms" after washing.
I look forward to try out weaving and see if it makes a difference.
The yarn is Navajo plyed (3 strands make the yarn)

Silk sunset colour in the sky of my tapestry

Friday, November 5, 2010

Here she is, little "beastie"

I hope you like her too ...
I did not want one of those "teeth flashing - growling" beasts. Mine is a "dragon" boat, - trying to hold my own against the elements, determined to get to wherever it is, but not in an aggressive way. I choose a viking boat because I admire the courage those people had in just setting off, not knowing when they would see land again and what they would find.
I especially like the tail, I think it's cute! :-)
Happy weaving and a nice weekend and week to all.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

challenges, - and time ...

The rocky part of the landscape is finished,
The sail and sky colours started, -

I have been spinning madly to get enough of the sea colour to weave with. I am getting near the horizon ...
In the meantime I am experimenting with blending silk for spinning to get my sky colour right. It is difficult to judge colours via the monitor, TreeTops Colour Harmonies have such beautiful colours but when the silk arrived it was about 4 shades darker than expected. It is difficult to photograph silk with all the lustre and reflections ... at least it is the right colour as such, and now I am blending. Hopefully it will work.

I hope you like the sea for now!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Bluebells and weaving progress

The sea is coming along well and the boat started, I feel like I am truly on the way! - the boat is moving...
Also happy Spring! in the meantime, the bluebells have come up. I love those!
I have finished spinning all the sea blue silk which I will need and have started spinning the blue silk for the sky. I am wondering if my proposed sail colour wil work out fine, - well, that will come next time :-)
Best wishes for all your projects!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

Spring started with a thunderstorm ...

I have been fighting for weaving time. Mainly because of the weather. Spring started with 2 days of storms, - one whole day with thunderstorm and loads of rain. On such occasions I am always grateful that I live on a hill and not in a valley. The only place to stay was inside .. The moment the weather is good, there is so much to catch up on ...
The other reason I am slowed down are those sea colours. The shades I have been spinning previously turn out quite different when woven in. I think blending colour for tapestry weaving very seldom works for me in advance. Once I sit and weave, then I can tell exactly what to change or what I want. Blending colours is the enjoyable part when painting, but with tapestry it's the weaving which compensates me for the chase after the perfect shade :-).

I am busily spinning more shades of blue. I find weaving with hand spun silk a real pleasure! I had problems to start off with 2 ply silk, as I needed to check which end to start with, to avoid the ply totally unraveling while weaving to and from. Now I Navajo ply the silk which solved that problem.

And yes, that is the bottom-half of a Viking boat, - waiting to get woven! I thought it would be fun to sail one of those, - and it also sounds more daring and adventurous.
All I need is better weather , as not to get drenched while going to and from my studio and with a few bits of sunlight, t' would be nice. Until next time, happy weaving!

Friday, August 20, 2010

First glimpse of the sea

Slowly getting there,- the first glimpse of "the sea" in the middle.
The theme is "Journey - stage 3". On with weaving ...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Still winter here, but ...

Our weather is still cold (for us) and very windy with rain inbetween .... but my almond tree has burst into bloom. It's around 40 years old but living next to my compost, it is still happily flowering and producing loads of almonds for summer.

Otherwise I am busily spinning silk for the "sea" in my new tapestry. This skein is from silk hankies and has tiny light yellow spots in it, which I hope will look like the reflection of light ...
The silk I am spinning is tops and has deeper and lighter shades of this sea blue.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New tapestry started

Actually I am still working on the design.
This time I started weaving and found very
quickly that I wanted to change . I have learned
to follow such "instincts" - rather than force the
issue. It is the first tapestry in a long time, where
I can weave exactly what I want and I think I got
overwhelmed with all my stored up ideas. I am
hoping to have worked everything out by the end of this week.
In the meantime, this is how far I have got up to now.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

An unexpected visitor

I was taking my 15 minutes break from weaving and decided to cut some lavender for drying. When I got to the other side of the shrub, I found this wonderful dragonfly. It waited til I got ready with the camera too. I might have to add that it is very rare to see dragonflys here.
I went back to weaving with joy in my heart!
Weaving update coming next. See you soon!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Making life easier, - and fun too!

I had put my hand spun silk for this tapestry in a larger container , divided into smaller boxes which I managed to find.
The problem with that was that I had to take the little boxes out and sit them around to find what I wanted. While searching, it
only takes a small movement and one of the small boxes and
all it's content is on the floor. When I finished weaving I had
to put all the boxes back into the larger container and
I didn't like this arrangement at all.

Today I found these boxes in an office supply shop! Glorious!
It was fun to sort the colours and I tried it out this afternoon.
They are 5 separate boxes with 2 flat drawers each which slide
out very easily. In the photo below, I opened all the drawers just to
brag a little about all the wonderful colors and shades
of the silk (grin!). The boxes stack very securely on top of each
other. It works like a charm! Can't wait for my weaving time

Friday, May 28, 2010

A slightly disappointing month as in weaving progress, but it had the most glorious weather to do all the needed work in the garden. Not saying that I am finished there, but all the important stuff is taken care of, including my vegies in boxes. These are the peas and the beans are coming along nicely too.

Anyway, I am getting going on the weaving now.
I have worked myself across the 95 cm (37.5") and spent quite some time working colors out and spinning more silk, but nothing is stopping me now. At the moment the tapestry looks like this.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


I have been busy with 4 chairs I happen to discover in an op shop (when we got lost and asked for directions there, talk about "coincidences" ...). I decided to sand and re varnish them and give them new seat covers. Then I found out how much work chairs are, they have too many surfaces!! and all the dust, even tho I did all the machine sanding outside the studio. Anyway, they are finished now and I am very happy with them! They fit to my dining table perfectly. I know now why people have Spinning chairs. I am not using the "new" chairs,
- I have a nice colonial looking chair with wide angled legs and supports between them. The ideal spinning chair!
It took me 1 hour to vacuum the studio and another hour to clean everything! That will teach me! :-)
Now back to tapestry, I finished the starter strip today.
ready to go now! see you next time!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Introducing Karley

I mostly sign my mails with "Vera & Karley" and people apparently wonder if that is my partner, my daughter or ... ? Karley is a Golden Retriever x! - and what is a dog doing in my signature? She is a Seeing Eye Dog - SEDA. Very special, very clever, my friend and part of " the team - Vera & Karley".
I am vision impaired, legally blind having tunnel vision, which means I see as good as anybody else my age, but only a very small amount of it. When I sit at my loom I am safe. I am also used to everything in my home, though I get occasions where I misjudge things, to the distress of Karley, who never does something like that (grin)!
But when I go out I depend on Karley to guide me. I get lost very easily unless I know where I am and she remembers bus stops, and shops and even the supermarket isles, the pet isle, where the bread or the milk is and of course the meat....
So here is to my dedicated friend, Karley! Photo is from a visit to a friend and yes, it's a fleece rug, Karley knows where it's best to sit! :-)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Stand for frame loom

Up til now I have been using my painter's easel as stand for my frame loom, but it is inconvenient to keep changing around between canvas and weaving. I have made a stand just for my loom. It is a simplified version of my painter's easel in as much as it only has one option with two pegs for the loom to sit on - the height which is comfortable for me, sitting on a chair in front of it. Today the varnish is nicely dried. Absolutely no colored paint splatters anywhere, (grin!) which is a nice change too! .
The photo shows the empty frame loom on the stand, but I will clamp it on, once I have warped it. Started warping today too, - though I am still busy with the designs for a smaller tapestry on this small loom and a larger one for the loom in my studio. I will catch up when I have more to show!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Finished commission

It has been a new experience for me to weave the same design twice (- as in composition), - but as mirror image. The first tapestry has a Summer theme, the second a Spring Theme.
These two tapestries have been woven for the chapel/quiet room at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide. They are 45 cm ( 17.5") wide x 95 cm (37.5") long and free hanging. Both the same size though the photos are slightly different sizes.
The first two photos show details of each tapestry. (having to get used to posting yet :-)

Now I'm looking forward to start something new and am busy planing and choosing ...