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!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

was someone hibernating "?" :-)

After quite a long break - some news:

I have been spinning up a purple-mauve-blue sliver
and in the top of the basket, part of the silk cocoons which I solar dyed, end of summer. It does not show in the photo but it is a more textured yarn and also variegated between the pale golden yellow and the more faded and white from the inside of the cocoons where the dye did not reach. This skein is part of the silk I am spinning for the back ground of. my new tapestry.
The middle skein are just the leftover from both the puple and the pale gold. In tapestry even small amounts come in handy.

This is spun silk sliver, again one of those I solar dyed (from Marigold flowers)and which turned out a lovely pale gold.The sheen makes it look white in parts but it is all one even colour.
Again this is spun as textured yarn for the back ground of my new tapestry - it is meant to look like an old surface...) - and is the biggest skein I ever spun of silk - a whole 95 g  :-) !

I've mentioned the new tapestry twice, but there is no picture yet. I had been working on a design for my new tapestry which I have been thinking about for a long time. Then suddenly, a new idea came up - something which developed into a "must do" urge until I could not resist and started on the new design. Hence a little slow coming up with something woven - other than my "starter strip". I always weave a strip about 1 1/2 cm high before I start on the actual tapestry. It provides me with a solid base for the actual weaving and I use the strip as a hem when the tapestry is finished. Most of the time I also weave my studio name before starting the tapestry. This way the name is at the back of the tapestry and doesn't annoy anyone (if exhibited). I don't like doing that at the end of the tapestry since all I can think of is, that I have finished the weaving and want to cut the tapestry off  the loom. :-)

 .In the meantime I feel cosy, warm and snug in my new hand spun merino + kid angora-mohair socks. One ply of each. Dyed with "Earth Palette" dye. I was not sure it would work since the kid mohair is so soft, but they are heavenly to wear. I made a mistake at the toes decreasing in every row instead of every second row, but the socks are a perfect fit and I decided not to undo it. It turns out that I have enough to knit a second pair and made a note to do it right next time :-)

And I am trying out "Mini Tapestries" to see if
someone might like those.
The size of the canvas is 10 x 10 cm
(4' x 4')  they come with a stand or can be hung on the wall.
Woven with hand spun silk (by me) and metalized polyester for the sparkly bits (on Seine Twine warp).


They will sell for $28.00 plus postage ($6.95 in Australia)
Can be bought without stand for $26.00 + postage.
Each one will have a unique design (no repeats) This is Number 1

Wishing you all a good week!
Progress on the new bigger tapestry next time :-)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Water - all the way

Here is my "From the Mountains to the Sea"

The top strip shows the spring - with a small waterfall emptying into a lake - second strip - from there going to the left into the third part, which is the river - and to the right flowing into the sea underneath - with a little surf to the left,  against a coast line.

I like the idea of the mountains mirroring in the lake --wonder what others think of the overall idea.

I have used mainly hand spun silk, some recycled Sari silk for the 3 separating bars, some viscose embroidery yarn, acrylic mohair and metalized polyester - for silver and blue glittery bits, which unfortunately don't show up in the pictures.(scans).

If there is one thing I don't yet have enough experience with - it is how to keep the edges straight. I have no problem at all when weaving larger tapestries, but in the confines of 20 cm I get surprises every time.
I think that it is the hand spun silk. It is extreemly unforgiving when it comes to weft tension and partly confusing, because of the natural un-eveness of my hand spun (I refuse to spin like a machine, - it is part of the charm of the hand spun - in my opinion :)
I seem to have the knack of it over larger distances - but I am far from perfect in this format. I will give it more practice in my next tapestry.
And to top it off - I actually didn't realize that my warp was 21.5 cm wide - giving me measurements of 21.5 cm x 19 cm ( 8 1/2" x 71/2"). The requirements for max size is 20cm x 20 cm and I will have to find out, if my measurement is still acceptable, or if I have failed and the tapestry won't be accepted...( for the AusNZ Tapestry Group exhibition) I will let you know!
We are having rather hot weather for a week already and according to forecast another week to go - which is tiring because it is partly overcast and definitely doesn't cool down enough over night - Temps are between 21 to 23 degrees over night, between 31- 35 degrees day over 38 by next week, sigh!
Love my air con over night - but dream of cooler weather.

My little fig tree in the pot, decided to surprise me and is growing a baby fig - at the end of the top leaf stem. That will be nice, I won't say no, after all, it's something to look forward to  :-)

Wishing you all a good week and lots of creative time - yes, already have a design for the next tapestry ...

Cheerio - until next time.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Things happen...

Here I am! doing a rather long strip of card weaving.
I went to the Park for Yeva to have a little free time. I wasn't quick enough and Yeva peed on her leash while I put her harness on my trolley. I tried, not very succesfully, to dry it on the grass and decided to hang it over my trolley til it was dry. Yes, I usually clip it on to the harness, but it was wet .... apparently it slipped off my trolley as I walked. I noticed it further on and turned back, walked the whole bit twice. A lady even stopped to help look for it, but it had disappeared. Good luck to whoever felt, they needed it more than me!

So! .... there I am weaving a leash, which has to be double length,
to allow for easy control of the dog in harness

Here we are! finished!
Yeva is not used to pose for pics - no smile, - she will get the hang of it! :-)
It's such a relief to have a leash again! It's not leather, but actually the tablet woven strip is equally strong. I use rug wool. It washes easily, which is also great for going to  the beach! and is kind on one's hands.
In Lappland in the olden days of dog sleds, they used to weave the dog harnesses from those strips because leather cracks when the temps are freezing but the wool retains it's strength. They also used the strips as decorations for their coats and hoods.

I had enough wool left for an additional normal length dog leash.
It is for sale, if you are interested.
It is 108cm (40 1/2" long)
including swivel clip and handle.
I used to make lots of those leashes in different colours for my shop and used mine for years for my pet dogs. (Cocker Spaniel, Newfundland).
It's a fun way to get a little colour in one's life
and make the dog feel special!

 Only a small progress on my tapestry,  - the weather has been too hot still. I have to be careful not to be sweaty weaving with silk...
On the left is the surf, on the right a river joining the be continued :-)

Best wishes to you all.
til next time :-)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Natural dyeing saga

When I cleaned my studio I found a basket full of dried natural dyestuff - marigolds, irises, honey bush, red rose petals and something I could not identify. I thought I might just do one more lot of natural dyeing. I wanted to try out Solar dyeing :-)I started with soaking the dye stuff and then took 3 weeks to get Alum and Copper sulfate. Nobody stocks it. With help from Group mail friends (Yahoo anzweavespin) I got it online from *Virgina Farm Wool Works* (in case someone else is looking for mordant) by mail last week. Here I put the mordanted wool into the jars with dye liquid. The nice red colour (grin) is the onion bag which contains the wool.

Finally, yesterday evening I took all the wool and silk out to dry ready for a 37 degree day today.               I had the glass jars in a hot place at the back of the house standing on gravel and wrapped with black plastic garbage bags, hoping that would provide enough heat. The colours are pale though - and I assume the temperature was not hot anough. The brown silk is an overdye. I dyed it with walnut husks, which are supposed to give a chocolate brown without mordant, and though we had 38 degree days it came out so pale it was not worth keeping it that way and I over dyed with the red rose petals.
Here is the wool with a white silk in the middle to show off the colour. I am so happy I managed a green colour, dark red rose petals with copper sulfate mordant. It does not show up beautifully but it is a lovely soft pea green (on the right top). On the left is the marigold yellow :-) The wool is superfine Merino sliver. (sooo soft!)
Here is the silk, keeping the white silk as comparison.

Here is a better pic of the pale gold silk(top left in the previous picture

And one lot of silk cocoons (empty :-) which did not get quite dry yet.
In the meantime I started the small tapestry for the AuNZTapestry group exhibition. I won't be able to show the completed tapestry until after the exhibitions (travels over Australia and NZ) but hopefully can show some details.

The first tiny *Golden Nugget* mini pumpkins (ideal for just one person!) are forming!
and the first pumpkins *Jarrahdale*. I planted those in the ground between my new mandarin tree and the pinapple guava (both are still small) and the pumpkin plants seem to like it. Bees buzzing around every morning... I hope they will keep growing well :-)
I spun one big skein (100g) of the green silk which I dyed last year. I will use this for weaving, for my new larger tapestry, which I will start when the weather cools down again in autumn. It will have a rain forest theme which is why I will use a lot of green. I'm still working on design details.... :-)
Naked ladies have popped up in 3 places in my garden!  (Big Grin) - in case you don't know: they are called *naked ladies* because in spring they grow heaps of leaves, which then die off during early summer so that there is nothing there and when one least expects it one large stem grows up and those pretty flowers open -- and no leaves in sight
Also in the meantime I have updated my web site. If you have not had a chance to check it out, here is the link to it:  I hope you will like it,

Wishing you all a good week and coming weekend!