Monday, 29 September 2008

I love weaving, sometimes

Finally warped up my loom to make some of my 'Woven Memories' hangings. I thought I'd play with using my handspun yarns and recycled materials. I have my Experimental Spinning Birthday skein to make one for me, and I'll make a couple for sale.

This has got to have been the worst warp I've ever done. I like to think that I'm careful and don't make many mistakes. That nylon wire has made an idiot out of me. I did finally get it all right, then a broken thread. This stuff is hard to handle. No excuse, I've done it before!

I am happy, though with the way it's weaving. It should look spectacular at the beach.

I did retrieve my knitting from the beach and have, sort of, finished it. I'm not happy with the neckline and will open it up a bit more. I didn't finish the front twisted cable panels properly, just for this possibility. It's the right size, but is a bit tight around my tummy. Hopefully, it will be all right with a pair of jeans.
I'm still not sure if I'm totally happy with this jumper. We'll see after I fix the neckline.

Friday, 26 September 2008

I bought some socks.

As part of my checking out Etsy, I decided to buy something to see how it all works. Not being a great shopper, this proved more difficult than I thought. I did, finally, find these socks. Aren't they gorgeous?
They're made of recycled cotton. The originals are handknit, but they're made on a knitting machine, I assume a sock knitting machine, of course. They are made in pairs, but are "Mismatched with care in Vermont". I just love the deliberate mismatching.
The shop on Etsy is Rustic Seasons.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Altona Oil Refinery

The 3D5S trip for September was to Altona Oil Refinery. Meeting at the guild, and travelling together, we managed a side stop at docklands, where ships were being loaded with their containers. The structures here are amazing.

The trip to the Refinery had involved liaising with the public relations people who were very helpful and we were able to take photographs from around the perimeter without the interference. Security is obviously tight, sitting on all that flammable liquid must make you nervous at the best of times.

It is an amazing facility, which I don't think that those of us who have only ever driven past, are really ever aware of. There are pipes everywhere, it makes you wonder what they are all for.
It's going to be interesting to see how these translate into crochet and weaving when we meet next month. A fabulous trip.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Don't judge a book by its' cover

Looking for inspiration is always a pleasant experience.

I managed to find a Nicky Epstein book, only to find that it was on hold. Looking for a second time, I was a little desperate, I couldn't walk out of the library without something. This book did not look promising. Terrible looking 70's thing with an uninspiring title. It turned out that it was written in 2005. Couldn't someone have done better, there is very little that draws you to this book.

Except when you open it. It is full of fantastic ideas, swatches, techniques. I love it. I spent the evening just looking through it.

So excited was I that a small ball of leftover yarn was converted into a little sample of icords being included in the knitting, not just as a trim. I could see them going all over the place, both sides and extremely long.

I love libraries.

Friday, 19 September 2008

teesjourney on Etsy

It's official, I now have a shop on Etsy. ( The shop is called 'teesjourney'. I've only got a few things up there, but it's a start. I've already had a few views and someone has put me on their favourites list. Very lovely. I just have to wait for the first sale.

It's quite a process setting up, deciding on your look, the banner, postage, pricing and the worst of all, photographs. I hope I will be quicker and resolve some of the problems with some colours. I would like to think that colourwise they are accurate. There's more to do in terms of putting information and doing promotion, and I tackle those things over the next few weeks.

I now have three weeks to the next 9"x5" market......I do tend to mark my time by each market....I am feeling the need to do something more creative than the fingerless mittens I need to make, the silk scarves and now silk yarn I would like to finish. The sculpture beckons, so lots of spinning of paper, but I think I need a big weaving job? Have to think.

This is not a block, I have plenty of ideas, just the desire for something substantial?

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

What have I been doing?

Mainly bookwork, labels, even washing my market table cloths. I decided that as doing all the administrative things I usually leave to the last week wasn't really getting them done, I've decided to do them this week. It's usually a bit flat after the excitement of a market day.....yes, it was successful, quiet but some lovely return business and friends. This means not so much actual work being done.

As well, I'm working on setting up my Etsy shop. Yes, I've decided to take the plunge, despite my reservations about its large size. It's only about the size of a small city, and I manage to live in Melbourne of three million, so I should be able to manage Etsy. It is quite an online community and the sharing of information and experience seems to be encouraged.

I'll let you know when I open up for business!

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Silk scarves

Here are the three scarves I've made in the last couple of days. The red (Landscape 'Crab Apple') is actually a short row knit giving lovely curves, rosemary is a long scarf, knit diagonally (decrease one side, increase the other) and the onion skins is knit lengthwise with a stitch called 'Daisy Chain' (courtesy Vogue Knitting 'Stitchionary' Volume one) down the centre.
Off to Incube8tr this afternoon. More spinning!

Friday, 12 September 2008

Dyeing with Rosemary and Onion Skins

The 9"x5" Market is on again, this Sunday and I'm busy trying to make some silk scarves. A more luxurious item, that can, hopefully translate into either Summer scarves or Christmas presents.

As part of this project, I've tried some natural dyeing. The usual dyeing process involving Landscape dyes.

The first one I tried was with Rosemary. At first it was a bit disappointing and unfortunately difficult to photograph. The colour is a soft golden almost, but not quite, green. The colour you're supposed to achieve with Rosemary is a green. However, upon further reading of India Flint's 'Eco colour' I figure I should have harvested and chopped up the leaves, off the branches I trimmed, instead of just chucking in the whole lot as they came off the bush. I will try that next time.
The next dye I was really keen to use was Onion Skins. I have dyed with this at the Plant Craft Cottage in the Botanical Gardens and loved the colour this humble plant material provided. My local green grocer, generously provided me with a bag of onion skins. (It would have taken me months to collect a bagful!)
I wasn't disappointed. This beautiful, I don't want to say 'brown' as it doesn't convey the colour, Autumn leaf colour will knit into a beautiful scarf.
The process of dyeing is simple. I chose to use a more gentle method as suggested by India Flint, of bringing the dye material to a boil and then letting the pot brew. This worked very well with both materials and when I finally added the yarn as well. I simply bought the dyepot to the heat and then let it sit.
As these scarves are made from yarn which is both wool and silk, it is interesting how well the silk takes up the dye, to the detriment of the wool. To get a strong colour on the wool, I'm going to have to dye it separately. The natural dyes are noticeable, but the commercial red dye I used, really shows the difference.
There's so much to try.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Painting for Don's Party

I finished the painting for my friend and it's now hanging at the HTC Arts Space, ready for the opening of the play, 'Don's Party'.
It was quite a challenge and I still think I could have done something I'm thinking it should have been more like the original...smaller copies rather than just one. More time may or may not have helped, I might have still just procrastinated.
I am glad I did get it done.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Fractal spinning

Yesterday was the meeting of the Experimental Spinners group at the HWSG. This meeting coincided with the Weaving Certificate class so we were surrounded by lots of colour and texture as they were working on their cram-weave scarves.

We were working on Fractal spinning, which was inspired by a skein called 'George' and two articles in the Summer 2007 issue of Spin-off.
Definition: A fractal is generally "a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced-size copy of the whole, “a property called self-similarity. The term was coined by Benoît Mandelbrot in 1975 and was derived from the Latin fractus meaning "broken" or "fractured."
( – search for ‘fractal’)

For the purposes of spinning, it is applied to multi-coloured tops where we split the top into ever smaller lengths. There are, of course, variations on the main idea, and these can also be applied to any series whether, tops, fleece or textures.

I chose these beautiful silk tops, of which I only had 10grams. Enough to finish in a short time. I split them down the middle and spun the first half as it came from the top. I did a little pulling apart to try and maintain some blocks of colour, but I wasn't very precise or finicky. This was my first bobbin.

The second bobbin, I split the remainder of the top and spun half, and, continued splitting in this way until I wasn't drafting when I was spinning. I managed to split it four times (five lengths). I wasn't sure of the result, as at times, the second bobbin seemed quite different, but then at the end I couldn't really tell them apart!
I then plied these two together to get a beautiful yarn, which is quite reflective of the original tops, but far more subtle. Unfortunately, my halves weren't exact and I had a little left over, so I Andean plied that off. Having scales on hand would have been good!
I now have a small 10gm skein of silk...but what to do with it?

Friday, 5 September 2008

Au revoir to Incube8r

This week is my last week at Incube8r. I'm quite sad about this as I really like the idea and how much thought, caring and energy have gone into the shop.

I'm not entirely leaving though, as I will continue to drop in to the shop and sit and spin on the occassional Saturday afternoon.

I hope to make a big effort for next winter and get back into the shop, depending on the ever growing waiting list.

I have put in some more 'cuffs' into the shop for a last fling. All red and black! I haven't really done very much with these. They were inspired by Bjork at the Big Day Out, if you remember, and have sold. They've been fun to make this week.

Times like this always make you think of what can be done. Really great results, require alot of time and energy to make things work. Trying to divide time between family, house, groups, and all sorts of other ventures does put a large dent in your time committment to any one area. For me, I've come to the conclusion, this is my reality for the moment. So progress is always going to be small and slow, but it is progress.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Oh No! More Socks

Yes, went to SnB with sock yarn in hand and needing a set of 2.25mm or 2.50mm needles. All set to go. The latest 'Yarn' magazine (yes it's out, though Woolybutt seems to have a very early copy), has two sock patterns in them and I thought I would try one out. Sounds like a good plan.

Poor Lorraine at Woolybutt, she was so embarrassed, having neither set. I didn't want to substitute needles any further, so I found another sock yarn that required a different sized needle and purchased that. I am going to do more than one sock, aren't I. So now I have a ball of Opal in the colour Neon, and a ball of Tofutsies, which includes Chitin (Shrimp and Crabshell) in a more sedate colour.
I did have problems though with the other pattern in Yarn, when it started from the toes. Couldn't figure it out so that it looked neat. I think that is one for a quieter time and a bit of research. The instructions were a bit on the light side and apart from how to wrap the yarn around the needle, didn't really help the novice. I suspect that there is an explanation in another issue.
Further problems - the pattern I did choose uses a more elastic yarn than I have, so it will be interesting to see if they stay up and fit.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Skeins at Incube8r

I finished these two skeins that were started at Country Conference, working at Incube8r on the weekend. That does sound sort of weird, but I did go in on both afternoons and sat there and spun. Talked to people and had an all round good time.

It was interesting packing up all my gear and trundling down Smith St. with a trolley, consisting of spinning wheel, assorted equipment and finished product. Not quite a bag lady yet. Saturday was quite busy with one sale and hopefully a new person keen to join Experimental spinning.

Sunday was quieter, but a friend dropped in which made for a pleasant break, and, I was able to get both skeins finished.....just....I'd forgotton the shopped closed right on 4pm on a Sunday. Fortunately, a late rush of shoppers didn't make me look too bad!

Both skeins worked out well, but the puff yarn was definitely my favourite. This was the new yarn I learnt at Country Conference and I really like the effect. Add in that you seem to get quite good meterage for such a textured yarn, I'll definitely be doing this again!

The other is a slubby yarn, knot plied then plied to balance. The last orange binder, is perhaps a bit too orange and the yarn is a bit busy. I do love the slubs, which were created with a new technique.

Definitely, an interesting weekend, but far too busy.

PS. Welcome Spring