Monday, 30 November 2009

Confused of West Chiltington

Ok, at the weekend I decided to do a short weaving project and I decided on bookmarks - namely because they're narrow and it's warping the loom that seems to take me a while, plus I need some. I also found a pattern in the Handweaver's Pattern Directory that I had had my eye on for a while.

The bonus of this pattern, time-wise, was also that it's only using 4 shafts and three treadles. So in no time at all I got it set up and started weaving. I thought I would just vary the colours for each bookmark but stick to the same pattern.

Anyway, I started weaving and what's coming out on the loom isn't anything like the picture in the book!!

I checked the tie up and I don't think I've missed anything and the draft was straight so I can't have gone wildly wrong there. I keep looking at the book thinking have I missed something? Am I on the wrong page? Have I got the book upside down?!

The best thing is to draw the draft myself and find out what went wrong - I might then learn something new. I'll try to post some pics and maybe the findings of my draft a bit later on.

In the meantime however I started playing and made a little sample. Unless I manage to get back on track I will stick to elaborating on my samples and make a bookmark for each one. Watch this space for pics.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

This is Lottie's Loom Room

Woohoo - the delivery man brings nice new furniture for my loom room! I've got a nice open bookcase type of thing for all my weaving, jewellery and fabric bits and bobs.

I also went to Ikea yesterday and picked up a little light which I can bolt onto the side of the loom - these dark nights play havoc and although my eyesight may be already bad, I'd like to not make it worse by threading heddles in poor light!

The excitement seems to have infiltrated everyone else, here is Ivan fighting with Margot - it's no wonder she knocks over my makeshift lamp-based warp board!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Baby blanket

On Sunday I finished off the baby blanket which I made for a relative's Christening as an alternative to the usual white bible approach. It uses blue and cream cashmere / merino wool mix - it's lovely and soft.

Following the scarf I made for Ivan which I was quite pleased with, I wanted to continue to push myself rather than playing it safe as scary as it is when it's a gift! So I wrote a draft which I've done before but never actually seen into fruition! The draft isn't as sophisticated as it sounds - it's a diamond shape using 4 shafts with a tabby weave border. The challenge here was to combine the two and trust myself to get the draft right. As basic as it sounds, I haven't done this before!

I took my usual approach to making the warp - improvisation in light of my warping board being about 250 miles away. Here is a photo of that taking shape - my main worry was that the dog would knock over the top-heavy green lamp which she duly did!

It turns out that I hadn't taken into account the reed width. There weren't enough dents in my reed to handle the width of the blanket despite the warp being capable of a wider piece. So that meant I had to cut chunks of warp out while it was partially threaded. That was scary!

Anyway, no real harm done. The blanket is just a bit narrower than I had anticipated. The upside is that I have some leftover wool :)

Once on the loom I struggled a bit to get the tension right and you can see that in the next photo. It's all a bit wobbly!

Also you can just make out a mistake running through the warp. I accidentally missed one of the reed dents when threading so it left a gap. It looks worse on the loom though - when I took it off it just about disappeared.

Where's Margot? Hiding in the corner from the storm outside.

I like the diamond pattern and I'm pleased that the scale turned out well - I was a bit concerned that the shapes would be too small but they seem quite bold. The tabby border helps a lot too because it means I can get straight edges for once!

Finally I wasn't sure how to handle the ends. I opted eventually to tie knots and have a really short fringe, although I originally anticipated hemming the ends. However I rather like having the bold solid blue at either end because it highlights the blue throughout. So the fringe won.

Overall I'm quite pleased, hope baby likes it!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Goodwood Sculpture Park

I managed to steal my husband for an hour so we scuttled off to a sculpture park at the Goodwood estate near Chichester in West Sussex (on the south coast of England).

We'd never been before although we had heard good things about it. It was really impressive - it was set in a few acres of woodland and all the sculpture was very modern and interesting. Also it was all for sale, so if you have a spare £500k you could treat yourself to a piece of art for the garden!

Here are some pics. I love seeing sculpture outside, seeing it interact with the elements and be seen under outdoor light. Hope you've got good download speeds!

This one was stunning with the chrome bouncing all the light around.

This elephant sort of thing was so realistic (at least for an elephant missing a head) - there were in fact two, this is the baby and the large one was about 25ft tall.
These guys were funny.
I wouldn't like to get too close to this one - the main body pivots in a strong breeze and in a light breeze the smaller part spins too. Very hard to capture on my camera!
A pig field next door.. too early for the pigs maybe.

This white one was huge - about 15ft tall and it had a really milky texture, it looked amazing as the light caught it.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Thanks everyone

Thanks everyone for your kind comments on my last post. I decided to remove it though because I've just realised that Google searches blog text and I don't really want to blast it across the internet any more than I already have!

Feeling much better today and I really appreciate your kind words. I might go and take a look at that blanket now :)

Friday, 6 November 2009


I think I've caused some confusion about my last weaving post. The black and grey piece was a scarf for my husband - not a blanket for the christening! The blanket (which is still only half a warp!) is in baby boy blue and cream baby wool.

As it happens I can't make it to the christening this weekend because there's been quite a bit of swine flu around among some people going and until I get my jab my doctor advised me to steer clear. It's a shame but at least it buys me time to make the blanket and give it to them afterwards!

Anyway would you like to see some pictures of Ivan's new scarf? Here we go:

Ivan posing hand on hip

It's a man-sized scarf and is probably a good 45cm wide (I can't double check because he's gone to work in it) and a metre and half long.

In all I'm quite pleased with how it turned out - it feels like it was quite a defining project in my weaving life because of the process of starting again with the loom. I've learnt a lot doing this project and there was more emphasis on the design of colour and pattern than I've tried before.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Thriller night

It's close to midnight and something evil's lurking in the dark
Under the moonlight, you see a sight that almost stops your heart
You try to scream but terror takes the sound before you make it
You start to freeze as horror looks you right between the eyes
You're paralysed

Darkness falls across the land
The midnight hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of blood
To terrorize y'alls neighbourhood

The foulest stench is in the air
The funk of forty thousand years
And grizzly ghouls from every tomb
Are closing in to seal your doom

He he he! I'm waiting for some photos of my husband too - now he really was scary!

Lyrics from Michael Jackson's "Thriller"

Monday, 2 November 2009

Sunday weaving

I've now got a bit further with my latest project. It uses merino wool which I wasn't sure of because I decided to use it on the warp as well as the weft. Although it's strong it's very stretchy but it seems to be ok... so far so good.

I've also been adjusting the shed as I go along so when I notice that a thread is hanging low or too high on a particular treadle I can adjust it. It looks so obvious now! What was all the fuss about?!

I have to say though that I found when sitting at the loom and pressing treadles I didn't realise how bad my shed was - it looks different when you sit looking down on it and I was constantly having to fiddle with threads. My boat shuttle was getting stuck in high seas rather than aqua-planing like it's meant to! I only realised how bad it was when I ducked my head down and looked through the shed and saw that it was a complete mess. Anyway it's much better now and much faster too.

Can you see the pattern? It uses a combination of tabby with a straight twill in black, dark grey and light grey wool. I don't like the horizontal stripe but I really like the verticals switching from tabby to twill and back again. I might use that again somewhere but without the horizontal - it just seems messy somehow. Maybe it's the tension changing from tabby to twill.

I'm also being really careful to move the warp on every few centimetres so the tension remains even and it works much better than it has before.

Another thing I like/don't like is the edges. On the left the edge is tabby for 6 ends which looks neat and on the other end (should have thought of this when I made the warp) the piece ends on a twill which seems to have twisted and made a bulky cord. I've noticed on other pieces using a twill that this happens but at least previously both ends have been the same. I'd be interested to find out why this happens and what I can do about it.

I've got to crack on with this as I'm meant to be weaving a blanket for a christening present - this weekend! Argh!
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