Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Still Working on That Stash

Maggie's hand spun yarn
Earlier in the year guild members were challenged to make something by the end of June, out of the yarns and fibres from the stash of a former member.  There were many beautiful fibers for spinning and yarns for either knitting or weaving.  Some of the finished products have appeared in previous posts.
If that weren't motivation enough to use up existing supplies, for many of us shopping activities have been curtailed lately and so when the urge to create takes hold we turn to our stash. 

Depending on how close you are to being a horder with years of experience (and therefore boatloads of stuff), you may find the items in your stash present limitations, challenges and questions.  The first being how well are the items labelled and do I really know what that fibre is?  The others include "can those colours or yarns be used together", "how much of that stuff do I have anyway" and the big one "why did I buy that stuff?"  There are tools for answering the how much and what fiber and even colour queries.  It is the "why?" question that will forever be a mystery.  So with all that in mind below are some of the creations our guild members came up with.

Mary's hand spun yarn and twill scarves

   Mary spun this fine yarn from a some lovely natural brown roving that she chose from the stash sale.  It is sitting on a pair of scarves that were woven as a narrow twill gamp.  If you look closely you can see the large diamond patterns.  The scarves were made from yarn that was also purchased from another weaver's stash. 

Marilynn's scarf
Marilynn  used yarns from the stash to create a mixed warp placing a nubbly yarn at intervals across the warp then she wove this bright orange scarf.  She took the plunge and made a light mohair shawl with yet more yarns from the stash. 

mohair shawl

 She sent us some pictures that include a glimpse into her garden with roses and clematis flowers.

Pat used wool yarns from the stash  The natural white and beige yarns were woven as a loose twill scarf with a large diamond pattern.  The twill scarf was then dyed with resists so that the colouring would be uneven.  A subdued diamond pattern is still visible.  She calls it her "grunge" dyed scarf.    

undyed scarf
grunge dyed scarf

While all this stash busting was going on the Exploring More Study Group were busy exploring more possibilities in double weave.  Pat has been working on patterned double weave.  The "yellow brick road" piece is a series of brick shaped "pockets" on a diagonal.  The outline around the "pockets" is created by exchanging the dark threads on the bottom layer with the light threads on the top layer.  The yarns are 2/16 cotton.  
Pat's patterned double weave front & back shown

Sandra has been exploring deflected double weave and having fun with this cut out of a dog.  What an eye catching way to show off a scarf.  If you look closely you can see a bit of the scarf's back side.  In deflected double weave the two faces are very different and both are a surprise when you wash the cloth and the threads slide into place.

Linda has been working on a form of double weave pique.  She had created a thick cloth with insulating properties and a subtle pattern.  Perfect for a tea cozy.

Linda's tea cozy in double weave
We are taking a break from studio work to celebrate CANADA DAY but you'll be hearing from us in July.  

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Rugs, rugs, rugs

hand knotted prayer rug
Rugs come in many different syles from the elaborate wool prayer rug in the photo to the right to simple practical rugs make from recycled materials.

They are a favourite with hand weavers and seem simple to make at first glance.   A good rug starts with a good design, materials that will wear well and some solid weaving skills.

They need to be woven tightly, have straight solid edges, and lay flat to the floor.  Some tips for achieving a tight weave with good edges was given in the previous blog "Tips and Tricks".

Gill's rag rug with braided fringe

Rag rugs often tell a story based on the materials that become the thick weft or filler material.  Gill's rag rug with warp stripes contains the remains of  two old dresses that were too worn to wear.  Like women long ago she didn't waste the material but turned it into something useful.  Take a close look at the braided fringe, one braid per stripe.  Unfinished fringes can wear quickly but a braided fringe will withstand foot traffic better.

In the previous post you can see Gill's adventures with another traditional rug weaving technique involving knots.

Rug and towels

Linda's blue, grey and white rug is also made of rags but this time they were from old sweat shirts.  It has weft stripes that coordinate with a set of hand towels.  The hand towels are woven from 4/8 cotton with stripes of twill mixed with basket weave so the towels are adsorbent.

Pat's pillow case bath mat

The final rag rug in this series is the story of a road trip.  Pat purchased a pillowcase from thrift shops along the route.  The pillowcases were opened up and sewn together. The resulting huge piece of fabric was cut up into strips so that the colours and motifs in the indivudal pillow cases are evenly spread throughout the rug.

Doug took a different but traditional approach to weaving a rug using "Summer and Winter" as the weave structure.  This technique was used to create rugs with a light face (Summer) and a dark face (Winter) so the rugs could be turned over to match the season.  Notice the motif in the corners.  Doug used chenille in the gold rug which makes it perfect for a bath mat that you'd like to walk on in
bare feet.  Not bad for a novice weaver.

summer and winter rugs
chenille bath mat