Thursday, 22 January 2015

New Year Catch Up....... new books, new techniques and a new feline friend.

Where does the time go? We are already well into the new year and it has been ages since I felt inclined to blog. Not that there has been much to share....the usual pre-Christmas stuff after a few weeks of getting all the outside jobs done before the weather closed in. So far the winter has been mild and wet with more than the usual gales. However, last week we did get a day of snow ( all of 2 inches!) but I did get out and about and take some photos.

By the next morning most of the snow near us had melted leaving only the distant hills covered in white.
I have recently started an online Tapestry Weaving class with Rebecca Mezoff . I have attempted tapestry weaving quite a few times over the years since I started spinning but I never got very far. I suspect this was due in part to the equipment as we were shown how using a simple wooden frame and basically string for warp! This is my sample so far.
I'm using a Mirrix tapestry loom borrowed from my friend Helen and I have eventually got the hang of it as it is quite fiddly to set up. I'm using 12/6 seine twine for warp as recommended by Rebecca and the weft yarn is from Weavers Bazaar although my aim ( if I like tapestry by the end of the course!) is to spin my own yarn and use that.
The other new-to-me technique is Saori weaving. Now, don't get me wrong, I still love "traditional" weaving, I'm a big fan of twills and overshot and one day I WILL weave that overshot coverlet! But last year at Wonderwool Wales I saw a stand demonstrating the Saori style or freestyle weaving. I have my doubts that a lot of this type of weaving will not stand any use and I dread to think what it will look like if it ever goes near a washing machine! But I'm very attracted to the use of colour and texture and after quite a bit of dithering I have eventually bought the book!
It does have some great ideas to make your own clothes and the instructions for setting the loom up are very comprehensive, so if you were a new weaver and followed this book you would be set on the right track. I also go along with the philosophy behind the Saori technique but I still think some of the weaving looks a bit slap-dash or shoddy. So I have set up my loom with a black lambswool warp sett at 20 epi and threaded in a Rosepath Twill  to play with yarns and colour and not to worry about patterns too much.
 I have pulled out lots of yarn from my HUGE stash and got stuck in! A lot of the yarn is some of my hand spun and I worked out that it must be nearly 20 years since I spun it up, so it's about time I used it!

I'm not thinking about what to make with the finished fabric as I just want to enjoy the weaving at the moment, but I would like to make some of my own clothes to wear to the fibre shows this year. To this end I purchased a couple of interesting books recently and it is my intention to use them as guides to sewing my own clothes from my hand woven fabric as I still break into a cold sweat at the idea of dressmaking after an unhappy time sewing at school. I only have to think of paper dress patterns and the vision of Mrs Hodby rises before my eyes!

The first book ( on the left) is "Weave, Knit, Wear" by Judith Shangold. It's packed with ideas for clothes that can be woven on a Rigid Heddle loom but can also by used by multi-shaft weavers too.
The second book is "Get Weaving" by Sarah Howard and Elisabeth Kendrick which is also aimed at the RH weaver but would also give a multi-shaft weaver some simple ideas for making clothes.
And finally meet Humphrey our new feline friend....
Humphrey has been staying with us since about September when he would sit with us in the garden. After a couple of days his owners (neighbours) called around to see if we had their cat. They took him back home three times during the week but Humphrey came back the next day. It appears that they had got a couple of new kittens and as one had got older he had taken a strong dislike to Humphrey causing him to leave home. He has settled in well with us as you can see, taking pride of place on the sofa, my side of the sofa where I sit at my spinning wheel I might add, and has even charmed the men of the house (and they are tough nuts to crack!)