Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Enchanted Garden

Yesterday's outing was to the Enchanted Garden Maze at Arthur's Seat on the Mornington Penninsula. Once again my camera was a major feature of the day for me, but this time no macro lens. This is a series of formal gardens and garden mazes on what would otherwise be a basic bush block. So the contrasts were fascinating. This little fairy belongs in . . . I think it's the Children's Garden: There were half a dozen different fairies, each with her own colour scheme and cleverly matched flowering plants in the surrounding garden beds. I like the thought of those plants growing and gradually revealing their colours while the brightly painted fairy sculptures wait patiently.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bedford Cord

This has been the most troublesome of all the weaves we've had in this year's Round Robin exercise. I only picked it up at the end of last Saturday's class and by then most of the puzzles and difficulties had been sorted. Thank you John and Jeannette! I got most of my weaving done on Sunday morning and then did a bit more yesterday. I'm hoping you can see on the pic that it's quite a thick textured weave. the red stripes are really like ridges in the fabric. That's because of the stuffing threads--that's the thick brown yarn you can see on the right hand side of the pic. I've raised the shafts holding those threads so you can see them more clearly.

OK, so we have a woven structure on the front of the fabric, these stuffing threads in the middle and a floats on the back that trap the stuffing threads. That's how the ridges are formed. There's no stuffing in the black striped areas of the warp.

Two more interesting features

  • It's woven with two shuttles: red and black in this case. Two picks of red, two picks of black, with the relevant striped areas weaving up as a plain weave in each case and the opposite colour thread disappearing as a float on the underside.
  • The spots are formed by raising the stuffing threads in the middle of an area of red coloured weave. So the stuffing threads become a surface decoration.

As for weaving it, you need the heaviest beat ever. You really need to bash it to get everything to sit right. After the stresses and frustrations of the past few weeks, having something legitimate to bash into was just what I needed! Maybe that's why I got my homework done right away this time, whereas the previous homework sample sat neglected for a whole week.

Now I've finished all the samples in the Round Robin exercise other than one of the Colour and Weaves. That one's probably turned out to be the second most troublesome in the set and since I had a good go at a similar exercise done in a different yarn, I'm planning to treat it as optional.

Now I need to catch up on my Summer and Winter sampler--remember the Summer and Winter Sampler . . . hmmmm . . . and then get ready for the end of year project. Right!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Tulip Trap

We went to the Tulip Festival last week. I was prepared to be wowed by the beauty of the blooms and I'd armed myself with my camera and macro lens. I expected some tempting dutch treats and perhaps an enticing cafe or bakery along the way. What I wasn't prepared for is this:
There was an alpaca tent set up just near the entrance to the festival. Not just any alpaca tent, Freshfield Alpacas--these are the people who sold me my beloved Little Gem spinning wheel. Their alpaca fibre is a lovely thing. And apart from the cute animals to admire, they had tables full of beautiful textiles. I came home with a bag of hand-dyed red-burgundy alpaca fibre. Just one bag. It has E's name on it. She has a birthday in November. By then it will be so hot in Queensland that the thought of giving her a hand-spun crochet hat will be totally ridiculous, but she wants the hat, so I'll do my best to make it for her.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Up close

OK, so you know that I spent a fair bit of the day on Wednesday getting up close to the flowers at the Tulip Festival. Here's a pic of E joining in the fun at the end of the day: One of my weaving buddies works at Tesselaars--it's their Tulip Festival we went to. When I caught up with her at the Guild yesterday, she said she thought she'd seen me there, but wasn't sure enough to tap me on the shoulder and say hello. Her reasons are quite telling . . .
  • I was crouching down looking through my camera lens, intent on a flower--sounds right;
  • I was a long way from home--correct, we drove more than an hour to get there;
  • I wasn't wearing any wool: knitted, crocheted, woven or hand-made in any shape or form whatsoever!

Now her last point is the most telling of all. If only she knew that bits of my collection of warm woollies were adorning teenagers scattered around the grounds. That's my crochet hat on E's head in the daffodil picture. Anyway, it was fun hearing her analysis. Meanwhile, E is tired of wearing my blue hat and can she swap for another one please? She's going to take her pick from my collection next time she's here.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cold Wet Day

It was cold and wet in Melbourne yesterday--particularly cold and wet if, like my visitors, you're used to Queensland weather. Any plans for an outing were quickly abandoned and and we declared an "inside day". J & A stayed home and watched a movie or two. E & A came to my place to do colouring and painting. D sat in my big armchair near the heater and stitched away. A took a trip to the local hardware store and came back with supplies for fixing my gate and reorganising my computer cables.

I even got a bit of knitting done--it's been a while. This is going to be a little head-hugger for J. I guess it's about half done, so I doubt she'll get to wear it on this trip. The regular cables have just enough interest to keep me going on it. And since I don't use a cable needle, the rhythm of knitting is easy enough to maintain for knitting in company.

Friday, September 25, 2009


My friend D, who is visiting from Queensland, loves silk ribbon embroidery. She and I have had lots of fun over the years trying to achieve variegated colours in hand-dyed silk ribbons for her to use.

So this tulip photo is for D: The challenge in dyeing ribbons is to get just enough variation in the colour. It looks as though whoever designed these beautiful tulips was having fun experimenting too.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tulip Time

What better way to celebrate the Spring Equinox than to visit a Tulip Festival in the Dandenong foothills! I was more focussed on humans than I normally would be in a situation like this, but despite that, I have come home with hundreds of flower photos--probably enough for a tulip a day for the next year. Rather than choosing carefully, I'll just give you the first tulip of the day: It was a day for using my macro lens. That's a good thing. It was also a day for much bending and crouching to get close enough to the flowers to get the shots I wanted. That's not such a good thing. I have so many aching muscles today! Oh well, I guess it's another aspect of beauty and pain--or is it another activity for my mythical textile gym?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Thank You, Driver

The Love Birds are here! I've been referring to them as "the engaged couple"in previous posts--the blanket I'm working on is my engagement gift for them. And I got to be the lucky one to drive them when we went out yesterday. They asked, "Is it ok if we both sit in the back?" Not a problem! So, here they are cosily seated in the back of my car: That's my rear view mirror, if you need a bit of orientation. And yep, they're all bundled up in winter woollies, even though it was a fine spring day yesterday. Their last stop was Mackay in Tropical Central Queensland and besides, it would be a pity for those carefully selected warm clothes to go to waste. The grey and green creation on J's head actually had a previous life as a tea cosy, but that's another story altogether.

Today we're heading over to the Tulip Festival. I've charged up both my camera batteries and am choosing my most comfortable shoes. There should be plenty of beauty and inspiration, plus good coffee and company.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I don't have any textile progress of my own to report today. But I did get two emails yesterday which made me smile in completely different ways.
  • The first was from my quilting buddy J. Her news? She's finished quilting the quilt. This is a chocolate box, queen sized quilt that she's been working on for seven years now. And when I say "working on", I really mean it. The entire quilt is hand-stitched and all the quilting is done by hand, so I can only imagine how she felt putting in the last bit of quilting. I remember when she brought the first fabrics to our quilting group after an outing with her mum to choose them. And I've seen the various stages and challenges she's gone through with it over the years. I'll try to get a picture to share on the blog, but a picture will never do justice to the incredible effort that's gone into that quilt.
  • The second was from my spinning buddy, Teresa. Her news? Her team won the "sheep to shawl" challenge at the Royal Melbourne show. You can see a picture of the winning team here. The Sheep to Shawl is a race between teams of three spinners/knitters. The challenge is to make a shawl (size and pattern defined by the race organisers) from raw fleece in the shortest possible time. It took the three team members three hours and fifteen minutes to complete. Starting with a freshly shorn fleece, spinning and plying it into yarn and then knitting it up. It's a great activity for the Show because it helps to make a link between the fluffy sheep and the lovely hand crafted garments on display. And a lot of fun for participants and spectators. Spinning and knitting are usually fairly low key activities, so the fun of a race like this is so unusual. I really wanted to be there for the Sheep to Shawl, but I couldn't be in two places at once and my friends from Queensland's arrival at the airport took precedence.

So congratulations to my textile buddies!

Monday, September 21, 2009


What happens when you let two teenage girls loose in a clearance shop about the size of a football field? They find gorgeous feathered masks in their favourite colours and proceed to wear them down the road. Don't ask for a reason . . . the answer is "meh!" Believe me, it's a good thing.

So while the girls enjoyed the colour and culture of Sydney Rd, I enjoyed the colour and culture of the girls. I won't even try to pull a textile story out of that one. I just wish I could have a bit of the attitude for myself.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


As I type this my friends D, A, A & E are on a plane from Brisbane coming to visit me in Melbourne. Tomorrow J & A will join them. I usually keep a quiet life and rarely have more than one or two people at my place at the same time, so what's going to happen here with six visitors? Well I've been asking myself that question and I'm glad to say it all comes down to friends. My friends W & R are currently holidaying in Cambodia--and they've generously made their house available for the Crowd. Then my friends M & L came to my rescue with beds and bedding. Here's L arriving yesterday afternoon with just one of several armloads: Another friend is helping with the airport run this morning--there's no way all those people plus luggage are going to fit in one car. And at the end of the day, the reason these people are on a plane today is because we're friends, so it's going to be worth it. I won't promise not to get anxious at times, and crave my personal space, but I expect they'll understand that. They've known me long enough. And with two houses and two cars at our disposal it should be feasible and we'll still be friends at the end of a couple of weeks.

Oh and yes, I do have spinning and weaving to do and I promise to post a shot of the double-faced twill sometime soon. But my textile reflection for the day is that all that linen and bedding and stuff that filled a couple of cars yesterday--yep, it's textiles at their everday basic level.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


One of the people to whom I turned for support this week, described my situation as "fragile". It's not a way I normally think of myself, but it was a gentle reminder in the midst of my stress. So I took "fragile" as my word for the day and tried to be a little more careful with myself than usual. Yesterday afternoon I spent a couple of minutes in the garden. I'd really only gone out to deal with my overflowing rubbish bins, but this dandelion caught my eye. So I went for my camera: It looks so much better set against the sky than it did among all the other weeds in my garden bed! And yes, you can take a guess about the state of my garden from the fact that the dandelion was a feature. Though at least one of my rose bushes is surprisingly healthy given the neglect they have been receiving.

As for textiles, I didn't get anywhere yesterday, but I'm hoping to do an hour of weaving this morning. One of my fellow students has finished with her sample--it's the double faced twill that I'm particularly keen to do--so I'm meeting her at the Guild this morning to do a loom swap.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fibre Therapy

Yesterday didn't get any less stressful after my 4.00 am wake up, but at the end of the day I did manage to sit with my current armchair project for a while. It was a small dose of fibre therapy and I desperately needed it.

I'm working on the Engagement Gift blanket and even though I only managed just over a row, with several interruptions, it was good for me just to have it in my hands and stitch away for a bit. Here's how it's looking: It's now big enough to drape over my legs and keep me warm as I work, and it's definifitely taking on a life of it's own as far as colour scheme goes. The engaged couple arrive in just a few days. I had hoped to have it ready for them to take home. I don't thing that will happen now, but they will get to see it while they're here. And meanwhile it's there to give me something warm and soft to hang on to when things are tough. I so rely on my fibre therapy to keep me going!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Flower from a Friend

I've been having a stressful time lately. So much so that I've barely touched a piece of fibre in the last few days, and that is not a good thing. So it was particularly lovely to receive this photo in my inbox yesterday: The email just said, "sending a flower to you".

The fact that I'm posting this at 4.00 am, since I've been awake worrying--again--might illustrate how welcome that email was. And yet, I can't help analysing the colours in my mind: admiring the complementary contrasts of the deep pink against the green in the foreground and the pale gold against the blue sky in the background. And starting to play in my mind with ways of using those colour combinations in fibre of some sort. OK, that's got to be a good thing, even if that's all I can do for the time being. I wish I could say, "I'll sleep on that"--realistically, that's not how I feel--but at least I'll try to hold the image in my head. So, thanks for the flower.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Undulated Twill

Here's the undulated twill sample I was referring to:I wasn't really happy with the green-orange combination. "Retro" is the kindest term that came to mind, but in subtle colours and finer wool, I can now see it becoming something interesting and organic.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More Recital Centre Admiration

The inner walls of the Melbourne Recital Centre are covered in these patterns of carved timber: The backs of the seats are also timber--all of which contributes to the resonance of the hall. The floors are a light wood in the hall itself. In the foyer there is an amazing textured carpet, with raised ridges in similar patterns to the inner walls.

I've already complained that I only had my phone camera with me, plus the concert was booked out, so my attempts to photograph the carpet were limited and unsuccesful. I'd made a point of talking to the nearest staff member before I even tried to get a shot of the carpet--bending down in a crowded room with a camera is rather unusual and potentially suspect behaviour. To get the shot I wanted I would have needed a decent lens, plus I probably would have been lying on the floor to get and "ant's eye" perspective. That was not going to happen in the circumstances!

One of our class exercises in the Weaving Course is an undulated twill. I completed my little sample fairly quickly and was rather unimpressed with the pattern overall, but now it's coming back to me in a new light when I think about those walls. I might see what I can do with it when life settles down a bit.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I Must Carry My Camera

I went to a concert at the new Melbourne Recital Centre yesterday afternoon. A friend of mine was singing in "The Cho!r". I wasn't in a particularly good mood when I headed off, and it took more than the usual effort to get myself out the door.

I'd heard a lot about the new Recital Centre--all of it good, but I wasn't sure exactly where it was, nor what it looked like. Well here it is: It was worth the effort of going out for the building itself, let alone the concert! This is the front of the building. The inside is pretty much 100% wood. Beautiful carved natural timber! In fact one of the surprising things about all the talk I've heard about this hall is that it is universally praised, by musicians. The acoustic is brilliant--and that's a rare thing.

Anyway, today I should be made to write out 100 lines, "I must carry my camera. I must carry my camera. I must carry my camera. . . ." There I was with this magnificent, intricate, beautiful building on a clear Melbourne evening and no camera. Not good. At least I had the phone, but when the light is as good as it was and the details as wonderful, the phone isn't quite the thing.

As for textiles, there's a large tapestry in the upstairs foyer from the Melbourne Tapestry Workshop. I'm not too sure of the protocol around that, so I didn't photograph it, but I'd love to find out more.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lumpy Bumpy

After a week of spinning silk tops to make a fine, smooth yarn, yesterday morning was a great contrast. We worked with various forms of silk "waste". On this bobbin I've mixed silk noils with some wool: Noils are the irregular fragments of silk product which are discarded when the smooth silk is reeled off the coccoons. So there's no way to make a smooth yarn out of them. There are short ends, snags and lumps of silk in random clumps in my bag of noils. But the important thing is that even though it might be "waste", it's silk waste. And silk waste is not to be wasted.

I love lumpy bumpy yarns. Spinning the noils on their own is challenging, because the fibres are all different lengths and predominantly short. Short lengths are hard to control in the spinning process. Mixing with wool helps to hold the yarn together. We had the option of using coloured wool, but I chose white. That's because I'm looking forward to dyeing what I've spun up. The silk and wool will take up the dye differently. I'm hoping that the noils will dye as brilliantly as silk normally does. If that works, I'll have random flecks of brighter coloured silk in amongst my dyed wool. But first, I have to spin another bobbin of this stuff and ply the yarn. Then I can get on with some of the other forms of silk waste we had to play with yesterday.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Order of Magnitude

I've been talking about my fine silk yarn. So, just how fine is fine? The technical definition has to do with the number of times a strand of the particular yarn can be wound around a one inch measure. But I don't have time to do that this morning. I need to be out the door in under an hour, and the place is a mess. I glanced around the living room this morning to find something to give an idea of scale. Ah ha--a pin! Unfortunately this is one of my quilting pins so it's a bit bigger than the average pin, but hopefully you get the idea. Anyway, that will have to do for now.

Today we're spinning silk noils and silk waste--translation: lumpy, bumpy, interesting stuff! I have to admit, I'm a bit over fine white yarn for now.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Free is Good

I was given this little travel iron yesterday: It can go in my portable quilting kit along with a tiny ironing board I picked up a while back--also for free.

So, what's with all the free stuff? I'm a member of an online group called Freecycle. Their slogan is, "changing the world one gift at a time". The idea is that instead of throwing away things you no longer want or need, you offer them to the group. Someone who does want or need the item can ask for it. And the basic rule is, it's for free--hence "Free-cycle". Technically I guess it's more like re-using than recycling, but what the heck, it's free.

Now I am a great believer in Op shops, but it seems that they are more and more restricted in what they can offer for sale. A terrible lot of donations end up in landfill. And looking for a particular item in an Op shop is very hit and miss. The excitement is in the thrill of finding an unexpected treasure. Whereas with the online group all I have to do is scan a daily list of offers. If there's something I'm interested in and it's nearby, I can send off an email to ask for it. When I have something to offer, it's the same deal in reverse. And when I've offered an item as a gift to some-one in the group, they come to collect it from my house, usually with smiles and thanks. So, I like it! And this little travel iron is a gem. I can keep it in my quilting box and press my tiny little patchwork seams anywhere, any time.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Still on the Silk

The trouble with spinning fine yarn is that a small amount goes a long long way! I guess in the end that's a good thing. I spent more time yesterday on my silk and to my great satisfaction, I got as far as plying it off. I even had a visitor in the evening who could point the camera for me, so here's an action shot: There are two tightly twisted singles of spun silk tops coming from my bobbins to the left of the picture. They are twisted together in the opposite direction and wound onto the bobbin on my wheel. My right hand is controlling the twist. So there you go. Now I need to wind the yarn off the bobbin, give it a little soak and let it dry. All going well, it should be ready to show off to my group on Saturday.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


I spent several hours yesterday spinning silk tops. My aim is to spin them so fine that the yarn can be used for embroidery thread. Very fine means lots of twist so that the thread will hold together. I'm achieving my aim, but it's hard work. I'm literally wearing a little groove in my finger as I spin the yarn: I've backed the tension off as much as possible, but even so I need to stop periodically to give my finger a rest. And no, I can't protect my finger with gloves or a thimble, because I'm relying on the sensitivity in that finger pad to control the thickness of my yarn. Oh well . . . they say that women will suffer much for beauty! I'm not one to suffer for the sake of my personal appearance, but for the sake of beautifully fine glossy silk? Yep! I'm happy to suffer a bit for that.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


This is the Pique sample I did on Saturday:The padding effect comes from trapping a soft thick yarn between two layers of warp. Finding the right sort of yarn to give a good padded effect was part of the weaving challenge. I ended up with the green yarn which you can see peeping out at the selvedges. The warp and weft is a very tightly twisted wool furnishing yarn. It's so tightly twisted that it really didn't feel like wool to my fingers.

Now my word challenge is "pique". I want to know, what is the connection between "pique weave" and English expressions like "pique my interest" or "a fit of pique". You could say, "the word 'pique' has piqued my interest". Suggestions please . . .

Monday, September 7, 2009

Fish and Chips

After weaving on Saturday, my friend R and I headed over to Williamstown to have a look around. R has just got the go ahead to move into a unit over there in a few months time. Checking out the local fish and chips shop was a priority. There are several. We found a good one, even though they didn't have any of my favourite, blue grenadier.

And of course, the inevitable sea gulls: I had a crazy idea and implemented it before I had time to think . . . I can verify that these gulls will do just about anything for a chip! They dive bombed to catch chips from the air; they took chips from my hand and they even plucked chips from on top of my head. Putting a chip on my head and holding very still while a gull grabbed it was my crazy idea! What can I say . . . ? my brains were fried after a day of weaving.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Performance Enhancement

Yesterday was a day of Extreme Weaving! Thankfully, even though it's sometimes referred to as a "round robin" exercise, it wasn't a knock out competition, but nevertheless the students were under some pressure to achieve a "personal best". I caught a shot of our teacher with her performance enhancing drink: . . . the story behind the picture is that Gerlinde's daughter is an extreme skier--the kind who gets filmed jumping off the Materhorn and doing similar death defying feats. And she is sponsored by Red Bull. So Gerlinde persisitently brings in cans of Red Bull for her morning tea and lunch drinks. And somehow on days like yesterday, it fits!

My preference for performance enhancing stimuli comes from Filou's patisserie around the corner. Their chocolate flourless muffins bring out the best in me. As for the weaving, I had a good day. Having completed two of the compulsory exercises beforehand, I didn't feel too pressured. As it turns out, not feeling too pressured brings out the best in me more than anything else! I got through colour and weave, undulated twill and pique samples. I've brought home a loom with another cell weave exercise--similar, but different to the one I did last week. I'm also hoping to get hold of the tartan double-faced twill weave before our next class. We've got a three week gap in classes because of other events on at the Guild, so it's going to take a bit of communication betweeen students to coordinate swaps during the break. I think we can do that. So, you can expect to see various of those samples popping up over the next few weeks.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Cell Weave

I was a bit slow getting started yesterday, but I did eventually get to the Cell Weave sample. Here it is: So different from my Huck Lace! This one is woven in a fine wool with the combination of dark and light threads outlining the "cells".

There's another version of Cell Weave on the list of projects, but also several completely different weave structures to tackle today. My plan is to do the most different ones first and then come back to the ones that are similar to what I've already done. Of course there will be a bunch of other people all with their own priorities, so I'm hoping for a bit of cooperation and expecting more than a bit of chaos today. If I can keep my head straight, I might even get all the required samples done by the end of today, but I'm not counting on it. We'll see how the day goes. For now, my priorities are porridge and coffee so I'll be ready for the day.

Friday, September 4, 2009


I picked up the loom, yarn and instructions for the next sample in my Shared Project yesterday: My task for the morning is to decipher the instructions and weave my sample. Then I'll be ready to do it all again tomorrow with several more weave structures. From here on I have the advantage of seeing what someone else has done already, so it's not quite so cryptic as it was for my first sample. Tomorrow's going to be an interesting exercise in group dynamics as well as weaving--ten students each trying to move around ten looms . . . oh well, at least I get to do this one in the peace and quiet of my own home.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Happy Huck

At the risk of patting myself on the back excessively in public . . .My Huck Weave sample is woven. That means I'm ready for Saturday's class and it's only Thursday. Wooo Wooo:) The even better news is that my weaving buddy, Amber, is also done already on her sample. I'm going to swap looms with her this afternoon. If we both manage well tomorrow, that will put both of us ahead for our weekend class. To explain the extent of my jubilation: this time last year I was stressing over putting the warp on for our shared project and arrived in class to find I'd made a fatal error and had to do all my threading again. So being up to date is a big relief.

Now just to keep things in perspective, I do still have an entire Summer and Winter sampler to do, which I missed out on during my flooring chaos, and there's a lot of fine spinning on my "to do" list, but I think the sunny yellow has got into my heart--I feel as if I've got some good momentum going here.

Unidentified Visitors

My friend V came over for coffee yesterday morning. She brought her applique and stitched away while I threaded up my loom. It was great to have some company and the small amount of distraction was more than compensated by the large amount of motivation and good-will.

One of the distractions was trying to identify a little honey eater who has been visiting my grevilleas. There were two of them there the other day and I'd managed to get a fairly clear picture without scaring them off. Usually as soon as I move to get my camera, my dogs jump up. Since the grevillea is just outside their favourite sunny window, that usually means that my shy little visitors take off. But the dogs were particularly lazy the other day, so I got a couple of good shots at them before they saw me and flew away--the birds, that is, not the dogs.
Now V knows a lot more about identifying birds than I do. To prove the point, she just happened to have a Field Guide to Australian Birds in her car! We decided that my little visitors are probably New Holland Honey Eaters, though one of the identifying features--a white tip to the tail--doesn't match up with the details in my photo. I'll have to have another good look when they next come along. Observing little details like that is easier said than done, since the honey-eaters bob and flit and fly off quite quickly, but I'll have a go.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Well Dressed

My loom is dressed!
It's one of the expressions in weaving that I find amusing--the process of putting the warp on the loom is referred to as, "dressing the loom". I guess an empty loom does look kind of naked, but this one is now clothed in 172 threads of yellow cottolin. Just so you can appreciate what I've been doing all morning: each thread has to be pulled through a loop in a wire heddle--those are the heddles hanging on the frames in the middle of the loom. Of course the threads have to go in a particular order. Then another lot of threading to get the threads through the gaps in the reed. That's the metal comb-like structure at the front of the loom. The heddles determine which threads are raised while weaving the pattern. The reed spaces the threads evenly and determines the finished width of the fabric.
It's fashion week in Melbourne this week and the papers are full of slim young models . . . I don't think my loom will be gracing the catwalk any time soon. Its figure is a bit blocky and its clothing rather scant. And I'm glad it doesn't have the attitude that seems to go with fashion presentations. I'm happy for my loom to just sit nicely on the table and let me tell it what to do.
Now I'm going to abandon it for an hour or so. I need to fill up the car. The tank's nearly empty and I don't want to run out on my way to class tonight. Hopefully I'll make it to the petrol station without too many hiccups, but I'd rather have any drama this afternoon than this evening.


I finally got on with some weaving yesterday. I've been a bit overwhelmed by the number of projects I need to work on. For a while there I got stuck worrying about it all, rather than getting it done. But yesterday was a good day for making progress. I finished off my samples on the double cloth--more about those later. I got that off the loom and started putting on the next warp. It's the Huck Lace for our Weaving Class shared project.

Now lace would traditionally be done in a light-neutral colour, but this warp is nearly 4 metres long and there just wasn't enough white or cream yarn of the right weight in the teaching stash at the Guild, so I've ended up with Sunny Yellow.
It's a cotton-linen blend yarn and I'm getting fond of the warm colour already, although at first I was rather unimpressed with it. I've made my first threading error, but thankfully I'd only threaded about thirty ends, so I can pull it out and try again this morning. If I can get a good run at it today, I'll be very pleased with myself. I also need to prepare for the last of my Triangles classes at the Neighbourhood House tonight.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Welcome Spring

Most years I'm a bit skeptical about welcoming Spring on the 1st of September, but this is pretty convincing:

That's my Silver Princess gum tree. Look at all that beautiful new growth! There are dozens of delicate little tips like that all over the tree. And yes, the sky really is that colour blue this morning.

Now remember, this is Melbourne and the forecast is for 16 and partly cloudy, so who knows what will happen next. There was snow overnight in the mountains. I've got my heater on in the living room and crocheting a wool blanket which is draped over my legs as I work is quite comfortable, but despite all that, it does feel like spring. Maybe I'm finally getting used to what Melbourne spring feels like after more than ten years away from Sunny Queensland.