The week that was (and it did include some weaving)

So, I’m now addicted to “Gavin and Stacey” (Lush!), there was a blizzard in Barcelona on Monday (Not so Lush – I’m really NOT exagerating), we ordered a new bed (a fancy, “lift up” Pikolin thingie), and I got around to doing some weaving…And the results were not as expected.

The column on the left shows before washing – the right is after washing – click to enlarge and view each in more detail. I’d had high hopes for the chenille samples, which were a bit disappointing, but had not expected to be surprised by the cotton/linen/wool (grey with coloured flecks) or the sample with very long floats – oh boy! Well, I’m happy with 2 out of 5 – that is the point of sampling I suppose.

Now I need to re-thread and get on with more of the same.

As for the Blizzard…well, I’ll put some pictures up about that when I get re-threaded!

Another long gap

I had such grand plans to update this during the Christmas holidays – and here I am, back in Barcelona, after 3 weeks of Ireland and Derbyshire, and I am sitting in front of a computer again for the first time in that whole period…It’s been a bit hectic with Hannah being ill (one trip to the hospital with a strange rash), snow, more snow, quite serious sub-zero temperatures and then a bit more snow…been one of those holidays!
So as I write this, H is going through a basket of yarns, listening to “Happy and you know it clap your hands” and I’m trying to plan a wool warp and a quick dyeing session for tomorrow. I’ve got some things to upload onto Etsy, but I’ve decided to focus on sampling for a month or two – and a nice lambs wool warp is the focus of my attention right now – that and SOMETHING useful to do with thrums (left over weaving yarn) – photos of that to follow – Hannah has just velcro-ed herself to some single spun linen.

I should have put these up ages ago – after my fed-up-ness with suggestions in Handwoven, I went on the hunt to find something to do with my lefts overs, and having discovered the pin loom (I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I discovered it in Handwoven), I thought that some of the longer thrums would work with this – especially if they were wool and could be felted afterwards. So, “Project 1 – What to try and do USEFULLY with thrums has been launched” – God knows how it will go, or if it will ever be finished, but I’ve got to start somewhere. The idea is to weave up little rectangles with the wool thrums I have and then stitch them together and felt them – or felt them and stitch together (depending on how I feel on the day). I’m not sure how much I’ll have, but hopefully enough for a warm cot blanket or a throw.

I bought a set of 3 wooden picture frames from Ikea and used the pattern layout from the Pin Loom (eloomanation.com) reference page. Matt put in the tack pins for me – total cost, 4euros for making the pin loom…the cost of them on Ebay is quite scary, so I would suggest to anyone thinking of trying this little project to check out the eloominations page – for the cost of a wooden picture frame and a few wee nails, you can’t really go wrong.

When I was home in Ireland at Christmas, I also got my dad to make me a raddle and a “mobile warping set” so I can get some things done at home, if I don’t have time to make a warp before I go back. I’m not sure this was what I’d originally intended to blog about here, but it seems like a good time to mention it. He put together a raddle and 3 sets of warping pegs from bits of wood he had in the garage, some wood glue and some tack nails. I was very impressed! The warping pegs are brilliant, they can be fitted onto a table or work surface with g-clamps and it means you can make the warp as long as are short as you like. Not quite as convenient as my warping mill (also home made), but almost as convenient / inconvenient as a warping board.

Rebirth – in gentle golds and soft wools

 So after a lot of debate I decided to get back to what I love – colour and structure. Klimt had more than a small hand in the influences for this belt, but I have to say, I’ve not taken one photo that actually does this justice. It is such a gorgeous blend of warm colours. I’ve just put it up on etsy…let’s see if anyone else thinks it’s worth wearing.  More about this on my Esty Weaves page.

Crochet Mad! (but especially to go with a woven shawl)

It has been a bit depressing, looking at all the beautiful things on Etsy and looking at the pile of scarves I need to get finished, the 2 baby blankets and all my shawl flower pins that have been carefully wrapped in plastic awaiting finishing – but, I’m getting there!

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Hannah has been co-operating this weekend, and as well as making a beef and guinness stew for dinner I also got some pins finished – unfortunately it is taking me ages to get them on to Etsy, and further more has anyone else ever thought that Etsy is lacking a European grouping for shipping options? (I feel a twit now, I’ve just found they have put up a European Union option…ah well, you live and learn)

Industrial Revolution, Spinning Jenny…and Why fairies need scarves

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So, after a lot of family drama, we eventually made it over to England to visit Hannah’s great-granny Violet,  meet up university friends whom we’ve  not seen in almost 15 years, and then up to the north, to see Matt’s parents. “Too much (non-relevant) information” for a weaving blog? Well it turned out to be more of a weaving trip than I’d imagined.

To start with – “old uni friends” – Claire Silverthorne and I went to Winchester School of Art together, and became good friends. Both of us specialised in weaving, and while I always went a bit mad with colour and technicalities (give me 36 shafts and I’ll still want 2 more to put the selvedge on), Claire was the master of subtle designs and delicate colours. She can work magic with 2 colours and make it a full palet. Not to mention having had more of a clue how to use the Jacquard! Claire’s now married with two beautiful wee girls, and when we met up she returned 2 scarves I’d made a very long time ago. One (pictured here), Claire described to Poppy as “a scarve for fairies” towit Poppy repied “why do fairies need scarves?” A lesson to all of us not to get too airy-fairy in our naming policies or what we think we make! There’s always a 4 year old around to help bring you back down to earth!

And then there was the trip to Arkright’s mill, 10 minutes from my parents-in-law’s house…

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2 weeks later I get back to finish this post –
spinning jennies and water powered mills –
My parents-in-law live in Derbyshire, about 10 minutes away from Arkright’s first mills – “Masson Mill” and “Arkright’s Mill” at Cromford. If this means nothing to you, then it’s time to read up on your weaving / spinning history.
Arkright “Father of the Factory System”, for better or worse, was one of the men who changed the course of spinning/weaving history and brought it into the industrial age – to the cost of traditional weavers and spinners. There is a lot of debate if he and men like him, were forces for good or ill for spinners and weavers, but as Hemmingway said, you cannot stop an idea whose time has come – so maybe it was just that Arkright had the ideas first and it was all going to happen anyway.
Unfortunately the state of the mills right now is a bit sad, and although there are working looms, carders and other machinery to see in Masson mill they seem to only be churning out deck-chair fabric, while Arkright’s Mill is infuriating-ly a “Weaver-free” zone.  The photographs above are from Arkright’s mill (the weir, sluce gate and out buildings), and the internal photos are from Masson Mill museum – about 10 minutes away from Arkrights mill.

For a real treat on a working mill and the conditions of those who worked there “Quarrybank Mill” is excellent – but that’s another story – and day trip – entirely

I did some Googling to find out a bit more about Arkright, Cromford and Masson, and found some interesting links by more knowledgeable people than myself. 
 
http://www.arkwrightsociety.org.uk/
http://www.massonmills.co.uk/
http://www.derbyshireuk.net/mills3.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cromford_Mill
http://www.flickr.com/photos/7382107@N04/3815664870/

2-Teeth McCasey

DSCF2517wow, I really need to get my act together! How long!!??

Right, so updates (for anyone who still bothers to read this blog). Well, as usual, lots has happened, and nothing at the same time.  Hannah now has 2 teeth (see photo) and has been dubbed “Hannah-2-teeth-McCasey”:
I eventually got my warp tied on, have 6 place mats woven and am now working on the table runner:
I eventually got around to putting a sale up on my stock in Etsy:
I’ve started working out the threading plan for some baby blankets / Christening shawls…. So I’m considering this all to be progress…
I also discovered (a few weeks ago) a brilliant dyeing site. Yea, I know – the WHOLE WORLD knew about this lady before me, but still, I have to say something as I found this to be an excellent source of information. I usually rely on my friend Neki to tell me whats-what when it comes to dyeing, as she’s the guru – and in an attempt to find an easy way to dye some yarn that I had (as Neki gave me the hard way to do it), I did some googling and found this site. As it turns out Neki was right – there is only a hard way of doing this (sorry for doubting you), but at least I discovered this site. What I’ve not done yet is sort out the scarves that need to be photographed to go up for sale on Etsy (new ones). I’m hoping August brings more opportunities to get things tidied up- weaving-wise. Not to mention the fact that I plan to finish this warp this weekend, get it washed, cut and sewn and the new warp wound, beamed, threaded and weaving by the beginning of next week! (Amazing what delusions of productivity and grandeur you can have when your parents-in-law are staying and someone else can take care of H.)

15 minutes of peace

This is shameful – today is the 19th of July and the last post I made was the  12th of May…Hannah doesn’t really allow for much weaving and even less blogging!

Still, I’ve updated my links, been talking to Neki about dyeing as that’s a new idea. Been weaving some place mats, and also been doing a bit of work on a pin loom which has been fun…

More to follow (probably in about 3 months!)

ooohhh, dyeing and the cold

Well as usual,  I’m a big fat slacker and it’s been ages since I wrote something.

Hannah’s started the creche, she has a cold, she’s given it to me, I’m back at work and feeling like poo (with having the cold, not sleeping as I am feeding her and she has the cold so she is not breathing properly and thus doesn’t sleep for very long…) do you see a pattern forming?

Besides all this moaning and lack of sleeping, I’m trying to find a Brompton folding bike to buy second hand, as I’m fed up with public transport. Don’t get me wrong – public transport in Barcelona is very good and good value for money too – but I’ve been here over 9 years and have never had to rely on it – and now the Tokyo style packed metro, or the dithering bus are starting to drive me insane…(this is “Ruth, The Not Very Patient” talking – I’ve only been commuting for 2 weeks now! Prior to moving house, I walked to work every day)…

Oh, and on the subject of weaving, I have another little commission which is keeping me busy between moans!

I am making more placemats, this time in shades of blue and tan for a lovely customer in the US. It’s actually helping me focus on something other than my cold, Hannah’s cold and the “JOY” of being back to proper paid work!  The colours are selected, the cotton has been hanked, and dyed and now I need to wind it into balls and design the warp…Watch this space for updates! (I think I’m actually getting a wee bit of Friday weaving done!)

Family project: Flowers, pom-poms and Glockenspiel-bangers

What to do when time is short, looms are not set up and you have lots of loom wastage from expensive wool? The answer is learn to crochet…(or have a mum who is a master crocheter!)
This turned into a real family project;  My mum crocheting and trying to explain to me how to do it (a bit of a lost cause, but never mind!), my dad and I making the wooden pins, myself making the pom-poms (making the centre of the flowers) and my sister providing the beads. My brother’s contribution was to name the wooden pins “glockenspiel bangers”.  Hannah contributed by keeping us all running in cycles to put her doddy back in her mouth, change her, feed her or try and get her to sleep. 

The ones picture below were the prototypes (my cousin is the owner of that now). The first of 8 off the full-family production team is now on Etsy