More Wool, a bit of Linen, Dobby heads and Curry

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Superquick update:
I’ve been weaving with wool; Neki needs some linen (and I’ve got shed loads of the stuff); Neki says she just “found” a random dobby head in her studio; (1. how big does your studio have to be to just have a dobby head lying around and 2. Rub it in why don’t you!); I ate too much curry on Friday night…was delicious but not a good idea. Nuf said.


A Wild Sheep Chase

How cool is this!  I didn’t actually intend to put in a slide show, but it does the trick!

I eventually went to see “Mr Fleko” the owner of the little yarn shop that is on Compte d’ Borell with Diputacion. He is closing down, which is a huge disaster for me as this shop is very close to our apartment, the old gentleman is very interesting, and the yarns are all end of run from mills in Spain, France and Italy and include wools, silks, linens, artificial fibres, ribbons, curtain bindings…you name it: What is even more facinating is the total mess the shop is in – it wouldn’t be out of place in Diagon Allly in Harry Potter…everything is a huge jumble and you can find ribbons or yarns from eras long gone by.

In the midst of all this I found a lovely yarn – 70% lambs wool, 30% acrylic – already felted with regular slubs, it springs and bounces in the hand and feels amazing. The colour is a charcoal grey, but up close you can see the black and white fibres that make it up. I’m hoping to see something completely different when I felt this.

The boucle is from Ireland – a lambs wool / angora / viscose blend that manages to be soft and not too prickly. Again I’m hoping there is enough slack for the lambs wool warp to felt…We’ll see!

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Puffin Chunks and Cream of Pork Pie Soup…

It’s been another whirlwind few weeks, and I’ve been all over the place – both physically and emotionally. Hannah and I went back to Ireland for my Goddaugher’s Confirmation, we had a lovely few days that included a spontaneous family gathering of 9 adults and 3 children…a very heartwarming affair – Hannah decided that she wasn’t too happy about me disappearing for most of the day during the confirmation and “acted up” (to put it mildly); no weaving got done, despite my best intentions and a dressed loom (in Ireland), and now that we are back in Barcelona I find myself facing the long weekend and stuck in a bit of a rut…I have a glimmering feeling of  what I want to do with my wool sample warp now, but I don’t seem to have more than 30 minutes in a row to sit down to it, and I need longer to get my brain to kick into gear…

And so, for my precious daily hour or so of peace and tranquility after dinner,  I’ve been lying on the sofa watching Gavin & Stacey or 15 Storeys and feeling…in a rut…I have been looking for inspiration but coming up blank, and as a result I seem to have spent more time cooking and re-organizing the apartment (and trips to Ikea)…I am the Master Procrastinator when inspiration deserts me – I’ll do anything (except ironing) to not face my loom, especially when I know that the only time I really can face it is after 10pm at night or in 15 minute chunks.

I think maybe a walk around the fashion district of BCN or a few gallery visits are necessary this weekend; something to crank up my inspiration…I’m also feeling the need to talk to Neki (my BCN Weave Buddy) – perhaps she can give me the kick up the bum I need.

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!

And so the next generation moves in…

She wanted up onto my lap when I was weaving, took the stick shuttle off me and starting sticking it into the warp – a tad agressively, so that she broke 2 of my warp ends, but still – I was wetting myself laughing – she was so serious about it – I’m hoping the time will come when she has a better idea of where the shuttle goes!

More of the same…

Yet another weird week –
Things are never simple, are they? There are benefits to being a grown-up (I remind myself of this frequently)  – I can eat 3 kit-kats in a row if that is what I want, but then there is all the stress and worry that seems to be part and parcel of “maturity” that kinda outweighs the benefits of 3 kit-kats.
My father was in hospital again – he went for some tests and was kept in for a week. He was sent home on Wednesday and has been in bed sick since then. And Hannah has some kind of rash on her face (but is eating and sleeping well – the 2 most important things in a Mother’s List)….Needless to say no weaving got done this week!
However, as this blog is about weaving, I have to say that I did THINK about weaving, but didn’t manage to settle down to doing anything, so my 3 samples already done were completed before all the dramas unfolded. The plan is to experiment with a pure lambs wool warp, the sett and the weft. So far I’ve played with weaving the same design in white chenille, black chenille and pure wool weft – Now I am itching to cut these off and wash them, but in my grown-up mood this week, I am determined to get a few more samples out of this sett before I cut off and re-reed.
The “problem” with sampling is that I always seem to have a lot of other ideas, (while sampling) that don’t relate to the warp I have on – and therefore I get restless with the current warp, wanting to put on another one to try this other, oh-so-great idea I’m having. Mmmm, “Grass is always greener” springs to mind…I’m writing down all these brilliant ideas, (that probably won’t seem so brilliant in a few days), and if I’m still motivated they can be the next BIG THING.

No snazzy title…can’t think of one!

It’s been a crazy few weeks – with tummy bugs, and a lovely commission and now teething is upsetting the routine of threading up a sample warp  – I’m not sure that I have actually had any weaving “routine” since Hannah arrived, but I like to delude myself into making lists of “things I am going to do this week”…my parents bought me a notebook for makings my lists for Christmas – it says on the front “Queen of Denial” – how sadly true that is.

So back to my commission and my current warp – Wool is the Way to Go right now. I had a glorious commission for a pure wool scarf that was fun to design and a pleasure to weave. Luckily my basic little Harris has a double back beam, so the wool I  had warped and wound on for a sample warp could wait it out on the other beam, while I got on with the scarf.  Another comedy discover of myself this week is that when I get up to feed H at 4am I seem to have loads of ideas for lifting plans or drafts or “how could I set up my loom to get an effect like…” – I can’t decide if this is sad or amusing. You’d think at 38 years old I’d be fully aware of all my stupidities. Aparently not. Needless to say, after feeding her, I DON’T make lists…I return to bed, like a good, zombified breastfeeding mother…and spend the first half hour at work the next day trying to remember what it was I thought was such a brilliant idea at 4am.

Anyway, my current sample warp is pure lambs wool, undyed, and it’s long. The plan is to weave a few samples with one threading, cut off, rethread & reed and then start again. It’s been a long time since I wove for the experimental fun of it, and it’s about time I got back to it. Etsy is fun, but I don’t weave for money, I weave for the love of it, and it’s time I invested my time more that way.

Weird few weeks

So, what I say? Another long-ish delay since I last opened this blog, but it’s not for want of thinking about it. I’ve discovered, (or rather, “admitted to myself“), that I can weave or I can blog, but I can’t blog about weaving and weave – I don’t have the time for both – and sometimes I have the time for neither…and then there are babies, house-work, sale shopping, grocery shopping, and going to “full-time-paid-grown-up-work-at-the-office” all to consider.

The good news is that my withdrawl has been for a nice commission to weave a scarf for a lady in Japan (and go shopping in the sales!) – I’ve been rummaging for yarns, making wee wrapings, Pixeloom-ing designs and generally filling my evenings with the little pleasures of warping, winding and threading (I’m still threading up but hope to get started on Sat or Sun). Pictures of these efforts to follow.
I’ve avoided house-work and grocery shopping, and this week we’re trying grocery shopping online for the first time – fingers crossed it goes well, as I would really like to give up the 2-3 hours we seem to spend at the market, butchers and supermarket on a Saturday morning…It’s doubtful I’ll be able to spend the time saved Weaving, but I can always hope!

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 ( 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.