How domesticated am I!???

Eh, no – I didn’t do any “housework” really, but I did make a carrot cake that turned out rather delicious, I finished one warp, finished beading another scarf and started another… this one has to be called “The big blue” there are no other words for it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uploaded to Etsy – This extra long shawl in wool & silk, gorgeous dark teal mohair and coffee brown viscose chenille  . It weighs a ton! Is lovely and drapy (the silks and chenille viscose work on this), and has that lovely springy softness of a slightly 3d weave. Was a total pleasure to design and an utter pain in the arse to weave (Why in the name of God do I keep going back to Irish mohair for a warp?! Matt has promised to remind me the next time I do this…mainly as he had to listen to me grumble every evening!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I finished hemming and beading this one – Which was a funny experience as Hannah kept telling me she wanted to eat the beads “Me want eat them” (you have to think of Cookie Monster when you read that line) despite the fact that I told her REPEATEDLY that they weren’t sweets and you couldn’t eat them! it’s fluffy, colourful and soft – Sari silk, mohair boucle hand-dyed wool in the warp, with single twisted raw silk in the weft.

And finally – the big blue…

 

 

 

 

 

 

I only started weaving it last night, so no pictures of “progress” but to follow

Friday Weaving

My cold and chest infection are abating and I’ve actually had time to do some weaving. Not much, but a few hours is better than nothing, so I won’t complain.
I’m hoping to get 2 scarves (skinny, bright autumn / winter scarves) out of this warp. And to make sure the colour and texture variation of the weft keep them fresh and distinct.
There are two wool boucles in the warp – and one is noticeably much softer than the other. This is a bit disappointing, they both cost the same. The slightly rougher one is pure wool, with a lovely mix of colours, but I guess you can’t have jam on your egg.

Rain forecast for this weekend, and Carrefour are delivering this afternoon, so hopefully I’ll get more weaving done. I should (could) do some housework, as that has been sorely lacking recently. But arse to that. The thought of hoovering doesn’t exactly inspire me right now – the dust bunnies will be free-range for another weekend.

Oh, and the potty training has been a great success, Whoopee!
Well, so far, it’s been a big success…we’ve been at it a week, and after day 1 she seemed to have fully grasped the concept – We’ll see if this continues and what the verdict is going to be after several long bus, plane and car journeys for these weddings we’re off to in June and July.
Not to mention church services, and wedding receptions.
I might have changed my mind after all that.

at last I uploaded – Spring & Summer fruits!

at least that’s what the colours read like! Raspberry, cherry blossom, honeysuckle, hot pink, fuscia, fuzzy peach…
either that or a list of cocktail names!

They’re now on Etsy and the next warp (in slightly darker shades of pink) is on the loom.  As we’re potty training this weekend, I have my doubts about how much weaving will get done – we’ll see

WHAT date is it?!

I’ve no idea when I last posted – I’m sure I posted a few things…”in my imagination”…
Never mind. I’ve not stopped running, worrying and weaving since I last posted. I’d wish there was less of the worrying, but then I’d probably be dead, so maybe not – so I’ll not complain too much about that.
To cap it all  it’s bloody boiling in Spain now, it has been boiling since the first week in July and we’ve yet to see what August brings. ARSE. Things can only get hotter, (not better) where the heat in concerned, and there was me having high hopes of a cooler summer after such a lovely raining spring.
Never mind.
Anyway, the hell-like weather aside, I’ve been weaving and weaving and weaving – and I’ve got enough on the boil to keep me going until September. This is excellent and tiring and inspiring and exciting and a wee bit worrying too! (That’s “weaving worrying” something totally aside from “every-day Ruth Worrying”).
I’ve just finished an excellent commission for a fine silk and mercerized cotton scarf. Finished with real semi-precious stones (turquoise, lapis lazuli and amethysts), it has a mind all of its own and bounces and moves with the body when wearing it. A real delight to weave and trim – and now to flip things over, I’ve wound on a 270 inch warp (almost 7 metres!) of hand-dyed cotton and just begun weaving 2 extra place mats and 8 napkins to match a set of 6 place mats I wove for a client 3 years ago. I have to say this project has been in progress for a while now. I had no pictures of the original placemats and had little memory of the colours. So one had to be sent to me as a reminder – then I had to dye up yarns…then the client decided on 2 extra place mats and napkins (and maybe a pot-holder or 2) rather than a 2.5 metre table runner… A new dining table was the culprit in all this, which allowed for 2 more places but didn’t allow (width wise) for a full width table runner. It’s been a long process, but good fun too, as the client really wanted something to match what she had for her new table, but wasn’t sure about the runner.
In the end we worked it out – So – 2 new place mats and 8 napkins, and some pot-holders…and a huge warp, (I was sitting in my nighty at midnight winding it on – I started at 10.30pm and it still wasn’t fully wound at midnight!)
When that is done, there is another scarf commission – this is still in the design process, and we need to work out colours, weight and texture –  It’s fantastic to have such a lovely variety of things in the pipeline and I don’t remember when I’ve had so much fun with continuous and varying projects. And after that linen wash-mitts. You see?! Variety! I have a feeling it will be mid-end September when the linen get’s put on though.
And today heralds the beginning of visitors and travels, basically we are travelling or with visitors every week between now and mid October. Our washing machine and air-con are going to die. Still, it does mean I have an almost endless supply of baby-sitters, so I’m really not complaining at all.

In between all that (yea, I know – life beyond weaving…what’s that!?), we went to Bergerac to visit friends for a long weekend; Hannah has decided that she no longer wants to breast feed – her choice entirely (HURRAH!) at 1 week short of 22 months she shook her head when offered just before bed. That was the end of it. Unfortunately 2 weeks after this lovely evolution she decided that she was not going to bed peacefully any more, and (to up the ante), she was waking up at least once, if not twice / thrice in the night. Leaving all the lights in her room ON when she goes to bed seems to settle her a wee bit more. But it’s been an exhausting 2 weeks. I’m also trying Flower Remedies…basically I’ll try anything! I’ve found that my body and brain don’t function so well on 2 hours sleep.  We’ve no idea what brought about this sudden change, but we’re all having to work through it. I’m praying to any diety who’ll listen that she returns to her cheeky “bugger-off and let me sleep” personality ASAP!

Life in Colour – there is no other way

As I work away with wool and black and white, I can feel a revolt coming on – it’s like working with linen and thinking that mohair is a good idea  – (actually, no – it’s  not like that, for that is insanity).

I love weaving, and I love colour, the two are irrevocably tied together for me and this sums up what I mean by COLOUR – What I FEEL by the word COLOUR!!! It’s like Chocolate and coffee and nice red wine and majul dates all at once – every taste bud tingling from what your eyes can see. (mmm, from all that one can deduce that I really like my food)

Neki and I eventually caught up – and while she bemoaned her lack of linen (and I’ve got cupboards about to explode with the stuff), we went to see the Mariano Fortuny exhibition at the Padrera on Passeig de Gracia. It was the aforementioned Mr Fortuny who was inadvertently guilty of steering me towards the course I took…leading to textiles and Japan. A very tatty old book about him existed in our school library, and finding it was full of colour and luxury and velvets and pleats I became a bit obsessed! This then led to an interest in Miyake and all his pleats, and the next thing you know I was wondering what happened in Japan with regard to textiles.

On a completely non-textiles note, it was a strange coincidence that this week I got in touch again with an old friend from Japan – another gaijin who is now married and still living there with two children taboot…He’s moved to Tokyo though…no Inaka for him any  more!
Now, I just need to find some one who can tell me if Kanebo still make those pine bath salts and I think I’ll feel that all is right with the world this week…(until next week raises its own set of questions and I’m flumaxed all over again.)

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

Industrial Revolution, Spinning Jenny…and Why fairies need scarves

DSCF2634DSCF2633DSCF2638DSCF2637DSCF2635

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…

PICT1567DSC01272DSC01271DSC01269PICT1563PICT1561PICT1559PICT1558PICT1535PICT1556PICT1554PICT1553PICT1551PICT1543

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/

Revolution or Evolution – but definately not involving Handwoven

Well,
something that dragged me away from feeding Hannah or singing the annoying repeat of her Fisherprice train – the latest edition of Handwoven magazine – Warning – this is a long rant!
This arrived a few days ago – if anyone from the US reads this, they’ll be thinking that’s a bit strange, I got mine last month, but as I live in Europe (which is equal to MARS, don’t you know), it takes a wee bit longer for the mag to get here…Long haul postage aside, once here you’d think I’d be delighted to sit and have a read with my afternoon tea. Mmmmmm – I flicked through it and immediately 3 things came to mind.
1. How many times can you sound excited about weaving tea-towels / dish-clothes in a calander year?
2. How many times can you take out your Olsner and find a twill or overshot and get excited about that too? (admittedly it’s not difficult to take out your Olsner and find a twill or 300, but my excitement tends to wain a bit)
3. Is tencel the only “new” yarn out there? (not so new these days actually, but I’m splitting hairs a bit here).
 
Then, to add insult to injury the feature “20 things to do with leftovers” was a question asked my yours truly to the Yahoo weavers group in April “what to do with left-overs – Thrums”. If it was just random coincidence that it then appears in Handwoven, it was also random coincidence that the idea to put thrums out for birds to use in nesting also appeared – Unfortunately the response that this can actually strangle and choke the birds didn’t make it to Handwoven – If any wee birdies die from choking on thrums, you know who to blame.
If I was any of the people who answered my question with some good suggestions, which re-appeared in Handwoven, I’d be a bit ticked off that I didn’t get any credit for providing them with content.
 
I feel like some kind of mad old biddy, to come out of my “mother-mode” back to my blog, solely for the purposes of a rant. But I have to do it, as I’ve been more and more un-impressed by Handwoven for a while now. What’s so utterly frustrating is that there is a wealth of information, motivation and new ideas out there in weavers blogs, but Handwoven just seems to churn out the same tired old formula of Olsner=(overshot/twill)/teatowels…with a bit of tencel thrown in for a “new look”.
 
The feature on 10 yarns for under 10 bucks, was interesting, but what about some ideas of what to do with them? How about “Ten weavers were given 10 yarns for under 10 bucks and had to come up with something” (like Vogue when they ask their editors or 10 random women to test cellulite cream, or some other such rubbish…but you still read about it!)
How about someone weaving with chicken wire; Someone dyeing, weaving, finishing something random, beautiful and experimental (forget purpose for the moment); Someone using their mighty 24 or 36 shaft looms for something other than (dare I say it again) Olsner; How about interviews / write ups with successful woven textile designers; How about interviews / reviews of art college weave graduate shows.
How about what news on what is happening in the world of fashion and interiors with regard to weaving: “Woven fabrics are all the rage…” or “Print is hot right now, but 60s style dogtooth has made a return to the niche market”
 
News or features on projects from around the world; Womens groups in parts of Latin America, Africa and the Stans where they are trying to gain financial independence or put their lives back together after wars and returning to traditional crafts (weaving among them), to earn money and feed their children.
 
How about some inspiration! Anything! But enough already with Olsner’s tea-towels.

I’m out of breath now, but I had to get that off my chest.

Comments and feedback are welcome. I’m sure I’ve made some enemies with this outburst – but I’m also sure that there are weavers who feel the same way too.