Saturday, January 10, 2015

Choice -

One of the best things about being on holiday is the choice, I wake up and once the 'chores' are sorted I can choose how to spend my day, I can spin, knit, weave, read, tidy the preserves shelves in the laundry/pantry, go to the library, tidy and clear/tidy/sort the garden/garage/back room/book shelves/ whatever. The cubs are old enough to entertain themselves, and sometimes we do things together -sometimes not.

So I have been weaving, so far there are five and a bit of the eight tea/dish towels done. I have the loom set up in a sunny room at the back of the house, and it's almost too hot to weave during the heat of the day. The first four towels were plain weave, the second four are waffle weave. So far so good. I am wondering why I chose white as the main colour - after all white towels used in the kitchen end up stained. A cleverer idea would have been to use a colour that was less clean ... But I live and learn.

My score of the year was a slim wood Venetian blind in 'mahogany' at the Restore shop at the tip. For $3 and an hour cutting and sanding I now have 84 wooden thin warp packing sticks that match the reddish wood of the loom. The blind was wide and the strips when cut in half are nearly the full width of the loom - so 42 blind slats turned into 84 warp sticks. Thursday I finished weaving the plain weave towels so Friday while little cub and friends made masquerade masks I crawled under the loom and set up the treddles for the waffle weave. It's not difficult - just awkward, and involves sitting on the floor in a space slightly to small reaching just past a comforable reach to tie up dozens of cords. I get why weavers dislike that step - and I see why looms are marketed on how easy the tie ups are. More learning - I'm not loving the cottolin I bought from the north island, it was cheap and local but is sticky. And my inexperienced warping has not helped with that - but every warp brings a greater awareness of the things I need to be careful with. With the warp sticks sorted I needed to find some where to store them - and the Arts and Crafts umbrella stand seems perfect and elegant. The wheel to the right of our old umbrella stand/new warp stick stand is Ana's Wendy wheel - which I am fostering for her whilst she globe-trots. Out the window is the trailer filled with the hedge clippings, tomorrow my main chore it it take it to the free waste place to be composted - Bear can't back the trailer and I can - so I'm driving.

I've cast on for Enchanted Mesa, and so far the progress has been slow but steady. I am recalculating the numbers as I didn't want my fingering yarn to be knit up like lace - all open and breezy. I want this to be an oversized winter pull on. I also modified the neck - moslty as I didn't want to waste my graduated silk merino yarn on a cowl where it would fold and drape and hide its lovely grey shadings. So far I am up to the fourth section - although others in the KAL are well into the body and sleeves.

And then there is spinning, I signed up for a craftsy class on spinning. I want to rave about it ... but I've only competed the first two parts of the class so I really should finish before I review. The class is challenging - which is the reason I enrolled. It deals with the detail of how to hold and draft the fiber - and the teacher (Jacey Boggs Faulkner ) is full of detail on how she works the process. So I've been working on spinning across the top - which is hard. Jacey suggests it could be months before the technique comes easily - and for the past week I have been practicing. I understand the technique, I even remember when Jacey taught it a few years ago when she was here for a workshop - but getting my hands to do what my mind knows takes effort. Learning new stuff is tiring - and perfect for when on holiday and work has not drained the energy from my body.

So far I have spun 2/3rds of a 100 gram bump of dyed top across the top. And I am tired - but beginning to master the technique. The top was one of the 2015 Vintage purls fiber club installments, the second I think. It is Polworth so will bloom amazingly - and while I want to spin fine I am practicing most on the drafting across the top more than the fine. I have two of these - so plan to spin both then ply them together for a two ply yarn that fades from purple to red to yellow.

More soon, Stella


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