Dye Day

It has been a strange and slow year.  Staying inside.  A lot.  And still, not really doing a lot.  I have been recovering from a rotator cuff injury in my shoulder and that stopped my weaving ability for a while.  I am now about 85% improved and can weave for short sprints of time.  I’m now up to about 45 to 60 minutes a day, with about 20 to 30 minutes a go. 

On the plus side, that gave me time to reflect and plan, and design, and read and learn.  And I now have a lot of ideas and projects waiting patiently in the wings, and a new energy to get going. 

This scarf I started in August and have recently finished.  The Coquitlam Guild spent a glorious sunny afternoon in August in President Rosie’s big back yard enjoying a socially distanced dye day with indigo.  I wound a random mixed silk warp, using up various small bits and pieces, clearing off bobbins.  Some were fine silk threads, some medium, some mixed with cotton or rayon or linen.  I added just two ends of a beautiful silk chenille, and two ends of a silk boucle for texture.  I only had the opportunity for one dip in the indigo, (I was talking with my friends too much) so a paler indigo colour came out, and all of the different yarns took up the dye in different amounts, so it was a fun experiment.  The best part of the day was being able to sit and visit with friends and catch up on what everyone had been working on. 

The warp went on the loom in a simple straight draw twill.  For weft I used my favourite Jane Stafford 2/20 silk in Stormy Teal, with accents in a pinky purple called Starfish.  Sett 20 epi, and woven 20 ppi.

A silky scarf with great memories attached.

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Sweet, Simple Linen

A sweet short warp to use up some of my smaller bits of linen thread.  Enough for one towel and one scarf.  The colours are mirrored from the centre, with Fibonacci sequencing.  The warp is mixed linens, some Euroflax, some 2/16 and the green is a fine singles.    All of the warp, as far as I can tell is line linen.  Simple, straight draw threading.

One towel with a fine singles tow linen as weft.  A little thick and thin in places as tow linen is.  Simple, calming plain weave.  Soft and absorbent tea towel.

One scarf with silk weft.  Straight draw 2/2 twill.  A few random linen stripes along the way.  It has the softness, luster, and drape of the silk, and a little of the crunchiness of the linen.  Rustically beautiful.

Easy, relaxing weaving for a slow summer’s day.


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Collapse Weaving

These two scarves are pretty much straight out of JST Season 3, Episode 6, Collapsing plain weave.  The only changes I made were to add some colour and weave effects to the silk stripes and squares.  There are 30 ends in each silk stripe.  I divided one stripe in half, 15 threads of orange, followed by 15 ends purple.  The next silk stripe I placed five alternating stripes of six threads in orange and purple, and for the third, alternating two ends by two ends.  In some of the weft squares, I mirrored the warp colour sequencing.  I thought this added some interesting colour stories.

The weaving was easy and fast, except for the stopping to change colours.  Fifteen ends per inch, fifteen picks per inch.  I played with the colours and materials, soft and matte vs slick and shiny. Off the loom they came is in quick succession.  Two scarves and a sample, each slightly different.  One in squares, and one in stripes.  I twisted the fringes and admired the colour combinations.

And then I froze.  All of a sudden, I had a fear of washing.

Not totally surprizing considering my last adventure of accidental over-felting that left me in tears.  Not yet to be talked about in polite society.

Three weeks passed.  The scarves mocked me each time I walked past them draped over the chair in my studio.  They called to me like a siren’s song, “wash me, wash me.”

I held my breath.  I washed the sample.  It turned out OK.  But the scarves were bigger, with more chance of messing up.

Two more weeks, and still the scarves taunted me.  “Chicken” they called.

Finally, the stress of leaving something unfinished became greater than the fear of failure.  I washed, agitated and checked carefully until I got just the right amount of fulling.  Washed and air-dried, the scarves are bouncy and light and, most importantly, done.


In case you haven’t guessed, my weaving mantra is “It’s not finished until it’s finished.  Things undone are things not fun!”


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Not Exactly What I Had in Mind

So, as many of you know, I have been trying to keep up with the lessons in Jane Stafford’s Online Guild.  Now that we are in Season 4, my approach is to watch the videos, take notes, and absorb the information presented.  Then I let it sit for a bit and gather its juices while I wait for availability of looms and materials and inspiration.

I understand the value of sampling, however, I have reached a time in my life and in my weaving, where I don’t want to fill another drawer with samples.  I want my samples to be both beautiful and useful, and out where I can see them.  And here I am at Season 4, Episode 3, Small Threadings Gamp.  Heck, I thought, I can make my samples tea-towel size, then I can see them hanging in my kitchen and use them as needed.

I do remember hearing Jane say not to make the samples in too fine a thread, because it is visually harder to see the details of the thread interaction, but I thought, I’ll be ok.  I put on an eight-yard warp of butter coloured 2/8 cotton, with red dividers, and went for it.  I kind of like the fact the details gets lost from far away, but can be filled in and studied as you hold the cloth close, as you might do when drying dishes.

Boy, are they busy!  The first two towels I wove in dark brown for high contrast.   I love the punctuation of the red basket weave hems.


Two turquoise, a nice contrast.  Notice how the red dividers in the warp look so different from the red dividers in the weft, even though they are exactly the same colour.

Two light brown.  I liked this soft contrast, but I didn’t like the extra long floats I can see in the bottom of the second towel.

All different treadlings.  And the last towel I wove with all three weft colours, as well as the yellow from the warp and the red used in the dividers,  all while trying out different border ideas.  Kind of my favourite.

All fun.  All nice.  Just different than the picture in my mind.  And that’s what makes weaving such an interesting journey.


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Overshot on Plaid

Over the last year or so, I have been working through a series of scarves in Overshot and exploring the variations of this weave structure.  In today’s scarves, I have been influenced by the lessons of Jane Stafford and her Online Guild, which introduced me to the concept of using silk weft on a cotton ground, and the concept of overlay.  Another strong influence was Robyn Spady’s workshop “Extreme Warp Makeover” where we explored using many variations of weft and treadling on a classic weave structure.  Both great teachers.

For these two scarves, woven on an overshot treadling, I considered the traditional Overshot structure where a coloured pattern weft is woven over a solid neutral plain weave ground.

For this study, I thought, what would happen if I start with a plaid as my ground cloth.  This one has a blue square in each corner, intersected with a yellow stripe, and two red squares in the centre, bordered by black stripes.  So, red, yellow, blue and black are the colours in play.  The warp is 2/8 cotton, sett at 18 ends per inch.

For tabby weft I chose Bambu 12 in colours similar to the warp.  Bambu 12 is soft and drapey, very light in weight, and about half the gist of the cotton warp.

For pattern weft, I chose 2/20 silk, which is about the same size as the 2/8 cotton, but stands out as the pattern weft because of the way it picks up and reflects the light.  The pattern design is called Orange Peel.

For the first scarf I chose Black Magic, 2/20 Tussah Silk, and dark green Sitka Spruce, 2/20 Bombyx Silk as the pattern colours.  Some of the pattern motifs are woven in just one colour, others in a combination of both.  I wove the pattern “tromp-as-writ”, star-fashion, with the tabby weft following the warp colour order.  Understated elegance.  In the first photo you can clearly see the blue corner squares, the centre red square and the yellow and black accent colours creating the plaid.

For the second scarf, Robyn Spady’s influence came out to play.  I wove the overshot pattern in a “what if, as if”, manner.  What if I switched colours as I went along?  What if I treadled the pattern as if it were summer and winter, or as if it were twill or monk’s belt, as if it were crackle, as if it had extensions, was treadled in rose fashion, or treadled in inverted order?   Skip the plaid squares, alternate sections of blue tabby and sections of red tabby.  Then add in some transitional stripes to separate the motifs.  Woven from bobbins of bright, colourful 2/20 silks leftover from other projects it became a joyful, jubilant song.

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Oranges and Lemons

Here is another project I finished this spring.  Two scarves woven on a hand painted warp in orange and yellow.  Where the two colours overlapped, a beautiful coral emerged.  The warp was painted in a workshop with the lovely Liz Moncrief.

This warp reminded me of a big bowl of oranges and lemons.

As I was weaving this the old nursery rhyme / skipping rope song rang through my head.  It refers to the bells of several churches ringing out:

Oranges and Lemons say the bells of St. Clements

You owe me five farthings said the bells of St. Martins

When will you pay me said the bells of Old Bailey

When I grow rich said the bells of Shoreditch

And so on . . .


As a child, I remember jumping rope to this song, the beat of the skipping rope keeping rhythm.  As children we played with little regard for the history we were learning with our games, and this song has a dark second verse, which if you are interested in, you can look up.

Nevertheless, weaving to me is music, and this is the rhythm of these pieces.

When I made the warp, I added some plain Coral Flame silk to the painted silk warp, and wove the first scarf with the same coral as weft.  Woven in an eight-shaft turned twill.  It shines like a summer day.

Like the song’s second verse, the second scarf is darker.  I used a dark red, Favourite Wine, and punctuated that with Black Magic.  I love how different this scarf looks from the first one.  All materials for warp and weft are 2/20 silk available from Jane Stafford Textiles.


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Point Twill Towels and Runner

Fresh kitchen towels, in earthy, spicy colours.  Pasta sauce simmering on the back of the stove.  Children’s laughter drifting down the stairs.  My ever-present companion Luci.  A good day to be safe at home.

Four towels, freshly finished, in spice-coloured stripes on a simple, point twill, dark brown background.  The stripes move up to a point and down again in increasing widths.  One towel repeats the warp stripes to form a plaid.  The other three towel feature one weft colour throughout, with dark brown hem emphasis.  The colours are much brighter than the pictures shown. – gold, cherry red, tumeric and brown.


.  And finally, a table runner that picks up all the colours, woven in a combination of 9 shots of Rosepath followed by three shots of plain weave.  The middle plain weave shot has four threads held together to add weight and texture.

This is Luci, part lab, part duck tolling retriever, great shedder of hair.

Wishing you and yours a safe and cozy home as well.

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Companion Scarves

I wove these two companion scarves back in February, and I am finally posting the pictures now.  They are both woven of Zephyr 50% Merino wool, 50% silk, and finish with a love soft hand and lustre.

The first, for my Daughter-in-Law-to-be, Fadia, is a mixed twill scarf, called Hydrangea Bouquet, taken from the pages of Next Steps in Weaving.


The second, a primary plaid, using the same colours that are in Fadia’s scarf.  This one is woven in straight twill for my son Mike.

Easy, gentle, weaving, made with love and joy for special people.



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Chocolate Mint Towels

My colour choices to supplement my stash this year are browns, greens, spicy reds, oranges, golds and yellows.  I ordered my cotton and silk stash boosters in January, before things slowed down, and I will be working from these as well as pre-existing stash as I move through my weaving projects this year.

My colour choices have meaning to me, and this is how I see it:

Deep, Dark, Rich Browns are positive, earthy, rich, delicious, robust and appetizing, and symbolize stability and security.

Greens are positive, calm, quiet, soothing, natural, lightweight and symbolize healing, refreshment, and new beginnings.

Reds and Oranges bring passion, excitement, energy, creativity and adventure.

Yellows and golds bring sunshine, optimism, happiness and hope.

These colours will be visible in my new work, and some old colour favourites will find their way in as well as I work through my stash.

This set of towels I am calling Chocolate Mint.  Our local chocolatier, “Purdy’s” sells delicious chocolate layer mints, which inspired these towels.  Made with 2/8 cotton, in dark brown and seaton green.

Threaded in straight draw twill, I made a sample, 4 towels and a long shawl on a six-yard warp.

The four towels incorporated some of the teaching from Jane Stafford’s Season 4, Episode 1, working with a straight draw twill.  Towel one, woven straight draw throughout, following the colour order of the warp.


Towel 2, graphically, overall stripes.

On the third towel, I played with variations of the twill, reversing the twill diagonal, and adding some colour and weave effects.


And the fourth towel was woven as basket weave.

The last piece on this warp became a beautiful, drapey shawl, with the use of 2/20 silk in the weft.  I used three shades of green, as well as chocolate brown and added a touch of bright pink dragon fruit to highlight.  It brings me joy.

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Pretty in Red and White

Some pretty little ornaments in double weave pick up.

Some are whimsical and folksy.

Some are traditional graphic star shapes.

Graphed designs are everywhere.  You can look for fair isle and Nordic knitting graphs, or two-colour cross stitch.  The pieces are white on red, and reverse to red on white.  Add twisted fringe and hangers in the top hems.


Just in time for Christmas.

Wishing all a Happy Holiday Season.

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