Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The next blanket

Last week, I pulled out all my bags of assorted handspun from the closet, sort of hoping I would find something to weave another blanket. I really hit it lucky! I found some beautiful dark gray, lustrous wool from a sheep named Sparky, a ewe from the coast of Maine where the fleeces are said to be "fog-washed". I also found some even more lustrous white wool from a sheep named Dawn, probably a Lincoln cross from my friend, Suzan Shearin in Tennessee. There is a lot more of the gray so the white is going to be borders on all 4 sides. I am weaving it double so I have a fold down the middle on a 40", 4H loom so it will be plain weave but the borders with the white will have color and weave patterns. It has been a long time since I have woven something that is just natural sheep colors, no other color at all. But I am enjoying the simplicity and the contrast of these 2 colors, probably because it is so different for me, usually I have as many colors as I can possibly use. So far, I have it warped through the reed and heddles so just have to tie it on and wind the warp. The hardest part is over. By the end of today it should be ready to weave.

The kids have done a lot of work on my website and so it shouldn't be too much longer until it is up online. I am getting more and more excited about it as it gets closer. They show me what they have done so far and I can't believe that it is really my work.

Although I have done a good amount of weaving this year so far, I haven't done any drawing or given much thought to tapestry weaving and I really want to get back to doing that. My last tapestry made me happy and so I don't want to lose that momentum by letting too much time pass by. I have been spinning some tapestry yarn in the evenings the last week or so. I looked this morning and I couldn't even find my sketchbook so that was frustrating too. Besides several other chores I have to do today, I really need to finish warping the loom and find that sketchbook.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Weaving and Moose Siting

The afghan is all woven and off the loom. The colors and yarn worked out wonderfully, much better than I even expected. I've started to twist the fringe but haven't finished that up yet, maybe this weekend. When it gets washed, the waffles will get deeper and it will get softer and fluffier. It was one of those weaving projects that just came together so easily and the weaving was a joy, I hated for it to be done. But I'm already thinking about what yarn I already have that I could use in the next one, maybe needing to spin some more to have enough.

The last month or so, I've been learning ASL to be an interpreter at church. I understand the syntax and don't have a problem with that at all. Just learning and remembering all the signs is hard but with the holidays, it was a lot of interruptions. Maybe now I will get into a better study routine.

They are having a fiber/yarn exchange on the dyehappy list and I entered 2 fiber groups. I have several ideas and don't know which I'll end up with but my plan now is to take a couple paintings and analyze the colors as to both color and proportion of that color in the painting and design a color blend for fiber using that scheme. I've done this before and learned a lot by doing it. I haven't been spinning at all lately and I miss it and would like to get some fiber carded up next week to work on.

The week after Christmas, our son, Gabe, was here for a visit. This was the first time that he's been to Montana and I think he really liked it. Here is a photo of moose we took while hiking by Bozeman Creek. They had come to the creek to drink and we were thrilled to get to see them. And then a photo of Gabe.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Hawaii in January

This is the tapestry that I have been working on this past month for a Christmas present for my son, Gabe, and daughter-in-law, Amy. They got married on October 1 and went on a honeymoon to Maui. They sent me some of the photos of their trip and I thought it would be fun to use one of the photos to work up a cartoon for a tapestry and weave that for them as a remembrance.

It is 11" wide and about 9" long and all handspun, hand dyed weft. I used a commercial wool warp sett at 8 epi. It was so much fun weaving the sky and sea! I was always imagining how warm it was there and in contrast to how cold it was here.

It has taken me awhile to get my weft just the right thickness and the amount of twist for the sett that I like using but I feel like I have perfected that yarn for my use. Most of the time I blend several colors on the drumcarder so that there is variation of colors in the yarn and I enjoy seeing this come up randomly in the weaving. These extra little flashes of color seem to add depth to the weaving.

Gabe came to visit for a few days after Christmas and we gave the tapestry to him and he seemed to like it. He recognized the photo it was from. It is hanging in their apartment with the New York City tapestry he asked me to weave him earlier this year.

This new year, I'm off to a pretty decent start. I'm warping the loom with an afghan of many deep purples and blues so it has a very mysterious, shimmery look to it. The weave is a 4H waffle weave so it should be warm and cozy too. Hopefully I can get the loom all ready to weave this afternoon. I've knitted 3 pairs of socks on the sock knitter these last couple of days also and am sorting through some fleeces to spin up the yarn for some more afghans and blankets.