Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A New Year

The Easter Lilies are blooming again and that means spring is here! It also means winter has gone by and I still haven't finished what is on my loom. I'm not sure why I haven't finished it. It was in the back room and I thought by moving the loom (it is only 24" wide and has a stand) into the living room that I would weave at least a little bit almost every day. I mean, there is no way I could ignore it with it sitting right there. But it is amazing how something becomes part of the unseen everyday environment. The background furniture. It isn't that I don't like the fabric, I do. I like the subtle harmony of the various blues, the different textures (ribbon, mohair, bamboo and wool). Maybe I am worried about the finishing, the fulling of the fabric. It would make a nice scarf weight, but I am hoping to make a jacket or a light sweater but I need to finish it with some fulling to pull all the threads together into a finished fabric that has a bit more substance and that will require a bit of testing with some swatches. So there it sits. 


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Three Fleeces and a Race


This is a busy weekend and I hab a cold which is quickly becoming worse. I volunteered to pilot a safety boat for the annual Nanaimo Outrigger Figure 8 race (a figure eight around Newcastle and Protection Islands) yesterday and the Shack Attack (Departure Bay to Shack island and back) today. In between I am madly trying to wash 4 fleeces that I acquired last week. Two I think are rams as they have that distinct odor, hence the need to wash as soon as I can. I think they are Suffolk x Corriedale. The two white ones seem fine but the two coloured ones have tons of VM in them. I think this is where I will learn where to draw the line on VM. DH said he will make me a picker which should tease the locks open and hopefully the VM will fall out. The top picture shows three fleece, one white, one black and a purring marmalade one.




Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Variations on a theme

This is the kayaking that I didn't do on the weekend. I got all geared up to go but a phone call at the last minute had me taking someone to town in the motorboat. So Mark went out and took this picture.
Here is another picture of some samples I did with a skein of wool/alpaca/mohair. The colours are brighter than they appear here. All skeins are plied and have one or two singles from the same skein. Some have a single added from another dye scheme. So these samples are really variations on a theme (the keystone colour). Furthest to the right is a 'fractal' spun skein which spreads the colours so they rarely match up. The skein second from the left is Navajo Plied to keep the colours together. So if you compare skein 2 with skein 5, they are both from the same colour dye, yet appear very different. The others are variations on the theme.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The herring are spawning, the herring are spawning

I meant to post this last week. It was a beautiful day and the herring spawned along the beach in front. The water became milky blue. I think herring wait for the sunshine to spawn.  Today was just as beautiful and it reminded me to post this picture. The gulls are circling by the hundreds and sea lions satiated, full and fat are floating by holding one flipper in the air. With so much activity on the water, and a promise of sunshine we are going to go kayaking tomorrow. If I capture any good pix of the activity I will post them. Meanwhile, here is last week's picture.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Original Knot Yarn

I was recently inspired by Materfamilias in a talk she and a collaborator gave about the creative process. They had been paired off in an experiment to see what would emerge if you put two academics who didn't know each other and who came from different disciplines. She spoke about knitting and how the two collaborators discovered common threads and ideas. Being an academic enthralled with Canadian literature, she naturally spoke about P.K. Page who had recently passed away and how P.K. was also a keen knitter and had written some poetry about knitting...to wit:



Knitter's Prayer
Unknit me --
all those blistering strange small intricate stitches --
shell stitch, moss stitch, pearl and all too plain;
unknit me to the very first row of ribbing,
let only the original simple knot remain.

Then let us start again.

' Materfamilias pointed out that the original simple knot could also refer to the umbilical cord knot. All these thoughts came together in my mind with another question 'What creative product would I come up with given their thoughts?' And a personal challenge was born....what if I designed a yarn based on this talk? What would it look like?  

With yarn, you can play with colour, the fibre or a mixture of fibres, the diameter, and the structure (single, two ply or specialty structure). I decided that the yarn would need to start with the colour of red (blood), fade to white (life) and then darken to black (death). I would use a mixture of fibres to represent the many creative thoughts that went into this. I dyed wool that went from red, white to black and then spun it thick and thin for the core. Black alpaca mixed with recycled threads of multi-coloured silk to represent the many threads of thoughts coming together. These were plied together with extra twist and strands of coloured mohair to represent many different life events. Then spun a grey alpaca with a grey/blue cultivated silk to give it a tone and plied it with the already plied yarn in the opposite direction encase the yarn. So what do you think?

Spinner's Prayer

Knit me --
The original knot 
starts the thought.
Blood red, our life begins,
wool white, wool black
a balanced spin.
Many threads, random caught.
spun worsted and woolen, 
slubbed and thin,
paired and plied and 
plied again,
entwined, encased 
and wrapped.
Knit me a life to spin.





Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Salish wool dog - update

I just came across a podcast on the Salish wool dog that I thought people would be interested in. It's well done by Sterling at his site The Future Soon. Sterling interviewed Susan Crockford - the dog bone expert mentioned in an earlier post. Here's the podcast:

To see all the Salish wool dog related posts on this site, click this link: Island Weaving Salish dog posts.

 ..side diversion: His site has a great quote
"Science is what you do when you don't know what you are doing."....