Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Making for Yarndale 2016

I thought I would spam you with some pictures from my studio this week. You don't mind do you? Thought so!

I've been making wild and colourful batts. This one i've named "Highlighter Rainbow" and I just can't stop looking at it. It's NEON. yes. NEONNNNNNN :-D

Rainbow spinning batt
Rainbow batt for spinning

I've also spinning yarns. I've made some fun art yarns with whole lengths of sequins spun in, and if anyone was to look up the definition of "mermaid yarn" in the dictionary i'm certain you would see a picture of my yarn in there. ;-)
Pretty spinning batts, drop spindle and art yarn

mermaid art yarn with sequins 
 I've also making many, many spindles. I've started experimenting with interesting patterned paper that looks a bit like some tie dye and also kaleidoscope designs. Can't wait to show you those! I may also have been making some fan fiction inspired spindles for Doctor Who and Harry Potter fans. :-D
I can show you some pictures of me pressing some Hydrangea's from my garden though, ready to set inside my spindles. I had such a relaxing evening pressing flowers.

Finally, here is a picture of my "E numbers" batt with one of my new disco "blingles"

I can't wait for Yarndale, and I hope to see some of your friendly faces there. L x

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Mint Green Painted Kromski Fantasia

My custom painted Kromski Fantasia spinning wheel 
I just got this baby painted a gorgeous vintage mint green for a dear customer of mine. I love it! I was inspired by this pretty picture of Pantone 345, with all it's 1960s vibes. Don't you think it's turned out gorgeously? 

Pantone 345

60's mint green painted Kromski Fantasia
This wheel was a surprise birthday present for a customer's friend, who was obsessed with green. Apparently she adored it. :-D 
Mint green Kromski fantasia
I'm planning on adding two more colours to my standard range of custom options for the Fantasia, to include a vintage lilac and pink alongside this mint green and my original baby blue wheel. So fun! I really love my baby blue Fantasia, it's so cheerful and uplifting to use. I particularly love the high shine of the paintwork too. Yum! 

Baby Blue painted Kromski Fantasia 

Someone recently asked to buy my wheel from my at a wool festival, and I didn't have the heart to say no as they were so enthusiastic about the paintwork. I really missed having my little bluebird around my studio. I've now got another wheel painted up and it's going to be mine,( all mine, all mine! ) I've decided to keep a couple of extra wheel parts painted up and in stock as they have been so popular, so I will never be without my blue wheel again. :-) 

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

So Not Over Over-Shot

I love weaving on my loom. I love the feel of throwing the shuttle in my hands, the pattern building up, the sound of the wooden treadles gently clacking, and the surprising way the threads interlace before your eyes and transform into cloth. *sighs relaxing hmmmm*

Chunky weave Overshot
My latest project on the loom was a four shaft overshot pattern with my own handspun and "handspun look" yarns from my stash.

I planned to make a set of two cushions covers to fit some neglected bare cushions from home. And anyway- who can ever have too many cushions right?

I love the way the yarn "poofs" through in the design
As many of you may know, I am a great lover (and habitual hoarder) of yarns. I have boxes and boxes of yarns in all shapes and sizes and fibre content which I have collected over the years. I started collecting yarns during my textile degree when I specialised in machine knitting, so I rummaged through my stash of cones to see what I could find for my project.

I decided on a pale duck egg blue shetland wool two ply for the warp, which was dusty and rescued from a mill surplus supply warehouse sometime in the 80's, and given to me with an old knitting machine. The colour was perfect. Soft and pastel and fresh. Lovely I thought! However, I forgot to think about wether this yarn would hold up well in my warp. It turns out that using *old* shetland yarn in a warp is not the best of plans, as it is prone to breaking. However, i'm sure that using a newer cone of shetland would be fine if anyone wanted to make a similar project. :-)

Handspun overshot 
For my first cushion fabric I wove a baby pink thick singles style yarn in a wool blend. It looked very handspun, and that's why I liked it I suppose! The second cushion was woven using a thick n thin spindle spun handspun yarn from my "Nebula" blended roving colour way of pinks, greens, turquoise and black.

I love the thick n thin yarns, and the change of colours. So pretty!
I warped my loom ( a four shaft folding Lervad countermarch) from back to front after winding my warp of 200 ends and set about weaving!

After weaving my two lengths of fabric for my sections, I've taken my fabric off the loom, fulled it using warm water, shampoo and conditioner, and now it's waiting in my studio to be cut and sewn into cushion covers.

Here is my recipe and drafts if you would like to make this fabric. The backs of these fabrics look just as awesome and I can't really decide which way to sew it up yet!

Warp: two ply pale blue shetland yarn
Warp length: 3 meters
Weft: Cushion one -  pale pink wool blend singles yarn.
          Cushion two - Handspun thick n thin singles yarn in "Nebula"  blended roving colourway

Working ends: 200 ends
Reed: 10 EPI, threaded one per dent
45 cm in the reed

The draft for cushion one and two are below. You need to add a tabby shot after each pattern weft row, as for standard overshot.  I've named the first draft "Naughts and Kisses" because thats what I think it looks like! The second one made some really stunning "polka dots"
 designs all over the fabric.
Pink "Naughts and Kisses" overshot draft
Handspun "Polka Dots" Overshot draft

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Weaving A Wallhanging

I've been enjoying weaving recently; I love gathering all the ingredients together, choosing texture, colour, shine, fibre. I love how close you get to (your precious) yarns and the simple repetitive motions.

Making the fringe is almost the best part for me as the long strands really show off interesting yarns more than most other crafts.
For this weaving I choose four yarns for my fringe. First, a handspun single I made from merino, flax and hand dyed noil, spun in a soft thick 'n' thin. I made this the longest to hang low in the centre. It has a very natural, almost organic feel to it in neutral colours.
Then, I wound some gorgeous boucle yarn in a pure ecru white made from a merino cashmere blend. It is so soft and the boucle looks a little bit like tiny tiny pompoms spread along the lengths of the yarn. I made this part thick and full, mirroring on each edge.

In the centre, I have an alpaca yarn in dusty pink wound with a fun novelty thread in pink and gold with glitter. The two look fun together as the two contrasting textures compliment the other. I cut these yarns to form three tiers for more texture.
In the very middle is my favourite. A slinky smooth chainette yarn in pale gold lurex and viscose. This yarn really SWOOSHES. It is so drapey and lovely to touch. It shines just enough for a luxury touch against the more organic yarns. It really looks yummy!

With my fringe finished, I then focused my attentions on more texture. I wanted to create three other areas of interest on my piece. I went for some bubbled roving in my "Snow Cloud" colour way - a blend of whites and greys with a little bit of shine. A sumac plait in pink merino wool tops and some more fringing with the gold viscose.

Woven Wallhanging

In the background I wove thick singles yarns in an alpaca/merino blend and a berber wool blend in natural tones. Ecru, fawn, and biscuit. It has such a soft feel to it. In some areas, I mixed the white yarn with some space dyed viscose, plying it using my spindle which looked pretty.
I realised I needed one more textured element- so I quickly spun some wool and mohair locks in natural white into a thick n thin lockspun single, again on my trusty spindle, and wove it straight off the cop. It was a little twisty to pull through the warp but nothing I couldn't handle! I liked the way the lockspun yarn packed down in the weave to form a fuzzy raised texture. :-)

I finished my weaving by pulling all the loose ends through the back with my favourite sparkly yellow crochet hook and adding a natural wood branch to hang it from.  I liked making a weaving in what I call a "vintage" colour palate, compared to my usual anything goes rainbows. Which is still way fun to make- but the dusty pinks, pale golds and natural tones all this weaving all worked so beautifully together. I think I would like to add bits of antique lace next time- either in the fringe or in the weaving itself. I took some photos of my weaving outside in nearby, over grown fields in Cambridge. I love this time of year, with the golden late evening sunlight.

The over grown fields surrounding my home

wild flowers in late August

I'm teaching a workshop in weaving these kinds of wallhangings at Folk East over the weekend- if you are at the Folk festival please come and say hi!