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May 27, 2023

happy to be weaving

I measured four blue ends together and then threaded them randomly for an unplanned stripe

the weft is a handspun indigo dyed singles cotton – and plain weave

it is a short warp so the weaving will go more quickly than threading the loom

after many years of weaving I finally discovered how to check for threading mistakes before proceeding

a close up picture will show mistakes

if you are doing a complicated pattern be sure you have a complete pattern

spinning the peduncle tussah silk

 it is hard to believe this beautiful soft fibre comes from the hard stem on the cocoon (lower right corner)

as I weave the cotton I’m trying to decide what to weave with all the soft, natural silk

over my many years I’ve fallen in love several times – and again, with this wonderful, magical fibre and the people who care for it

and then I found a book I couldn’t live without

I have two knitting pattern books by Kaffe Fassett but this is not a pattern book

edited by Dennis Nothdruft, including chapters by several people who have worked with Kaffe Fassett over many years

every page filled with inspiring coloured photos

what inspires all those incredible patterns, colours and designs – I want to know

but Nature is still the ultimate designer




another birthday

May 25, 2023

Happy Birthday Carrie  – 22 today

we had knitting lessons

and weaving

 home from university and working for the summer

Happy days and sunny ways – lots of Love – Nanna

birthday greetings

May 20, 2023

Happy Birthday Jillian

youngest granddaughter – how does it feel to be 19 – in Australia??

and Happy Birthday to Jillian’s Dad tomorrow

a fine time to celebrate – is pink still “in” ?

a naked loom and the wonder of wild silk

May 18, 2023

it only took 2 1/2 years but this pandemic warp is finished

4 small hand towels and a piece at the end for a small zipper bag (when I get a zipper)

the pattern is a Summer and Winter variation – the back and front are a little different

and now for a new warp – odds and ends of fine blues from the stash

weaving a piece of fabric to include in the boro stitching

when you’ve been weaving for 40++ years there are a lot of odds and ends and not so many years to use them up

time to get on with it

 Karen Selk,  author of In Search of Wild Silk was the guest speaker at the Victoria Handweaver’s and Spinner’s Guild

what a wonderful story she has to tell of experiences in India over a 30 year period

I don’t have the words to describe the wonderful variety of wild silks she has to display – overwhelming

muga – eri – tasar

fabrics that look so simple and tell the story of the village people who have worked so hard to produce amazing yarns and fabrics

thank you Karen for telling their story

you have to click on this piece to see how exquisite it is – tiny stitches

for show and tell I took some of my silk spinning

on the right are a Mother’s Day present from a very savvy daughter-in-law

50 gms. each of tussah and peduncle tussah (the dark one) and a cocoon and stem

I was going to warp the loom to weave silk but now will wait until I spin that dark fibre

spinning a fine two ply there is enough fibre to keep me going for the rest of the year



Scrap Happy May 2023

May 15, 2023

we are experiencing an early heat wave

it is hard to think and I just need something to stitch while sitting in the shade

it doesn’t take much effort to gather a stash of indigo dyed scraps – I have no idea what this will become

stitching with thrums, there are lots of tiny stitches happening – I have a hole in my finger to prove it

but there is a much more interesting scrappy story happening

when I ordered a doll kit from Jenny Barnett there was a generous amount of all the materials needed

when Bella was finished there was 15 gms. of the wool fibre used to stuff the doll left over

it is lovely and clean and needed to be spun

 the Hittys had 35 gms. of the same fibre left from their two dolls so I spun that too

the 2 small skeins on the left

and then – this is the very special part – Kjerstin knit tiny sweaters with mother-of-pearl buttons

and a couple more sweaters for the Hittys, all with the leftover wool

Abby and Bella are modelling theirs in the shade – quick, it’s too hot

and there is a tiny ball of leftover wool – more scraps for another time

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at). The list below is the most current one I have, so if you’d like me to update something, let me know in the Comments. Please note that Jule has asked to come off the list as she will be turning her attention elsewhere for a while, and we are delighted to welcome Hannah for the first time.

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, 
JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
ClaireJeanJon, DawnGwen,
Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera, Edith
NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Carol, Preeti,
DebbieroseNóilinViv, Karrin,
Amo, Alissa, Lynn, Tierney and Hannah

keeping busy

May 8, 2023

confession! – I can’t stop spinning and I don’t need any of it

except for plying all my spinning is done on a drop spindle – to slow down the production

the fibre on the right is tussar silk (my latest purchase) resting on top of the final few silk hankies

the two skeins on the far left are the wool “stuffing” left over from doll making – including 35gms. from the Hittys

next to that is 100gms. of silk hankies spindle spun and wheel plied with extremely fine Japanese reeled silk

when I signed up for the studio tour it was to get me back to weaving – that’s done

so now I am bribing myself to weave everyday – one of my happy times is when I can see the end of the warp

yeah! –  some of that silk will be next

the weather is slowly warming up but Bella couldn’t sit around without clothes for too long

pantaloons came first, without any fine lace I finished the hems with a bit of stitching using cochineal dyed thrums

I thought using felt to sew the dress top was a good idea but worried that one layer of the felt wasn’t strong enough for buttons and button loops

a second strip of felt as an interfacing added some strength

we’re getting low on tiny mother-of-pearl buttons

the silk and felt were dyed with cochineal so it all came together nicely

now Abby and Bella are getting to know one another

Abby thinks Bella needs a necklace and some overalls – and we’re going to need another chair

the Chocolate vine (akiba quinata) is blooming for the first timethe tiny flowers are interesting and the colour matches Bella’s dress

if anyone is wondering if I have made a decision regarding the Master Weavers challenge – I haven’t

I’ve never been so indecisive in my life – one day it is GO and the next day NO

I’ll keep you informed




April 30, 2023

there is always a good feeling when a project is finished – but those 15 minutes each day will be missed

putting the pages together is like a puzzle

it really helps to number each page

then fold the corners of page 3 and insert, through the slot under page 1

fold the corners of page 9 and slide under page 8

finally fold page 17 and slide under page 16

the pages are thick with handwoven fabrics and extra fibre bits – it is fat and squishy

construction is explained in detail on Ann Wood’s blog

even if you are not interested in the book her blog is a delight

with that done the bears and I retreated to the garden

Arthur inspected the one gentian that the deer left and admired the miniature daffodils grandson Iain brought for my birthday

Gilbert and Little Bear think the checkered lilies are pretty cool

I never get over the pattern and colour inside the common red tulip

and so farewell to April


100 days

April 29, 2023

how time rushes on – this is the 100th day -almost finished!

slot and tab construction – sewn together in sets of 4 pages

the final four need to be buttonhole stitched around the slot openings

and then they will be fitted together

number 20 is top right

the new doll is finished tooshe is choosing dress fabric – that’s what girls do

her name is Bella – after my maternal grandmother

and all that fibre?  it is left over from the stuffing material, clean, soft and very spin-able

what is a spinner to do? spin it of course

15 gm of pure white 2 ply, is it too thick for a sweater?

shibori dyed silk and antique lace (maybe grandmother’s) for the dress

a trip to the garden centre was necessary, the dreaded deer found a way in

we are going to try filling the gap at the end of the cedar hedge with a small trellis

and of course more flowers are always needed

but now the lawn needs mowing – the deer don’t eat that


it’s been a wonderful week

April 24, 2023

the Studio Tour was a successit didn’t rain

there were some really nice, interesting people

 several of my weaving students came to say hello – so nice to see them

and sales were good – it’s nice to see my weaving go off to new homes

the studio got a good tidy up and I got some weaving done

today is day number 95 and the start of the final book page

page 19 is bottom/center with a very old woven bookmark stitched in the middle

I’ve laid out all the scraps to decide on page #20

a book I pre-ordered arrived last week  – just published, I knew I wanted it and it would be wonderful

the author, Karen Selk was one of my first weaving teachers – just a few years ago

she lives on Salt Spring Island and travelled to India for 30 years to buy silk for her import business Treenway Silks

now retired, the business is under new ownership

this is not a “how to” book – it is the story of the indigenous people of India who raise the wild silkworms

in the foreword Linda Ligon writes “This book is about grit, hard labor, endurance, deep rural culture.”

hardcover, good paper and every page with beautiful colour photos

included on many pages are excerpts from Karen’s dairy, written as she travelled

and – it is very reasonably priced

as I was writing this the postman came knocking

my order of a doll kit from Jenny Barnett (seen on Quimper Hittys) arrived!

it only took 8 days – from Wales – and the cost of postage was reduced from the original quote

wish Canada post was so efficient – and I no longer order anything from the U.S. as the delivery fees are so ridiculous

carefully wrapped with detailed instructions, fabric to sew the body, the stuffing and several postcards – one with Happy Birthday wishes

after you order you get to choose which head you want

she already has a name but that will come when she is finished and introduced to the Happy Gang

I am so excited I had to stop for a cup of tea and calm down

I’ll be back later when she is finished




April 19, 2023

Spring has finally arrived – it is a good time to have a mid-life crisis – actually it’s a senior-life crisis

my feelings won’t be hurt if you give this a miss…

I’ll be celebrating (not sure that’s the right word) a major birthday on the 21st, in case you ask – 80 years

how did I get that old – where did all those years go?

and now I’m asking myself do I have the years – and the umpfh to plan one more  MAJOR project???

regular readers will know that I like to challenge myself – the 100 days project is nearing an end

day 1 of page 19 – handwoven scraps

I have spent a month preparing to present, to the guild, my friend Anke’s Master Weaver’s course and all the samples and paperwork

that seemed to go well and although I tried to encourage someone to accept the challenge there was no indication that anyone was interested

the course consists of four levels

Basic, Intermediate, Senior and Master – the master level has an in-depth study or thesis

the final page in “Exploring the Moorman Technique for Clothing”

full sized kimono – warp mercerized cotton, weft 30/2 silk sett at 45 e.p.i.

and a post card from Theo Moorman

a tape hanger for tea towels- linen, sewing thread and embroidery floss sett at 80 e.p.i. – Moorman Technique

the course is self-taught – no workshops or teaching component and the participant sets their own time line

I’m telling myself I only have to commit to the first level – I may not be functional long enough to complete all four levels

although 40 years of weaving doesn’t necessarily make one a great weaver let alone a Master it’s not the actual weaving I find daunting

the basic and intermediate level will either need a new/different loom and the space to set it up

or be woven on an 8 harness Woolhouse table loom with a floor stand and 4 treadles) – my 16 harness manual dobby loom isn’t acceptable

…it’s the major amounts of paperwork!

every sample has a detailed record sheet and there are several written studies on fibres and techniques

the Guild of Canadian Weavers   website is well worth a visit – written in the introduction

“Together we thread the past with the future through the stories we share and the cloth we weave.”

can I do this ? do I even want to?

It’s not 100 days – Anke took 5 years

am I crazy – anyone want to join me?

to those of you who read to the end, thank you