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autumn colours

October 18, 2017

 dyeing the silk hankies is just the beginning

separate the colours into individual hankies

tear them into roving and wind into balls

even after all the dyeing they separate easily

I start on an outer edge – the shiny lines in the photo

this is where the silk fibre is very strong

it is much easier to spin if the fibres are eased apart before you start to spin

on the right in the top photo you can see where all the colours are twisted together

testing how the spun yarn will looksome of the madder dyed orange went into an iron modifying bath

to give a darker shade

influenced by the colours outside my bedroom window

winding this mixed warp took time

using up yarns from the stash

cotton, linen and cotton/hemp blend

the yarn weights are even a little different

keeping my fingers crossed that it won’t be a problem to weave

and the hydrangeas are wearing fall colours


colour me happy

October 15, 2017

taking 100 grams of silk hankies

which are oh so soft!

separating them into six bundles

starting with home-grown madder root

which I clean with an old toothbrush

 chop up in an old blender

and dyed one bundle in the first dye pot

information tells us that the first dye extraction brings out the yellow

here the first dyeing is on the left and a second, separate vat and clean silk is on the right

there is a slight difference, the second vat is a little redder

the roots were soaked overnight, kept at a low simmer for 2 hours and then drained

the silk was dyed for 1.5 hr. at a low heat

and I’ve dried the roots to use again

when you grow your own dye material, weed and water it for 3 years

and then clean it with a toothbrush

it is wise to use every last drop of colour

next is pomegranate – just the rind

enjoy the seeds, they are good sprinkled in a salad

you can freeze the rind until there is enough to dye with

it is a strong dye so you don’t need too much

you get a strong yellow – the camera couldn’t catch these colours

adding an iron modifier to the yellow gives a beautiful mossy green

careful with the iron, too much can damage the silk

add a little at a time

  when it reaches the colour you want, remove it from the dye bath and rinse well

next – a lovely pot of cochineal

some of the bugs didn’t get strained out, they will drop out when spinning

then the two madder pots and the cochineal were combined

the colour is more subtle

and the handspun thrums from the scarf warp went into the pot as well

they will all be spun together

I’ve kept notes and samples so in six months I can do it all again

now for the big clean-up!


little things

October 11, 2017

nothing very interesting happening here

(perhaps that is a blessing and a relief)

taking advantage of the sunny autumn weather in the garden

a lovely old rhododendron died in the hot, dry summer

replaced with this Japanese maple – Acer Palmatum “Waterfall”

the leaves are a bright green and only change colour in the autumn

 not as big as I wanted but they are expensive  – even in a 30% off sale

so I’m talking to it and hoping it will thrive and grow

the scarves are finished

off the loom, washed, pressed and trimmed

all handspun silks in natural and natural dyed coloursthe inlay became a bit tedious towards the end

now it is on to bright cotton for the studio tour

using up small cones from the stash

while going through some old papers I came across this bit of wisdom from Calvin and Hobbs

(click on it to read)

what do you think?


a new month

October 6, 2017

how time flies!

the weather has been beautiful – blue skies and warm, sunny days

garden clean-up is taking its toll

think I have the beginnings of a repetitive stress injury to my right hand/thumb

yikes! – I know the treatment

complete rest – that means no more tree pruning, no spinning, stitching and no keyboard

think I’ll stop the pruning and try reducing the rest

the critters are preparing for winter

the humming birds are the only birds I feed all year around

Oct. 1st the feeders get filled for everyone else

there is a surprising variety this year and it seems the word has gone out

it will take all my pension to keep them happy!

this noisy Stellar’s Jay is a frequent visitor

frightening the smaller birds and competing with the squirrel for sunflower seeds

he doesn’t stay still long enough for a good picture – isn’t his blue/black beautiful?

this month’s book pages have a bird theme

I’ve finished spinning the silk weftand weaving the final 18 inches

now to get it off the loom and a new warp on for the Studio tour Nov. 4th-5th

the Spider Lilies are blooming

in Ichihara red ones lined the edges of the rice paddies

September 25th was onesmallstitch’s seven year anniversary – here’s to a productive 8th year

this is post number 980

September fun

September 27, 2017

the month has slipped away

the journal pages are finished for September

only three more months to plan and work

coming up with new ideas is the challenging part

the daisies took much longer than I thought they would

the shifu basket also had challenges

mainly because I’m not very accomplished at basket making

and really didn’t know what I was doing

the spokes are new growth bamboo shoots

 they presented a problem when it came to finishing

until I cut them short and finished them with a narrow strip of the paper

and then painted the tiny basket with sumi ink – it is 1.75″‘ x 1.25″

there were many lessons to learn – my 2 ply kami-ito is very strong

weaving the second inlay scarf

using some very fine, indigo dyed silk from Bryan

the first challenge is to wind the skein into a ball

and then slowly inlay the squares

it’s a beautiful warm day – don’t know how much longer this weather will last

I’m back to the garden




September 24, 2017

a fun Saturday in the neighbourhood

with hay bales everywhere to sit on and enjoy

Fairfield community’s “puppets-for-peace”

a beautiful Fall day

celebrating family, peace and community

a group of women danced to the music of a local bandlarge puppets entertained the children and adults alike

simple pleasures for everyone

then a long stroll to the beach

some new public art is brightening up the concrete stairway

back through the neighbourhood

a wonderful sculpture of flowing kelp bulbs in a front garden

another garden – with three heads and a shadow

even Canada Post had their say

and winding up at the local pub

for a local beer, a quinoa burger and hockey on the screen

you can’t get much more Canadian than that!

the wheels are spinning

September 23, 2017

weaving is progressing slowly

finally, the first scarf is finished

the inlay took a lo-o-ong time

weaving scrap weft yarn in for the fringe

meanwhile, spinning the weft for the second scarf

handspun silk plied with a very fine reeled silk

and more paper spinning

a full sheet (25″ x 36.5″ or 63.5cm x 92cm) of kiraku kozo cut and ready for spinning

sumi ink and many “secret messages”

it is always fun to see how the messages appear in the woven weft

experimenting with a 2 ply paper thread

going to try using it to weave a miniature basket

too many small projects on the go