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snow day

February 23, 2018

and I thought Spring was on the way…

the magical world beyond

it is a black and white world

or is it?

more snow forecast for today

tomorrow is the guild’s annual “spin-in”  and the drive may not be safe

I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hoping Vancouver gets it all

meanwhile, weaving lichen colours by the fire


the satisfaction of finishing

February 18, 2018

finished at last

there are the same number of weft shots no matter what the warped width is

in this case a finished length of 6 yards 4 inches

at 36 ends per inch = 7,920 throws of the shuttle

while weaving, the length is marked with a coloured thread

one colour for 18 inches

a different colour for yards with a knot tied in the thread for each yard

now to finish the boro stitching and find an appropriate backing fabric

the wedge weave tapestry (5″x 6″) is finished also – I like it sideways

it is the nature of wedge weave to produce scalloped selvedges

five different dye pots of various lichens

gave a range of warm browns

and now, instead of a large bag of dried lichens in the dye stash

there are five skeins of dyed handspun in the yarn stash

that’s a win because the yarn was always in the stash

the last skein sampled has gone into the leftover cochineal pot for a little variety

not ready until tomorrow – and then a good clean-up!


dyeing to weave

February 13, 2018

seriously working on a traditional wedge weave piece

no playing around but having fun

handspun yarns, all natural dyes

this is a little wider than previous pieces

in order to prevent it from narrowing in as the weaving progresses

I tied it to the loom frame approximately every inch

planning the next piece as this one is almost finished

more yarn in the dye pot

I tipped out a large bag of mixed lichen on the kitchen floor

separating the different types took some time

note to self — bag them separately when they are first stored

some of these are several years old and very dusty – wear a mask if the dust will bother you

NEVER – pick living lichen off rocks, trees etc.

go out after a wind storm and pick up what has fallen or harvest them off firewood

the first to go in the pot was Lobaria Pulmonaria or lung wort, oak rag

it is easy to identify, big floppy sheets of it

and gives a strong warm brown – sorry the picture is blurry but the colour is very close

an advantage with lichens is they don’t need a mordant

my dyeing process takes time and patience

soak overnight

then simmer for 1-3 hours, and leave to cool overnight

place yarn in the dye (I don’t remove the plant material, it shakes out fairly easily)

bring to boil and simmer for 1 hour

again leave it to cool in the pot overnight

a pot of parmelia is ready to dye tomorrow

samples from my first workshop in the 1980’s

the colours are still as bright as the day they were dyed



needles and the moon

February 8, 2018

in Japan, it is the day of Hari-kuyo

at the local shrine broken needles and pins are placed in a block of tofu

to honor them and give thanks for the work they have done

finally finished – except for the finishing

it has taken a ridiculous amount of time to reach this point

first – I wanted to see if I could use wedge weave for the background and fit it around a shape

then, I wanted to weave a cottage – maybe a village another time

like my ceramic village

and finally, a circle was on my list of shapes to try – they are tricky

and so – in honor of the super blue blood moon

and now to stitch in all the ends

not my favorite part

colour in the making

February 6, 2018

it is still raining

but buds are bursting everywhere

I’ve been spinning

on the top – Icelandic/silk blend

below – Merino/silk blend

and then dyeing

Icelandic – short time in cochineal – alum mordant

Merino – 1 hour simmer, left overnight to cool in cochineal – alum

once I start dyeing I get a little crazy

from the left


the pale cochineal top dyed with full strength Brazilwood

middle – 1st exhaust bath Brazilwood on natural pale grey wool

 fourth skein, wool – both dyes mixed together – seems like the Brazilwood had very little strength

finally, wool, the same mixed dyed with an iron modifier – hoping for black

but I’m always nervous to add too much iron as it is very hard on the yarn

a mauve-y grey will have to do

a back view of the AVL loom

the blue and white check is progressing

when weaving fine material I start with a soft piece of cotton flannelette

a remnant from sewing boys pyjamas 40 years ago

simple weaving and emergency preparations

February 2, 2018

the boro stitching was neglected when I started tapestry

but it has been calling to me

progress is being made

and I’ve started weaving a binding

I’ve been thinking about a backing material

in the spirit of boro it needs to be from the fabric stash

nothing has appealed to me yet

while thinking about it with a cup of tea

weaving the binding became obvious

using up small balls of indigo dyed cotton/hemp and bleached linen

sett at 36 e.p.i. it will do nicely

the 6 1/2 yards is weaving easily

after our middle-of-the-night tsunami wake up

I have been checking out my emergency gear

thank goodness I’ve never had to use any of this

I love the yellow whistle – think it could be heard across the water in Vancouver

going to get a couple more of them

never know where you might be when the need arises

although the radio can be charged with a plug-in

it also works on solar power and can be hand cranked

the power pack has all sorts of applications

a big, strong light, enough power to run small appliances

and I have used it – to start my dead car battery – don’t ask!

how prepared are you?


cheerful colours

January 30, 2018

on the weekend daughter-in-law and granddaughter

surprised me with a beautiful, bright bouquet

enough colour to brighten up a very grey month

what colours lift your spirits?

the scent from the lilies is soft and sweet

last night we had torrential rain and wind

today – steady rain, lightening and hail

thank you, Kathy and Carrie

mail from Velma with the bone clasps for the book box

unfortunately one of them is broken – darn!

included are two beautiful samples of handmade paper

thanks Velma

 love the duck – think he’s waiting for the rain to stop