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time flies

July 28, 2016

another month  – another prayer flag

finished on time

P1100206Tanabata wishes on rag strips that hung outside for a week

blowing in the wind – and rain


the backing is tied shibori dyed with Japanese ink (sumi)

I’ve been picking guard hairs out of the qiviut

it is surprisingly clean – it gives me all my allergy symptoms – but is fine once washed

P11002083 ounces with a bit still to pick and spin

it is very light so I’m hoping there will be enough for a scarf

finally, there is a warp on the loom

I get miserable when there isn’t any weaving to escape to

don’t need to go near it for days, but do need to know it is there

P1100209Monk’s belt

tightly twisted linen warp and tabby weft

handspun wool pattern weft

I planned to use all sorts of crazy colours but couldn’t stop weaving this indigo

the plan is for toss cushions,  next one will be colourful

P1100191still busy, busy in the garden

tending to business

July 23, 2016

the garden has benefited from my weaver’s block

 first order of business, buy a new lawnmower

it definitely was not on my top 10 list of things to spend money on

but it was either sell the house, get a goat or go mower shopping


don’t you love this trendy colour model?

a mini mower for mini people

Summer has finally arrived, it is too hot to garden except in the early morning and evening

so I’ve come up with a plan

P1100194choose an old favorite weave structure -monk’s belt- and play

my first pieced/woven quilt finished years agoP1100205

the pieces are machine stitched but all the seams are hand feather stitched

the monk’s belt was woven to pull all the colours of woven scraps together

my stash was much smaller in those days!

an obi from this series of five, woven for the instructors show

ANWG conference Straits and Strands 1997, hosted by the Victoria Guild

ethnic textiles 034twenty years later, in 2017, the Victoria guild will again host an ANWG conference

Treadle Lightly

P1100201this damask piece will definitely become sakiori rags

it doesn’t tear well so will need to be cut

now to wind the linen warp


July 19, 2016

help – I’m stuck!

the loom is naked

P1100176two scarves with handspun silk warp, natural dyes

P1100178 weft yarns made a significant difference

on the left, 20/2 silk dyed with lac – a plum colour

right, a fine commercial black silk

 blocks of the 8 harness twill pattern are much more obvious with the darker weft

the question now is what’s next?

how do you choose a project?

a favorite pattern or a new one you haven’t tried

a special yarn, something from the stash that needs to be used

P1100185silk – some handspun, the dark skeins dyed with sumi ink (it smells wonderful)

or the latest purchase you couldn’t resist

do you go through all those books – or samples


or do you keep a design book with crazy ideas – some from years back

what will sell at the guild sale or at the studio tour?

P1100167scraps from Heather – old damask tablecloth

indigo dyed to cut into rags for sakiori weaving

the colour and pattern is beautiful, do I keep it and sew a summer top?

or will I look like a walking tablecloth?

P1100187outside the studio summer is calling

and the answers are elusive

little bits of this and that

July 14, 2016

summer has arrived – at least for today

P1100129the bees are loving it

P1100125the yarrow is blooming

I’ve never tried dyeing with it so with a good crop it seems like this is the year

P1100121my students have reached the fun part

P1100119the log cabin is progressing

P1100117I’ve marked out the linen bedspread and started stitching

it may take until Christmas to get to the dyeing stage

P1100118the July prayer flag is underway

the Tanabata strips were left to hang in the wind and rain for a week

 now they are woven into a prayer for peace and love

similar to last year

on a background of sumi dyed shibori


the title “Wisdom” – now the stitching begins

a stop at my favorite bookstore for some summer reading


An Unnecessary Woman by Rabith Alameddine comes highly recommended

situated in Beirut, I’m reading this and remembering my recent visit with “heatherfromcanada”

A Foot in the River by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto

I have to admit I bought it because of the cover (not a good reason)

from a work by Utagawa Kuniyoshi

it was on the shelf next to the book I originally went to buy

it seemed like kismet

” A revolutionary book which challenges scientistic assumptions about culture and how and why cultural change happens.”

it too, may take me until Christmas to finish!

and I can’t resist the freebies

the owner of the bookstore has a wonderful, eclectic collection of old items

frequently displayed in the store

P1100132look at this delightful reading corner

P1100133with a handstitched, boro-ish quilt

wonder if I can stitch and read at the same time?

flyin’ high

July 10, 2016


James_0003keep on flying!

boro museum part 2

July 10, 2016

although small, the boro museum’s collection is large

the displays are excellent

printed information is in English

there are signs inviting visitors to touch

and there is a small area where you can try pieces on

P1080977Truus couldn’t resist a kimono

(sorry for the quality of the picture – think I was getting a little light-headed)

P1080957items of daily life – cooking pots

(that is Bryan looking at the kimono )

P1080959soot as the incarnation of Fire God!

P1080950salmon skin boots

P1080951fins used to prevent slipping on snow and ice

boro_img_04ma creative way to show the finds in an archaeological dig

(photo from the Amuse Museum website)

P1080961you can walk on it

but I wanted to get on my hands and knees and stare through the glass – no, I didn’t!

P1080933the colours are still bright, my guess is they are natural dyes

P1080934I couldn’t believe this was sakiori (rag weave) it was so fine

but closer inspection proved it was indeed

P1080987another sakiori piece with simply beautiful sashiko stitching

P1080967stitched patterns can be worked in much more complex stitches and patterns, each with there own descriptive names

I think this is called hishizashi a form of counted stitch embroidery

P1080968thousands of tiny individual stitches

P1080940but this is what boro is really about

P1080941 hope you enjoyed this short visit.


July 7, 2016

celebrating Tanabata

P1100111hanging my wishes out to blow in the wind

as I do each year on the 7th day of the 7th month

on this day of reflection join us for a tour of the

Amuse Museum in Tokyo

(click on any of the pictures to enlarge)


featuring the collection of Chuzaburo Tanaka

the fabrics now known as boro


this description is written

in the introduction of BORO: Rags and Tatters from the Far North of Japan

Only a few decades ago, Tohoku “snow country” – and especially Aomori Prefecture – was synonymous to most Japanese with dire poverty. Situated dead-end on the northernmost tip of the main island of Honshu, Aomori was home to dirt poor farmers who, out of desperate necessity, created an astonishing textile aesthetic out of boro – mere “rags”.


pants, so stiff with patches and stitching they still hold the shape of those who wore them

P1080927P1080926footwear and mittens, strengthened with closely stitched rows of running stitch



all the the dyeing and stitching techniques  were known and used long before they became  “trendy” in the Western world

P1080989of course – shibori

P1080980a patchwork of kasuri and indigo and sashiko

P1080986something I love – sakiori – rag weaving

P1080988several baste fibres were used – they grew in the north where cotton wouldn’t grow

here, a hemp shirt

P1080931each piece reveals the lives of the people

P1080932I hope you feel overwhelmed reading this

because that is how I felt viewing it

and I wanted to spend more time, with days in between, to absorb it all

there were pieces that almost brought me to tears

more in the next posting!


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