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atmospheric river

October 17, 2021

apparently we are experiencing an atmospheric river – that means rain – flood volumns

years ago when I planted these lilies I thought they were Red Spider lilies (lycoris radiata) – higanbana in Japanese

but they are a pink cousin instead

in Japan they grow in abundance, bordering the fields and bloom in the fall and rainy season

 twenty four, 5 minute, musical videos

celebrating the 24 Solar Terms or seasons in the traditional Japanese calendar

the flowers are stunning, photos and music worth the visit

and you can click on any of the other seasons that have been posted

pink looks out of season when all the trees are red, orange and yellow

new weaving on the loom is another version of Classic Crackle

woven with handspun 2 ply silk – the white is “lap silk” I spun a few months ago

colours are hollyhock purple and strong cochineal

with the season comes the nerve jangling sound of chain saws – even in the city

the municipality is back on the boulevard again

they do have to re-plant but these are big, old mature trees

and they don’t look rotten

they were all removed before the bears could have a look – fire wood!when Rosie dressed for the season the rest of the gang wanted their winter woolies as well

that’s it for now

enjoy the colours

Scrap Happy October

October 14, 2021

well, I’m still here

the learning curve has been steep and I’m fed up wasting so much valuable weaving time

the weather has changed dramatically – the best part of that is the forest fires are finally out

 Rosie was starting to shiver in her sun dress

she choose a scrap of hand woven, hand spun silk fabric from 20+ years ago to make a jacket

I still wear a top  made from the fabric so now we are twins

she was happy to pose in the rain

hand stitched with a crocheted finish and the perfect buttons from the stash

with a scarf knitted from thrums – the short lengths determined the stripe widths

 now she is ready for winter

wow! Rosie is a fashionista


Today we are also welcoming Esther to the group. She is a wonderfully talented quilter and makes the most beautiful pieces, so her blog is really worth a visit.

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Claire, Jean, Jon, Dawn, Jule, Gwen,
Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L, Vera,
Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear, Carol,
Preeti, Edith, Debbierose and Esther

walking and weaving and worrying

October 7, 2021

it feels like I’m in kindergarten, in a foreign language (Japanese maybe) – without the fun

many/most of my computer programs have changed drastically

 having to re-learn how to think – it hurts!

 I’ve resorted to long walks in the neighbourhood

it’s called “avoidance” and it works to a certain degree

Willows Beach is grey and windy

the waves are washing in huge amounts of what looks like regurgitated kelp – inches deep, it is disgusting

the gulls are foraging and humans are harvesting buckets-full to nourish their gardens

the beautiful fall leaves have inspired my colour study for October – yellowI’m weaving a tapestry on the small handheld loom

my small stash of yellow handspun, natural dyed wool and silk is being used upcolour changes are carefully un-plyed and overlapped so that when the weaving is finished and then wet finished I can trim the ends on the back

and back and front should look the same

making progress slowly – both with the computer and the tapestry

I’m back

September 29, 2021

I’m back – did you miss me? – I missed you

wonderful colours this time of year

the computer hard drive died – after 10 days with my son’s computer tech and reconnecting by son, it’s back

thank you Paul

thankfully, it doesn’t seem like anything is missing

the email has re-invented itself, can’t find the address book and some things look a little/a lot different

time and a few strong words should sort it all out

red – another page in my colour challenge series is finished

this was the sample on the end of the crackle weave warp

and the reverse side is three woven scraps, all used in clothing, approximately 20 years agothe centre piece is handspun silk, kasuri (ikat) dyed for a jacket I’m still wearing

and the binding is silk that was pole wrapped and discharge dyed

happily Fibrations was back this year – there was a rain sprinkle or two but everyone seemed happy

the guild was there

 they displayed the entries in a virtual “sheep to shawl” contestI was one of three judges the previous week, all eight teams seemed to have a lot of fun and did a great job


the event is free and the booth participants donate some of their work for a raffle which pays the expenses

sadly, I didn’t win anythingone of my favourite booths was Everlea Yarn where Janna sells N.Z. merino all naturally dyed in British Columbia

with a good selection of beautiful colours

and another was Lilliana Paz , from Peru, the blending of colours in her shawls is a little different and very strikingshe was stitching a dragon from scraps

sewing on his wings – can’t resist those scrap happy projects

of course there was raw fleece

and lots of felting

it seems to me if you really want to show off your work (and sell it) a plain background would be more effective

it was difficult but I only bought one item100 grams of beautifully prepared cotton which I’ve been spinning on my Turkish spindle and plying on the wheel

this has taken far too long and I’ve shouted at the computer once too often

so I’m off to start a new month and a new blogging year

yesterday – Sept 28th – was my 11th year anniversary on WordPress

Scrap Happy September”

September 14, 2021

the weather is changing and Rosie is going to need something warmer than her sun dress

so I decided a “blankie” would be quick and easy

made with scraps of felt – the brown pieces are left from making Rosie

the blue is pole wrapped, indigo dyed shibori

herringbone stitched with the silk thrums from the last weaving project

 Rosie said it was boring so I thought a few flowers would brighten it up

and add some colour

when a natural dye pot is in use I throw in a piece of wool felt (previously mordanted with alum)

the density of the wool fibre seems to absorb the dye and give strong colours

once I started stitching it was hard to stop

flowers attract the bees

and then a spider dropped in

a blue bird visited

and the fish swam by

“Fantasy Felt”

finished with several rounds of crochet using the last of the thrums

Rosie has decided what she really needs is a sweaterand I’m left with some chopped up samples

the scraps just get smaller and smaller

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).

Kate Gun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Kerry, Claire, Jean (me), Jon, HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear,
Carol, Preeti, Edith and Debbierose

show and tell

September 10, 2021

the Victoria Weaver’s Guild has organized a virtual Saanich Fall Fair show and tell

thank you Laura for the easy, accessible site

2021 Saanich Fair Challenge

have a look, the pictures are great – my only criticism is there are only 39 entries, from 13 people

the guild has approximately 130 members – what have you all been doing??

when you go to the site click on the individual picture and the ” i ” in the drop down menu will give more info

 you can participate by clicking on the “heart” to vote for  your favorite in each category

the dye pot of hollyhocks was starting to go mouldy but there was still lots of colour

so I threw in an old favorite white shirt – alum mordant

although well worn the quality of the cotton is still excellent

a soft purple/grey – and I’ll get a couple more years wear out of it

again here is silk, cotton and wool felt – dyed in one home-grown vat

the wool is much greener than the picture shows

natural dyes continue to surprise and enchant me

I met with four other tapestry weavers at Willows Beach under the trees

and enjoyed a show and tell in real time

across the Strait, in Washington state, Mount Baker looks almost naked

I have never seen it with so little snow – the result of a very hot summer


a little bit of everything

September 5, 2021

winter is coming – time to fatten up

the rose hips are abundant

the dark purple hollyhocks are almost finished

I’ve been collecting them all summer – 500 gms. of frozen blossoms

dyed 100gms. of 2 ply handspun mulberry silk a soft greyish purple

to be used as a warp with the cochineal/lac dyed silk on the right

this is the last of the flowers and it is lighter in colour than earlier in the yearthe weaving pattern is twill and lace blocks

I’m trying to decide which of the two gold silks to use as the accent colour

the Victoria guild is doing an on-line “sheep to shawl” contest and I was honored to be one of three judges

we judged individually with the coordinator in her garden following all covid protocols

thank you Brenda for all your time and organizing efforts

it reminded me of my first sheep to shawlnewspaper clipping is dated 1982 – that’s why I look so young! (back left)

five of us traveled to Abbotsford on the mainland in an old VW van

with a pre-warped 4 harness floor loom, 5 spinning wheels and overnight gear – we came in 2nd

the photo shows us going again the second year – after that we arranged our own competition on Salt Spring Island

fond memories – how many years have I been doing this?

perfect camouflage

can you see the tiny, white spider (upper right) with the little round body that looks like the flower center?

with the exception of his black eyes he is almost translucent

(click on picture to enlarge)

the hardy cyclamen are popping up everywhere

tomorrow is Labour Day – I’m going to wind the warp


another year

September 1, 2021


20 fun filled years – how time flies

hope you enjoy the coming year at UVic – in person


August 31, 2021

finished – it’s a good thing to know when to stop

many Japanese homes – even small apartments – have a special display place

called a tokonoma

to hang a scroll or special artwork with flowers or ikebana

it is changed often to reflect the season

it is always in the room used for entertaining and an honored guest is seated facing the display

I have organized my space – and dusted!the patch of squares is a piece woven at Kawashima in 1987 by my classmate Flora Ito using her handcut and spun shifu (paper) thread

the brown patches are silk, hand reared and kakishibu dyed by Brian Whitehead

there are even some woven scraps of minelining on the back is an old linen napkin indigo dyed

and on the bottom, well worn scraps from a pillow case my mother embroidered – and I dyed

the label is a tiny pocket with my name, the date and the title

WA – meaning harmony

and I managed to stitch it in Japanese characters (click on the image to enlarge)

to celebrate I went for a walk on Willows Beachwhere there is some interesting artwork – a frog on a windmill

a fabric wrapped mandala

and a driftwood hide-a-waythe weather is changing, a few drops of rain today

the beauty of natural dyes

August 26, 2021

warning! – this entry is all about weaving, handspun silk and a lot of natural dye colours

the end of the warp is near – it’s great to finish but then you have to decide what to weave next?

the construction of a loom prevents a weaver from  weaving to the last few inches of warp threads

what is left is called thrums and is either wasted or used for stitching or something creative

because I had finished weaving the lengths I needed these are a little longer than usual – 40 inches (approx. 111.5 cm.)

too much to waste considering the amount of time spent spinning and dyeing

I no longer knit so I’ll have to think of another way to use them

I always twist the fringes on a scarf, especially when the yarns are handspun

a quick and easy way to make sure they are all the same length

pin the two ends together, comb them straight, tape the cutting line to a firm straight edge and cut

the twisting goes quickly because you don’t have to constantly check they are all the same lengthand it looks neat

I always hem stitch the start and end of scarves while they are under tension on the loom

it’s quick, easy and again, makes a neat finish

bonus – I wove the sample for my September colour challenge

there wasn’t enough red silk so I used some wool in the weft – it created a little more texture

a little surprise, something I might use to advantage in the future

the blanket was woven on a pin loom with wool dyed in the same natural dye pots

the colours are very similar but each small block of the scarf is a blending of 3 weft colours and 1 warp colour

it makes the colour look much softer – that is what I wanted when I choose the polychrome crackle pattern

Betsy, the studio mannequin need some fresh air so she is modeling in the garden