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baby steps

January 22, 2019

still struggling, but the first warp on the backstrap loom is finished

when I started blogging I knew it would be necessary to show the good, the bad and the ugly

so here it is

it has been washed and seriously steam pressed

but it is what it is

I haven’t learned to keep it simple – two colours in the weft

just to prove I haven’t totally given upFebruary’s warp is ready to go

oh yes! three colours – and how to keep the selvedges neat?

it’s going to be a long year

and to show what is possible

this is Laverne Waddington at the ANWG Conference in 2017

she does the most amazing weaving on a backstrap loom

it would be amazing on any loom

fine silk – breathtaking!

visit her website to see more of her work

she also has videos and instructions

my struggle has made me even more appreciative of her work


what was I thinking?

January 18, 2019

spinning is only part of the process

the sum total of eight sheets of Japanese paper

now what?

the plan is to use it as weft and weave it on a silk warp

or maybe linen?

I don’t want it to just go back into the stash

so …. I’m thinking

this boro piece was made to be used as a frame for the small tapestry

the words are a Japanese proverb

appropriate for something made from small scraps and stitched with thrums

it is finished with a backing of indigo dyed cotton

and a simple binding from the same fabric (old pillowcase)

the weft in the white lined fabric is shifu, woven five years ago

did I actually say I was going to weave on a backstrap loom for a whole year??

this is not a pretty picture – ready to give up!

struggling – both with the weaving and my stubborn determination

so I bought a small rigid heddle and will try cutting off and sleying to see if that works

more to come – if I don’t throw it all in the trash/recycle

oh, it is hard to be humbled


Scrap Happy new year

January 15, 2019

finished – another boro cushion, companion for the one made in October

in 2017 I stitched several kimono shapes from scraps and used one here

they were fun to use in different projects

I use rags on the back for a second layer to stitch into

the “wrong side” is interesting in its own way

all the stitching threads are thrums – yarn left over from weaving on the floor loom

the back is an indigo dyed shibori sample

as it wasn’t wide enough an indigo strip was added on each side

the piping was made from more indigo dyed cotton

and the piping cord was a very heavy weaving yarn

here is the link to other happy stitchers

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 (me!)Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, JanKaren,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Johanna,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen and Connie

slow and steady

January 9, 2019

it is a cold, grey, blustery day

snow is forecast for “higher elevations” I hope it stays there

but snowdrops are blooming

it is the earliest ever

time is relative

if you are retired, live alone and only have yourself to care for

priorities are different

I’ve never had any trouble finding things to do – and certainly am not bored

but progress can be s-l-o-w

over the years I’ve posted many times about the process of making paper thread

kami-ito using Japanese paper/washi ( kigami)

click on shifu on the side bar for more info

after the paper is cut it is wrapped in a damp towel and left overnight

then rolled on a large slate stone – from the garden shop

this puts a spin on the individual threads – but they become tangled

and in some cases almost “felt” together

you have to carefully separate them – this is the part I find most tedious

several years ago, in Japan, I was gifted 8 sheets of beautiful kigami

it is almost as fine as tissue paper but extremely strong

unfortunately I don’t know the name of the paper – but do have a sample

I started the year by cutting and spinning 3cm. strips

each sheet measures 36.5″ X 25″  (93cm. X 64cm.)

one final sheet to finish

this is the first time I’ve kept track of the minutes/hours involved

from cutting to finished yarn one sheet takes 5 hours 30 minutes

approximately 153 yards – 8 sheets = 1,224 yards

eight sheets – 44 hours – that’s why I never figured it out before – crazy!

compared with sewing thread and 2/8 cotton it is approx. 24 epi

weaving on the loom was abandoned – first there was a threading mistake

I didn’t notice until I’d woven several inches and had to cut off and start again

then there was a mistake in the repair – whaaa!

today it was fixed

more tea towels

same weave structure as the pre-Christmas red ones

all the bits are gathered for backstrap weaving

the strap is a leftover piece of handspun and felted wool

it is strong, soft and I hope comfortable

now to wind the warp and get it on the loom

getting started

January 4, 2019

what better way to welcome in the new year than with a pile of books

including EAT, my favorite community freebie

a desk calendar and one for my handbag

I’d be lost – and late without them

one day I’ll weave a tapestry inspired by Charley Harper’s work

I really didn’t need “A Little Book….”

just couldn’t resist and “Ikigai” (I already had) is the perfect companion

a good reminder when starting a new year

and my self-inflicted annual committment

ta dah! here it is —- backstrap weaving

from Sarah Swett’s delightful little book which just arrived in the mail

illustrated throughout with her charming art work

first I have to gather some bits and pieces and put together a loom

I imagine sitting in the garden tied to a tree

or at the beach – tied to a log?

just hope my back holds out

there is a new Kate Morton mystery for nighttime reading

and a holiday puzzle for when I need a break from reading/weaving

it will be passed on to daughter-in-law after I’ve enjoyed the challenge

and now I’m off to the lumberyard for a few bits of wood to make the loom


January 1, 2019

Wishing everyone a Happy, Healthy, Creative New Year

spinning our way into new adventures

four shades of natural alpaca

small amounts left over from a project years ago

hemp on the spindle for a tapestry warp

cutting paper for more shifu

may there be Peace on planet Earth

looking back – looking forward

December 29, 2018

I have been struggling to write a retrospective look at 2018

until it finally dawned on me that when I finish a work it is truly finished

I’m always looking/planning forward – what’s next?

but you can’t move forward without reviewing what has gone before

spinning and dyeing are essential to everything I do

and possibly my favorite

stitching started it all – 70+ years ago

boro stitching only came after several visits to Japan

and an urgent need to recycle, reduce and reuse

my tapestry skills are in their infancy

but like all new loves has become an obsession

the next one is in the planning stages

a favorite walk along the Victoria waterfront – Clover Point

the greatest pleasure is to put all my skills together in one project

handwoven and stitched book with a handmade box cover

the 2017 monthly project

and now to look forward