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tea towels and winter reading

November 8, 2017

the studio tour went well with many friends dropping by to say hello

and it didn’t snow!the tea towels are finished

washed, trimmed, hemmed and pressed

the one with the threading mistake is waiting to be carefully corrected

hopefully I can needle weave one corrected warp thread

the red towel (at the top) is half woven with red linen and then finished in stripes

as the red was coming to an end

and the stash is a little lighter – yeah!

collecting some winter reading

Ikigai – translated as “a reason for living”

a small, hard cover book with nice paper – good bedtime reading

the chapters on Japanese diet and exercise makes me thing of the obesity and diabetes that plagues the western world

saving this one for a cold winter day

this was an impulse buy and I’m sorry I spent the money

the author is a quilter and the focus is on Japanese printed fabric specifically produced for quilting

using cotton from the U.S.

but it covers many topics – maybe too many

as for indigo, there are already several excellent books on the subject

this quote leaves me shaking my head — describing Japan’s Edo period

“farmers only farmed, dyers only dyed, weavers only weaved”

(that is not my grammar/spelling mistake!)

 many craftspeople in Japan still focus on one specific area of work/study

that is what makes them masters at what they do.

 finally, a publication from the Royal British Columbia Museum

Kwaday Dan Ts’inchi

translated as “long ago person found”

in 1999 “three sheep hunters encountered human remains on a small icefield on the north side of an unnamed mountain in Tatshenshini-Alsek Park.”

“In this comprehensive and collaborative account, scientific analysis and cultural knowledge  interweave to describe a life that ended just as Europeans were about to arrive in the northwest.”

I was a volunteer at the museum when this work was done

and feel very privileged to have seen a small part of the ground squirrel robe that is described in the book

Kjerstin Mackie, who blogs at Quimper Hittys is a textile conservator at the museum, worked on the robe and wrote the chapter on the analysis, documentation and conservation of the robe, a beaver skin bag and undesignated fragments.

the diagram at the top shows the parts of the robe that were found

and below, the tiny stitches holding it all together

“the original threads used to stitch the pelts together were made of two-ply, Z-twist sinew..”

I was born and spent my childhood a little Southwest of the area and am fascinated by the descriptions and pictures

at 688 pages it is going to take me considerable time to read this detailed, scientific account

and I can’t wait to get going!

the book is available from the Royal B.C. Museum shop


time flies

November 1, 2017

hard to believe it’s November already

only 54 days until Christmas – maybe you didn’t want to know that!

but first — my studio tour is this weekend

time to tidy up  – everyone welcome

the first journal page for this month is already finished

over the years I’ve saved interesting clothing labels

did you guess that I’m a pack rat?

the dress is a copy from one my Mom made

the bodice is smocked – and it really did have a blue ribbon

looking through pictures I realize that Mom made most of my clothes

girls didn’t wear pants in those days – only snow pants with your skirt tucked in

does anyone remember the horrible brown cotton stockings?

mine were always falling down

celebrating colour

October 29, 2017

the leaves are falling

the warm weather and clear blue skies

won’t last for long

the colours are stunning

need to enjoy it while it lasts

this bark looks like it is stitched

nature’s dye palette

a change of weft colour to reflect my mood

shading in the warp stripes created with three different twill treadlings

 worth more experimental weaving – see where it leads



shifu hanten

October 24, 2017
tags: ,

anyone interested in shifu and/or Japanese hanten

here is an interesting link

thank goodness it is sold – no temptation!samples from my collection

slow and steady

October 23, 2017

the month is speeding away

too fast, too fast!the journal pages for October are finished

I talk too much – stitching  all those letters takes time

spinning all the silk hankie colours together

and planning to ply the fine singles to mix the colours even more

finally, the warp is on the loom

while winding this mixed warp and dressing the loom

I wondered how easily it would weave – if at all?

well, it behaved perfectly – weaving is like that

maybe that is what has kept me weaving for 40 years

but, wait a minute

look at that, a threading mistake that wasn’t caught

to late to fix for the first tea towel

c’est la vie!

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!