Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Laying Down a Heavy Load






 This is Bruce, my husband and the love of my life..... and as of last week, now cancer free!   Well, they removed the tumour and had it tested. It was cancer but very early stages and they feel they got it all.  The cells were 'native' to where it was found so not a metastasized cancer.    They do want to take a CT scan to ensure it didn't develop from something higher up, like the kidney.    Since they had blasted kidney stones in one kidney and not seen anything there,  its just to be safe.   They will also do a recheck every 3, 6 and 12 months to ensure the tumour doesn't regrow back.

It was supposed to have been  a day surgery but he end up staying three days, two nights due to developing an infection and high fever.  Seems there are bacteria released when they laser the stones.  I was happy to leave him there as they had all measures to hand to take good care of him.  I drove to and fro between Campbell River and Courtenay, and managed our home, dog and all the emails and texts to friends and family.   I was rather tired as you can imagine..... and NO weaving (again)

He responded well to the IV antibiotics and soon was on his way home to relax in his jammies.... but still passing kidney stones.    That will continue for a time until they clear away the loose stuff.   There are still more they couldn't reach, plus, a whole 'nuther kidney to do!   This is an ongoing process and he says (direct quote and please add sarcastic tone) "I'm so excited"  😳

So once he has his energy levels back up, he's free to be his usual self again.....

"helping" at a spinning  day 2000

Making bread with no recipe.

'washing' the laundry room floor

Being a real Dapper Dan  (see movie " O' Brother where art Thou?")

Friday, April 27, 2018

Midnight, in Clear Light.


Its difficult to photograph Midnight in broad daylight.   I'll just have to add that the colours in these scarves are deeper and richer than they show here.  In reality they are very jewel like and the pictures don't do them true justice.



 The loom was threaded for a 12 shaft point twill and when treadled as a run from treadle one to twelve  and back again, you get this nifty diamond pattern that reminds me somewhat of bird's eye twill (which everyone loves). This just has more complexity to it.


 The drape at 24 epi is just lovely and tencel has such a lovely sheen to it.   The centre portion is the painted warp from Iridescent Fibers (208 ends and 7.5 yards long). They make bright handprinted warps for the weavers at Loominaria.


 Now as I said, the colours are richer than they appear here in the sunlight..... and I took one indoors today and will post it next. Its of the same portion of scarf on Judy:


That's a better representation of the depth of colours .... and as you can see the colour shifts are beautifully done.  The edge sections were my choice from the stash to frame the warp.


outdoors above.... and indoors below.....


For the second scarf I tried auditioning several different colours but nothing really called to me.  The eggplant was dark enough to pick out the pattern  but somehow it was all muted down. Its different and lovely all by itself.


It had a unifying effect. I also changed the treadling to this twill progression that resembles feathers to me.  I had to be more attentive to where I was so no zoning out ! (also no phone calls, and no conversations etc).  Both scarves measure nine inches by seventy four inches.   When hand washed only a slight trace of dye came out so dyer Carrie really rinses well!




I also really enjoyed weaving them. It was fun to watch the colours shift from one to another.   I put another painted warp on after these and have checked to see which others I plan to buy next. Midnight is one for sure!


Here are some spring time shots of our back yard as of yesterday:


There was barely any buds on the chestnut tree last weekend and it has exploded in our current week of sunshine. There have been several visitors to the nest box which was dutifully cleaned and ready for new occupants.  By the time all the leaves have come in, the nest box is barely visible. The flowers on this chestnut are bright pink.


The two garden sheds fared better this past winter with new shingles! You can see the golf course beyond the pond. We are mid way on a 541 yard fairway.  They are still beavering away at the new course design and just seeded the greens with a special bent grass seed and filled the bunkers with new clean sand.  They plan to open the new driving range in July and the course in August.  That will have been almost two years of no golfers and carts on the course. Its been like our private back yard extension, except for all the trucks, back hoes, tree planting, hydroseeding, irrigations lines being laid etc etc


Here we have a hawthorn tree and beyond is an ornamental cherry.


 The neighbours magnolia is lovely and reminds me of our old one at the last house.   You will have noticed the interesting fence panel.... or lack there of!  We had some wicked wind storms and this panel blew down and spread parts all over the back lawn.   Bruce had to rig a way of supporting the fence and keeping Calli on this side.  She loves it... she sticks her big head through and watches them gardening.    Calli just turned 8 years old.   I bet some of you can recall when we first got her.....

Please bear in mind that Bruce has his surgery May 3rd so it will be a busy time for a while here. I will drop you a post to let you know how he's doing though....


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Anemones Belong Under the Sea

Sorry if I alarmed some of you with a partial post.... I was away from home and tried writing a post "on the fly" and discovered I had hit publish when I meant draft.... and a quick scurry to fix it, well didn't!

I haven't stopped weaving or blogging.  Trust me, if that day ever comes, I will be honest and tell you that I'm stopping or taking a break.

You have to know that there is a private side to my life that you don't hear about but I have been overwhelmed recently with emotions and feelings that are hard to put into words and share.... especially share with the world.   After talking with my husband Bruce, he's given the all's clear to share.  We hope by telling the story of his diagnosis and coming treatment to help demystify the process.

When last I wrote,  Hub had a kidney stone 'missing' and assumed that it had passed into the bladder.  The Urologist wanted to scope and double check where it was for sure.   Sometimes they can get jammed up somewhere, cause no pain and the other kidney takes over all duties and that's not a good situation to be in.  

So three days after I last posted, Hub had the scope thing done.  The stone was not blocking anything, or even in the bladder. Where it went to, no one knows !  You'd think Hub would notice a 6 mm stone 'leaving' wouldn't you?

The first sign of trouble was the funny sea anemone that appeared on the monitor screen.  You are not supposed to have those in a bladder.  While Hub was trying to mentally work what it was out, a voice from beside him said "that my friend is a malignant tumour.... cancer".     We have been in some weird headspace ever since.   We did go over to visit friends directly after and had a cup of tea which helped immensely.  But the doctors  send you home with a "we'll be  in touch" and and nothing else, and then there's a big time period of nothingness.

While we waited for any information,  we talked things through and we have gone from full on pep rally mode to some deep dark places and back again. We have avoided googling things and instead saw our family doctor who gave us his best run through of the process.

Suddenly you become aware of the vagaries of Life....  a search for a missing  piece of crystal 'stone' turned up a silent visitor.  We are grateful that it was found early and so are optimistic.  Surgery is May 3rd  for cancer removal and lazering of stones ....and there will be many follow up medical appointments for some time to come.

So in the days and weeks while we have waited,  Bruce has a new estate model train collection to inventory and find buyers for which has kept him busy.   I have to say that having a warp on the loom was a life saver some days.  A twelve shaft point twill, a painted 8/2 tencel warp by Iridescent Fibers called Midnight and a simple treadling gave me a place to come to and just watch the colours change as the shuttle flew back and forth.




It slowly shifts from a blue violet to a grape and then it evolves into a magenta....



I added eggplant and old gold to the edges to frame it and used black as weft on this scarf.   The second scarf I used a twill progression that resembles feather (to my mind) and used eggplant weft.



I had to pay closer attention to treadling this scarf!  The eggplant is nice but black makes the colours really pop.  I did audition navy blue as well and it was just blah.

So they are woven, fringes twisted and washed / pressed and first sunny opportunity they will be photographed and I'll post them here.    So not too long a wait....

I have a second painted warp on I call Dark Chocolate Cherries.... and its quite unlike my usual colour range.   You can see a version of it at Iridescent Fibers link under 3.5 yard warp : "Dark Chocolate" I'm trying to be more inclusive of other colours on the wheel.... and in between.


Well, we're home again now and I have a pile of laundry to wade through today and since Hub's at a train show today, I can weave while I wait.    

So please don't worry.... we are optimistic about the coming operation and recovery.   We'll be staying close to home this summer   😎

Saturday, March 17, 2018

In a Blink of an Eye

Things were ticking along.  Days getting longer, brighter and even warmer.... I was making plans,  winding future projects.  Finally getting my weaving groove back....

Then I was awakened at 1:30 am one night to find my Hubby in pain and before too long, called an ambulance for him.    That was the start of two to three weeks of  hospital ER visits, medical appointments and diagnostic testing and specialist appointments as he struggled to pass kidney stones.  The one currently trying to vacate is 8 millimetres  (that's this long: ------- ).   After a week something passed but tests show that both kidneys are full of large stones  and one is 2 centimetres! They want to get that one asap.   Then just over a week ago he woke to find he couldn't walk on his right foot and it was exceedingly painful.    Another week of rest and foot elevation before he could even get to the Dr and its gout.  It makes sense given his ability to make rocks.   There's a medicine for that and he's on the right side of that experience and now armed with glasses of water and a new diet.

Its a rather rough  start to the new year: a funeral and then all this...   We have been just dealing with things around here one day at a time.

So long story short, I have been nurse, cook, dishwasher, housekeeper, banker, laundress, and driver to appointments.  Not a lot of weaving going on and all of this was hardly anything you'd want an accounting of....   so no blogging for the past month.

All that being said, I do have some show and tell for you now.....



The warp is 20/2 silk in a lovely champagne colour from Treenway Silks. Its a pale pink at first appearance but then you notice a slight peach to it as well.  It was difficult to find a weft colour that didn't swamp the champagne but this slate grey 8/2 tencel from Webs has a soft way of picking out the pattern.


The draft is a 12 shaft twill from Handweaving.net #55861and modified by me to allow for borders.


It has a definite front and back side and while much darker, its quite attractive as well.


I knew that the scarves needed a little something extra and that possibly could have been beads.... but then the the zig zag of the pattern made me think of this fringe technique.  I think it goes quite nicely!

 For the second scarf I auditioned a few weft colours but none of them seemed to work with out dominating the silk.    Then my helpful Hub dug around in the stash and suggested this olive green 8/2 tencel.


It seems to work well with the champagne  and is a fresh spring like scarf!  Being green, it does tend to bring out more of the peach tone of the silk.  Its quite the chameleon.



Again, there is a definite front and back side to the scarf.


 I also used the same fringe technique on this scarf too and it seems to get first notice before the pattern, the colours....    Amazing how something so simple can grab the eye!


All yarns used came from my stash which was a nice treat.   I do have another warp just beamed and all yarns are also from the stash.   There's no danger of running out any time soon...  😊


 So its going to be a busy month ahead with ongoing medical stuff but the specialist is onto this and moving quickly.    Spring is definitely here and all the neighbours are out tidying up their yards, pruning and planting.  One neighbour has already mowed but its more of a move to clean the lawn than to cut the grass.    I'm drawing up a mental list of outdoor things to do like hose off the house and then clean windows.   Not just yet though......   first I'm going to see about throwing a shuttle for while.

Hellebore that bloomed in early January (Victoria, BC)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

It Happens....

❤️ Happy Valentines Day  ❤️

 I finally have some weaving to show you and I have mixed feelings about it.  I used 9/2 French linen from Brassards as I have done many times before. This time, a new to me colour called brick. Its a coppery red and really a rich, deep colour.


It beamed on with no issues, threading went well and I laced it on okay. There were no threading errors or denting errors.... always a nice treat no matter how many years you have been weaving.  Its an  eight shaft huck lace draft, similar to my usual diamond lace but this one has two sizes of diamonds, that in turn have lace floats and all surrounded by all over huck lace.   I was looking forward to seeing it.

That's when the trouble started...


I couldn't really see it! These two pictures were taken to help me see the lace and if I was on track.  Photography is a good way to spot errors ( and recall what your start looked like!)


I had an overhead light, a floor lamp to the right of the loom, and a second one with two halogen lights to my left. What ever daylight there was was 'encouraged' by lifting venetian blinds up but it was dark and dingy out with heavy rain and the inevitable shorter winter days.   I was double checking the pattern as best I could along the edges and literally calling out the treadling as I went along. I placed large numbered pieces of tape on the treadles to help and took my time.   I caught a few mistakes and corrected them and literally crossed my fingers and hoped that was all of them!

A second issue arose but it was one I was expecting actually.  There is a difference in take up between the plain weave border edges and the all lace centre to the runners. The lace is thicker and builds up on the roll faster than the edges. Eventually it starts to cause some distortion at the fell line.   You can either cut off and re-lace on again, which gets expensive with linen, or try this trick.  Set in a round of warping sticks, best is only a bit longer than your warp is wide,  all tight up against each other and carry on weaving.  I had three runners on the cloth beam, each with a round of warping sticks. (I use warping sticks at the start to cover knots and such at the start, along with my two stick start method ).


I serged my runners apart where I had woven some scrap yarn.... then pressed the hem allowance into thirds.  I wanted larger, more generous hems this time and so wove six inches on either end of the three runners. It really shows the nicely tucked and tight ladder hemstitching off too!


I was amazed that I had a thread colour that was a close match and made a tiny stitch at each ladder and ran the thread through the fold to the next spot. I call this a running blind stitch but I'm not sure if that's the proper name or not...   I quite enjoy this step and usually do it while we watch TV, but once again I found there wasn't enough light on the job. It meant I had to do it in daylight, while under a halogen light. Don't let these bright pictures fool you.... they were taken with a flash.


The picture below shows the lace off tension and relaxed. You see a lot more of the pattern now but its still difficult. Only wet finishing will shift the threads to their proper places.


So a good long soak. Twice in fact as some fugitive dye come out in the first soak.  A rinse and then I rolled them into older towels to absorb the excess water. I had pulled them into shape and gently pulled on  the edges.  Then I lay them flat on counters overnight to dry.


The next morning I set up my Singer steam press and gave them a good fine misting of distilled water and pressed the heck out of the hems first.  Then I shifted to pressing them firmly down both sides of the runners, front and back.   This took a lot of the heavy work out of the job as I have arthritis in my hands and wrists.  Next was the ironing board to do the final finishing touches.  I  start in the middle of the runner and then pressing firmly move the iron out to the sides of the runner.  I do this 'pushing' motion all the way down the runner, then flip and do to the other side.  I find it stops that bowing  inward effect from the defined plain weave hems to the  central lacy part of the cloth. Your runner actually regains some width and looks nice and straight from hem to hem.

Now is it necessary to do this every time you launder the runner?  I don't think so. As weavers we are 'finishing' the cloth and that includes the heavy pressing that sets the threads into their final position. It is most likely that in the future all that will be needed is a normal ironing, although linen needs a hot steam iron to be wrinkle free (or a cold mangle).

So the runners were completed in January but as I mentioned it was simply too dark to take pictures. I tried though and deleted them all.   Then in early February the clouds parted for a brief hour and I dashed for the camera and runners!


The pattern really shows up nicely now. This runner is forty six inches over all and is error free. 😊


This one above is thirty six inches and has a small error. I got the wrong lace treadle on half a lace unit. ☹️  Can you see it?


Here's a close up of the lace floats and all over lace... after laundering and hard pressing. It brought out the shine of the linen beautifully.

Then there is a seventy six inch long runner that is beautiful and also flawed.  😢  Some how, I missed treadling the reverse side of a small diamond shape. No other errors, just that..

A close up of the thread world.   So two runners out of three woven not 'perfect'.  I was pretty bummed out for a few days.   I started doing a mental review of the project of what I had done wrong and what I would do differently next time.  The answers are: get better lighting or simply don't weave such dark colour in mid winter. Especially lace weave that doesn't show its structure fully until washed. Weaving linen mid winter with drier interior air isn't a good idea anyhow....

The over all effect of the lace.

So the two runners are being sold as seconds as it would take a practised eye to find the spots. You and I could as weavers but it simply may not be that important to someone else.  They are hand made and 100% linen and quite lovely.    Very few things in life are perfect..... but that takes us down a  philosophical road.....