Visit us in the quaint hamlet of Myrtle Station, ON at: 9585 Baldwin St. N. (905)655-4858
(17.8km north of 401 exit 410. Look for the green house with the red roof a few doors north of the Myrtle Station railroad tracks)

Friday, January 20, 2017

A taste of hand weaving part 2

In this post I want to share how the yarn for the workshop has been organized.
Of course there are lots of methods for gaining fresh perspective on colour,
 especially when moving from one craft role to another,
knitter to weaver, organic to linear, and back again.
Yarn is labeled and packed for sale with not only for marketing appeal,
but also to provide important information regarding composition,
weight, and quantity,
however the packaging can so easily distract
 from developing a pleasing colour composition.
Of course, if you have been working with yarn for a while,
you will have an amazing treasure box of colour and texture.
It can be a bit much of a muchness, though,
can anyone have too much yarn?
Never happens to me!
Curate the selection!
Choose colours and move some to a bowl or basket,
 set out for a few days, for a leisurely ponder.
Take a poll with your fibre friends.
There is no rush, just you and the colour, keep occasional company,
off and on for a few days
Additional viewing practices could include looking at the group
 through a clear ended kaleidoscope, or the "wrong" end of binocular
 or be very modern, take a digital photo.
Quilters will know a lot about these practices.
Ordinary brown cardboard makes an easy, neutral,
and efficient tool for sampling colour choices
For this workshop I made lots of cards of yarn.
The cards measure 6 inches by 6 inches
 with slots for holding the yarn ends, 5 on each side
here are Sharon's versions:
and here are some of mine
Coming up in part 3, building a loom and some handy weaving tools.
Meanwhile check out this youtube video from Ikea about the skilled folks in India
 who hand weave rugs for us. Their skill and humility take my breath away.

Monday, January 16, 2017

A taste of hand weaving Part 1

Early on in my fibre journey I learned to hand weave with Mrs Bannister in Queenston, Ontario. Eventually I achieved a paid hand weaver position in Niagara on the Lake. This year, I have been given the opportunity by the Whitby Knitting Guild to share a taste of hand weaving and am so super delighted. Let's start with passion and curiosity. Here are pictures of boxed yarn compositions Sharion Thompson curated for us a few years ago.
If you have visited our studio you will know we hold a vast fabulous yarn collection, both vintage and current. Sharion dedicated time in the company of our yarn and generously devoted her skill to composing 7 boxes of yarn materpieces.
I asked her about making these works of art after a visit to her home where she showed me the river she had created for a friend of hers.
Yes a river, a fabulous mix of colour and texture, all worked into a vibrant, alive blanket.
I was enchanted by Sharions' river, and sure wish I had a photo to share with you.
However, here, very lovely in their won right are the 7 groupings, for your viewing pleasure.
They have been lurking in our lopi room, awaiting their time, their moment to shine! 
It will be great fun to sharing them at the knit club meeting in February with the sample looms I have built and will share on the blog with you soon. In part 2, will be pictures of the yarn cards we made from the boxes as well as some compositions of my own.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Yes, It's ombre hombre

If you have ever looked, especially at the early Garnstudio Drops patterns you will notice their designers were the masters of yarn mixing. That is combining fine yarns not only to make the work faster, but also to increase the sophistication of the colour combinations.
These days we have a wonderful assortment of ready - ombre - yarns from Garnstudio.
This is Big Delight, a mix of fibres as well as colours.
and a pleasure to knit on a 5 or 6 mm needle. 
There is also an aran weight airy mohair type with a variation on the colour mix theme.
The Christmas elf in me especially appreciates this material, so convenient, interesting and fun.
Ombre is different than this kind of coloured yarn from Regia, which is what my mum calls instant fairisle. When made into a sock, you achieve a definite pattern. My understanding is that the yarn is printed more like a newspaper. Definite sequence - scientifically engineered to give a crisp graphic effect, and because of the quality of the printing, it is entirely possible to knit a matched pair.
Now if Regia could print a yarn to make traditional kilt hose that would be amazing!
Our Kim has freshly knit this lovely winter set with Garnstudio alpaca.
She used the lovely soft Drops alpaca double and pattern number 171-46 and of course by changing one strand of the fine yarn at a time through the stripe achieved this cool ombre effect. She also added augmenting yarn with the sequins every couple of rows for that special twinkle.
This is a great method for combining fine yarns with style, especially those lace weights lurking in the vault and the lovely economical coned yarns I love so much.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Back in the Saddle with the 4th doctor

or should I say back in my comfy knitting nest now with Netflix
I started this scarf a couple of years ago for my son, who at 40 is the correct age for the 4th Dr.Who, played by Tom Baker from 1974 to 1981. Now feels like a good time to work at it again
The original version has a name The Acheson Hero Scarf, and was made by Begonia Pope. The Acheson lives the typical life of a star, with numerous modifications and repairs, a stunt double and many "knock off" imitations. has loads of great information about the scarf, including the history, and suitable modern yarns and colours for guidance. I am enjoying the mindfulness aspect of slipping the last stitch in the row, rather than the usual first.
My (vintage) yarn colour choice was made by matching as close as possible, the suggested food and ordinary household items photographs on the site. Very helpful!
I used the weavers stripe preview trick of winding the colours on a strip of matt board.
I also am using a very special and particular online calculator aka "The scarfomatic" , which is just brilliant, except now I know I am a little over 10% of the journey.

Well, sigh, next Christmas for sure...