Happy New Year

Ngā mihi o te tau hou

It’s halfway through the first month of 2023 already, and February already seems to be getting too close. The weather has been all over the place, lovely sunny days, days that are just too hot and sticky to move and then heavy rain and wind. The poor old vege garden and fruit trees don’t know what is happening.

Weaving

I’m still working my way through Season 6 of Jane Stafford’s School of Weaving, I have a rather hopeful plan that I will finish all the lessons by the end of the month. Episode 6 is Crackle Weave which I hadn’t tried before so it has been fun experimenting with this technique and weaving some tea towels. Below are a couple of photos of the sampler I wove on the warp first. The towels are waiting to be hemmed and then I will take some photos of them.

I have also been experimenting with pulled warp technique, something I have wanted to try after reading an article on loom woven baskets in The Weavers Journal – Spring 1986 issue (you can find this issue here: https://www2.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/wj.html ) I put a narrow cotton warp on my table loom and used triple strands of 2 ply wool as the weft for an intial play. I made a couple of necklace pieces and then tried making a tiny basket which was fun though rather fiddly. I will put on a wider warp at some stage and try making a larger one.

Dog Tales

Rufus is mostly banished from my weaving studio as he has a tendency to stealthily pick up yarn and other things and head outside to chew them. I relent every now and again and let him in, and he behaves himself for a bit, then he gets bored and starts looking for trouble. Here’s a picture of him busy telling me it’s time to stop weaving and go outside and play.

Mā te wā | Until next time,

Frances

December 2022

I had good intentions to post during November but now it’s December and that obviously didn’t happen. Better late than never I suppose, so here’s a quick roundup of what I’ve been up to.

Weaving

I finally hemmed the hand towels that were my first warp on my Mecchia dobby. They are already in daily use, replacing our rather worn out old towels.

I put a warp on my Ashford jack loom to work on the Summer & Winter lesson from Jane Stafford’s School Of Weaving. I enjoyed weaving the tea towels even though I managed to make a few mistakes, mostly due to inattention when weaving the tabby picks.

In the middle of November, I attended a workshop on Echo Weave, led by Agnes Hauptli. The workshop was organised by Creative Fibre Auckland, as part of their Spring Education Event at the Estuary Arts Centre in Orewa. I really enjoyed it even though lots of concentration was required.

Different treadlings on my workshop warp.

Reading

After the workshop I purchased a copy of Weaving with Echo and Iris by Marian Stubenitsky. It’s a pretty expensive book but it has a wealth of information in it and I’m slowly working my way through it.

Dog Tales

Rufus is still growing and still full of energy. Occasionally he does have quiet moments.

October so far

I’m taking part in the Franklin Arts Trail this weekend, so pop in for a visit. You can download a map from the website www.franklinartstrail.co.nz or download it via this QR code.

I haven’t been doing much weaving in the last couple of weeks as I have been busy giving my studio a makeover. With lots of help from my husband and not so much from Rufus, our puppy, we have removed a wall, done lots of painting and rearranged and tidied up.

Before we started knocking down the wall.
Painting time, and Rufus doing a bit of “tidying”

It looks lovely and I can’t wait to get back weaving in there.

September – Part I

Weaving

At the beginning of the month I completed two pieces for an exhibition at our local community gallery. The theme of the exhibition is Connections and these two pieces were inspired by a metaphor used in Nordic countries where the red thread can refer to a shared characteristic or core theme that runs through and connects themes, ideas and stories.

“Connections” consists of works by six local Franklin artists including me, we have got to know each other through our shared passion for fibre and textile art. We were offered the exhibition slot at fairly short notice after a cancellation so we had not seen each other’s work until installation day and it was exciting to see how well the pieces all worked together.

The exhibition is on at the Franklin Arts Centre, Community Gallery until 3 October, so if you’re in Pukekohe pop in for a visit.

I have also been working on my entry in our Waiuku Spinners & Weavers group challenge which is due this week. Each member was given a bag containing some corriedale, alpaca and angora fibre and one of 4 themes (fire, water, air and earth) with the challenge to make something inspired by the theme using the fibres and whatever else you wanted to add. My theme was water, I spun the fibres, dyed them and have been weaving a piece on a frame loom.

Dog Tales

Rufus is not allowed near my weaving very often as he has a tendency to chew on things he shouldn’t (as all puppies do) but I had my table loom set up in the dining room this month and he decided to try out the weaving bench for size.

August – Part I

Weaving

August is racing away, I don’t know how we are already over halfway through the month. The weather has been wet and cold so it’s been good to be inside weaving. First up are some photos of the double weave scarves that I mentioned in my last post.

Each scarf has a wintery phrase woven in morse code, from left to right they are: “It’s Cold Outside”, “Wrap Up Warm” and “Looks Like Rain”. The right hand side of the photo shows the full front and back of “Looks Like Rain”. They were on display at “Gathering”, a collection of works by members of the Franklin Arts Festival committee. It was held at the Franklin Arts Centre, Community Gallery from 3-22 August.

The tea towels are finally off my Mecchia loom and are now waiting for me to hem them.

Last week I put a cotton warp on my Ashford jack loom and wove some woven shibori pieces using the techniques from Catharine Ellis’ book “Woven Shibori”. I wove four pieces with a cotton warp and two with a polyester weft. On Saturday my local weaving group had an indigo dyeing workshop and I dyed all the cotton weft pieces and one of the polyester weft pieces. I dyed both polyester weft pieces with Rit Dyemore dye as well and steamed them to set the pleats.

Woven shibori pieces on the loom
Handwoven pleated purple coloured pieces hanging on a branch,
Cotton warp and polyester weft, the piece on the left was first dyed with indigo before both were dyed with Rit Dyemore dye.
Cotton warp and weft

Dog Tales

Rufus is now 6 months old and continues to keep us on our toes as everyday he finds something new that he can reach. He loves playing with his balls and running around.

July

Weaving

July has been and gone so I thought I’d better post here before too much of August has passed and I had forgotten what I’ve been up to. Thank goodness the photos on my phone have dates on them 🙂

I finished weaving the Monk’s Belt placemats from Season 6 of Jane Stafford’s School of Weaving. They’re waiting to be hemmed, which might get done before the end of August.

Once my jack loom was free of the placemats I got to work weaving some samples for a trio of double-weave scarves I planned to make for a small group exhibition coming up in August. I used some 2 ply corriedale wool I had dyed previously that was in similar colours to what I planned for the final scarves, wove a small sample to check the sett was OK and then wove off the rest of the warp. I used double-weave so that I could weave phrases using Morse code into the scarves.

Once I had finished the samples I moved on to dyeing some more wool and warping up the loom for the final project. I cut the scarves off the loom on the last day of July, which was a relief as the exhibition they were for opened on the third of August. I’ll post some photos of the finished scarves in my next post.

June

Weaving

June has flown by and I’m not quite sure where all my time went. At the beginning of the month I took part in a Pop-Up Artists in Residence event at the Franklin Arts Centre which was good fun. I took a couple of looms, a rigid heddle for visitors to play on and my table loom, and some of my work. I worked on one of the doubleweave samplers from Jennifer Moore’s book in between chatting to visitors and another local artist Eric Braks popped in and drew a lovely sketch of me weaving (masked up of course). The colourful works on the gallery walls were painted by some local high school students who were also part of the event.

Handwoven scarves on a rack

I completed the doubleweave sampler and continued working on the Monk’s Belt placemats from this season of Jane Stafford’s School of Weaving. After a few months of setting up my new to me Mecchia dobby loom (it’s around 40 years old I think) I finally put the first warp on and started weaving. One of the wires leading to the dobby unit came loose soon after I started weaving and had to be reclamped but I have now managed a few hours weaving on the loom, with not too many issues (i.e. flying shuttles flying off the loom ). There’s a bit for me to learn, I’ve never used a dobby loom, flying shuttle or sectional beam before but I’m enjoying it so far.

Green, blue and white cotton tea towels being woven on a Mecchia dobby loom.
First steps on the Mecchia dobby loom
Doubleweave sampler

Dog Tales

We visited dog-friendly Rooseville Park in Pukekohe after being told about it by a friend and it lived up to the recommendation. The wet weather met that there were lots of great fungi to see as well as all the native trees. We only explored a small part of the park but we’ll be going back again to see more of it.

The rest of May

Weaving

I have finished weaving a couple more of the double weave accordion books, one with four sections and one with six. Handwoven using 2 ply corriedale yarn dyed with harakeke seedpods, the books are fun to play with and rearrange into new shapes.

Handwoven sculpture

Rufus

We have gone to the beach at low tide a few times with Rufus while we waited for him to be fully immunised for parvo. This week we are finally able to go walking in public with him which is great and will hopefully help burn off some of his energy.

May 2022 so far

Weaving

The tea towels in the last post have been washed but still need to be hemmed. There has been much moving of stuff and rearranging looms in my studio so not much actual weaving. I have finished the double weave projects on my table loom and have a few ideas on what to do differently next time.

On my jack loom I’ve started weaving the Monk’s Belt placemats from Season 6, episode 3 of the Jane Stafford School of Weaving.

Dyeing

We had a fun day trying indigo dyeing at the weaving group I belong to, here’s one of the silk pieces I dyed using resists.

Reading

The latest instalment in the Rivers of London / Peter Grant series.