Archive for May, 2011

Papermaking at Primrose Park

Jeanette, with Dinah at the press

A total change of pace today, with a papermaking class at Primrose Park. This was an ATASDA activity and came about through the generosity and hard work of Jeanette who is a member of both ATASDA and Primrose Paper Arts.

There was a good turnout and Jeanette and the other volunteer papermakers were kept very busy teaching and helping us, including some heavy winding by Dinah on the press.

Jeanette had already processed 5 kilos (!) of mountboard to make buckets of ?? is pulp the right word? Anyway, we were able to get started straight away forming sheets of paper.

Soon boards of newly formed paper were propped outside, trying to take advantage of any glimmers of sun to dry the paper. The Centre is beside a soccer pitch, and one member has the surprise embellishment of muddy dog prints decorating her work!

Other enhancements were a bit more controlled, with dried leaves, flowers, fabric pieces, decorative papers etc being laid on the newly formed paper. We tried rusty metal grids, plant material and fabrics to emboss the pages, then towards the end of the day started dyeing the pulp.

Lots of inspirational work was passed around at lunchtime, plus Jeanette brought a big box of goodies to show us. There was a great variety of beautiful work – though I didn’t get a shot of her “feral book”.

No photos of my results yet – everything is still drying, so I’ll finish with some shots of the building. It’s a council facility, apparently originally a sewerage works that was decommissioned in the 1920s. It’s a beautiful space.


Pics from Cally

My pics have arrived from Cally, so here’s a first look and initial thoughts:

Our banner photo. The beautiful curve and zigzag of the stairs; patterning of the tiles; the folded wheelchair – a sign of freedom?; the glow of lights and the shadows bouncing around.

Peacock feathers, coiled basket by Anna S. King – she writes “My baskets are allowed to be whatever they want to be; what you see is what you want to see.” There’s colour and patterning of feathers and basket, and King’s wonderful statement to ponder on.

 This seems to be a framed work by Wendy Cuthbert (if I’ve read the signature correctly – couldn’t find anything on google). A great set of colours – think I could learn a lot by trying to work with that palette. At first sight I thought of tapestry with the strong patterning, but now I’m looking more at the use of scale and line and variations and repetitions of triangle/zigzag.

Barn owl, a photo by David Tipling in a national trust calendar. I find owls rather sinister for some reason. They look vicious and judging and ready to tear things apart. Not helped by going into wikipedia for some balance and finding “… known by many other names … eerie, silent flight: White Owl, Silver Owl, Demon Owl, Ghost Owl, Death Owl, Night Owl, Rat Owl…”. There is some very lovely patterning, on its back and also the window surround.
A parade or celebration? Exultant individuality, but such somber faces on some of the observers. Feathery texture and exciting pops of colour. The red and silver medusa mask back right, watching but not participating (at least right now). This is a fascinating photo. I’d love to know more of its story (hint, Cally?).
East Neuk by John Bellany, another calendar find and another great statement on his website: “I paint from my very soul and I want to move people to get inside their hearts.” I am very taken by this. I feel a fresh breeze on my face and a salty tang on my lips. There is such a sense of place and I feel a visitor, looking into other people’s lives. I love the blocks of colour and the colours themselves. Not a skerrick of an idea how to interpret it in weaving 🙂
This is a great set of pics Cally – thank you so much!

Pics to Picks for Amanda

After a week of dithering, my pics for Amanda:

A hibiscus in our front yard. We’re not gardeners, so anything there grows despite, not because of us.

This photo was on my shortlist before I saw Amanda’a honeysuckle pic for Meg. Hopefully this means we are atuned in some way 🙂

An inlet on Sydney harbour. Taken from Nutcote, the home of May Gibbs who wrote Snugglepot and Cuddlepie – iconic Australian children’s stories. The yellow and green ferry is a regular commuter service and a nice way to travel to work, and I kind of like the obscured glimpse of the iconic harbour bridge.

Plants (no idea what – see note about gardens above!). Taken in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney. The Gardens are right in Sydney, on the edge of the business district, next to the Opera House and harbour.

Regrowth in the Megalong Valley, which is in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney.

Clouds and shadows on a building in Sydney.

Columns in the Great Synagogue in Sydney. One of the bellringers works here and took us for a tour last Sunday. I’ve walked past the building many times, but had no idea of the beautiful, elaborate interior.

Amanda, I hope something here speaks to you!

Ikat-ish dyeing

For my next ikat-ish experiment I want to reproduce? interpret? a piece in Lydia Van Gelder’s Ikat II. There are stripes of of warp dyed in long dashes (purple in the layout), stripes of solid orange and a simple woven shibori effect over. The idea is to custom dye the dashes, but in a skein of yarn from which I will wind the warp, so almost or fake ikat, not the real deal.

This weekend was the dyeing. I used my warping wheel  to create a big skein, then tried to mark out the dashes evenly. The best wrapping material I could come up with was plumbers’ teflon tape. There were 100 revolutions of 20/2 silk on the wheel, which compacted down pretty well. In the photo you can see there were a couple of tricky spots where I had to complete the wrapping after taking the silk off the wheel.

Dyeing was my standard immersion in Lanaset dyes. I rinsed the result with the wraps still in place, then took them off for drying. In the photo there is the pink teflon still in place, the next section with the wrapping off but the silk still compressed, and another section I have opened up a bit to look at the boundary of dyed and undyed areas. Generally it seems to have gone fairly well, although there is a consistent problem where I tied the starting end of the wrapping. On every section there is a spot where dye penetrated. Quite acceptable for a first attempt I feel, and I’m pretty confident I can fix it next time.

Here is the unwrapped skein, still wet. The dyed parts are darker than I intended, though they will lighten a fair bit when dry.

The next step will have to wait for next weekend – trying to wind and beam the warp with reasonable alignment.


Meg from Unravelling is organising a Pics to Picks Design Challenge and I’m one of the 19 weavers taking part. I would be feeling daunted at this point except for Meg’s strict instructions to have fun.

So hello to my fellow participants and those following our journeys! A brief introduction: I live in Sydney Australia with my husband and our two young adult sons, who are very tolerant supportive of my obsessions. I’ve been weaving since 2007 and am still amazed each time I cut off that mass of threads and find I have actually made cloth.  I must have a gift for amazement, because I also remain amazed at the way the world that is weaving continues to grow, and the more I learn the more I realise how little I know and how inadequate any number of lifetimes would be (still, I’m having a lot of fun with this one).

Cally is the person chosen to send me inspirational photos (she took the photo in the P2P2 poster above) and it’s exciting to know her selection is already on the way. Cally’s from Scotland and I feel I have a small connection there, having spent a summer in Edinburgh many moons ago and visited a couple of times since (not Dundee).

Amanda is the person receiving photos from me. She has already sent her’s to her recipient, so I am definitely running behind. I’ve never been to the USA so it’s fun to make a connection.

Fake ikat scarf

Last week’s ?? warp is now a not quite finished scarf (slightly damp, fringes to twist) and I’m very happy with the result.

With such stretchy yarn I took the standard weight off the back beam tensioning lever (thingy – too lazy to look up the correct name) and used a much lighter fishing weight. Using the avl warping wheel to get an ikat-ish effect in the warp worked well enough for me. There’s a lot of shifting around (I suspect I didn’t identify the repeat plus there was variability through the skein of hand-dyed yarn), but enough blocks of colour to give the desired result overall.

After washing my sample of 9 potential wefts I was surprised by my final choice – “sweet pea”, which I would describe as a fuschia. The purple which was my favourite on the loom drabbed down the shifting colour stripes and didn’t add anything to the purple stripes. The brighter colour gave a spark and warmth to both. The texture given by the twill also suits my taste. It’s more visible at a medium distance than I anticipated – I thought it would be a kind of extra as you got close – but I like that colour isn’t the whole thing. The twill also gives a wobbly edge to the stripes and the whole scarf, which appeals to me.

Overall a good result, lots of lessons learnt and lots of leads for future exploration.

On a related note, this week my copy of A Fiber Artist’s Guide to Color with Laura Bryant arrived. I’ve watched it all once and will be watching again. I always like reading and learning more about colour, and to have a weaver’s presentation is a real bonus. Her own work is amazing – complex double weave with very complex colour.

A [insert adjective here] warp

Don’t jump to conclusions – so far all adjectives are appropriate for polite company.

My husband’s was “pretty!” as he wandered past. It’s Araucanía Ranco Multy from Chile, 75% wool, 25% polyamide, around 344 m/100gm. I wanted to try adapting Bonnie Tarses’s “almost ikat” technique to use the avl warping wheel. See Bonnie’s YouTube tutorial, and her blog. I combined the multi-coloured yarn in stripes with an almost-solid skein. I’ve been reading Lydia Van Gelder’s Ikat II – a beautiful book with great projects to guide experimenting with ikat. I’d like to try incorporating some elements or loose interpretations in my work, and this seemed a good place to start.

The yarn brings up another adjective – “bouncy”. It was sold as sock yarn and is spun quite soft and lofty. I did a couple of samples on my ashford table loom with no difficulties, but on my big noble floor loom it’s hard to get enough tension to form a shed without a lot of stretching. Plus I noticed a lot of fluff as I was threading and sleying, so I am dubious about “durable”, at least when used as a warp.

“Puzzling” refers to weft selection. In the photo there are 9 different colours of wool weft (Bendigo Woollen Mills Classic 2 ply). I want a slightly weft dominant fabric (trying to make the most of the shifting colour), in a twill (for drape). I like the idea of some secondary patterning, so I’m using herringbone twill threading and lift. (not exactly. It’s a straight 8 shaft twill with lifts that make it act like a 4 shaft herringbone threading). “Uncertain” relates to me – I don’t how much of the above is rubbish.

Which brings us to “stalled”. I’ve run out of weekend, plus I want to cut off and wet finish this first little bit. I did sample earlier, but a bit too small, with different colours plus at 15 and 20 ends per inch rather than the 18 epi which I’m actually using (since my 12 dpi table loom reed is busy elsewhere).


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May 2011

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