Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Pleasure of Spinning

Sitting at my wheel early this morning, I was reminded, as I often am, of just how pleasurable it is to spin yarn. I love my spinning wheel and I spin every day. I wouldn't miss it. First thing in the morning, after I've fed my kitty, BeeGee, I sit down to spin, to organize my thoughts for the day, decide how I want the day to look, how I imagine it unfolding before me. Frequently, little things I've been meaning to do but have tucked away in the folds of my brain will come back while I'm spinning, and I'll get up, do that little task or project, and come right back to the wheel. Several times throughout the day, when I'm finished with one project but not on to the next quite yet, or as a segue between one part of the day and the next, or even as a mini-break in the routine of something else, I will sit down and spin. It is so grounding to me, like being home again at the beginning of things. I also get a lot of spinning done, which is a good thing, being a fiber artist.

I completed the shadow weave scarf I began last Friday, and now I'm on to another one. Here are a couple photos of the finished one...

And here's BeeGee, the feline love of my life, sitting on a weaving, no less. He loves to help me fringe my pieces!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Cold & brilliant Monday morning

Brrrr, is it cold in my neck of the woods. If it hits the mid-40s today, we'll be lucky. Right now it's in the 30s and it snowed last night in places where it hasn't snowed in many years. Of course, weather is relative...I know it's seriously cold around the nation so I have nothing to complain about. For my money, I think California's North Coast has the best weather in the country, all things considered these days. Not too cold in winter, not too hot in summer, and not really as rainy as most folks think. Nevertheless, today is a day for staying inside and weaving.
As promised, here is a photo of the bamboo and silk yarns that I posted on Friday, that I overdyed over the weekend, with madder.

I have about half a bobbin spun of the topaz bamboo I'm working on, but I have to slow down on the spinning now and rest my hands more. I can't spin for hours anymore without it having an impact. Age and overuse have begun to take a toll and I've got to take better care of my hands...because everything I love to do is hand intensive.
Last Friday I warped my loom for a shadow weave scarf. I'm using a beautiful grayed-teal tencel and a hand dyed, handspun silk from silk hankies, a colorway I call Santa Fe. The two yarns together create a very subtle color juxtaposition, kinda the way I like it. The shadow weave pattern will be less evident in coloration than it will be in pattern texture.

I appreciated a comment I received last week saying that perhaps having a blog would actually make me more productive artistically, rather than less productive as I was suspecting. And so far I would have to agree, as I have done a lot more in this past week with my art than I did in the entire month before! There's something very inspiring about getting things done and posting them for the world to see.

And with that, I'm off to weave!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Moving On...

The spinning project that wouldn't end finally did, last night. I have 3240 yards of sparkling white silk spun from silk caps, enough to actually weave a piece of fabric with, if I'm so inclined. We'll see what I do with that!

Meanwhile, I've started the next spinning project, some gorgeous topaz bamboo top (shown above) that I'm spinning into singles, that I will then weave into something along with two yarns I previously spun. These two yarns, below, are bamboo on the left and tussah silk on the right, both dyed with natural dyes. I'm not particularly happy with way the colors turned out, both rather dull, so I'm going to overdye them both with madder to perk them up. That's one of my projects this weekend. I'll post a photo of the overdyed yarns when they're done.

For now, though, I need to get my day going. Friday is my favorite day of the week, and this one will be a good one. More later...

One more thing, though, if you're interested in some of the wonderful dyed bamboo, I have four colors available at my Etsy store -- topaz, Egyptian red, malachite and heliotrope. Bamboo is a fabulous top to spin, I hope you'll try it for yourselves.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

New Weavings

Here are my latest two new weavings, just off the loom yesterday. They're 100% tencel, drapey and luscious. I especially love the brown and green tencel together because of the beautiful iridescence.

I'll be posting them at my Etsy site, so check there soon for specs and prices. Next, I plan to do a series of scarves in different shadow weaves, likely combinations of different colored tencel, or tencel & cotton, or tencel & silk.

Handspun, Handknit Gems

I'll admit these sweaters were done nearly 10 years ago, but since I've been weaving, I've been knitting a lot less. One of the reasons (I tell myself) that I started weaving in the first place was to use up some of the handspun yarn I was producing fast and furiously, because I could never knit it up as fast as I was spinning it. So I've woven my way through much of that early yarn, most of it wools that I rarely use anymore, and sold the resulting woven scarves. Leaving me with lots of hand dyed, handspun silks that I've yet to weave!

These gems are all handspun and designed by me. I sold one of them a few years ago, three I personally wear every winter, and two are for sale in my studio. (The two available sweaters are the cropped, ribbed cinnamon silk/romney sweater, below, and the funnel neck, sleeveless hand dyed wool sweater atop this post.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

...Speaking of Being Out of The Country

I was in Tuscany and Umbria, Italy, for three weeks in October 2007, on a textile trip. Check out my photos of the trip by visiting the link under Connie's Sites.

On that trip, I stayed for 10 days at Maridiana Alpaca Farm in Umbertide, participated in a terrific natural dyeing workshop, and visited numerous textile workshops and manufacturers in Umbria and Tuscany. I also spent a few wonderful days in Florence and the better part of a week vacationing in Varenna, on Lake Como, with my sweetie.

Bella Italia!

The Spinning Project That Won't End

I'm keen on finishing this spinning project this week -- I've been working on it since early October (of course, I was out of the country for most of that month!). Sometimes I get so mesmerized by spinning singles that I'm not paying attention to how much I've spun before I start to ply it. In this case, I've already got 2000 finished 2-ply yards of this lustrous stuff, spun from silk caps. And although I usually dye silk hankies and caps before spinning, occasionally I spin it white to dye later. This yarn will likely end up as part of a woven shibori piece, or I'll paint it as warp and then weave with it.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Photos From the Last Dyeing Session

After mordanting and then rewetting the woven scarf, it was laid out on my studio table, ready for painting.
The scarf was painted in strategic places with logwood gray.

After partially drying, the gathering threads were pulled up and knotted.

Each side was painted, one with cutch, the other with fustic.

After painting, the scarf was steamed to set the dyes.

After steaming and cooling, the gathering threads were removed.

And then the scarf was fully dried, finished, and fringed.

My Latest Woven Shibori

Today I'm online with my blog. All this technostuff when I really want to be weaving. I'm hoping that over time the tech side of this artist can live in the background so I can get back to my art.
I just finished this piece last week. It was woven with 20/2 bombyx silk warp and crepe rayon weft, giving it a wonderful drapey quality. I used natural dyes here -- logwood gray, fustic and cutch. I'm hoping to have another new Woven Shibori piece here late this week so stop back soon.
Meanwhile, back to the studio for me today!