Monday, 26 April 2010

Monday 26th April

The weather here has been so lovely over the past week, and walks on the beach with the two mad dogs are very enjoyable.  Last Friday, my eldest daughter Vix and I went to the Stitch and Creative craft show at Shepton Mallet.  A very enjoyable few hours out and for the first time in three years it wasnt raining!

After acquiring some bits and pieces, mainly fabric to make number two daughter's impending baby a cot quilt and some very nice hand dyed sock yarn that couldnt be resisted I am ashamed to say, although no doubt fellow fibre enthusiasts will understand fully that no matter how large the stash there is ALWAYS ROOM FOR JUST ONE MORE SKEIN!!

The Glimakra loom is working out very well and after the initial troubles the missing parts have now arrived and I am now weaving madly to catch up with my Etsy shop and also some more items for the Somerset Arts week at the Gallery later in the year.

I have now sold the Louet Kombo loom as there simply isnt room for two looms in my workroom at the moment.  I am hoping to get the smallest back room decorated this summer and then the sofa bed can be moved into there so that when daughter comes to stay it can be used as a guest room only.  Then there will be more room in my workroom for those much needed shelves to be put up.  So at least I can get rid of the table that does take up too much room and even the old wall unit.  Still, one thing at a time, for now I have to concentrate on getting wallpaper off the walls when I get a spare five minutes!

I am currently spinning up some Angora rabbit fibre from my lovely English White Angora rabbit called Rocky and am blending it with some lovely hand dyed silk fibres in shades of blue to make a singles slubby yarn for weaving.  Pictures to follow.

On the loom at the moment another tencel and alpaca and silk scarf this time in shades of blue and pink.  Pictures to follow when I get a moment.

Whatever you are doing, have a good week.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Tuesday 20th April

An update on the Glimakra Julia loom with the pictures of the first warp now mounted on the loom and about halfway completed.  This is a tencel/rayon hand dyed warp in shades of peacock green and jade and a hand dyed baby alpaca/silk yarn in laceweight, hand dyed in Malachite green.

The half completed scarf.  The threading is for a diamond twill pattern and is set at two threads per dent in a 12 dent reed, that is a 24 ends per inch.
The tie up is shafts 1 and 4, 3 and 4, 2 and 3 and 1 and 2.

Close up of the colour detail in the scarf.

More soon, in the meantime why not have a look at the newly listed items in my Etsy shop, link is on the right.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Saturday 17th April

Well, another week gone by and my Glimakra Julia loom arrived last Thursday.  I was expecting it to be in all natural wood but ended up with the lovely bright red sides which will no doubt brighten up my workroom.  On opening the boxes, my ten year old daughter Meggie and I set to with a will to get it up and running asap. 

These pictures show the opened boxes and various parts of the loom as they were sent prior to construction.

Note the feet were not included!

This is the beater cradle, the reed will go between the two thicker pieces of wood.

The instructions that were included with the loom kit were, I have to say rather limited.  They were basic diagrams but I have found one or two of the pieces would have been better added earlier rather than later.  I had assumed a dvd was to be included to show how the loom should be constructed and tied up but I was told by Glimakra that this is only usually distributed with looms in the US, however they have kindly said they will send me one and include it with the missing treadle spacers, that is the little wooden discs that are threaded onto the rod between the treadles.  One point to bear in mind here if you are considering buying one of these looms, do place the treadles onto the metal rod on piece A as per your instructions first before the whole loom frame is constructed as it is near impossible to do so afterwards, my fingers narrowly avoided being broken by a springing metal rod!

Sorry, just realised this shot is at an angle, but if you turn it sideways it shows the back of the loom, first side piece and the part A, the natural wood piece with the three metal rings and the treadle rod I mentioned above, this is when I think the treadles should be added.

A close up of this piece.

The loom constructed and on its side before being raised up, note the black metal rod is not needed in the eight shaft countermarch make up as I found out this morning when the jacks would not sit up against the beater cradle with it in place, I loosened off the loom to remove it but again this is not mentioned in the instructions so do be warned.

A close up of the inside of the loom before the cloth beams are added

The top of the loom, showing one of the beater cradles, there are several different positions here so that instead of advancing the warp you can move the beater back. 

The cloth beams are now in place and I have hung the beater here to show it in proportion to the front beam.

A shot of the loom before the shafts, jacks(shaft controllers) treadles and lamms are added.  All the tie up cords do come ready cut tos size and colour coded with different colour plastic ties which correspond to the tie up diagram.

The treadles and lamms are now added.  There are two sets of lamms, upper and lower and eight treadles, so I suppose in theory you could do a direct tie up, one treadle to one shaft if you wished.  I have to say that the tie up diagram for the horizontal countermarch was a little confusing.  I have not used a countermarch loom before and found a very good tie up diagram on the All Fiber arts website, link here and then search for countermarche tie up, the one I used is type B tie up.

This is for the horizontal countermarche tie up and they give an alternative for another style of countermarche

A close up of the first warp to go on the loom, a 92 inch warp in tencel and rayon hand dyed by Yarntopia Treasures from Etsy.  Wonderful colours, also has a website

This will be for a scarf on a four shaft threading with a small diamond pattern, the weft is hand dyed laceweight baby alpaca and silk in a light green colour.  The photo doesnt show the colours of the warp yarn too clearly but they are in shades of jade.

Pictures to follow when the loom is warped and ready to go.

For now happy weaving!!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Wednesday 7th April

Its amazing how fast the time seems to pass me by.  I have spent the afternoon dyeing up some hanks of yarn that I purchased for weaving.  Five 100g hanks of silk and alpaca in laceweight and five 100g hanks of laceweight bluefaced leicester yarn are now dyed and drying out.  Photographs to follow when dry.  These will be used in future projects.

On the spinning front, some hand dyed merino rovings in a burgundy colour are being spun up on the Kromski Minstrel at present and the hand knitted scarflette in Jade mohair and silk is almost finished.  The Easter holidays are here at the moment and the girls are home from school so its not so easy to concentrate on more complicated projects when my bottom hardly seems to touch the sofa for more than five minutes at a time!

The first bobbin of merino roving spun up

Showing as slightly lighter than the original colour, the merino roving waiting to be spun.

I have just purchased a polystyrene bust to display my handmade items on for photographs.  I felt this would look better than the dining chair! This has been christened Doris! 

On the loom this week is a plain weave scarf using a silk and wool warp hand dyed in multiple colours and the weft is a fine two ply lambswool yarn, undyed from Texere yarns.  The lambswool is very soft and I wanted something neutral to show off the colours in the warp yarn.  Plain weave is very easy, just being a straight four shaft draft, one thread in each shaft, one to four repeated across all the threads.  I used 96 ends and with plain weave you dont need to set up selvedges.  For those of you who are not familiar with weaving selvedges are the edge threads that form the neat side of the weaving.  There are several ways to do this but mostly I use two threads threaded in each of the first two heddles, so four threads on each end in all.

Close up of the plain weave scarf with multicoloured hand dyed silk and wool warp and two ply lambswool warp.  I like the way the colours are showing up through the lambswool.

This picture shows the warp and the fine lambswool weft on the shuttle.

More soon, have a good week.

Friday, 2 April 2010


Well, its been a very wet and windy start to Good Friday here in Berrow but at long last the rain has stopped and the sun has come out.  We are off to our local riding stables for their annual easter egg hunt.  I have a grown up daughter who is a riding instructor there so we usually take part.  I have packed spare clothes for the younger girls as after an hour of rummaging in the mud and wet fields they will probably need hosing down before returning home.

I have just finished the tencel and mohair wrap that was on the louet loom and I will be adding pictures later.  It has been fulled and is waiting now to be photographed and put into my etsy shop - Purely Inspired.  Pictures below.

The tencel and mohair wrap on my eight shaft louet loom.  The warp is hand dyed tencel from Yarnstopia on etsy and the weft is some mohair yarn that I have had in my stash for a long time however it was bought without labels so I cant identify the mohair content or the producer.

This view shows the colour and weave pattern more closely, the draft or pattern is a twill variation, and is threaded over four shafts.

This is a close up of the pattern of the wrap showing the twill points, it almost gives a 3D effect.

I am very excited as I have just ordered a Glimakra Julia loom from Fibrecrafts.  They are very helpful there by the way, if anyone is interested in weaving and wants to have a chat about it as I know from experience it can be rather daunting when you start off.  Susan Litton who works there is a very knowledgable weaver and has been so helpful to me.  If you are able to travel to their shop then you will be able to try out the looms and wheels before you make a purchase.  Google maps do a very good set of directions.

Anyhow back to the Julia loom, its a floor loom but only measures about 28 inches wide, the weaving width is 26 and a half inches.  It can be purchased as either a counterbalance loom (two corresponding shafts have to be raised at the same time) or countermarche which means that only one shaft has to be raised at a time, although in practise multiple shafts are normally lifted. You start with two shafts, it comes with those as standard and then add on kits are available to purchase with an extra two shafts, floor pedals or treadles and the lamms and the tie up cords included.  You can according to Glimakra put up to eight shafts and treadles on the countermarche style loom and up to six shafts and treadles on the counterbalance style loom.  Have a look at the Glimakra website to see pictures.

Whilst on the subject of suppliers, Wingham wool work are very helpful regarding advice and their fibres are lovely.  I recently purchased a Kromski Minstrel spinning wheel and got a £25 voucher for fibre and purchased 600g of their dyed merino and silk blend.  300g of Jade colours and 300g of Purples.  The Jades are being spun at the moment and two hanks have been knitted up into another scarflette using a pattern by Evelyn Clarke from Fiber Trends.  That too will be in the etsy shop soon.

Well, whatever you are doing this holiday weekend, I hope you have a good one and apparently its going to be sunny on Sunday!