Saturday, March 27, 2010

27 March: Shuttles!

This week has been a bit of a non-event, as I've been laid low with the lurgy; even stayed in bed one day. So there has not been a lot of fibre activity.

This afternoon, though, a couple of happy hours were spent in the garage, making 2 small shuttles. When my lovely large band shuttle arrived, it was packed between some bits of scrap wood, which then waited patiently in my work-room to be used for something. There was a nasty knot in one bit, but it was big enough to turn into 2 little shuttles.

I drew round the one that came with my inkle loom, and used a variety of tools, saw, chisel, hand drill, jigsaw, and lots of sandpaper. I'm ridiculously pleased with them.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

21 March: Still knitting

As well as the current interest in low-tech weaving, there is still knitting going on. This shawl has just been finished -

- and it was bright and (just) warm enough to take it into the garden to photograph.

It's knitted from a pattern in Traditional Knitted Lace Shawls by Martha Waterman, in my own handspun green merino/silk and grey wool/silk; as I had never knitted a half-circle shawl before, I wanted to see how the shaping worked. Also I wanted something to knit while watching TV, and to take to the Guild meetings, where talking takes priority over following a complicated pattern.

It's a nice shape and size - 50" across, 25" deep - enough to keep the back and shoulders warm without the long tails of a triangular shawl dangling in everything. Just right for a little old lady, and I'm none of those 3 things.

Monday, March 15, 2010

15 March: 2 new things before breakfast

Awake early, thinking about a weaving project, I started to think about some braids I'd seen on Laverne's blog. They looked a bit like Japanese kumihimo braids , and I had tried those a couple of times, so I had an idea how they might work.

Cut some strands of cotton and did a 4-strand braid, then got ambitious, and violà!* here's a multi-colour 6-strand braid as well.

You can see quite clearly where I started to get the hang of proper tension.

* Yes, I know it's really "voilà", but I saw this mis-spelling recently, and it amuses me.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

14 March: Family

After last week's roving mark, I decided to make some arrows that suited my light bow rather better. Well, not so much "make" as "assemble". All the bits came in the post from various suppliers, and hours were spent trimming and gluing. I tried them out - the bow-string needed a slight amendment, which was easily done - then spent some more happy hours painting them with odds and ends of paint found in the garage. At least I should be able to spot them in the grass!

Then most of today went in following up some recent family history research. At last I have found a trace of my Dad's "uncle who was a police officer", who appeared (with a tight collar and toothbrush moustache) at the back of a 1925 wedding photo. He had the same name as both his father and my Dad, and then the 1911 census revealed that he had given almost the same name to his son!

It was interesting to find that both a newly-discovered great-great-aunt and the wife of this newly-found great-uncle had the same first name as my Dear Grand-daughter.

Then this evening, just as I'd put the phone down from a nice long chat with my Dear Daughter, the door-bell rang, and my Dear Son was here for a nice long chat.

Monday, March 08, 2010

8 March: Roving mark

It was a glorious day yesterday for the first outdoor shoot of the season, a roving mark competition.

Here is a view of the shooting line; the previous target was the post with the banner on top, and the next target is a similar one some 100 to 150 yards away. Landing an arrow within a bow's length of the mark scored a point - landing an arrow in the mark scored 5 points.

Although we were shooting in a deer park, the herd kept well away, and no animals were inconvenienced in any way by our shooting. A good time was had by all, with a picnic on the grass at lunch time, followed by a second competition in the afternoon. Only 2 arrows stuck into trees, and one of those was (mostly) recovered.

A magic day - although I failed to trouble the scorer, I can't wait till the next one!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

4 March: More bits of weaving

When I made the inkle for the loom bag pocket, I enjoyed the process, so I made a few more.

The green and white one is handspun bamboo; the purple, blue, green and brown one is some cotton samples from Texere; the blue, turquoise and lavender one is crochet cotton; the charcoal, orange and blue one is handspun BFL/tencel; the coral and green one is Natural Dye Studio sock yarn in merino and bamboo; and the grey and pink one is handspun Shetland. They are all different in feel, and I love them all!

Then back to the backstrap loom for an experiment in sprang, something I'd been meaning to try for ages.

Brief instructions in a paragraph and 3 diagrams in a 1974 book, Off the Loom by Shirley Marein. Unfortunately, it forgot to mention that some of your earliest handspun wool yarn is perhaps not the best material to use for your first attempt. On the other hand, though, there was no need for sticks to hold the twist in the upper part of the work - the yarn stuck together by itself, very securely. Only really a problem when mistakes were made, and un-weaving had to be done. But that was more often than I would have wished.

And then, looking on the positive side again, that's the last scrap of the awful hairy Wensleydale used up (that's the bluish colour). This is how it looks relaxed -

- and this is how it looks spread out -

The instructions for finishing it off were vague, so I turned to my friend Google, who brought me straight to Phiala's String Page; where I discovered that my use of bamboo kebab skewers had already been thought of, and the method of closing the middle of the woven piece was one I had come across before in tri-loom weaving.

It is, of course, the ideal method for making a string bag.......