Thursday, 26 December 2013

Boxing Day 2013

That has to have been one of the best Christmas Days I've ever had. Sleeping in till around 1100. A leisurely brunch. (Bacon for me, bacon and eggs for David and Becca). Pottering with wax (melting off the ugly stuff) and weaving. Cheesy bacon things for afternoon tea. More weaving. A leisurely dinner of lamb patties, kumara and potato chips, and a large salad. Taking the dogs for a walk along the beach. And reading. Lots of reading. Did I mention it was a leisurely day?

No rushing around tidying, picking up parents, cooking and otherwise preparing food, making sure everyone was entertained and playing nicely. No dropping off parents. No being nice to people. NO NOTHING.

And today ... woke up about 11.00. Another leisurely day ahead ...
It rained again last night, and there’s no sun today with quite a cool wind. But that’s ok. The water-tank keeps getting refilled, and I had inside things to do!

Because I wasn't at home, I was missing most of the tools I’d normally have (like a needle and thread), so had to figure out how to take the bookmark I’ve made off the loom, and tie its ends up, and then rewarp, so I can make some ‘pretties’. In the end, I waited till I got home to do this.

This wasn't much room in the car with 3 people, 3 dogs, my loom, Becca's computer, and other stuff.

My long term goal is to weave cloth to make shawls. I want to learn how to process harakeke flax, with its long, strong fibres. I think with the right preparation, I can get it as soft as linen flax. It will probably involve caustic soda and a pressure cooker (which is on my ‘list of things to buy’. I don't want to get a new one!) I think it would be really cool to make fabric with hand prepared, hand spun, native fibre – thinking big here!

This is what the harakeke plant looks like, and the fibre:

The yarn I bought down in Christchurch while visiting Alex in October is Patons Regal 4 Ply Cotton, 50g, 10/3 in ‘Cream’ and ‘Spices’. It gives 26 wraps per inch/2.5cm. The other yarns are Sullivans Royal Rayon Crochet Yarn 3 Ply, 50g, ‘Claret’, 32 wpi; Sullivans Candlewicking Cotton for Embroidery, 25g, 'cream', 42 wpi.

The patterns I’m wanting to do are from “The Weaver’s Inkle Pattern Directory’ by Anne Dixon. She uses 2/16 cotton or 3 x 2/16 in her patterns. She notes that 20/2 pearl cotton is a good substitute for 2/16, and 5/2 is excellent for the 3 x 2/16.

The theory is that because only half the warp threads are on the surface at any one time, and as these threads crowd together, the width of the inkle will be about half the total width of the warp threads wrapped around a ruler. However this is only approximate because the width the warp draws in may vary, and some threads are softer than others. A general rule is to wind just under twice as many threads for the warp as are needed to wrap around the chosen width.

Bah humbug. I hate maths. Especially maths associated with crafts. I think this means the yarn I have is too thick. When I tried weaving a narrow band about 2” wide, it turned out to be about 9½” wide – too wide to be a bookmark! It's taken me about 3-4 hours to work this out. L

I think I’ll have to use the cream and claret threads for the bookmarks, and the other threads for ... something else.

Nearly time for bed!

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