Monday, May 16, 2011

EPI, LOL, PSSO, PPI, and other acronmyms that further tangle our minds!

In this day of texting and abbreviated thinking, it leads me to a place of some comfort in some ways - I love my Iphone touch, it is handy, it is fun and efficient. I can be in the Loom and communicate with my students in the studio  - epi? lol ttyl - basically, what's the sett laugh out loud, talk to you later....not really, but having my handheld  computer phone allows me to be connected in yet another text-tile way. We have been 'texting' for years with our knitting patterns and the like - that really puts us ahead of the times! The only difference is that we basically were communicating with ourselves and our knitting needles - now the world is at our fingertips in yet another digital way - at least our fingers are active with communication of some kind I friend and I spent a morning laughing at the acronyms new and old and we agreed that SNAFU was one of our favourites - from the second world war I believe (situation normal all fouled up - although another word is used for fouled!!!! LOL!)

A spring collection of texture and colour to add to the bulging inspiraton book! Can you guess what they are?
So the month was full and inspiring - not a day goes by that I am not exhilerated beyond my wildest dreams (I am sure that there may be some eye rolling at this statement, but it is true, it really doesn't take much to excite me or give my brain yet another combination to think about, or a problem to solve - trouble shooting is one of my all time favourite excitements - how to best make something work.....). We had an exceptionally lovely warp come off the loom in the new studio - have I mentioned the new studio??? I will elaborate a little in a bit....but ah yes troubleshooting - it is my middle name and I love a challenge big and small. This one wasn't a mistake, but more of 'pushing light into dark'. A dark warp that needed some light without compromising the dark. That is when you manipulate the sley - don't you just love that - you could call it MTS! So one can add subtle stripes by adjusting the sleying of the reed and in this case added an undulation as well when using a lighter weft. The warp being black alpaca and a black handspun alpaca/wool blend. By reversing the twill threading on one third of the warp, it added yet another element to the piece giving yet another 'colour' -  these subtle manipulations contribute to a more unique and as I call it layered design. Another great MTS will give you added width as well, if you somehow miscalculated which never ever happens to weavers!!!
The weft is Berroco Lustra that was overdyed from ivory to charcoal grey - the sheen is quite lovely.
The beautiful Shetland/alpaca blend was exceptional and the photo just doesn't do it justice - the first warp off in the new studio classroom.
And the next projects off were the rag rugs - the community rag rug warp is available to all - bring your rags and weave.....these are particularly beautiful.
The warp weaves to about 28 inches and we are allowing about 45 inches long for each. The warp is a cotton blend and threaded to a straight twill. Depending on your skill level, it should just take you a day to weave in a very magical and creative place.

I have been reminiscing quite a lot since the second studio has opened. When I learned to weave, I learned in a barn and was surrounded by other women all with the passion of learning something new and wonderful. The last few years I have been leading quite a solitary weaving life and it wasn't until opening the first half of my studio did I realize that it felt so much more 'right' to be in a group of women. Banff was the same -  all day we would weave and breathe the world of weaving and only in the evenings did we chance that Mary wouldn't be by, and put some music on. Sweden was the same - no music. Cherryville was musical enough with horses poking their noses in, cats lying about, the goats checking in and folk singers often outside serenading us. Music is pretty important to me I have to say - and poetry. With my young students they will indulge me my Ting Tings, Lucinda Williams, Joni Mitchell and Christina Aguilara, but my 'older' students also have a liking for diverse music, so the mix is great... and the music of the looms is exceptional - there is nothing like the beat of a beater against a rag rug and the sigh of beat against a soft warp - never mind the creaking of each loom each a distinct sound of its own......ahhh, the magic of weaving lives together, eh? Speaking of reminiscing............I was telling my  friend Ann about my pillowcase - which I hadn't seen for a couple of years and then found it on the ground outside my old Benz - my husband cleaning it out of old mildewed fabric etc........and there she was, lying on the ground stained and ripped........all 1700 threads - 64 epi, all 25 yards that I myself warped in the heat of the hot Okanagan summer, and threaded  - the life of an apprentice...........but I lovingly washed her - my little pillowcase that I first slept on when on my honeymoon..............

The pillowcase is under the cat and a student's scarf. It was a cotton warp with a linen weft threaded in rosepath....

Yes, one needs their spectacles to see the count. I kind of want to do something like this again - wish my eyes were young!  Perhaps another community project - anyone game?

And my new favourite poetry at the moment is an Interweave publication - the Very Stuff by Stephen Beal: Poems on color, thread, and the habits of women - does that not just pique your interest..... 3047 (a straw colour) is my current favourite:

This color is calling out to me.
It is calling, "Do not let me go unnoticed, unrecognized, unsung.
I am humble, I am useful,
....."I am of the stuff that helps you make it through:

and I just wonder if that is why I am weaving the above - just realized it now - natural and  solar dyed ( bracken and  St. John's Wart) Eastwin Farm mohair and a commercial silk and mohair and silk and linen blend - a 6 harness huck variation.

Which brings us back to the studio classroom. We now have a warp for rag rugs, a warp made for handtowels and/or a table runner (or whatever you wish to use the woven piece for) - we just have to get it on the loom. We are going to thread it to Ms and Os, so you can bring your own weft or use some of ours. The plan is to have a chenille warp for all your thrums, a twice woven rug warp, we have currently a double corduroy bath mitt warp (yes, double corduroy tested out as a 'towel' instead of a rug - have to keep pushing the boundaries) which is cottolin warp and suggesting a linen, tow or otherwise, hemp or combination. Most projects we book you in for the day. A formal announcement will be made as soon as I post this - just trying to get the last month straight and on here. So much has happened that I feel quite behind in communicating, but my goodness it has been busy.

And just to break up the monotony of my chatter, I thought I would add a little colour to the mix - what comes first the inspiration or the product? I often work backwards...actually more often than not.

Spinning at Providence was great both April and May -  I still don't have the pictures from the last spin-in, so I will combine them here. I didn't spin yesterday, but managed to get some solar dyeing on the go for future dyeing - lichens. Thank you Sandy for taking the pictures. I think I need to put an album together as there are so many pictures to share.....and there were some new faces as well,  all the way from Qualicum and Victoria and our wonderful Karen Miller who does so much for our island fibesters. I hope that she knows how grateful we are for her work. If you want to join her list, $2 buys you a Bradley Center membership and you can pay me at the studio if you like and I send your email on my
I-phone right away!!!
Our wool source for Providence

We had a great tour of the Loom Room where all the 'action' really happens - twice woven rugs using roving instead of chenille, a lap blanket with our spin-in handspun, rag rugs and all under the wonderful direction of our Betty. And Betty wove a wonderful upholstery for a collaborative chair project  - the crystals were sparkling just like the mercerized cotton of the ripsmatta - beautiful.

And we cannot forget the
 100 Mile Fiber Fair at the end of this month - how exciting it will be. It is the 29th of May and already there are 35 vendors. Quite a few of us will be attending. Ann and I are going crazy trying to get lots of her mohair blend wool dyed. We have rigged up a new system which we have been thinking about for about a year, and in 10 minutes and searching the junk drawer, we managed to get it done...we laughed and laughed at how skilled we really are, but sometimes we take longer to act upon the idea. It needs some tweaking so it will work even better - I am hoping for remote controls and all manner of no extra physical labour!
Our new system - SO much fun! Going into the dyebath......

What can I say - I am in heaven - this is just too much fun and we dyed the whole day long. We hope to have our dyed yarns available at the 100 Mile Fibre Fair on May 29th in Parksville at the Bradley Centre. Leola's Studio presents Eastwin Farm Mohair locally grown and dyed in the Cowichan Valley - how cool is that?

Just a little note regarding the picture at the very top of this blog. These are handtowels that my Shawnigan Lake School Textile Art students created - each student chose a colour, warped their stripe (in the half the threads, twice the length warping method HTTL (groan...had to somehow tie the beginning of the blog into this diatribe!) to get a mirror image), sleyed and threaded their stripes and we all took turns pulling the warp on..........everyone wove their towel with a different weft and voila! a beautiful array. This is a great group projects and great fun - it doesn't matter what colours you use - it is the wonderful collaborative and community project that everyone can enjoy.

And I think to end this endless chatter - photos of my students' work, in process, and finished. Please
e-mail or phone to reserve a space at the community looms, or if you wish to join us and rent a space in this special courtyard studio, let me know, we would love to have you.

Mary's design process and the warp - very strong and very beautiful

Jewel's Saxe Point Blanket warp - stunning!

Gabriel's first warp - a table runner - very beautiful and I happened to take a picture of this door and thought of her warp and also an idea for dyed yarn................

Mary's design process  table runner and handtowel warp - I can hardly wait...

Alberta's project - 3 against 1 twill - reversible with Shetland handspun wool as the weft. The lovely 'roll' of the neckline is one of the reasons I love this pseudo satin weave as well as being reversible. This poncho/wrap/shawl has been baptized as the Leola Rap. An LR.!!!!This warp was very interesting in how it came to be - a lonnnnng story!

And my 'foody' picture. When Ann and I work together, we require good treats - Dutch apple pie and blood oranges on a lovely linen runner - this has to become a warp one day.


  1. I'm in love with the beautiful tea towels.


  2. I think that it is such a great thing to surround yourself with others who love to do the same thing!

  3. I love this pseudo satin weave as well as being reversible. This poncho/wrap/shawl has been baptized as the Leola Rap. PPI Claims helpline