Quillin Weaving

A blog about spinning, dyeing and fiber related things.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Purple Ruana for Christmas! This ruana is made from Texas cotton, novelty yarns and hand dyed silk ribbon. There is also a band of faceted beads in leno lace along one side.

This earth tones ruana is also Texas cotton and novelty yarns with ribbon. No beads on this one but it is a super long one, having been made as a special order for a tall person. The warp on this was 7 yards long and each panel before washing was 100 inches. It came together beautifully.

This sage chenille vest is one of the few things I have left in stock, maybe because it just came off the loom. It has been a busy Christmas season here and those who didn't get a special order in by August probably didn't get weavings for the holiday. Happy Solstice Blessings to you all.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

This past weekend was an adventure in natural dyeing. The workshop was offered through our local yarn store Unravel and the teacher was Ric Rao. There were about 12 of us plus various family memebers who were brought along to help. All the yarns that we tried were natural fibers - either wools or cottons, some alpaca and mohair. The yarn had been mordanted overnight in Alum and Cream of Tarter, though some were put in the pot just as we started and did not seem to be any less vivid. Ric had been collecting flowers from his garden all year and we used marigolds, cosmos, black hollyhock and hibiscus. Sometimes the colors were predictible and sometimes not. We also used onion skins and tumeric for a bright yellow.Walnut for brown. Logwood for purple (spectacular) and Cochineal for a pinkish-red. There were 8 dyepots in all simmering over two large outdoor fires. The project took most of the day and the efforts of everyone involved. There was not a lot of sitting around watching.

Everyone had a chance to put yarn in most of the different dyepots so there were lots of samples to take home.

Pot full of Cosmos. The dark brown in walnut.

It was a spectacular way to spend such a beautiful fall day. Many thanks to Gail and Oscar who opened their home for us to learn this skill, and Ric Rao for his time and patience. It was a great experience.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Another reason to love living in New Mexico.... It is the 24th of October and outside the air is an intoxicating 75 degrees with a light breeze. After the farmer's market today I came home and sat outside on my back porch and spun yarn in the sun. What could be nicer?

These colors will go in a hat or vest for the fall, right now it is a single in handpainted corridale but will probably be plied with something else, or more of itself for the final product.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

settling in

Early morning light on newly unpacked cones of yarn. After months of house hunting and the trials of buying and selling a home, I have begun the process of unpacking in Las Cruces. This is such a different place from my hometown of Hobbs although really just across the state. Not only is this place larger but it is much more art friendly. Art in Hobbs was considered a kind of indulgence, almost like it was nice if you could spare that kind of time but the rest of the population had real work to do. Like running around in the oil field or teaching school. I chose Las Cruces because of it's vibrant arts community and also because I had friends and family here. I actually know other people here in this community who do art for a living and don't have to apologize for it. I love that and the Liberal bumper stickers. My favorite this week was one that said "After we rebuild Iraq can we rebuild our schools?" I love that there is a Friday Ramble at the downtown mall on the first Friday of every month. People come and look at art and listen to music and have snacks and walk around. I also love the Farmer's Market. Even though it has undergone a lot of controversy with renovation in the downtown mall area and the market has been moved -- it is much more upscale than it was. There are blocks of vendors selling all kinds of wonderful things. It is a great place to people watch, especially if you like to see people with their dogs. I am enamoured of all of it, the huge peaks of the Organ Mtns and the view over the valley filled with chili in fields and pecan trees along the Rio Grande.
Murphy is helping to arrange the studio. He likes to get up on the desk and look out the window. Sometimes he tries to type on the computer but is not very successful. All the furry children have made the trip well and are settling in. Soon the weaving will begin and this will really be home.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bookbinding bug. I love to make books by hand. This project puts together several of the different crafts that go on pretty much all the time around my house. The velvet cover starts as a piece of silk velvet that is fiber reactive dyed. Then the bookboards are covered in velvet and a cotton sateen on the inside. The outside is decked out with vintage trim and ribbon, some of it velvet. Then the decorative part near the opening is vintage lace, a watch face, a rusty washer and beads with little watch gears. The clasp comes around from the back and is antiqued brass. The ribbon on the binding is tied to the coptic stitches. It is also hand dyed.

Here is the upclose part of the clasp

Here is the coptic stitch binding.

This is why I love coptic stitch, because all the pages lay flat when you open the book. Yes I did sew lace to the edges of some pages.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Celadon for spring. On the loom now are panels for two spring shawls. The warp is green and blue, very pale and the weft is celadon. This was the first time I tried putting the hand dyed silk ribbon into the weft as I was weaving, using a gordes (sp?) knot. This seems to be a better way of adding fringe instead of leaving holes that you will go back later and add the fringe to. It doesn't distort the warp/weft as much. Check back in a day or so to see the final product.

In the garden right now the potatoes are in bloom, the broccoli and brussels sprouts are about a foot high and the radishes are ready.

This plateful was part of last night's dinner along with some salt and asiago cheese.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Happy Happy Earth Day! It is spring on this beautiful planet we call home and it is hard not to appreciate all the things coming to life after a long winter. In many place on the web you can read about Earth Day and ways to save the planet. My favorite is www.noimpactman.typepad.com who writes every day about ways to make our footprints a little smaller. If you think it is hard to make a difference where you live, try in an apt in NYC where Colin lives! If he and his family can make a difference so can the rest of us. At this point I think it is important to find ways to make our lives less toxic to ourselves and the planet - before it is too late. So do something today to celebrate this beautiful place we live!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Another day another poncho. So far this one may be my favorite. It is periwinkle and bronze. Such a strange color combination came about by accident but really works here in our desert southwest. There is a lot of motteling of the colors here and it adds a great deal of interest.
On other fronts I have been trying out mosaics. The round white one is my work and the blue and white tray is a friend's. We grouted together on the back porch today.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The summer clothes project started because I wanted something fun to wear this summer. Something that would look good with leggings and birks, standard artist wear. I did not intend to sell the dresses, but planned selfishly to keep them and wear them. I planned to sell the ponchos. However I would wear the dress out in public and someone would stop me and ask if they could buy a set and they would tell me the color they wanted and I went home and dyed them up. So this post is for my friends who are trying to figure out what size to tell me they want. The purple dress is a one size and is large on the top and bottom. It is what I wear even though it looks baggy in places, you can put a t-shirt under it or another tank in the summer. The coral one is an X-Large and does come in larger and smaller sizes. It is more like a regular Large size. Does that help? Send me an email and let me know....

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Poncho madness has taken over my house. There are ponchos of almost every color hanging all over getting ready to make their debut at the Farmer's Market. They will get a preview at the Pre-Mother's Day trunk show at the Back Porch Antique Mall on May 2nd. My partner in the booth, Jean Peter is showing her beautiful jewelry from 11-4 on that Saturday. Bargains and treasures will abound for those close enough to come to the sale (108 E. Broadway, Hobbs). In addition to jewelry there will be beads for sale and silk scarves, handwoven garments and hand dyed garments.

As I was taking these pictures outside on the back porch I was joined by all my animal friends. George is doing what he was doing in the last post, sleeping. At 11 years old he does that most of the time.

This turquoise and deep red is probably my favorite. It was a last minute thought and I dreaded that the colors would not "go" together and would just look like mud, but it came out very striking.

Frisbee came out to see what all the pictures were about. She is the darling of my heart...

Here is the Red Chenille Shawl from the last post finished. This first picture is of the back, it comes down to a V in the back.

Here is the front with one of the panels draped over the shoulder. The panels are just a little longer than I would normally make them because the lady for whom this shawl was made is quite tall and I wanted her to be able to wear a brooch or pin with it and still have plenty left to drape down.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Wind and dust and sand, oh my - this is no day to be in the garden. Out here on the plains we have many days like this in the spring when the wind begins before dawn, or never quits from the night before. The light is hazy from the stuff in the air and being outside for any length of time is like being sandblasted.

A good day to get back to the looms. All this red chenille is very cheering. It will be a V-back shawl for one of the librarians here in my hometown. Chenille is so soft and has such a nice drape when finished it is no wonder so many people enjoy wearing it.

If you are new to chenille, this is rayon chenille in Ruby from Webs http://www.yarn.com the 1450 yd per pound put up. When you are deciding on the length and width of a piece be sure to add in some extra for the shrinkage. I usually add a couple of inches to the width and at least six to the length. When you take it off the loom and wash it be sure it is in a gentle cycle so it doesn't get too mangled, but then when you put it in the dryer (one of the few things that really improves by going in the dryer) put in a towel (one that does not shed) or two and dry on medium/low heat until completely dry. It should come out with that lovely hand and drape we love in chenille. It needs that abrasion in the dryer and also the warmth to make the rayon fibers fill out. Check your lint trap because it can shed quite a bit.

This is one of my assistants, George who is practicing the art of taking up the entire six foot sofa so that the dog cannot get up there. This necessitates a lot of deep sighs on the part of the English Cocker who has to lay on her big round cushion on the floor. Life is so unfair....

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fingerling seed potatoes sit on the table near the south facing window in my little dining room. They are dreaming of days in the earth, very soon now when they will get to make whole plants and reproduce more fingerling potatoes. I thought these potatoes were lost as I had looked all over the house for them, in cupboards and closets over the past few weeks. Then I had a call from the seed company http://www.seedsavers.org to tell me they had not yet shipped. Of course I thought they had already come and been put away somewhere that I would know not to eat them but would remember for spring. You know, the kind of place you find five years later. So I was glad to see them arrive in the mail this week, one step further in their journey to the garden.

Below is one of the broccoli plants I put out last week, being very optimistic about the weather. After it had been in the ground about three days we had wind that was terrible and a bit of snow and the temps got down to 24 in the night. Fortunately it seems to be doing well as are it's brother's and cousins the brussels sprouts. Some Yukon Gold potatoes went into the ground on the equinox along with onions but since they are well buried I think the weather will not affect them much.

You may wonder why this blog suddenly became about gardening and not so much about weaving, for weeks now I had been thinking about just doing away with this blog since my ability to write about weaving had taken a vacation and been supplanted (small pun) by gardening. My latest strategy is to write about both, depending on where my interests are at the current moment - and those of you who know me will remember that I have a very short attention span. So you may hear about raspberries and yarn all at the same time.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

You could blame it on a short attention span, but you could also blame it on having an abundance of yarn laying around the studio. After weaving - what to do with all the bits and pieces of yarn left? It is impossible to throw them away. This winter I decided that they would make good hats and I would enjoy the knitting. I cast on about 80 stitches on size 10 needles. I like the 16" circular made by Lantern Moon in ebony. For the first three or four inches I knit two and pearl two all the way around to get a stretchy rib stitch.
Then I switch over to knit and hold the yarn in the European style that allows for very fast knitting. In an evening or two I have a new hat with all kinds of interesting bits of yarn thrown in.

This is what it looks like in the being made stage:

Here is one in blues and purples. You should try this, you don't even need a pattern, just get started and grab some of that wonderful knitting yarn that is available everywhere these days. Knit in the round (add a pearl row or two for variation if you want) until it is 6" or so, depending on the size of your head. Then begin to decrease, one every 8 stitches, then 7 and so on until you get down to just a hand full of stitches, cut the tail about 12" and thread back through the last few loops on the needles and tie off.
Yesterday was the inauguration. It gave me hope for the future and made me proud to be an American.