Monthly Archives: December 2013

Warp Speed

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One thing learnt very quickly is there should be no such thing as Warp SPEED when preparing a weaving project. When I was learning huck weave I decided to do 5 tea towels at once, so I had a 5 metre warp of 470 individual cotton threads, and I tangled it, badly.  So, over a week I untangled EACH THREAD one by one, stretched out along my studio floor and secured with all sorts of spreaders, bricks etc, and there was a sign on the door – DO NOT ENTER – for fear of re-tangling and incurring my wrath. I did salvage the warp and I did make the tea towels, they are a constant reminder to me about Warp Speed.

So now I take my time. I enjoy the rhythmic warping, the chaining, the dressing of the loom.

For my summer fun I have wound a 4 metre (175 threads) white Bendigo wool warp, dyed it in the chain on my outdoor sink, solar dyeing it under cling film over 2 days of hot sun. Rinsed and staying wet in the chain I was worried it would mould before it dried as the humidity hung around, so I slowly unchained it and put it back on the warping board. To my immense relief it all went very smoothly.

Now I had a plan for this warp, it was going to be multi-coloured and the weft would be plain, handspun, black suri alpaca, and I would point twill it. And it would make 2 scarves. As with many of my projects I now feel it would be more fun to weft a handspun, white alpaca/silk combo in a running twill. And perhaps one long piece of about 3.5 metres instead of 2 pieces about 1.7m each. Or perhaps one black, one white. Or perhaps one long one with a clasped weft of white/black.

Finally I wefted the entire length in black suri alpaca, cut it in half and joined with black suri alpaca, fringed the cut ends and now we have a very useful, very warm house throw.

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Vegetables

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What a fabulous place the Huon Valley is! Our crazy cool but wet and occasionally warm spring weather has morphed into crazy and cold and wet but occasionally warm summer weather, and happily the vegetable garden seems to LOVE the weather. We will be eating fresh, clean, organic fruit and vegetables throughout summer, safe in the knowledge that our excess of any one thing can be swapped with friends and neighbours for equally safe and tasty produce. We even have enough to share with the parrots, snails and insects that are already eyeing off the tender new growth. At the moment we are growing; sunflowers, spinach, snow peas, broad beans, purple climber beans, lettuce varieties x 4, tomato varieties x 6, apples, plumcots, mulberries, nashi, cherry, apricot, plum x 3, pear, beetroot, zucchini, sweetcorn, squash, runner bean, chive, spring onion, and a variety of herbs.

When we were travelling in Quebec the Wendak Indians introduced us to the Three Sisters concept. Plant a squash, corn and bean together and they will assist each other. The squash leaves keep the soil shaded and moist in summer, the corn stalk provides the support for the bean. So I planted out 15 plots of this, and I have about a 70% success rate in germination, (thanks snails for munching some of my tender sisters before they got going!!!)