This year, 2016, being the 60th Anniversary of the Guild, it was decided that the challenge would be “Diamonds”.
The challenge items are to be displayed at several events during the year, the first one being the Fibre Arts Show and Sale. Of course I left it until about a week before the show, to decide what I was going to do. I thought I would weave something with a diamond pattern. With the help and encouragement of my daughter Cassie, I began the project.
First I made the warp. I used a white cotton. Because my loom isn’t built for uneven weaving, it was a bit of a challenge to get the weaving done. I practiced with a couple of different yarns, in yellow shades, that I had spun myself.
Then for my project … for the weft, I used a navy blue wool. After a certain length… small rug size… I cut it off and hemmed the ends. Then I could use this as my challenge item for the Fibre Arts Show & Sale. Of course there was still quite a length of warp left so I used it up with a red wool weft. For this rug, I left tassels on the ends. They turned out quite nicely. My cats loved them . . .
Cassie needed a project to use up the wool that she had spun using a drop spindle. She had died it with Woad seeds. We found a pattern on the internet for Lala’s Simple Shawl lalasimpleshawl_eng-2 . It is similar to the small shawls that we made before, but this shawl is much bigger and the pattern is a bit different. I decided that I should make one too. It seemed like a good way to use up some of the wool that I have spun and dyed. I started out with a large ball of wool that had been dyed with onion skins. Of course this ball ran out before the shawl was finished so I found another similar one. It ended up that I had to use several different types and weights of wool with different intensities of onion skin dyes.
The finished shawl has a striped look as each ball of wool was different. I quite like the results. The one picture shows Cassie wearing her blue shawl while working at Lang. I thinkshe ran out of wool and had to spin more to finish. Sammi also made her version of the shawl with wool that she purchased a while ago from Harrisville. Of course she made hers in half the time it took me. Candace has also started one with some lovely wool that she bought in Toronto.
This summer, I decided to take a course at the Haliburton School of the Arts, with my youngest daughter Samantha. Because she had taken the shoe making course last year (which was very labour intensive) we thought it would be fun to take the the Sandal Making class (which was supposed to be like a vacation in comparison). The two classes were taught by Jon Grey from Nova Scotia.
The materials that you needed to bring were: a special extra sharp X-acto Knife, with extra blades and an apron.
I thought that it would be a good idea to make the apron . . . . why not? We have all kinds of material that has been purchased for projects, but never used. So I decided I would pick something appropriate from the pile. I chose a dark brown brushed denim fabric. I think I was going to use it to make myself a pair of pants.
I then looked up shoe maker’s aprons on the internet and checked out the type that the instructor wears from his website and from photos that we had taken of the class last year.
I went to Fabricland to buy some thread and other notions that I would need. It was my lucky day as everything in the store was 50% off the regular price!
I didn’t have a pattern so I borrowed an apron from my daughters, Cassandra and Samantha. They use aprons for their small business making Chakra Bars. These aprons are made of lightweight white cotton. I used it to draw the shape onto my material….or maybe I just cut around it.
I then folded over the edges and sewed them up . . . . easy. I folded over a larger piece at the top and attached heavy ribbon in a loop to go around the neck with D rings to tighten or loosen it. I put some tie strings on at the sides, long enough to wrap around and tie at the front. I then did a small hem at the bottom. Ta da . . . . . a shoe maker’s apron.
Quite a few years ago, I purchased this Alafoss Lopi knitting pattern for an Icelandic design cardigan. I love how the darker colour outlines the pattern. I couldn’t wait to knit it! The pattern is knit on circular needle needles, with the sleeves and body joined together in the yoke. I hate sewing seems, so this made finishing much easier.
I found a cheaper yarn at the local Eaton’s store in Peterborough Square and decided to do it in blue white and navy. The yarn used in this pattern is just single spun and is not plied. I remember finding that it was very loose and I would often try to twist it tighter while knitting. I know that I knitted it longer than it was supposed to be, thinking that this was a good idea to make it cozier. As it turned out, I knit a little too loosely as well, and made the whole sweater a bit too big. My daughters did wear it, but that was when they were wearing everything loose and large.
A few years later, I was at an auction of knitting supplies, wool and yarn from a store that had gone out of business. It was a snowy day and we had to drive to Orange Corners for the sale. The place was packed. I bought a package of several skeins of the brown Alafoss Lopi wool, as well as needles and other types of yarn. Now I needed the contrast colour and the white yarn. I found the white, but couldn’t find the chocolate brown anywhere. I had to get “Happenstance Books and Yarn” in Lakefield, to order for me.
I knit most of the body and the sleeves and then put it aside for some time. I must have needed the circular needle, and replaced it with a smaller one. When I picked it up again and started knitting the yoke, I realized my mistake. I wasn’t going to rip it out so I just switched to the proper needles and finished the project. You can see a band around the sweater as a result of this mistake….. a “design element”! The brown sweater turned out much better than the blue. I am thinking about trying to felt or shrink the blue one to make it fit better. I still haven’t put buttons on the brown one.
I made this shawl as an experiment, to see if it would work. I had seen it in a book on weaving. I made a frame that was about 5′ x6′. Then I hammered many nails into the top and bottom of the frame. These nails were used to wind the wool warp on the frame. Then each warp string is cut and woven across the warp. This creates the triangle shape. Thus the warp is the weft. The yarn that I used was included when I purchase my loom.
In this workshop, I made my first silver band ring. It’s pretty cool!
You start with a flat piece of silver that you saw off of a larger piece. I stamped my name and the year on the inside.
Then you carefully bend it, and size it using a ring mandrel, then solder the joint. Then, I stamped different size circles on the outside.
You can buff it to be shiny, or you can leave it dull. It’s lots of fun! I think I might take that workshop again!
This was one of my first weaving projects. I made it for my Mother for Christmas one year.
I bought a lot of yarn at an auction and used it in several scarves. This is a wool blend and quite fine. The woman that had previously owned the yarn used it in a knitting machine. She got her yarn from the old woollen mill in town. I also bought (by mistake) her knitting machine. I just didn’t want to learn another craft so I haven’t used it.
I made this quilt as a Christmas present for Candace and her cat, Mr. Kippers (aka Zephy). Mr. Kippers is a black cat and likes spooky dark things. Cassie helped me with the project and we had a plan to try to sell “Cat Quilts” to other cats. We put in a cat nip pocket and Mr. Pinky just loved it, so we made a quilt for him too!
I made this bracelet, in February 2013, at a workshop run by Sandy MacFarlane at the Art School of Peterborough. I made and sawed the links and then followed a pattern to end up with this lovely Byzantine Bracelet. I made this one in copper, but would like to try it in silver! I especially enjoyed making the clasp. It’s fun to hammer the metal. Hammering metal is actually “forging”, like a Blacksmith!