First Quilt Finish of 2014

Taking inspiration from Textile Ranger who recently posted her first finish for 2014, here’s mine. I just managed to get this log cabin quilt done (and posted here) within the first quarter of the calendar year. Doesn’t that sound like an office worker talking?

barn raising log cabin quilt in blue and ivory

Measurements: 50 by 50 inches

This time the centre ‘hearths’ are a mellow orange colour and I chose a binding of a darker orange to continue that theme. The label still needs to be attached but other than that, I’m done.

It’s the first quilt I’ve made where I haven’t pre-washed the batting and I’ll be interested to see how it responds to washing. But first, I plan to use it a bit.

No Progress Update

Really wanted to play along

There has been no progress on any weaving or quilting project for several weeks now, apart from a little hand sewing from time to time to attach the binding to my latest log cabin quilt. That’s relaxing work but I find my shoulder gets tired if I keep hand stitching for too long. One length of thread, then it’s time for a different activity.

I feel frustrated about the lack of opportunities to do craft projects while I’m busy working and keeping the house in order. On weekends there are other fun things to do, things that involve treasured friends.

You can only be one place at one time and last weekend we had a much better offer to catch up with friends we rarely see since they moved to the country.

The highlight of the Dean’s Marsh Festival was the terrier race, open to all small dogs. There were so many competitors that they had to run the race in heats. After the small dogs had had their go, the big dogs competed. A beautiful border collie ran like lightning in the big dog race and won hands down. Just for fun he then ran back to the starting line for another go. The dog races were barely controlled chaos and great fun.

stick, straw and wool creatures

Also on offer, and staying true to the fibre theme of this blog, was wool craft using stick armatures, straw and wool to make creatures. Too bad it was labelled kids craft as I would have loved to have a go.

Roo burger price list

Sold out!!

There was food, too. Kangaroo is more usually considered dog food than human food in Australia, but we do get roo mince and roo sausages from time to time. As you can see from the price list on the left, the roo burgers sold out at border collie pace.

It was a great day out in the fresh air and the crafting will still be there next weekend.

Fibre and Fabric in Devonport, New Zealand

We found two fibre and fabric related destinations in the picturesque suburb of Devonport today.

Old post office Devonport

The old Post Office

Devonport is a short ferry ride from downtown Auckland. Or you can drive across the Auckland Harbour bridge which was opened in May 1959. The bridge quickly proved to have insufficient capacity so lanes were added to the outside of the main structure. The additional lanes were sourced in Japan and at the time were referred to as ‘the Nippon clip on.’ It sounds vaguely racist these days but I feel obliged to share the story.

A glimpse inside the shop

Wild and Wooly Yarns

Wild and Wooly Yarns describe themselves as a wicked and deliciously decadent wool store. It’s located in the charming old Post Office building which has wonderful wooden floors. The stock seemed to be aimed at knitters and it did, indeed, look appealing, though for knitters, not weavers.

Cushla’s Village Fabrics also has a shop in Devonport. We had previously visited their Waihi store, which was located in a traditional New Zealand villa.

Cushla's Village Fabrics, Devonport

Cushla’s Village Fabrics, Devonport

Cushla’s in Devonport was a more traditional shop in a shopping centre but had the same excellent range of quilting fabrics, lots of kits and Kiwiana. Cushla’s must be doing well. They have just opened a third store in Mapua, near Nelson, in the South Island. Good on them.

A Visit to Petlins Weaving Supply Shop in Sydney

This post will be of greatest interest to Australian weavers. If you’re a quilter you might want to come back in a few weeks when I hope to have my latest log cabin quilt bound and ready to show off. It’s back from the long arm quilter but I under-estimated how much binding I would need so have had a temporary interruption. It doesn’t help progress that I’ve been crazy busy at work.

table loom on display at PetlinsI have been busy preparing for customer visits in Sydney that happened last week. The trip gave me the opportunity to visit Petlins, one of a handful of suppliers of weaving yarns and looms in Australia. They are located in the Sydney suburb of Rhodes, near the former Olympic village, easily reached by train.

If you visit the Petlins web site you may make the observation that it’s not super easy to use and that it’s a little dated in terms of page design and usability. They have a wide product range and I can testify that the ordering process works well and your goods arrive quickly. Delivery costs are reasonable, fixed at $10 per order, with delivery within Australia only. I wouldn’t pay by credit card on the Petlins site as I wouldn’t have confidence about the security of my details. Working in IT makes you paranoid about these things.

After visiting the bricks and mortar shop (open Thursdays and Saturdays) I stand by that call. The owners (Peter and Linda, I believe) were polite though busy. Linda was happy to help me select a suitable warp for my rug-making while Peter busied himself with preparing some orders for despatch. I’m not such a princess that I need two people to assist me shopping so that was fine. It’s been a long time since I last signed one of those credit card slips with multiple layers and carbon paper, though, the kind where they put your card in the machine and draw the bar across your card to get the number to imprint on all three layers.

The store was little more than a storage area and the displays were …. hmm….let’s say functional. The cottolin was displayed on ‘shelves’ comprised of polystyrene boxes – quite a contrast to the mouth-watering display of the same product at a specialist yarn supply in a regional town in Sweden. Demand for weaving products would be much higher in Sweden and the shop I’m thinking of was in the main shopping area in town, so the comparison is unfair.
Both Peter and Linda are weavers and there was a lovely krokbragt rug on the floor. Linda told me she had once done a course with Peter Collingwood, the famous maker who literally wrote the book on rug weaving.

A visit to Petlins is worth it if you want some advice or want to see their products in real life, otherwise, not so much.

I came away with a couple of reels of Canadian linen rug warp (the Swedish was too expensive) and another 500g of 8/2 cotton. Linda was quick to point me in the direction of a more reasonably priced warp yarn after I gasped at the price of the Swedish yarn and she was generous with encouragement and suggestions on how to use it. I also accomplished what I set out to – I visited the bricks and mortar store and can report back. The photos were taken with permission.

Not Hoarding, Accessioning

Weaving supplies are hard to find, so you have to take your chances.

It’s been hot, hot, hot here in Melbourne, too hot to weave or do a whole lot of anything. The rainwater tank is empty and the garden is dead.

Of course it’s never too hot to browse online auctions and classifieds. Last week I spotted a yard sale at a place called The Weavers’s Cottage. That semed to good to miss so we went along early in the day before the real heat kicked in.

The hour’s drive was well worth it. Not only did I pick up this haul of yarn and supplies, but my beloved found two good quality saws for his tool shed. We like to think of it as accessioning. They’re just not making this stuff any more, not to this quality standard and not in our part of the world.

The yarn is a bit smelly and probably lived in a damp garage for a while before making it to my hands. A few days in out of its plastic bag in this weather should sort that out. The shuttles were dirty but are now usable after a good scrub in soapy water.

Yarn and weaving shuttles from a yard sale

Smelly Yarn, Great Shuttles

In the spirit of de-accessioning my next project will be a small rag rug to cement some of my newly learned skills and use of some of Tinkerer’s old business shirts that we have washed and broken down. After that, now that I have some rug weight yarn, I feel a krokbragt rug coming on.

A Quilted Sleeve for an iPad Mini

My lucky mother received an iPad Mini as a birthday gift last year. Lucky lady, it is even engraved with her name.

Generous though she is, my mother’s daughter didn’t spring for a cover to go with it.

I have sorted that one out, at last. Here it is.

machine quilted sleeve for an ipad mini

And here’s how:

1. Cut three rectangles- one of outer fabric, one of lining fabric and one of lightweight batting. Each rectangle measures 6 1/2 inches wide by 17 3/4 inches long.
2. Form a quilt sandwich and pin it together using pins or safety pins. I used pins because I was in a hurry. Quilt the layers together. I followed some of the lines on the printed outer fabric. Run a line of stitching around the outer edges of the sandwich, just to hold everything together.
3. With right sides together stitch down each long end, a quarter inch from the raw edges. (No need for a scant seam allowance.) I used my serger/overlocker but you could equally use a straight stitch on a regular sewing machine then trim and zig zag the raw edges.
4. Turn.
5. Bind the raw edges of the opening with purchased or home made binding. I made my own half inch binding using a Clover bias tape maker, just for fun.

Its that easy. I’m sorry I can’t show you how the sleeve fits, but unlike my mother, I’m not lucky enough to own an iPad Mini. I took my quilt sandwich to the office and checked the dimensions by asking a workmate if I could use his.

Rug Weaving Workshop

The Handweavers and Spinners Guild of Victoria offered a Rug Weaving workshop as part of their 2014 summer school. The class was taught by expert weaver Gerlinde Binning, who is highly respected in the guild for her expertise and life spent as a professional weaver and teacher.

a rag rug sample being woven on a table loomWe received warp yarn ahead of the class and were told to warp our looms with a warp length of 3-4m with 62 total ends, including one floating selvage on each side. Threading on a four shaft loom was 1,2,3,4 and the set was 5 epi. I dented my 8 dpi reed 0-1-1.

Dressing the loom was a bit stressful as this was my first time up close and personal with my new (second hand) Ashford four shaft table loom. I left the task too late and was under pressure to get the warp on the loom ahead of the class. To further complicate matters I used my new warping mill for the first time on this project. Too much new equipment resulted in more fatigue (and swearing) than usual.

The workshop was held over two 5 hour sessions with a short lunch break each day. I managed to complete three of the four samples that were in the program. I didn’t do the rya because I was keen to finish my krokbragdt. Rya doesn’t seem particularly difficult so I figured I can do that at some later stage.

krokbragt sample


Visually, the krokbragt impresses me the most. It’s credited with being a traditional Norwegian style of weaving. The Weaver’s Idea Book has a good section on how to do krokbragt. In my sample the lifting order is 124, 13, 324. You overlay the colour order on the lifting order, work out your repeats and that’s it. It’s actually not difficult once you get your head around it. Abrian Curington tells me that applies to double weave, too. I’m looking forward to finding out.

cdetail of double faced twill for a rug

The double faced twill pictured above was quick and fun to weave. Each pick uses three strands of carpet wool. You open the shed once to put in the top colour, change the shed to put in the other colour and then beat. This makes the rug reversible and you can design it with different colours on each side. If I can get my hands on enough carpet wool, I'd love to try this one at home.

rag rug sample woven with old business shirtsRag rugs are the style I’m most likely to do at home, soon. I’ve harvested all the back, front and sleeve sections from Tinker’s worn out business shirts and they weave up well, as you can see in the photo. You do need another colour to brighten the tedium though. Not unlike going to the office, really. Making rag rugs isn’t as hard as some of the books would have you believe. Using a temple is probably a good idea.

I did all the finishing of the samples at home. The rag rug edge is finished with overhand knots on one end and a modified Philippine Edge on the other.

close up of the frige of a rag rug

Modified Philippine Edge?

The Philippine Edge is described in Peter Collingwood's The Techniques of Rug Weaving and also in abbreviated form in The Weaver's Companion. I found a link to the relevant part of Peter Collingwood's book here . The illustration and description in the The Weaver’s Companion are quite sparse and this is what lead to it being a modified Philippine Edge. I mis-read the instructions and therefore skipped a warp thread before tying the next loop. Doing this locked the previous knot and seemed to give a good finish. There’s probably an error and if it’s not there’s probably a name for this finish somewhere. Nothing is new in weaving. Nothing attractive anyway. (This is the cue for all the textile artists who make horrendous birds nests of fibre and call it art to write angry comments.)

General tips and lessons learned:

    When your tutor tells you to weave a warp yarn header, don’t skip that step to get started on the project quicker. Just do it. She’s your tutor for a reason. You will regret not following instructions when it comes to finishing your piece.

    Leave big gaps between your samples. If you don’t, fringing/finishing will be a PITA.

    You don’t need to wet finish rugs. Well, that’s a relief.

    Our tutor suggested that 90 cm is a comfortable and practical rug width for home weavers.

    Secure your warp well when attempting a hemmed finish. I didn’t and ended up in a whole lot of trouble while attempting to hem the double faced twill sample. You can’t tell from the picture, but as finished, my sample would not withstand actual use as a rug.

Carpet wool is hard to find. I’ve done online searches in both Australia and New Zealand and haven’t found a supplier yet. If you know of one, please let me know. New Zealand makes high quality home and commercial carpeting, so there must be a source of short ends somewhere.