Oops (times three)

Posted by caroline in inkle, Spinning, Weaving on May 3rd, 2011

skimpyThis is the total of teatowel textile, there is enough length here for two I think. I still have to cut it apart and hem it but that’s a job for another day. It will be machine sewn, which is apparently beyond the pale for handwovens, but a hand sewn hem isn’t going to rescue it so I’m not going to spend my time on it. I cut this off because of the problems I was having with the tension on the right side of the warp. This is not the first time it’s happened, I set off well enough and then fairly quickly the right edge goes very slack with the next inch or two becoming slightly slack. It’s never the left side and it doesn’t do it on every warp. I think what’s happening is that I’m not good enough at knots. I lace the end of the warp to the front of the loom with a slick cord which is securely tied at the left, it then /\/\/\/ laces the knots on the end of the warp to the front beam and then is tied off at the right. I suspect that when I’ve put some tension on the warp the shiny cord is slipping which would affect the edge more and the inner bouts less. Now I’ve thought about it I can stop it happening again and it meant that I could cut off the length I’d woven, fasten the warp on again (securely this time) and weave off the rest.

I could have but I didn’t. I’m weaving for fun and to learn, this is no fun and it’s taught me enough already. I know to order a colour card when it matters, not to rely on other people’s calculations because they might like really narrow teatowels and not to weave yardage at 30 epi without there being some form of entertainment such as a colour change. I don’t mind spending the time if they’re going to be good but even if every pick is perfect they’ll still be the wrong colour and too narrow. It’s time to cut my losses and move on.

celtcinkleMoving swiftly along to my next mistake, you can see that there is something not right with the pattern on the left. The two lines at the top are intersecting nicely to make a chain but it should have been a three strand braid and the third strand is hanging about at the bottom. I didn’t realise that the first repeat was wrong, when the second repeat didn’t establish the pattern I assumed it was me, when the third one was wrong I started to doubt the pattern. I don’t know whether I copied the pattern down wrong or it was wrong to start with, it was quicker to find another version of it and start again rather than analyse my mistake. This is handspun silk in various weights and colours, hopefully I’m a yard or two away from having enough for a small bag. The braid would have looked better against the darker silk that I’m using for the edging but the relative weights were wrong to use the two together.

charredThis is the third whoopsie of the week and I’m glad to say that I didn’t have anything to do with this one other than I provided the means of charring the patio table. Mr W4B had a birthday this week and I bought him a fish smoker. It seemed to be the perfect boy’s toy, combining as it does both food and fire. You can work out what happened next, the table had to be extinguished with a watering can. It’s not just surface charring, those two slats are charcoal all the way through. This happened the day after we were talking about getting a smaller, lighter table that could be easily moved to follow the sun around the garden so now we will definately be getting the smaller table that we’d talked about rather than putting it off for another day.

redbfl2On a happier note, this did not burst into flames, fail to produce a pattern or have tension issues. It was briefly the wrong colour but that was quickly cured. This is two ply superwash bfl, 98g, 456 yards. At the moment I’m deciding whether to like the variation in shade or whether to show it the dye bath again.

I’m confident that next time there will be some finished socks. I have only four heels and two toes to do and how long can that take?



Done bunnying

Posted by caroline in Dyeing, Family, inkle, Knitting, Spinning, Weaving on April 25th, 2011

lastoneIt’s so much easier organising an egg hunt when you can be certain that it’s not going to rain. No cryptic clues or writing of code, no tortuous rhymes. I just wandered around the garden placing little eggs and chocolate coins wherever I thought they needed to be. I was particularly pleased with the two I pegged to the washing line, they lasted nearly to the end. It was surprising how unobservant the resident child is, as he is of the gaming generation I thought he’d have no trouble spotting shiny things. Maybe because it was because they don’t glow or shake when you get near them but he was walking past foil coins right in his eyeline and three inches from his nose. That’s what observant daddies are for, I sent him in as the clear up squad when it was clear that the last few weren’t going to be found. They both missed this one and I’d forgotten about it so it didn’t surface until three hours later (spotted by the previously unobservant child who’d grabbed it before I returned with the camera so I had to stage the photo)

I’ve been looking around to see what I could drag together to represent a week’s effort. The big loom weaving would probably be a teatowel now if I cut it off, my progress is either 6″ a day or nothing at all. I’m hoping to pick up the pace when school goes back next month (the week after next really). I still have several wonky threads over on the right, they’re really loose and need a piano hanging from them but I’m trying to ignore them. They’re not showing signs of going away but I’m ignoring them anyway. At the rate I’m going I’ll be finishing them somewhere around the end of May.

redbflI finished the silk brick, the second skein looked just like the first skein here, I ended up with 1,160 yards from 128g. I really enjoyed this, it’s brick for me every time now, the quality is so much higher than top. There was some colour too, this is superwash bfl, I dyed 100g in red and another 100g in red, gold and black. I took the less saturated end of each length and spun them together, 550 yards, 108g. The better, richer, more vibrant ends will either go in the shop or be swapped.

diamondsI started some smaller weaving, it went a bit wrong so this is the second version. I talked myself into believing that the multicoloured silk was the same size as the plain tencel when really it was larger. This meant that the lovely detailed pattern I’d planned went west very quickly, the larger threads (doubled, just to make things even worse) flowed across into the gaps and blurred where the dark spots should have been. It’s sad but the pretty pattern will have to wait until I have pattern threads that really are the size of the background threads. The floats on the back of this are long but as it’s going to be sewn to something the back will be protected and it doesn’t matter.

beardbThis is another beard variant (it’s a crummy photo but they’ve gone out now leaving me or the dog as possible models). It’s going to the Bearded Theory festival in a few weeks instead of my original idea of another dwarven battle bonnet. It’s been unseasonally warm here and I thought a woolly hat was a recipe for heat exhaustion. Hanging the beard from a headband will solve the problem of keeping it on, allow for the wearing of a sunhat and eliminate a lot of the warmth. Should it be snowing the wearer can stick a woolly hat over the top. There might be more braids, beads and dodads by the day, that’s an end-user defined activity.

chocballsI might be keeping a tin of condensed milk on the shelf in future, these are rather yummy and not much fuss to make. The recipe I used is here, the recipes varied in whether they include an egg yolk or not and the amount of butter. With less cooking it would make a sauce for ice cream. I also cooked another turkey joint of amazing succulence, this time I’m writing down what I did because I couldn’t find my notes from Christmas and had to make it up all over again. It was half the size of the Christmas joint, took about 1 1/2 hours to reach an internal temperature of 72 degrees in a 180 degree oven. I know you have no interest at all in this but come December when I’m trying to remember what to do I’ll have the answer written down somewhere where a search will turn it up.

fernYou can see from the first photo that the bad winter saw off my cabbage palm. I don’t feel too bad about this because everyone else has lost theirs too. The forlorn trunks can be seen in various places on our dog walk, I don’t know if people are still hoping for a miraculous recovery but I’ve tipped mine out of its pot because it is very clearly dead. I also lost the abutilon from the front of the house but everything else seems to have survived. The fuschia that I thought was dead is shooting up and the tree fern is unrolling fronds months earlier than in previous years. I was so pleased with it that I treated it to a bigger pot.

I seem to have been particularly gabby today, congratulations to all who made it this far, go make yourself a cup of tea and a chocolate ball.



Mission accomplished

Posted by caroline in hats, inkle, Knitting, Weaving on April 16th, 2011

beard3Exhibit one, the hat that my son thinks is a Viking hat although it is more properly a dwarven battle bonnet. He wanted a blond beard because Vikings are blond and that suited me as I had ten balls of wool in the right colour. He loves it and wore it to school on  Friday so if I didn’t have a reputation as a mad knitting woman before then I do now. I made the beard following the pattern but the hat is my own unvention, it was planned to have rivets going up in between the stocking stitch panels but I forgot about that until far too late.

lanyard2Exhibit two, the lanyard with his name on it. It started off well enough but I soon lost track of which colour was the natural colour and which was the one I was picking up. I could have started over at that point but as I’d already achieved my objective with three names I just whipped through the rest of the length. I’ll add it to the big bag of woven stuff and at some point it will be just the right thing for trim or handles. The selection of lobster clasps I rounded up from around the house this morning were either too big to fasten on the torch or too small to accommodate the braid so at the moment we’re working with string until I find a suitable split ring.

towels3Exhibit three, the sorting of the loom. I still have a few threads on the right side that are too slack and don’t always rise and fall as they should. I’m fixing them one by one by fastening clothes pegs on them, the little bit of extra weight is enough to make them behave. My diagonals still aren’t right but I’ve given up, there’s no way I’m sleying it again and good enough will have to do. Perfection is a lovely thing but not that necessary in a tea towel, these will be fit for purpose even if the pattern isn’t square and the odd thread skips. I’ve woven a foot now, the pattern is easy to read and I can keep track of it but I can’t say that it’s the most fun thing I’ve ever woven. I think I’d like it better if it were wool but then it wouldn’t be that good as a tea towel would it?



Slowly, slowly

Posted by caroline in hats, inkle, Knitting, Spinning, Weaving on April 11th, 2011

towels2It has taken me ten days to get this far. This is the start of a set of teatowels and I was determined this time to take my time with the warping and not create problems that I would have to fix later. I was really careful counting out the warp threads, or so I thought. When I got to the end of threading the heddles I had eight threads left over and then I found two more hanging around in the middle where I’d dropped them. I was really careful in threading the heddles, again to no avail because I still had eight wonky threads when I started weaving. I fixed the errors and got something where the threads went up and down like they should, except that it still wasn’t right. The diagonals are nowhere near the forty five degrees that they should be so my squares aren’t square and I can’t beat it any harder than I am doing. I cut it off, washed it and called it a sample. What it tells me is that the rectangles don’t become squares on washing, the sett is too dense and so I spent the best part of another day resleying it. Today I’ve avoided it altogether and tomorrow I get to start sorting out my errors all over again. I’ve made a deal with myself that if I weave enough for one teatowel I can cut the rest off and pretend it never happened.

bobblehatMy knitting is moving about as slowly. This is the start of a hat except that I parted company from the pattern right from the cast on and sometime soon I have to work out what I intend to do about decreases. No doubt it will take me all of five minutes to work it out but the hat has been stalled for two weeks waiting for me to give it five minutes attention. It’s been warm and sunny, sandal weather, and that kills my enthusiasm for knitting every Spring. At some point I’ll remember that I like knitting lace and I’ll pick up the needles again. Hopefully I’ll finish the hat first.

deepgreenSpinning isn’t causing me any problems at all so that’s what I’ve been doing while avoiding looking at the loom. This is 1100 yards of merino (218g) that I’m currently planning to weave with some midnight blue wool. At the moment all my plans involve midnight blue wool because I bought a 1.4kg cone of it the other week. The skein on the left hadn’t been washed at this point which is why it looks a little tense. It’s headed straight to stash because those teatowels are going to be sitting on the loom for a while yet. At the rate I’m going, months.

inkleI am in need of a project pick me up and this ticked all the boxes. Decorative, shiny and small, in fact the polar opposite of teatowels. Today I get to play, tomorrow I get to face my mistakes. I wouldn’t mind fixing them quite so much if I could see the thread to do it. Note to self – in future stick to thicker yarn.



What I did in the holidays

Posted by caroline in inkle, Weaving on April 18th, 2010

yardageThese are all over 80″ long and between 11 and 14″ wide. Together they weigh over 700g so in the last two weeks I’ve used a pile of yarn roughly the size of seven balls of sock yarn. It’s not a lot but it was enough. The big bag of wool is still full but now it’s full of the stuff that was previously in little bags all over the floor. The spare bedroom looks so much better now that I can see the floor again. yardagecloseI’m right at the start of another long piece, that one should see the last of the pink/violet yarns and then I can ram the leftovers in the big black bag and ignore it for another few months. You can see that the end is in sight, this was the last of the three pieces that I made and the weft here alternates two yarns, one thick and one thin. I like the effect even though I was driven to it because I didn’t have enough of either yarn.

silksThere were two silk braids but the one on the left is presumably stuck in a big pile of post at an airport waiting for a plane. My edges are still pants but I enjoyed making them and watching the colours change. The darker silk is the yarn that was formerly Iris, there is still a lot of it left but much less than there was. I think the next couple will have the light pink as the main colour because that’s the one that I now have the most of. I know that it’s making no real impression on leftover yarn but I’m enjoying something that was previously stuck in a bag so it is still a positive move. I’m enjoying it so much that I’ve spun some more silk so I can make braids in colours other than pinks. That makes no sense at all seeing as what I’m supposed to be doing is using up not making more.

diamondThere was also knitting, the Diamond Fantasy is now at the stage where the rows seem awfully long. I have been knitting two repeats a day but now I’ve dropped down to one (ten rows). It’s very close to being finished, or rather being close to the icord bind off that goes on forever. I’ve knitted this before and I remember how long it took me last time.

planeThe reason I’ve had time to sit and weave despite it being school holidays is that this holiday turned out to be Airfix fortnight. I sit at one side of the dining table weaving while Dan sits at the other side building Spitfires. At the start of the holidays I was needed for getting the tops off the enamel paints and opening the childproof cap on the varnish. Through the week my workload dropped to being the colour consultant and wing pusher innerer and then by the end of the second week I was redundant. (The photo was taken by the model builder who doesn’t see past the planes at the front. Please try to follow his lead and ignore the general clutter, Easter eggs and dog treats)

aprbagSewing can’t be done on the dining table so this is the only new bag I have to show. This one will be going in the post tomorrow so with the fabric that I wove that probably puts my use of fabric on minus eleven this week. I’m not even pretending that I can catch that up next week but sooner or later I will do.



Inkle twinkle

Posted by caroline in inkle, Weaving on January 12th, 2010

From time to time I look at the site analytics for the blog and this time I was shocked to see that the top search that is bringing people here is “lap inkle loom”. How do they know? Is my home bugged or something? What you don’t know, because I never told you, is that just before Christmas I bought another inkle loom, I wanted something that was small enough to go on my lap so I could use it sat watching tv at night. That is usually my prime knitting time except that I’m not doing that much of it right now and black penguins don’t come out at night anyway. My existing inkle loom was too long front to back to successfully go on my knee and I can’t think what else I could be doing to keep my hands busy in front of the tv. As it turned out one top evening activity for the future could well be stringing beads onto thread.

ifileThis is the Ashford Inklette, it manages as a lap loom if you sit it on a cushion but if you were serious about it then you’d screw it to a wider base because it’s not exactly stable. That would make it less portable though and I imagine that would be why most people would buy it anyway, it’s only 3.5″ by 14″ so it’s a dinky little thing to carry around but I can make a 59″ braid from it. This has a flap for adjusting the tension rather than a sliding peg and I’m sure that I will stop hating it in time. When I’m moving the completed braid around the pegs the end warps have a nasty habit of sliding off the edge of the flap and getting wedged between it and the body of the loom. They can slide off the pegs as well because they are straight rather than having a bump on the end so I have been grumbling my way along the learning curve.

drwhoI’m a long way off using it while watching tv. I can knit without really looking at my work but my woven edges need constant vigilance if they are not to wander all over the place. The piece on the top was me watching what I was doing, the piece on the bottom (sadly it is part of the same braid) was me watching Doctor Who. Wool is a pig to unpick, I did try to unweave this section once John Barrowman had put his clothes back on but the weft was so caught up on the warp that it would have needed scissors.

iweightI’m sure that I’ll be making another beaded braid at some point because when I mentioned that I had a thousand gold beads left from Iris, well I was wrong and it’s five thousand less the few hundred that I’ve used already. When I come to make another I will have forgotten what I learned this time unless I write it down so to save reinventing the wheel this is my how to on beaded edges. The tutorial is here, I used crochet cotton for the bead warps but in future I’d use the warp yarn if it was thin enough to pass through the beads. I wound two lengths of cotton roughly twice the length I was going to need (cotton is cheap and I didn’t want the worry of running out) and threaded beads on to each until I got bored with it. I wound the cotton onto card bobbins and weighted each with a handy Goodgrips peg (“Oxo Goodgrips magnetic all purpose clips” if you want to go looking). These are useful for no end of things, they have a rubber edge so will happily hang from a piece of yarn. They have a magnet on the back and a hanging hole, they are sold in the kitchen section but I use them whenever I want a spare hand for holding a piece of yarn. They have just enough weight to tension the cotton. I also use them for pinning the end of the yarn to the base of the loom when I’m warping it, it’s a continuous warp so when you are done you tie the two ends of the yarn together. If you are me and you knotted the start to the woodwork the chances are that you will be unable to unknot it when done.

iheddleThe two cotton warps are treated just the same as the others, if the first wool warp went up then the cotton on the outside of it goes down. This meant making another heddle for one side that would open enough for the beads to pass through it. I started off with a floating warp thread where you pass the weft around it the way that it should go but I had to think what I was doing with that. Once the supplementary warp threads passed through heddles (or not) the same as the others there was no thinking involved because they all go up or down together.

beadsWhen the beads ran out I unwound the cotton from the bobbin and threaded on some more until I was bored with it. Threading beads is much less interesting than weaving so my boredom threshold was pretty low, I had to rethread four times in all. I used about five per inch on each side so my braid used approximately 570 beads. I love the final effect but there’s nothing difficult about it at all which is why I suspect that I’ll be making more of these until the gold beads are all used up. I did hope that the colours would even out along the length but that didn’t happen, it stayed resolutely red on one side only. That’s what you get for using a self striping yarn rather than forcing it to stripe by changing colours.

imeasureThe beaded band is going to be a bag strap, the other one is not uniform enough for that and I’ll need to get inventive to find a use for it. I suspect that scissors may be involved. This will be another bag strap because it is going to be straight. This is the one where I finally admit that a positive mental attitude is not enough to generate a straight band and I’ve started using a high tech weaving aid. It might look like a recycled Christmas card with lines on but this is what is going to keep me on the straight and narrow even when faced with interesting tv. I also got lucky with the striping on this one, it’s all one yarn but I managed to get it to begin and end with grey. I’m pleased with it already, let us hope that it continues for the next 50″.



Leftovers

Posted by caroline in inkle, Weaving on January 3rd, 2010

champagneThe fridge is cleared of Christmas leftovers now so let’s start on the camera card. On New Year’s Eve I decided to see off the last of the cashmere. I’ve been spinning it on and off since July, five minutes here. ten minutes there, and after all that time I’d reached the point where I wanted it to be finished. cashmereI finished the last little bit of fluff in the morning and plied it in the afternoon. In the end, after all that time I ended up with just under 350 yards which I was totally disappointed with. I’d been expecting much more because it had looked to be fine enough but what I hadn’t taken into account was that there was only 36g in total. I don’t think that I ever weighed the bag of cashmere, if I had then I’d probably have bought a bit more to eke it out.

caterpillarThis is a caterpillar that slipped onto the needles just before Christmas. He’s legless at the moment because I packed the yarn away during the great festive clear up and I haven’t worked up the courage to start unpacking the bags of yarn. The purple is an odd bit of Falkland from the big bag I had, it is lovely and soft and I was pleased with it. I was pleased with the orange too, that was a random assortment of similar coloured fibre from the bit box. The idea was that I started with a provisional cast on and worked the head, then Daniel knitted down the neck until it was long enough or he ran out of yarn. The reality was that he knitted one stripe and I made the rest. The bit he did was very good, his tension has much improved.

beadedinkle

I finished off the inkle braid and then another and this is the next. They don’t have much impact on the yarn stash but this one should make a dent in that thousand gold beads that I have.  I’m still playing with variegated yarn, the grey is a solid but the other is a yellow/grey/orange handspun with a long colour run. As it happens I’ve ended up with something that just looks unbalanced but there’s some hope that the colours change along the length of the braid. Even if they don’t it will still make a strap for a bag made from this fabric and I will have learned something about floating selvedges.

squeakydogThe dog had only one present in his stocking but it was exactly what he wanted. He showed no interest in other people’s presents because there was nothing to compare to his squeaky burger. He did have a bit of trouble getting to his usual snoozing spot under the tree given that someone had stuffed the space with gifts but he did the best that he could.



Day of the big pans

Posted by caroline in inkle, Weaving on December 24th, 2009

vlpWhen it comes to buying a piece of gammon to cook at Christmas there are three things on my mind. The first consideration is that I don’t like turkey overmuch, the second is that I have to be able to lift it and the third is that it has to fit in my big pan. This year the two constraints went out of the window, I’ve got a bigger pan and I don’t have to lift it because when I was at the hospital yesterday (ETA – routine visit) I promised solemnly not to attempt any heavy lifting. Cooking the turkey isn’t going to be a problem tomorrow because we’ve got a smallish turkey crown, handling the full gammon pan today is going to be a husband job. The pan on the left is an early Christmas present, my previous very large pan that I used for dyeing has sprung a leak and this will be its replacement once I’ve done with the gammon.

xmasknittingI do have knitting (in reality it’s more in focus and not quite that colour), these are the sleeves and as I’ve already done the back and fronts as one piece up to the divide this should be finished next week. xmasbraid

The braid is a potential bag handle, I’m not sold on it as it’s narrower than I’d planned (except of course I didn’t plan, I just set off with it) and as a result there might need to be a plan B at some stage. I can’t give much thought to any of this as at the moment as all my thinking is directed to the one list that rules them all, the one that culminates in twelve items of food ending up on the table tomorrow, all cooked, all at the same time.

xmassweaterI was very surprised when Daniel came downstairs on Monday because he’d searched for the Christmas sweater that he’d rescued earlier in the year. I couldn’t believe that he’d even remembered that he’d got it, never mind that he’d taken the time to look for it. I still plan on turning it into Christmas stockings when he’s grown out of it, looking at it he might get another year out of it at most.

frozenJust in case you’ve ever wondered what happens if you leave a wet skein of yarn hanging outside overnight at -5C I can report that it freezes hard enough to stand up by itself. The top of the skein was as floppy as you would expect because it had dried enough not to freeze, the bottom was another story. It was frozen stiff enough to stand up when I held it at the bottom. This is the yarn from the batts in this post, there’s 440 yards-ish, I have the yardage written down somewhere on a gift tag.

Merry Christmas to one and all, to those who keep different holidays then I hope you have a lovely weekend. I’m off now to calculate the cooking time on the gammon and start it off on its bath. See you on the other side.



Odds and ends

Posted by caroline in inkle, socks, Weaving on June 5th, 2009

inkle1This is the latest step in my ongoing attempt to use it up and move it out. The starting point was a bad purchase that’s been lingering in the yarn drawer. What was I thinking when I bought aran weight silk? inkle2It’s a single, would probably pill like stink and is of limited use to me. That’s no doubt why I have in in three different colours. I pretended that it was a thin roving, spun it and navajo plied it into a weight that was a good deal more useful. I broke out the inkle loom and changed it again into a braid. I did originally think that it would become a strap for a bag but I’m having second thoughts and seeing it now as the bag itself. It leads to the question of what I’d then make the strap for this from but I’ll worry about that another time.

card2card1As the inkle loom was out I thought I’d see what I could do with tablet weaving (or card weaving depending on where you live). I love the results but I’m not sold on the process and I cut the warp off rather than finish it. I found it difficult to turn the cards, maybe the holes in my home made set were too small, maybe it was the yarn, maybe you just get used to it. Maybe another time.

opalscrapThe tubular knitting from last time is now obviously a pair of socks. I snipped a thread at the centre and unpicked it until the knitting fell into two parts. Then I snipped a thread at the centre of the smaller tubes, unpicked it until I had half the stitches released and then I knitted a short row heel, grafting it to the stitches on the other side when I’d done. That’s most of the messing done with now, it’s down to the toes, up to the cuffs and then done. My verdict so far is that I wouldn’t rule out doing this again but I’d have to have a pretty good reason for creating all those ends.

tworedsI did look for some darker bfl roving to match the lot that I’d already dyed and I came up empty handed. This is a pretty close match, the fibre on the left was a humbug mix and the colours are about right but it’s overall too dark. If my next attempt doesn’t come up any better then this will do.

There may be a short blog break, we’re having a new boiler next week which will mean me clearing out the airing cupboard (for the new hot water tank) and moving furniture around upstairs (for access to the radiators which are having thermostatic valves fitted). It’s a bigger job than you might think, ideally I’d just move the furniture, vacuum a bit and call it done. Instead I’m asking myself questions along the lines of “exactly what is in that blanket box anyway?” and “do we really need this many towels?”. I’m hoping that when I’ve done I will have magically created space into which wool can be packed so it won’t be a total waste of time.



Finishing wood

Posted by caroline in inkle, Other fibre stuff, Weaving on August 28th, 2008

fence ta dabefore the hedge wreckLet me not keep you in suspense a moment longer – it was a close run thing but the post arrived a full twenty minutes before the last fence panel went in. I feel so much better now that my garden is useable again and the dog was delighted to see the grass. The fence needs painting, I’m passing on Carie’s suggestion of Groundforce blue because I think a full six panels of it might be too overpowering. I did paint all my tatty concrete planters that very colour several years ago and a pot of masonry paint totally transformed them but I don’t think that it’s the answer here. The bucket of “Cedar Red” that was in the garage was given a trial on a corner of a panel and it turned out to be more of a cedar orange so that’s out too. Subject to further consultation with the neighbours on the other side of it the fence is going to be a nice plain not-orange brown. That’s planned for the weekend, weather permitting, so if you’ve nothing better to do you can wander over to the husband’s blog and watch the painting action on gardencam. The pile of stone in the bottom corner should be forming itself into a wall and then there may even be some plants in the dust that is masquerading as a border.

ashford inkle loombraid in progressThis is what the postman brought, it came flat packed but only needed two screws to reassemble it. The woodwork on this also needs finishing, again I think that blue or cedar orange is out and the solution here is probably some wax. This is an Ashford inkle loom that I’ve rehomed from The Loom Exchange, it’s an older model because the current one has a different arrangement for maintaining the tension and has several more pegs. It will make a shorter length of braid but as I have the attention span of a gnat that isn’t such a big problem. It didn’t have any instructions but once I’d worked out that the warp is a continuous loop and circles around as you work it then it was straightforward. So far I have managed to make heddles, read a pattern, advance the warp and adjust the tension. This is Patons 4 ply cotton in pink and burgundy, I’m working towards handspun silk but I thought I’d better start off with something more utilitarian. The next braid will be wider with some pickup patterns and maybe after that it will be time for the silk.