a plant without lightHere´s the latest finished piece: a merino scarf. This colour combination is one of my favourites and I think I will never get bored/over with mustard yellow and gray together.
twisting fringesThis fringe twister is very handy small tool from Ashford. I am terrible with fringes without this so I am very grateful I came across one. In fact it makes the slow process of sorting fringes a nice task.
cutting the extraThis baby merino wool was very pleasant to work with. And cheap. But good quality. And there´s some sock yarn in addition too. The palette with merino is often very limited to baby colours but I think I will dye some in addition to ready shades with the next project.fringes
close-upNow that the spring -and eventually summer- is coming I should start thinking lighter warps and perhaps even cellulose fibers. I should do that especially because I am not too fond of them, wool is my favourite by far. But as with all predjudices they do limit yourself.

And last but not the least: two very inspiring stories:

a movie on Ilse Acke´s and Jeffrey Vanhille´s work. Beautifully shot movie about true talent. I only understood a few words but I got the message.

and a documentary of a nanny/ photographer Vivian Maier. Her fragmented story was so astonishing that I think I will never forget it.

TatiMeet Tati! A week ago he came to live with us. He´s red (or apricot) miniature poodle, turning three months on Saturday. I thought I would never get to have a dog but things have turned out so that it actually happened. He´s such a great character but of course there´s a lot to learn. What a change though. I think my craftwork will suffer, but I won´t ;-)
samplesAnother instant crush in my life has been dyeing yarn. I have tried it before but this time it really got me hooked. I was frustrated with the selection of colours I could get my hands on and decided to have go with dyeing myself. I have been dyeing samples of my favourite shades whenever I´ve had the day off from work. Here´s sample hanks of fingering merino.
prewashAnd here´s them going to soak before dyeing.
dyesFirst I made samples of the “primary” or readily mixed colours. Not good at all straight from the bottle. I realized I would have to learn new system of mixing colours because the primaries were different than what I had learned. For a few days I felt puzzled but now I have developed an instinct what to mix with what.
soaking
palette
mixingMixing colours is fascinating. Atleast to me. I have always been very interested in colours, colour systems and reproducing colours. Now I see that quite a lot of my hobbies have dealt with colours and also colour theory. So this is just a natural turn of things.
mixedOh, but there´s so much to learn! I can think of hundreds of colours and would love to mix them all. I bet these small skeins will multiply in time. Hopefully I find colours I want to use in my weaving. But it actually feels harder now that the sky´s the limit with different colours.
primaries

and plaidsI have been thinking would it be possible to combine two of my favourite motifs: plaids and zig-zags. It started to haunt me because I have used them separately and started to look for means to unite them. Here´s what I came up with. Striped warp with rosepath threading matched with stripe sequences. And then I used stripes for the inlay too. Again, it´s not perfect but there´s something very interesting to me.
zig-zagOne thing I would choose to do otherwise is the colour of the variegated weft though. It does warp the proportions of the plaids being so similar to the darker thin stripe. But doesn´t the yellow look rather nice? The early spring pops up in my weaving although it´s winter again. But we got have a few days of warm sunny spring.
small loomI wove this with my small loom. Instead of weaving scarfs and rugs I should sew (or weave?) curtains to my room. As you can see, I have used white sheets for curtains almost two years now because I haven´t had an idea for curtains. Embarrassing to admit but it´s like that.
tiny socksAnd for the last but not least: greeting card for my friend with a baby boy! I should take up knitting again because finally there´s more feet to wear them ;-)

warpGoing monochrome again. Here´s a warp for a new scarf. The lighter shade is actually borderline gray.
rugThis is the rug I am weaving to the same warp as my mum´s rug. I just put additional plain weave steps between the twill treadling. Oh what a difference does it make! I kind of like it: it´s more contemporary, less weight and sharper edges. It looks totally different from the other side though. I haven´t decided what I think about that side. I am getting rid of my stash of odd grays and uneven whites with this one.
BraidSide by side. The braid is going downstairs for dressing the small loom.
ToveLooking forward or should I say trying to cope with months of waiting Tove Jansson´s retrospective. I had a hint of this exhibition in my e-mail because they were looking for Tove´s unseen works almost two years ago I think. And finally it´s a couple of weeks away, the opening that is. I will visit after the rush and in the meantime read this. Are there any other Tove´s fans out there?
gray and dark grayHoping nice things for the new week for you all! First thing I am going to do, is visit my friend´s newborn boy :-)

point twillI am running behind on posts and this rug here I gave my mum for a christmas present. She moved to an old countryside house and was (and still is) in need for thick rugs because of the cold floors. Our taste is very different and to be honest she rarely uses the things I make. I don´t know why that is, is she saving them (for what) or are they so different to her taste. I still don´t know but I know this one she likes very much. So I gather it took us 30 years to agree in matters of taste ;-)
ant´s pathThis rug is one the biggest I have made and definitely the heaviest. Measuring almost 2,5 metres and over 90cm wide it took up a lot of weft. Also this pattern adds up to the thickness with two inlays in the same shed. I think it weighed over 6 kilos.
detailsThis pattern is very traditional. Sometimes it´s called “ant´s path” and I have also heard it called “four-heddled” even though it doesn´t really describe how it looks. I think it refers to the amount of shafts. This is one the patterns I can remember before I knew what weaving even was. There were other strong motifs from my childhood, I hope I will eventually get to weave those too. And at the moment I weaving something totally different to the same warp and it looks very interesting…
flatI wish I had room to lay these down properly but our apartment is in fact very crowded. And when you add this up with my dislike of wide angle lenses. Well, you only get part of a rug!
rolledWhen I looked at these pictures I started to wonder if this could be translated to a scarf? It´s weft-faced but perhaps…

And last but not the least: thank you for your very kind comments on last posts!

leftHere´s the finished alpaca scarf. After living with it and wearing it I like a lot more. And it´s getting softer too. With alpaca the fabric is thick enough but it doesn´t get stiff like (sheep) wool does. But the downside is that it is a little itchy. The colours are nice too in this scarf but the grays are always my favourite spots. But what I really love about gray too is that it brings out the colours better than any other tone or color.

But now, back to weaving. I have already started another scarf! And a rug that I propably never finish because of these scarves…
centerrightdetailspile

stripesThis a very simple twill rug with orange, white and gray rag inlays. I wanted to do something very basic and it ended up in our kitchen. It looks quite neat here but after New Year´s Eve it has a blueberry stain. Oh well, no need to worry keeping it clean anymore…
close-upI wish there would be more natural light because it looks a lot different with flash in these photos. But it´s really impossible to take pictures without it here. For weeks we´ve had the darkest days that I can remember and I think even our vision has adopted so well that I only realize how dark it is when I see what kind of exposure my camera suggests. It´s really odd.
fringes
pileAh, but there´s a light at the end of the tunnel. On 17th I will pack my bags and head to Netherlands for a week or so. Looking forward to that! My plans are very unsure for where I will be staying but my “homebase” there will be Edam, where my friend is moving. So if you have any tips on where to visit on my way there (by car) between Stockholm and Edam (and around because the distances there feel so short for me), please let me know. Especially textiles, design and all the haberdashery involded is my main interest. What I would really like to find is a couple of shuttles because you really can´t see the products here in Finland and I dislike my shuttles a lot, except one. So any tips on those would be highly appreciated ;-)

lightsOne of the first tasks of this year´s preparations was to take pictures of my friend´s baby for memories. We set up lights so that they would remind of Christmas.
happy feetIt was really an honour, she was so calm and giving a cute smile every now and then.
BrutusThere were also cats at my friend´s place, desperate for attention.
rag rugThe day continued at my folk´s place watching independence day festivities. My mom had a new rug, very nice.
snowThis is the only snow we´ve seen so far. Little did I know that this was it. Now it has rained almost a week.
crochet rugI made a crochet rug for christmas tree. I have planned to do this for years but always ran out of time. This year I came across perfect shade of red and did finish finish it as the tree was carried in. The tree is basically our only decoration so I really wanted it to have this.
cardsMaking cards is an annual tradition that I broke last year. Fortunately this year I got around to it and the tradition is live and well again. I had another plan for the card but it was too difficult so I resorted to plan b, which is like very much.
bakingChristmas baking at home. Our new kitchen looks so odd because of all the steel…haven´t got used to it yet.
mailingFinally! Mailing the cards out.
treeI hope to make one post before New Year, but if not – Happy New Year!

start Here´s the beginning for the alpaca scarf I planned for myself. The weaving was fun, but in many ways this ended up being a sampler. I mean that the end result left me longing for something else. Some very interesting patterns occurred that I will have to develop but still…

I also came across many important lessons with this one. First lesson being that alpaca stretches a lot. I was told about this by Amanda but I was still amazed. After weaving the whole scarf I had approximately 20cm more warp than in the first place! And also alpaca isn´t that soft when it´s handwoven (did not know that) so I suspect my atopic skin can´t handle it.
hazeThe second lesson being that “less is more”. Why is it so difficult to remember? I love shapes, especially zig-zags but in the end I appreaciate plain weave more. I should do more plain weave.
beginningsThe best part was weaving, I really had no settled plans. I just sat, listened to music and spoken programs and wove what I felt like, so relaxing. I begin to like the small loom very much because it´s so effortless. One thing that I don´t like so much is that when I am using the same amount of shafts and treadles, the lamms are not really heavy enough to keep warp in it´s correct height. I planned to visit a fishing shop for weights but ended up tying a few temples for fake treadles to keep things in order. But I will have to look into that eventually…
close-upOk, please don´t count the errors in this picture ;-) I can see so many. Pictures are ruthless.

And for the last but not least important: Merry Christmas! In case this is the last post before christmas. Fortunately (and a little unfortunately) I won´t be staying at my loom or my computer.

small oneThis is the small new loom I recently bought. It´s very closely related to my other loom and basically they are different sized versions of the same. It´s made by Toika and approximately 15 years old. It looks very nice now but smells like mold a little… It has 6 shafts and treadles and it´s scandinavian style countermarch loom with a lower beater. In this picture it still lacks the heddles, cords and beam fabrics but now it´s already restored with new parts. I even crafted one broken shaft by myself and fits very well. As I mentioned it won´t be staying at my place even though I wish it could make room for it somewhere.

© Middlegrays 2013