rainbow washi tape

several years ago i acquired some washi tape (there was a craze there for awhile), which i've added to from time to time. but i've always kept them in boxes, and as is prone to happen, out of sight out of mind. yesterday was a grey gloomy day, so i wasn't energized to do much of anything except wander around the internet. i came across several photos of washi tape, and various holders, and recalled that i had some of that colourful stuff; and that perhaps i should display them in a convenient way so that i would actually use them.

eventually i settled on the diy tape organizer. this consisted of hunting down some cardboard rolls of the length to fit in my ikea wooden chest drawers. it's pretty neat how many different sizes of cardboard rolls there are; aluminum foil, parchment paper, paper towels, cling wrap, they're all different circumferences. luckily, the reynolds heavy duty aluminum foil roll fit perfectly inside the washi tape, a little length was taken off, and it fit snugly in the drawer. i made two legs to prop it up so the tape turned freely, and wouldn't roll around when i opened and shut the drawer. i'm really happy with it!

afterwards, i reorganized my thread rack, as it was looking a little messy.


bits and pieces

a bit of a preview of my current sewing project. it's heavily influenced by current japanese textiles. i decided to use some gorgeous quilted linen fabric i had purchased from linnet while in japan. also, some mina perhonen and nani iro things. it's mostly sewn, but i'm awaiting a zipper. so for now, things are on pause.

however, i came across a tutorial on making continuos bias tape which i found useful for this project. i gave it a go with a small remnant of liberty of london's tana lawn i had on hand. although thin, tana lawn is quite stretchy, so maybe not such a grand idea for a first try. with some more practice and patience, i should get better.


mirror, mirror

i managed to take a photo of the newly covered strap and new camera. as i have passed on my old camera, i had to get creative to capture it's photo; thus the old photograph-the-mirror trick. i have a crown sticker on the bathroom mirror, because hey, who doesn't want to feel royal when you first get up in the morning or have had a blah day. i actually like the fuzzy me, and focused sticker; something about not wanting my photo floating around the internet paranoia. eh, you get the idea. the fabric is liberty of london's cotton tana lawn in sydenham palace.

studio time

after several months of inactivity, i've started a new weaving project. delving into stock on hand, i choose three skeins of silk; muga, eri, and tassar. the golden muga will form the warp threads, with alternating handspun tassar and creamy eri as the weft threads. it will be a diamond with borders pattern, and eventually a shawl. if all goes as planned it should be quite delicate and have incredible drape.

today i started threading the loom, the lighting was perfect to see the little threads, and the weather was just exhilarating; warm, breezy, and low humidity.

when planning a woven piece i'm constantly working on graph paper to get the math right, perfect the pattern, as well as charting out the varying colors and yarns being used. as a result, the bench in my studio gets a little untidy; yay for pull out drawers! just push them in and mess-be-gone.

i took a little break from weaving and photographed a clump of moss i noticed the other day. i could fill a memory card with moss and still want to take more photos of it. it's entirely too fascinating.

green softness

a while back i purchased some color grown cotton; deep green, rich cinnamon chocolate, and moka chocolate. it is truly a joy to spin, very lofty, amazingly soft, and spins chunky easily. i spun up the green on my drop spindle, and reserved a tiny amount to compare with the finished version. when you're done plying color grown cotton you need to boil it a little bit with a pinch of baking soda to develop the deeper color. i added the larger skein to boiling water, and let it simmer for 40 minutes or so; the color develops quickly, but the added time allows the water to soak all the way through and to set the twist. the smaller skein shows the color as it is plucked from the plant, a pea soup green with yellow undertones. on the left is the color after the introduction of heat and alkaline, a blue tinged deep green. i quite like them both. i haven't tried boiling in a slightly acid bath to see if the yellow tones stay, or fulling in a cold bath. i'm not sure if it's the heat, the alkaline ph, or both which develop the deeper colors. further info and testing to be done.

i think i'm slowly getting to the point where i want to introduce more color into my spinning, not that earth tones aren't lovely, but at heart i am exceedingly fond of color. the way to do it best is to blend it in, so you have depth and variety of tones and hues. i have hand carders, but no drum carder, and even though i know you can blend on hand carders, it produces smaller amounts at a time, and you need to remember how you laid the colors down so that each bat is similar as possible when wanting a lot of fiber.

being inspired to finally try blending on hand carders the other night, i decided to give it a go, having no access to a drum carder. i think it went well. i wanted some chunky color, so i only carded once. using a base of white alpaca and layering in dyed wool and silk, i created a fiber sandwich; white-color-white. resting on the drop spindle is the first bat of silk, wool, and alpaca, plied with a light grey alpaca. i used the full rainbow of hues, and the soft sheen of silk is subtle but pleasing.

with the second attempt i added just four colors of wool, and some firestar to the alpaca, again plied with the grey alpaca. it's vey soft and lofty with just a touch of sparkle here and there. next time i'll blend the white alpaca and the silk noil first, then add the colors, and card it twice for more heathering.


new gadget

since lifting my splendid camera from the box and removing all the new electronic wrappings, i've been trying to learn its "ins and outs" and particulars. indoor lighting at night is never all that spectacular, but i couldn't wait until morning to have a go. here are some of the better efforts:

nala, the pretty putty cat.

my thread wall.

a fun discovery while playing around with the iso.

once morning came around i was able to take better lit photos. there's something so perfect about daylight, it's my first preference for photos.

one of the chawan i use for my morning ocha.

we had spinning today, so i brought it along there as well. i'm the fiber guild of the savannahs'  newsletter creator, so it will be great to be able to take photos of our doing's to flesh it out a bit. i couldn't really do that with the old camera, as i would need to bring along several batteries as well. yay for upgrades!


maybe this time

you know how sometimes you buy something, like a camera, and refuse to see the obvious signs of "somethings not right here", and when the scales fall from your eyes, it's too late to return said electronic? i did something like that when i bought a digital camera several years back. it's a battery eater, and likes to shut down due to a faulty glitch which shows an inaccurate battery charge which was somehow not grounds for a refund. which i dealt with for awhile by using rechargeable batteries. but then three months ago i dropped it and the battery cover doesn't close all the way and so it only stays on long enough to take 5-10 photos before it demands a battery change. which means it's pretty well tied to home photos only, and the nearest outlet.

the camera i had before that was a regular 35mm film roll-type and was always a gamble on getting any good photos. like that trip to the bahamas where 95% of the photos had 2/3rds sky and just the tops of peoples heads. or the trip to europe which looked like it was nighttime 24/7. oops. mostly user error, by the way, but there's a reason the lcd screen on cameras should be listed as one of the major achievements of the last decade. needless to say, a battery draining camera with an lcd screen far outweighs it's faults when compared to it's predecessors.

so, back to the story, i was walking through a department store the other day and came across a cool looking camera, the nikon 1 j1, in white, and thought maybe it's time to get a new camera. and hey, it's tax time right, so i should be getting something back. i have an affinity for white electronics, they're so clean, and non-heavy looking. what i also liked about this particular camera is that it has changeable lenses, and i could wear it around my neck on a cool strap so that i may actually take photos, which would mean i was a serious artist, and who needs a sketchbook when one has a nifty camera? (all this in the same wishful daydreaming voice which stuck me with braces and glasses; i thought the little neon bands were cool, and that frames were cool, and would make me interesting. until i actually had to wear them, at which time my happy thought bubble deflated.)

i like the wider neck strap which comes with the nikon dslr cameras, rather than the narrower streamlined matching strap the j1 has; it looks like it would distribute the weight better, and be more comfy after awhile. downside being the bright yellow "nikon" and black colorway. but hey, i could recover the strap with a pretty liberty fabric, inspired by karyn from the workroom. the strap along with the j1 should be arriving next week at some time, and i do so hope we'll be friends. and if not, i actually read the return policy this time.