Summer and Winter part 3

This is such a versatile structure. After exploring polychrome with my first threading which had a very blocky look I rethreaded and focussed on varying the colour and thickness of tabby binder.

Front on the left, reverse on the right. Once a number of colours are used the back shows all that are not visible on the front in each section. So it has a lovely slightly blurry look.

For the final exercise on this threading I designed a more traditional coverlet pattern. The pairs X’s texture on the front, shows as pairs O’s on the reverse.

I used a blend of yarns for the pattern thread which play quite nicely against each other.

The second threading creates an all over pattern. The pattern thread is almost the same colour as the warp and tabby binder which makes the ground. It is a doubled wool yarn and the fabric is almost sculptural. The tabby thread is changed at the top of the picture on the left.

The final experiment is shown on the right with a soft green cotton pattern thread and a few changes to the tabby. At the top the pattern is made with a blend of about six fine wools.

The reverse of the sample on the second threading.

Summer and Winter part 1 and Monkeys on typewriters document the first part of this sample.


Mystery revealed

As soon as I saw the complete Good Fortune quilt I knew changes had to be made. To start, there were lots of borders and that does not work when you are making a less than full size version. A quarter of the perimeter will not go around a quarter of the area. But more on that later.

I laid out the two blocks which alternate to make up the full design photographed them and mocked up the finished quilt.

The chains made by the dark grey neutrals are far too strong. So I opted to copy Vireya’s variation and rotate the little four patch units by 90 degrees.

Then to start the piecing. Another decision I made was to have the same blue fabric on all four sides of each of the four patch blocks. There is too much variation in the value of these fabrics for them to work in a scrappy way. I found sewing these blocks as a net helped keep units in order and made one handed sewing much easier on my 100 year old White machine.

Once five of these were done I tried to take a photo, but Lulu was not having a bar of that. On a warm day the bed is hers.

Determined to have something to show before this week’s linkup closed I made four of the star blocks, this time opting to mix up all the greens as the selection I have are similar in value. I think this is a much softer and prettier version of the design compared with the layout at the top of this post.

So far I have made nine twenty-fifths of the blocks, not even half way but there are a few weeks to go before this mystery is over. By repurposing the units I had made that ended up being border pieces I am pretty sure I will have enough fabric for a quilt five blocks by five.

Lots of quilters have finished this mystery borders and all, there are so many variations to see at the linkup.

Monkeys on typewriters

Summer and Winter part 2

Random is really hard to do. I sketched out an ‘on opposites’ design on paper trying really hard not to have an obvious motif. I then wove and it was alright but I felt I was thinking too much about how the next pattern row related to the one before. So I wrote down some treadle lifts without thinking about how they would look, just the numbers, and wove six of these. Still thinking too much about not having the same section repeating over and over.

To get a really random design I wrote 50 different combinations of lifts on slips of paper and drew them one at a time out of a hat. After weaving that section I tossed a coin, heads it went back in the hat, tails discarded. To get lots of different things happening along the cloth I wove half units so they take less vertical space.

The vertical lines are the tied threads texture known as Dukagang fashion because it is like that Scandinavian inlay weave. This is the only place you can see the warp threads, the others are totally covered by the blue grey and lime green wefts that take the opposite space from each other.

This is the complete pattern that I had started in my earlier post. In the next design I am going polychromatic.


Like some fluffy white cloud hanging low o’er the garden

or a shrouded figure dancing through

the quince tree is now fully enclosed in netting.

Increased expectations of a harvest of fruit.

Summer and Winter part 1

Every weaving structure I study seems to be more interesting than the last. Summer and Winter is one that had its heyday in the coverlets and rugs of Colonial America. The name comes from it’s two sided characteristic, the pattern on the front is reversed on the back, the lighter side can be displayed in summer, the darker side in winter.

Another feature is the pattern units can be repeated for as wide as you want. Unlike overshot where floating threads have to have a limited length, otherwise the fabric is totally unusable because they would catch and pull.

In Summer and Winter the weft is tied down by every fourth warp. You can see this happening in the photo. These tie threads give the background a texture and also alters the appearance of the pattern. For my first exercise I wove the same pattern using four different textures.

I am now weaving the pattern as it has been threaded or tromp as writ. I chose to use the O’s texture because it gives the pattern shapes a rounded look. The yellow cotton thread is used in every second pick and it is the same as the warp. To keep everything square, the pattern thread has to occupy no additional space, but swell out to cover the yellow, this is done with a blend of six fine one ply wools and firm beating. You can see that the interaction with the yellow warp and pink weft changes their colour, something else that you need to consider in planning.

By turning the loom up on its end I was able to photograph the reverse side. The photo has been flipped so you can see how the pattern is reversed.

This is just the beginning of my exploration, still to come are more patterns with the same threading, adding more colour and finally a new threading of the same warp.


Watering the vegetable garden is easy thanks to tanks of rainwater. A couple of dripper kits priced to clear at the local barn size hardware distribute the water.

It’s all done by gravity even though this part of the garden is uphill from the tanks. As long as they are more than half full the system will work. So far I have only needed to top up them up once from the big tank that is further down the hill but has a pump.

Lettuce, and everything else, is enjoying the regular dose of water.

Happy hoya

The hoya has been under very close observation ever since the big repotting. Here is what I saw today.

Not just the one, but on nearly all the spurs there are signs that the flowers are on their way.