Hamble Campbell's Home Page

An occasional window on Hamble Campbell's world.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Big carrot, little carrot

There is not much going on in my garden at the moment to boast about.

For the first time ever, slugs have been eating my courgettes and they are now officially failed courgettes - although we did get a few meals out of them.

The tomato plants that I grew in trays from seed, pricked out and grew on in pots, planted out and staked and from which I had carefully removed side shoots, had dutifully begun to produce tomatoes. Then before the wretched things grew bigger than marbles, the whole crop succumbed to blight and I have just finished hoiking them all out of the mud and into the compost bin.

French beans were okay and the mange touts were not. Carrots, as you see, are variable, but on the whole I would class them as a SUCCESS.

This afternoon after work I started weeding the plot. I have decided to turn it over to flowers for next year, as for the third year running I have found vegetable growing simply too demoralising. I planted out some pyrethrum (I think) plants I grew from seed earlier in the year and I shall get Sarah Raven's book The Cutting Garden to see what she recommends. I love flowers, but buying them is so expensive, and now, apparently, generally unethical - what else is there for a girl to do, but to grow her own?


What I wove with the silk I dyed

I don't think I ever got round to showing you this scarf. I wove it with the results of my dyeing course that I went on in the summer.

It is a silk noil warp and weft. The warp was placed in a gutter and dabbed with different colours, which were very dark when I applied them but finished up very pale, which surprised me. The weft is all green.

I wove it in a twill chequerboard pattern on eight shafts which alternately shows either predominantly warp or weft threads. It is sett at 36 ends per inch and the weft is packed down the same amount. It was pretty awful to weave towards the end because the threads were all so close together and they kept breaking. I felt like I was really hobbling to the finish line, or, say, with only one wheel left on my wagon.

When it came off the loom the fabric was very rigid and inflexible but when it had been washed and ironed it became quite supple and has a linen-like feel to it which I like.

Next time I shall make the sett quite a bit looser. I have wound the warp and the weft skeins and they are ready to be prepared for dyeing and then dyed. I think I need to do some more one gram colour sampling first though as I am not sure about how the colours of the dyes I have will turn out. One day I plan to buy a kilo of good spun silk, but that will be when I am a bit more practised at dyeing. I notice Gaddams has undergone some sort of change of businesss arrangements, and it is from them I would buy my silk so I hope they will wait for me!

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Rug update

The end is in sight now, I've got another fourteen inches to go. Then I shall have a 3' x 5' rug.

This picture is not very good, actually as the mustard and the lime both look the same whereas they are quite distinct from each other in reality.

The rug is using up a tremendous amount of weft. I am putting in thirty-two picks an inch, using two strands of Axminster rug wool at a time. So that is sixty-four strands an inch. It will be lovely and heavy and thick (hopefully!).

The reed is a metric one so it is a bit tricky to say what the sett is. I have threaded the warp alternately single and double in the heddles and the dents. At just over 36" there are 280 dents and 140 working ends. There are about 7.5 dents in every inch, or 3 for every centimetre, so my ends per inch works out at between 3 and 4.

I have used a floating selvedge of 3 warp ends. The warp is linen rug warp from Fibrecrafts and is a good beige colour that I think goes well with everything. In future I plan to use 100% Berber rug wool for the weft that I have dyed myself, but that will be a very big project!



These are the 1 gram samples of silk that I dyed. I'm not mad keen on any of them to be frank and I think that I should try again with a darker depth of shade.

The dusky, dusty, more muted colours are what I prefer and maybe there are some greens and mauves that I could use here but I'm not sure.

Next time I shall probably do the 66- sample exercise in Ann Milner's book, which are all at the same depth of shade and use three colours in the mix.

I think I shall finish my rug first though, as dyeing really is an awfully big adventure.