Friday, December 7, 2007

Change of plan, sort of

The sculptural part of this project isn't going to happen according to my schedule: I've just not had enough time or energy to do all the spinning I need to, although sampling the silk noil I will use for the chess pieces has been going as well as can be expected.

(Which means I haven't had time to do much!)

I really wanted to get some different silk to work with (from The Silk Tree), and made a special trip to the Silk Weaving Studio on Granville Island in Vancouver when I was there three weeks ago. Despite a sign saying they were open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the door was locked and the place was dark (and we were there at 12:30 p.m.). hrumph.

Work on the book progresses, however: I've been doing a fair bit of reading about the history of the area where they were found, and have an outline done of what I want to write and draw. The actual process of doing the book itself isn't what's going to take the time, it's all the other prep work.


Monday, November 12, 2007

I'm Rooked


Well, technically, the name of this piece is The Warder....

I finally took the plunge to teach myself how to make monotypes for this project. Using watercolour pencils dry on a detergent-coated frosted mylar sheet, I did a rough sketch of a rook (although not my favourite berserker) from the Lewis Chessman publication put out by the British Museum.

No, it really isn't this colour -- it is, after all, a piece of carved walrus tusk -- but I wanted to see how the pencils would work to make a print, and I'm rather pleased with how it worked, particularly the gentle fuzziness of the image, as I wanted to avoid a photographic look.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Spinning Begins

The sample in the picture is my two-ply reference string, wrapped around my measuring gauge. The notch where it's resting is an inch long, for perspective.

I spent more than three hours on Friday spinning up a full bobbin like this -- I think I used a little more than a quarter of the wool that I've got, and I hope I've got enough to knit the chessboard the way I want.

But like most projects, I suspect this one will go through some tinkering.

This yarn, for example. There's a trade-off between spinning heavy and spinning thin: you get way more yardage from thin (for a given weight of spinning material), but you put in more time spinning and knitting fine. I need to balance the time I've got with the limited amount of wool, and that's going to require a lot of ongoing evaluation.

Monday, October 29, 2007

October 2007

Ready to Go
The brown locks had been combed years ago, when I first bought this wool.

Here's how I processed the white:

My favourite two-row dog comb and its pouch/protective covering
Twin-row comb
Several locks after washing and drying
Washed and Dried Locks
Two locks, ready for combing. Tips right, butts (the end closest to the sheep, when the fleece has been sheared) left
Ready to start
Tips combed out
Combed tips
Locks turned around, with butts ready to be combed
Combing the butts
Lock ready for spinning
The short ends, neps (tangled bits), and what spinners generally refer to as junk remaining on the comb. I'm saving this material and will use it to stuff the chess pieces.
Fish leather for the book cover.
Leather Cover
By the end of November, I hope to have most of the wool spun, will have purchased sufficient yardage of fine spun silk (or perhaps tussah silk and camel down, I'm still trying to decide), and will have started the knitting.

Check back soon, as I will be posting updates on a regular basis of my progress!