Saturday, May 26, 2012

Weaving on a small scale,...the peony is kaput,... and an army of snails...

Last weekend I started cleaning the 8-dent reed of my Herald loom. A tedious task. Firstly, I made up a batch of "cleaning" gunk from a recipe I found online: A cup of white vinegar, the juice of a lemon and an unspecified amount of Borax. I used too much Borax and ended up with a paste that was much too thick so I diluted it with some water. After an application of this gunk, it's a matter of scouring between each dent with steel wool and/or whatever implement does the job.

I found that tearing a "lock" off the pad of steel wool gave me a good abrasive length which could be used to floss between the reeds. But the steel wool would tear apart in no time. Spinning experience to the rescue!... I found that by twisting the length of steel wool as if it were a protein fiber imparted much needed strength to it, and I was thereafter able to make it last a great deal longer.

I think there are near about 400 dents in the reed (it's an 8dpi reed) and I managed to clean about a quarter of it last weekend. Hoping to finish the job this weekend. Having the holiday on Monday will help.

In the meantime, I'm testing out some different yarns on my 7" Hazel Rose Loom. It is very similar to the Weave-It, weavette, etc. looms of many a year. The Hazel Rose is a lovely loom. My first square was an experiment using some of my own hand-spun fingering weight. It was not a success, the yarn is much too fine for this loom and I'm now the proud owner of a very airy little woolen square. But it is twill... Eh...

My second experiment was also headed down what appeared to be the path of failure. I used some reclaimed sari silk that I purchased 3 years ago. A beautiful twisted rope for which I never found a use. I bought it because it was beautiful! The lesson I learned weaving the following square is to weave loosely! The sari has no elasticity. None whatsoever, and there I was, pulling each warp and weft as taught as could be. Well! By the time I got to weaving the last quarter of the square it was all I could do to pull the silk through the warp. So it was slow going on the last lap, but well worth it, I really like the way it turned out. I think I will line it, fold it in half and make an eyeglass case of it. I have more of this yarn so more squares are on the way.


Bye, bye, peony. :( I purchased it four years ago. It has always grown quite vigorously but failed to produce much in the way of bloom. It's first year saw all the buds turn black. Disappointment. In it's second year it produced one flower with the usual heady perfume--for which I love them. My thinking at the time was that it wasn't getting enough sun, so I transplanted it. It's third year--the first in it's new location--produced good growth but no blossoms. Which brings us to the present--it's fourth year.

Things looked very promising just a few weeks ago: a good many plump buds swelling up with their soon-to-be heavenly scent and mesmerizing beauty. And lo! A week and a half ago one of those buds burst open in all it's glory. The olfactory was predictably pleased, as were mine eyes. But no sooner had that bud shown itself to the world but every other bud on the bush turned black! Big bummer. I'm afraid the time has come to take drastic measures. I had been told by a landscape architect friend of mine that if a peony's buds turn black they will always turn black. She was right. Today I tore it up and it will now beautify my garden in a different way by composting down to provide food for future floral beauty works.


It was rainy late this afternoon and I went out back to check on the status of the snails--with the bad case of munchies. I'd been seeing them as I puttered around the garden during the day. Not one to get greatly alarmed at the site of a critter here and there I simply picked them up and relocated them to the other side of the patio where the compost heap stews away.

I've been having my suspicions though, because for the past few years my plants have struggled, especially tender young annuals.

Well, this evening was an eye opener. The problem was not a few snails... there was an army of snails. Most of them congregating under the bird feeder. I picked up about 30 of them to move to the heap.

I went back out about an hour later and found the same thing! Scooped them all up too. I went out again after cello practice and ditto. I have never seen so many snails! And what's more there were some slugs amongst them. Ewww. I'm not squeemish about too many things, but slugs are so slimy, slippery, and icky. I didn't relocate them, they fared a less fortunate fate. Not sure if the correct spelling is 'squish' or 'splat', but it's quick, done, and over with. I don't like killing living things, but on the other hand they weren't making themselves very welcomed. Maybe next time I'll try scooping them up with a stick so they can enjoy the compost heap as well. What's certain is I'm not picking them up with my fingers the way I do the snails! Ew.


  1. I bought a Weavette off Etsy some time ago. Made a couple of squares but then couldn't think what to do with them, other than making a blanket. But an eyeglass case is an excellent idea. Nice job you did on that second one.

  2. Now I know what a Hazel Rose loom is!!! Sounds like the kind of loom I might be able to manage ;) Hope that's the end of the snails. Did some research, they really are nasty!!! Sorry to hear about your peony. Guess I won't be able to send you a pic of ours when it blooms...... Don't want to make you sad.....Just kidding. Have seen black buds on our bush but not all of them at once. It's an old bush from long before we bought the place and we've been here 40 years....YIKES!

  3. ChelleC, I am trying to figure out how I missed your post! (ditto, jak)...
    Thanks for the compliment. I think they'd also make good iPod cases. :)

  4. jak, somehow I missed the comments here! ??

    I haven't researched snails yet, but I don't disagree that they're nasty! And prolific reproducers!!


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