Monday, March 03, 2014

My turn! Fixing Errors with a Warp on the Loom

See my lovely pile of extra heddles?  I took them off my Mighty Wolf recently.  I've read about how challenging it is to have to remove heddles with a warp on the loom and tried really hard to avoid this!  Unfortunately, the way I eye-balled the warp didn't work.

This warp is 32" wide on a loom with a 36" wide weaving width.  As I threaded, I tucked extra heddles throughout the warp, hoping to avoid having to remove heddles. By the time I was tying on to the breast beam, it was obvious that I'd need to do something more.  The warp threads at the left edge of the loom were being pushed in by the extra heddles at the side of the shafts.  Time to remove heddles!

Before removing the heddles I threaded the top, the eye, and the bottom  of each group with a piece of cotton thread and tied them securely.  This should make it easy to put the heddles back on the loom later.  Keep your fingers crossed!

Now to go put the heddles away in my collection of weaving tools so I can find them when I want them back on the loom!

Saturday, February 01, 2014

A Little Bit of Lots of Stuff

The above photo is of a baby blanket woven for some friends.  The warp is a burgundy color, the pattern weft is a light pink (both in 10/2 cotton) and the tabby weft is a wool/angora/nylon yarn that I recycled from a sweater dress and is dark purple.  I love the hand of the blanket!  The recycled yarn softens the hand of the crackle weave significantly!

Check out these little samples:

 They are about an inch and a half tall by one inch wide.  I'm doing a custom piece for an individual and we needed to determine color order for the stripes.  I had wound a larger piece before I realized that maybe the colors should be in a different order and started winding the tiny tests.  Well, after the fifth tiny test I had found a combo that I liked and paused for a moment to run some calculations.  With five colors the number of color combinations are 5! (five-factorial), which equals 120 possibilities!  Half of them are reflections of each other--ABCDE is the same as EDCBA, which brings the number down to 60 possibilities.  Gasp!  Still to many to manage!  My fiber enabler came to the rescue and did some programing so that I could see all sixty color combinations.  Whew!  What a challenge!

Here's another little project on my first structo loom:
 It's a plaid fabric for Conner Prairie.  They are working on recreating a piece and this is one of many plaids that will become a part of the finished project.
This is how it looked going on the loom:

And, just because I'm excited about it, check out the new little structo that has come to stay at my house!  This is not the one being used to weave the plaid, it's another one.  :)  I keep hoping that one day I will find a way to teach weaving, so I am starting a collection of these little looms. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Short Term Visitor

We had a short visit from a weeble-wobble type friend before school let out.  My 5th grader said to me at four in the afternoon, "And, Mom, my last bit of homework is a gift for the exchange at school tomorrow."


I did a few quick calculations and decided that if I worked quickly and figured driving time as "free time", then I could probably needle felt a gift within the price range of the class gift exchange.

So I got to work.  First I consulted with the 5th grader.  We talked ideas.  We made plans.  Then I set to work.  There are details--like the blue eyes and very red (cherry red, mom!) nose that were definitely beyond my liberty to change--but overall I thought he was cute.  And the felted friends in the cupboard enjoyed their visit from Santa very much!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Art in Icing

These are a couple of scoops of buttercream frosting with gel dyes in them (we were getting ready for decorating Christmas cookies! :)
Blue and red for purple:

Blue and yellow for green:

Yellow and red for orange:
I used a lot of dye this year and the colors blended beautifully!  They look streaky here, which I love, but they did mix well and made great cookie icing!  Hooray for beautiful colors in life!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Finished Christmas Quilt #1

The quilt is done!  Those are the new owner's toes at the top of the quilt.  She has used it two mornings now as we have read from our Christmas story book.  Each morning she has carefully folded it so a different block was visible.  

I love it when a gift is loved!

Here is a photo of the back.  I ended up purchasing wide flannel from  I tried to find flannel that worked at some more local places, but those that had flannel didn't have the right color or prints.  This cream flannel is nice and shows enough of the quilting to be pretty!

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Christmas Quilt

Remember how I made all those quilt blocks in 2012?  The first group has been made into a quilt top and is now on the quilting frame!  Whee!  Mom came over to help with the quilting.  The quilting frame we are using is one that Mom picked up at auction years ago.  It's old, but it works great for this job!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Projects--a collection

Blocking lace.  I love the effect of blocking pieces of knit lace.  The yarn over holes open up and the stockingette stitch areas become smooth...  I love it!
 Fixing mistakes.  Sooner or later I usually fix my mistakes.  It wasn't until I began to weave that I finally understood that if I could see a mistake then I would always be able to see the mistake.  More often then not, there is no effective cover-up for a mistake.  This one was a denting error, ten threads in from the edge on a warp that had already given me fits.  I tried to brush it off..."It will never show with the thick weft..."  It showed.  So, I stopped weaving, pulled out the weft, fixed the denting error and began to weave again.  It looks much better without the error!

Sewing.  My daughter decided that she needed a new dress.  She did some shopping and came home empty handed.  She went through my pattern books and found a dress design she liked.  I slowly began to work on it.  This pattern is from a collection by "The Golden Rule".  Each pattern is printed in miniature and the seamstress enlarges it based on the measurements of the wearer.  So I measured.  I drafted.  I made a muslin (I knew I would need it!  The pattern was older and I was sure the fit would be different from my daughter's preferred style....) I modified the pattern and finally made the dress.  I had to promise to not put her head in the final picture, but here it is.  The collar is gathered at the neck and comes down to a point at the center front and back.  The purple is amazing with her reddish-blond hair!

Knitting, frogging, and knitting again.  I would like to knit shawls.  I have a little "shawlette" that is wonderful to wear around the house.  It's just enough to warm my back and shoulders, but not enough to get in the way of doing things.  I have a new shawl book, so I found a pattern I liked and cast on.  Of course I modified it...and in the end, I didn't like it.  This is a traditional triangle shawl with a point at the center back.  I'm not fond of the style (why did I cast on?) and I didn't like how stiff the finished fabric felt.  I kept going, hoping that things would get better, but they didn't.  In this photo, the shawl is off the needles and on a string so I could wrap it around me and see how it worked.  It didn't.  It got to sit on the table for a few hours while I did some research and chose a new shawl design.  Then it got frogged.

This was one of the reasons I frogged the shawl.  I knit a sample with an extra ball of the same batch of yarn on bigger needles.  It was so much softer and had much better drape.  I tried one more needle size after this picture.  Swatching is really helpful!
In my research to save my shawl, I discovered a new webpage:  Laylock Knitwear Design.  The shawls are fun, but scroll down and look on the right hand side for the "Shawl Knitting Cheat Sheet".  Wow!  It's a single page pdf with instructions for make five different shapes of shawls all from the same three stitch cast-on!  I've decided to make a "heart-shaped" or crescent shawl because it will have longer ends for tying.  And, I made some swatches:
Neither of these have been blocked, but they are here anyway!  On the right is the pattern as written by Laylock Knitwear.  On the left is my modified version--no yarn-over holes and a three stitch garter edge.  The knitting is progressing.  I hope there will be another shawlette in my drawer soon!