Sunday, September 30, 2007

Card Weaving Help

I used the leftover warp from the failed hot-pad project and warped a new card weaving belt. The threads got a bit tangled, but eventually everything was all set and I started winding the warp onto the back beam of my new rigid heddle loom.

The warping didn't get too far before a helper appeared! Isn't she cute? The loom is big enough that she can sit inside it! So, the warping slowed down for a bit.

Eventually, the warping could progress, and the weaving went quickly. Now I have about two yards belt fabric!

This is a 4-hole card weaving pattern. The two cards at each end have the same color yarn in each hole. The center cards have two grey and two blue threads in varying positions. The front and back of the belt fabric is shown.


Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Right Tool

I once had a co-worker tell me the importance of using the right tool. Even if you knew how to use a hammer really well, it just wasn't the best tool for cutting, say...window glass.

Well, I have a new tool. My little rigid heddle loom is awesome! It's like the first loom Martin made for me, with all the bells and whistles added! The heddle is only semi-rigid, though. It's made with texsolv heddles that can be shifted from side to side. That becomes important later on!

I got the loom two weeks ago. I used the leftover warp that was on it to get the feel for the loom, then warped to make a bag handle. I am really pleased with how it turned out! And the loom, while it is bulky, was portable and I took it outside and wove while the kids played.

Last night I warped and wove project #2 on the new loom. I had made some knitted I-cord with some handspun yarn and wanted something ala potholders to show off the color variations.

(I'm only mildly crazy. The 16 yard skein of I-cord was knit with a mechanical cord knitter.
I couldn't do that much I-cord with double points!) I was hesitant to try this. Using a warp this thick would be like rag weaving which requires lots of beating. But, what could I do? I'm using the floor loom to hold 15 yards of muslin fabric for a few days, so it was unavailable!

Well, the project produced one potholder. I had warped enough for 8, but it was a painful process. The texsolv heddles moved just enough that the warp threads would bunch together. The comb that I was using to pack the weft in worked, but I couldn't pack it tight enough. And on and on!

I will try my potholders again in a week or so on the floor loom. In the mean time, I wonder what pattern I should make for my next belt?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Knitting Lessons

I am knitting a sweater for my oldest. It was originally planned for a birthday present, but is now online for Christmas (I hope!).

It's a cardigan from a 1999 Knitters Magazine. I really like the style of the pattern. See all the neat little stitch patterns? They are easy to do and look so nice in the picture!

Do you see any such stitch patterns in my work? Hmm. That's why this post is titled "Knitting Lessons". I'm learning a lot about knitting. Lesson #1 is stitch definition. There is no stitch definition in the biggest piece in the picture--it is knit on US7 needles. The middle piece, on US5's is better, but it's not until I used the US2's that the piece started looking, and surprisingly, feeling, like a sweater. (My photography skills leave a lot to be desired here. There really is stitch definition in the small swatch!)

One of the reasons why this sweater wasn't finished in time for the birthday was a concern about sizing. The big piece of knitting on the right is not a swatch. I was knitting the sweater and the body is halfway done. I got to looking at it and realized that it might be too small.

Lesson #2. Body measurements are not always the same as finished sweater measurements. Knitting Daily ( had some great comments about ease--positive and negative ease--in sweaters. I had inadvertently forgotten to allow for ease in this sweater! The big piece is headed to the frog pond.

Since I was going to redo the knitting anyway, I decided it worth my while to do a better job at swatching. I did swatch before...but I think I knit a sample on the US7's and said,"Oh. That will work!" and started knitting. This time, I want stitch definition. I want this sweater to feel comfortable cozy! I want the finished project to be worth the amount of time I'm about to invest in it! I think I've set myself up to do a cardigan on size 2 needles!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Tiny Shed Trouble (and resolution!)

I was having a "wee little bit o' trouble" with my handspun warp. The fibers were just hairy enough that they stuck together! So, I changed from a 20 ends per inch threading through the reed to 10. That put one end through each slot in the reed. But I was still having trouble. When I lifted each shaft by itself I got a decent shed. When I lifted two together I got 1" tops and the resting threads went slack. Ick.

My weaving group at yahoo came up with some good suggestions on how to improve the shed. But the real solution came from another pair of eyes.

I had called my husband over so he could have a good laugh with me. I had made some adjustments to the warp, forgot to put the front palls back on the ratchet and tried to weave. The warp threads went into a wild dance of semi-organized chaos! While we laughed together, he peeked at the back of the loom and said, "Why did you take the back beam out?"

???! This was one of those wonderful moments where you realize you didn't plug the dumb appliance in! I hadn't warped the loom correctly! The warp was going directly from the back apron to the heddles.

In retrospect, I know how this happened. This is the first time I used a dummy warp. When I tied my handspun warp to the dummy warp, I forgot to put the dummy over the back beam.

Now I know.

I was so happy to discover (1) that my loom worked just fine and (2) real 4" sheds that I sang my way to the end of the warp. The scarf/shawl is soaking now as I type.

Here's a shot of the weaving in progress.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Frogs and Finished Items

I needed a "quick" project. No particular reason, except that I needed to feel like I had accomplished something and actually finished a project!

This is a worsted weight superwash merino yarn that I spun from one of Amy King's (aka. Boogie) rovings.

The first photo is a set of mittens that got frogged. The one on the left was a wee bit to small for the baby, and the one on the left had an odd thumb--too balloony!

I frogged back to the the ribbing. It's a k2,p2 rib with a cross over in the middle (see the darker photo. It was hard to catch the pattern with the flash.) The final mittens had decent looking thumbs and I think they will fit the now sleeping babe.

There's a little hat to go with the mittens. I think it may get a pompom tomorrow.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


These are the yarns I took with me to the Monrovia Fall Festival. I was invited to demonstrate spinning for the Indiana Traditional Arts Center. The yarns are just extras from my own collection that don't currently have projects. I had hoped to sell a few skeins. None sold.

A couple of people did stop by to talk and learn more about spinning. At least two of these people then took tours of the Arts Center! Hooray! The demo was successful!

And, at the end of the day, I had two sales. Two young girls (maybe 12 years old) to see what I was doing and fell in love with the color of some of my rovings. So they each bought a little ball. I don't think they know what they bought, but they sure thought they were pretty!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Bag, Baby!

This is my last minute bag creation. It's 6 1/2 inches tall and about 5 inches across. The fabric is handwoven (it's a piece from a sampler I made last year!) with a small piece of purchased fabric for the base of the lining.

The warp is a cotton (perhaps 5/2). The weft has a gold boucle mystery yarn, a tan chenille mystery yarn, and a red mercerized cotton (perhaps 20/2).

The warp threading is a combination of tabby and basket weave.

Here's the bag with it's lining showing.

This is the fabric still attached to the sampler.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Card or Tablet Weaving

Oh, dear! I've done it again! I've found something else that is absolutely fascinating to do! Cardweaving is a mindboggling way of making cords and belts with punched cards holding the threads and keeping them in order. See the huge pack of cards on the cover of the book? Each of those cards has 4 threads that it controls. Each turn of cards (1/4 turn actually) brings a different thread to the surface of the work.

I wasn't very brave and made my first project very simple! I used only three cards and each card had 4 threads of the same color. My first piece is in the picture with the book. The center white line has a zig-zag effect because of the way I turned the cards 4-1/4 turns forward, followed by 4-1/4 turns backwards. My second piece has the white line without zigs or zags, but the entire piece twists. I turned the cards one direction for the entire piece.

See the twists?
I changed tensioning devices in the middle of the second piece and the change in my tension is obvious in person. The twisting of the piece at the beginning is less than at the end. Good to know--tension matters!

The book is "Card Weaving" by Candace Crockett. It belongs to my library...and it came complete with a set of cards! Now it's time to make myself a set!