Monday, July 30, 2007

Tonna's Blanket

My just turned 7 year old made the 18 squares for this blanket. The yarn is Lion Brand Woolease (leftovers from other projects). Each square is roughly 4". The first few squares were hard for her, but by the end she could weave them with her eyes closed. I'm so proud of her!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Plain Weave Challenge

I have read that plainweave is not something for beginning weavers. It's harder than it looks!

The good news is that my selvages look ok. I'm really pleased with them!

Can you see the tracking? The reed is threaded 1-2-2-2 and the tracking matches with the single thread in the reed. Theoretically the fabric will relax and that will disappear when I wet finish it.

The frustration is that my throwing of the shuttle often (once every 3" or so) catches some of the wrong threads. If I catch it early enough I back up and fix the error. If I don't catch it, I've given myself permission to shrug my shoulders and call this a learning/imperfect piece. A friend thinks no one will notice (Ha!). I believe her enough to keep going and not kill myself over these imperfections...but I know they are there!

Dye Day

When the temperature drops enough that I can run the oven I dye! These two rovings were inspired by the dyes left in my dye-bottles. The first one is mostly red and green...with a hint of magenta. I call it "Not-quite Christmas".

The second set has greens, blues, and pink. It's really pretty. It was so nice that I had to take a bit and see how it looked spun. I like it!

Oven dyeing like this is still an art form that I'm working on mastering. I soak the rovings in warm water and white vinegar. Then I drain the rovings, place them in my oven dyepots, and squirt acid dyes on them. I've learned that I like a lot of dye (intense colors, fewer white sections), but there is still a puddling effect with the dyes on the bottom layer in the dyepot. I place the pots in a cool oven, set the temp for 350 F and the timer for 30 minutes. When the timer dings, out come amazing surprises!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

In the works

This is a swatch for a handspun/handknit sweater. The yarn is almost all spun. The birthday date looms near! Time to get the swatch done so I can make the calculations to determine (aside from just how crazy I am!) if I have enough yarn to do this!

The pattern (which does not want to photograph well) is Peerie Brocade by Charlie Hada from the Fall '99 issue of Knitter's Magazine.

The Power of Knowledge (and Experience)

The men and women of Wabash Weavers are amazing! Last time I put an 11 yard warp on this loom it took me at least a week to comb out all the tangles and get it beamed.

This time it took less than 1/2 hour! Some of the tricks I used: (1) a warping paddle to keep multiple threads from tangling as I wrapped them around the pegs on the warping board. (2) two rolls of brown paper set up so they rolled onto the backbeam without human interference (3) the "pullbackhard/snap" technique to straighten the threads from the warp chains.

Thank you all for your suggestions on improving the warping process! The last time was drudgery. This was bliss!

Here is the first few inches of weaving. As I went back to take this photo I discovered a threading error right in the middle of the piece. Hmm. What method am I going to use to fix this? (Tune in next time! :)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Not Again!

Yup. I'm at it again. This is the second 11-yard warp for front room curtains. No, I haven't sewn the first set yet. This is the fabric for the windows on the north side of the room. I'm not sure yet if it will be the same diamond twill pattern as the first set or if I'll just weave it plain.

Right now I have the entire warp measured and threaded through the reed. I'm close to the halfway point of threading the heddles (I am threading the diamond pattern, I just don't know if I'll use it yet!).

From past experience, I know that this is still the easy part of dressing my loom with a warp this long. Last time when I wound the warp on the back beam I had so many tangles that I had to painstakingly comb out the warp. This time I hope to have to do that less. I used a paddle to help separate the threads as I wrapped them on the warping board and I have been trying very hard to keep things tangle free (I know it doesn't look that way from the mess of warp chains, but I'm trying!!!).

Cast-On (a podcast for episode #51 reminded me why I do some of this crazy stuff. I used to be a Camp Fire Blue Bird (similar to the Brownies/Girl Scouts) and part of the "Camp Fire Wish" --which I looked up after listening to the episode--contains the phrase "remember to finish what I begin". It's the only phrase I remember from the Wish. But I was so terrible at finishing things back then that it's the one I repeated the most! And so now, years later, I do crazy deeds like repeating the longest weaving I've ever done...because I want to finish the project I have already begun. :)