Sunday, January 27, 2008

Fearless Knitting

I have been reading the "Handweaver's Pattern Directory" by Anne Dixon. The first time through I was amazed. The second time through (ok. I'm not reading all the text each time, but I'm looking through it for inspiration and instruction) I was inspired. By the third time through, fear had gripped me. --I don't know how to use color. I am the colorless queen. I'm the girl who sends pink and variegated pink yarn to her grandmother to make a baby blanket...and the grandmother comments under her breath about the lack of color sense and then proceeds to add two more yarns(blue and turquoise) and make a blanket that is gorgeous!

I read the "Knitting Daily" site hosted by Interweave press and they recently talked about "fearless knitting". One of the comments was something to the effect of "it's just yarn and sticks, knit stitches and purl stitches. What is so scary about that!?"

That's when I decided it was time to conquer my fear. I know nothing about color. And I am still a bit intimidated by the color work in the pattern directory, but I now know how my eight colors of 10/2 cotton work together.

I warped an 8" x 2 yard sampler. Each color was one inch in the reed with a sett of 30 epi. I played around with the color order on a little card before I warped the loom, so I knew I liked this color order better than others I had tried.

The first thing I learned was that a twill sett (30 epi) and tabby weaving produce a warp faced fabric. Actually, I "knew" that. But maybe this time I will remember it! The twill weaving 1/3 and then 2/2 worked just great at the twill sett.

I tried some of the weft color changes suggested in the pattern directory. They worked just fine. I'm not sure that I'm in love with any of the patterns yet, but it was good to try them and do some work with two shuttles.

Near the end of my warp I cut the sample off and re-sleyed the reed at 23 epi and did a second section of tabby. What a difference! I actually wove a balanced tabby!

The pictures from top to bottom in the post are 1)twill sett tabby, 2) tabby sett tabby, 3)twill sett stripes, and 4) a bobbin wound with four different bits of yarn. The bobbin worked just fine when I tucked the tail from each color in under the last wrap to keep it from unwinding while I wove with a different color.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Little Knitting

I've started two new knitting projects: a 3x3 cable sock from "Sensational Knitted Socks" and the "Oak Leaf & Acorn" scarf from Fiber Trends.

But, check out the weaving text behind my cabled sock. It's new to my weaving guild's library...and it's a wonderful book!

There are photos of both front and back of the pieces, photos with various color combinations of weft, photos with various warp color threadings!

I think I may need to get my own copy of this book...but until then, I love my guild library!

This is 1.5 repeats of the oak leaf section of the scarf. This one may take me a while to complete. Lace takes patience and clear thinking for me...two things I don't always have when it comes time to work on projects!

Sample Collection & Scarf

Here's my latest scarf. It's an "accidental" finished object. The real project was this multi-colored X & O scarf. The front and back were so different that I decided it wouldn't make a good scarf and turned the warp into a sampler.

The finished scarf is made with an acrylic warp and a faux fur yarn as weft in plain weave.

The original scarf was a rayon slub single for the weft. I really like the colors! I may yet use this fabric for .... I'm sure something will come to mind!

Here are the other two bits of the "sampler". The red, pink and green stripes on the left are from a hand-dyed and hand-spun wool (aka. a failed warp from Dec. '07). The yarn on the right is actually a hand-dyed, hand-spun wool yarn that was knit into an I-cord. I used it in plain weave. The other yarn was woven in the MW pattern that makes the x's and o's.

More yarns...from right to left: a highly textured novelty yarn (cotton/acrylic blend), 5/2 mercerized cotton, handspun wool (sport weight), I don't remember the blue-ish stripe, but the green is a mercerized cotton...maybe 20/2. The last stripe is the knitted I-cord from above.

Monday, January 07, 2008

A little Batty

With temperatures above 40F I have been able to get the drum carder out in the mud room/porch and prepare a new blend of spinning fibers!

This is commercially processed roving (I think it was a Romney fleece) blended with hand washed and carded mohair locks. The roving was a brownish-grey and the mohair was a black and silver-grey mixture. I used about 75% wool and 25% mohair.

It spins up pretty nicely. This is about 1 ounce. I have 5 more batts to spin and then it will be time to debate about dyeing. I could leave them brown/grey and do a simple cable sock....or I could do 20 yard skeins and paint the yarn for self-striping socks. Hmm. Natural colors may win for this batch!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

New Project & Angle of View

This is my latest weaving project. It is a twill pattern with a 18 thread repeat pattern. It looks so cool! The warp is "100% acrylic" 2-ply and the weft is a rayon slub yarn.

I often invite (pull, push, require) my husband to come look at my latest project. He knows how to say the right "oo's" and "aahs". With this project he noticed the O's in the weaving, but spent a lot of time discussing the color variation of the weft. I had him move from right in front of the piece off to the side where the light was. "Oh, wow!", he said. All of a sudden the weave structure was much more apparent than the color!

Here' a series of photos taken to show some of what he saw. The light by my loom comes from a fluorescent ceiling lamp and is to the left of the loom. That is "angle #1". The light bouncing off the weft highlights the weave structure and makes it look incredible! (All these photos were taken without a flash so the room light would be the biggest influence on pattern visibility.)

This is the image taken straight on--as if sitting down at the loom to weave. The pattern is still visible, but it doesn't pop-out as it did from the first angle.

And this is from the far right of the loom--the side opposite the light. --Where did the weave structure go? The pooling effects of the weft are all I can see from this angle.

Who would have guess that lighting and angle of sight would make such a difference in the appearance of a fabric!

And, just because the fabric is different on the front and the back, I laid on the treddles and took this shot looking up at the back of the fabric! --Isn't weaving incredible!?!

Finished Projects

This sweater is a toddler sized (I hope!) version of a sweater my Grandmother made for me years ago. My old one was alive with colors--blue and pink and almost any other color you can think of! This one (I don't have my grandmother's amazing color sense) makes use of the color variation in the yarn. I like how it turned out! I hope the little one I made it for will like it too!

Ahh, Curtains! As I sewed these I realized that I have sewn curtains for every house we've been in! Amazing! I have had the fabric for these for almost (or maybe more than) a year. It took the death of a mini-blind to push these from the "still to do list" to the "completed projects".

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Finishing Details

Check out my new curtain ties! I made these on the inkle loom. They are the same yarns as the curtains -5/2 mercerized cotton- and are roughly twenty threads wide.


I like these so much better than the twisted yarn ties I had made! They are more elegant, more finished...I like my curtains even better now!