Monday, March 24, 2008

Cable Socks

Hooray! My socks are finished! This pair was supposed to be a simple, mindless knitting project. Ha! Cables aren't mindless--not hard, mind you, just not mindless! And, of course, I modified the pattern to accommodate my handspun yarn. Modifications often aren't mindless!

Well, the good news is that these socks are soft and comfy and pleasantly stretchy. I think they will wear well for years to come!

The pattern: 3x3 cable with moss stitch, pg. 68 of "Sensational Knitted Socks" by Charlene Schurch. The yarn: hand-dyed, handspun cotswold wool. 2-ply. (~lace weight)
The modifications: increase two of the moss stitch sections from 5 to 7 stitches. (In retrospect I'm not sure this was necessary. It seemed important at the time--especially since my last pair of handspun socks are tight on me.)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Look What Followed Me Home!

This 40" 8H Macomber loom followed me home yesterday. Much like the story of my husband and his first cat (his mother watched him lug the cat up the front walk and carry it into the house before he said,"Mom, it followed me home. Can I keep it?") I have been watching various loom sale sites for weeks. I even looked at a new 8H loom a week or two ago to see if I was ready to invest in it! When this loom was offered for sale, I called the very same day!

What do I plan to weave first? Well, eventually I want to weave some huck lace pillowcases from an old issue of Handwoven magazine. In the mean time, my first project will probably be "thank you" towels for all the people who helped me get this loom home. There is a draft for shadow weave towels (6 very different towels on the same warp!) in one of my Handwoven magazines. It will be a fun place to start weaving!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Pleasing Purple

After staring at the loom for twenty minutes and sleeping on the question of what to do to improve my shed, I finally un-threaded the heddles (making a cross as I went) and re-threaded the loom.

Look at that shed!!!

The key point in putting in the work to re-thread the loom was my need to learn how to work with fuzzy threads. Now I know that fuzzy threads need to be in separate dents --especially if they are going through different heddles.

The new threading is straight twill (1,2,3,4) with doubled threads (two threads together in a dent, going together through a heddle). I chose to use a basket weave structure (raise shafts 1,2 followed by 3,4) is ease of treadling. This loom has direct tie-up (4 shafts, 4 treadles) by putting each foot on two treadles I can easily treadle "left, right, left, right" without thinking about the treadling--perfect for a demonstration situation!
Here's the finished scarf. The decorative "dots" are hand-dyed, hand-spun wool in shades of purple, blue, and yellow. The dots are like little windows of color that liven up the piece!

Odd Personality Quiz

Your Personality is Very Rare (INTP)

Your personality type is goofy, imaginative, relaxed, and brilliant.

Only about 4% of all people have your personality, including 2% of all women and 6% of all men

You are Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, and Perceiving.

How Rare Is Your Personality?

One of my good friends took this quiz...I liked how it described her, so I took it too! I like the fact that it picked up on the goofy side of my personality. Hooray for being goofy!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Here's the latest bit of weaving. It's an purple sparkly warp with a few threads of a boucle added for visual interest. There are two different weft threads in the test bit I've woven. I like the look of the loose warp.

Unfortunately, this warp is likely to be cut off. I wove all of three inches yesterday due to terrible sticky warp issues. --Look at this picture! The boucle threads separate easily from the purple...but the purple sticks to itself terribly!

There are a couple of fixes I could try, but right now I'm not sure it's worth the time and effort. The boucle isn't as pretty as I had hoped. I could just cut it out, but then I'd have a plain purple warp.... The decision make process is more complex since this warp was going to be used for demonstration weaving.... Deep sigh.

On other fronts, I bought some Bambu7 from Tabby Tree Weaver last week. I dyed half the yarn cherry red and am looking to warp up a scarf. The yarn is soft and silky (even after dyeing!). This stuff feels nice!

Monday, March 10, 2008

It's Only Yarn

No photo of this minor disaster. My scissors were sitting on the loom where I was sleying the reed. I got up to take a break and play with the kids. I returned to the loom, sleyed the last bit of warp...and noticed some breaks in the first set of warp threads. Then I noticed more "breaks". A significant number of clean-cut scissor type breaks. There is a reason why I didn't want to leave my scissors out on the loom.

I took the culprit away from her toys and sat her on my lap (she was howling at this point...I think she knew she was in trouble) and told her there was a problem and asked her to help me fix it. She stopped crying long enough to look up when I asked her to be my helper. We took the cut section of warp off the loom, and I took her back upstairs to her toys.

It's only yarn. It was at the edge (not the center) of the warp. It's only yarn. It's only yarn. It's only yarn.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Double Weave Introductions

My 5 year old son was very excited when he saw that I was going to be weaving a fish, and he promptly gave it a name--Harry. When he realized that Harry had a brother, we had to come up with a second name! My great uncle was named Harry, and he had three brothers. I was glad when my grandfather's name, Fred, was chosen.

So, without further ado, here are the double weave fish brothers--Harry & Fred! (And yes, the white of the fish on the left should be the same color as the background of the fish on the right...I am still learning to work with photoshop to improve my pictures!)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Selvage Lessons

I wove a little scarf to test a new-to-me loom (on loan from my weaving guild).

The scarf turned out to be a lesson in selvages. Sometimes the selvage would be beautifully straight and even. Sometimes the selvage would be terribly loose and uneven!

Here is an example of the uneven section. I discovered that I was making my weft angle too big, and the extra yarn was ending up at the selvage.

Here is a section with a nice, even selvage. The weft was only about an inch above the edge of the fabric.

And this is where the lesson learned with my scarf became useful! This is a very narrow piece of double weave fabric (a learning sample, of course!). It's made by passing the shuttle through the warp in a "c" shape.

The open ends do well with a low weft keeps the selvages looking nice. But the center needs the extra yarn so it doesn't draw in and create a pucker in the fabric.

Look at the top center of this piece. See how close the dark blue lines are to each other? I was using the same weft angle for all shots.

Look at the middle of the piece. The blue lines are further apart...and no pucker in the fabric. The weft angles were different...small on the open edges, large on the closed edge. When the fabric came off the loom the closed edge was loose in the area where I used different angles, but after wet finishing the looseness tightened perfectly!