Thursday, December 31, 2009

Surprise! Knitting Content!

This was a great photo shoot! My six, almost seven-year-old was thrilled to get new mittens (especially wool ones--they are good for keeping the hands warm while playing in the snow!). Here he is expressing mock surprise. I haven't knit for months!

The yarn: hand-dyed, handspun wool, Navajo plyed into a three-ply yarn.

Gauge: 5 sts/inch
Pattern taken from Ingrid & Inger Gottfridsson's The Mitten Book. (I used their directions for making the mittens, not any of their beautiful two color patterns.)

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Introducing Emilia

Here's my newest little loom: an Emilia rigid heddle loom by Glimakra.

These first few weeks of our relationship (is that the right term for a human/loom interaction?) have been bumpy, but seem to be resolving.

The biggest challenges have been the way the uprights sit (or don't sit) on the table...see how they are resting on the point, not flat on the cut angle? ....and getting a decent shed.

The shed issue has been mostly resolved by increasing the tension on the warp. The angle of the uprights on the table hasn't been resolved yet, but they work and don't mar my table, so it will be ok.

The warp on the loom? That is my next attempt at collapse weave. It's stripes of mercerized cotton and handspun wool singles. It's completely experimental--I'll let you know how it works out! :)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


I was needing to make some mittens (fast) and went searching for an old humanitarian aid pattern...that I couldn't find in the wonderful, many towered, layered space (aka mess!) I call my craft room!

Google helped and provided a link to a webpage that had a link to a pdf file of the pattern! Hooray!(if you want to find it, here's the link!)

I added a step to my mittens by putting a layer of quilting fabric on the outside and quilting two simple lines down the center to hold them together. They turned out cute...a few quirks, but cute.

Quirk #1. While I can get my hands into the mittens (size L pattern), they are a bit tight. The next pair I make will have the quilting cotton on the bias to give it a little more stretch. These fit my 9 year old just fine.

Quirk #2. The thumb gusset got caught oddly in the side seam. It's not uncomfortable, it just doesn't lay pretty. I'll need to play around with that seam construction a bit before I give any away.

Monday, December 07, 2009


Jacey Boggs has an article in the winter 2009 Spin-Off magazine on making coiled yarns.

I've tried this sort of thing before--the basic idea is to spin a thick/thin single and ply it with a thin single--but I really enjoyed Jacey's detailed instructions.

More than anything I liked her instructions on re-training our hands. Here is one of her quotes: "It reminds hands that are so used to drafting and spinning evenly that they are doing something different." I appreciate built in reminders that I am doing something different!

My yarn is nice. It's slightly over twisted, but not too bad. It's slightly more lumpy than coiled...the last technique along these lines that I tried was a lump technique and old memory plus a weak plying single (poor thing kept getting unspun and pulling apart!) lead me to do more lumps than coils! That's ok though. This is a learning experience!

And I got to spin cool yarn! That is awesome!

Saturday, December 05, 2009


Two bits of information landed in my brain at just the right time this week. First a WeaveZine interview with Sharon Alderman, where Sharon mentioned her method of sampling with different setts. Second, a post on Fibers of Being called "Silk Chenille Sampler" which also made use of various setts in the same sample warp.

I am getting ready to do some weaving with my "yard sale yarns". This particular yarn is a 16/2 cotton/poly (50/50) blend and it is finer than my typical 10/2 cotton warps.

I needed to sample, but I was not looking forward to putting on multiple scarf type warps to play with appropriate setts, etc.

The answer, from the above mentioned sources, is do use multiple setts in the same warp! Go figure!

Based on an estimated sett from the measured wraps per inch divide by two, I chose a sett looser than the estimate, one at about the estimate, one at the estimate plus 1/4 and one at the estimate plus ~1/3.

I'm weaving tabby--one for each sett--and twill. The sections are threaded for both straight twill and point twill. Hooray! I'm learning lots and will have an amazing sampler to keep when I'm done! Thanks, weavers, for sharing your techniques!