Tuesday (of last week): While shopping for buttons for my handwoven vest, I caved to my almost 4-year-old's desire for "ducky" buttons. There were three of them on the button card. They were cute. They were yellow with orange beaks. And, they had entertained her for the 20+ minutes while I debate over my buttons. How could I not say "yes"?
Tuesday night, trying desperately to make use of this frivolous purchase (they were purchased with the caveat that they would be used on her birthday cake, but really...what does one do with ducky buttons?), I decided to make a handwoven jacket.
It would be perfect! A use for the buttons, a use for some stash yarns, and to top it all off, the girl needs a new jacket! Woo-hoo!
Wednesday: Calculations-check. Warp measured-check. Ten inch sample woven-check. Things are going great-opps! I started to get distracted. I tossed the sample into the wash without measuring it first. I didn't like the look of the stripes, so I swapped them out for a different yarn. The new yarn was too bumpy to go through the reed. Removed new yarn. Resleyed the reed to try a tighter sett. Noticed a threading error in the newly resleyed warp. Forget it! At this point it's just a sampler. I can deal with a threading error.
The sampler is ugly. It feels like cardboard (even wet finished). The color combos don't do anything pretty. It visited my weaving guilds on both Friday and Saturday because it was so awful!
Saturday night: Inspiration (or desperation--the child's birthday is Wed!) hits! I'll weave this thing as a twill shadow weave piece. If I'm careful with my packing, I can avoid the cardboard effects of the sampler. Worst case scenario, it will end up like my sampler! Also, it's not going to be a real coat. It's going to be a play cloak. Now I don't have to worry about it playing in the sand box or in the mud. Whew!
300 ends, half pale yellow, half shiny white, measured and threaded on the loom. I wouldn't have made it without my husband who read the threading to me. It was slow going, but we only were 1/2 an hour late to bed.
Sunday: my day of rest. Really. I looked at the loom. I woke up knowing how to fix a problem from the night before, but I waited.
Monday: Let the weaving begin. I fixed the threading problem--the right hand threads were running into unused heddles. I shifted the reed to the left about 1". Problem solved! The warp got tied onto the front apron, and I wove like the wind! I probably got a solid two hours of weaving done before lunch. (Many thanks to the electronic babysitter!) After lunch, I got to weave in 30 min. bursts. Even so, the piece was off the loom and wet finished by 2pm.
The cloak was cut out and ready to sew before I went to bed that night (and I wasn't even late for bedtime! :)
Tuesday: I sewed the hood first. It turned out to be too small. I cut a new hood (in a different style than the original) and continued on. The cloak was all together and on the hanger by 2pm. I let it rest and stretch overnight.
Wednesday (the birthday-day): Took down a load of laundry. Snuck off to iron the hem. The birthday girl requested a movie. Brought the cloak with me and handsewed the hem and attached the "ducky" buttons as closure at the neck. Tried making a crocheted loop for the buttons. Didn't like it. Got out the kumihimo stand I had made. Took it with me to play group. Made my braid and the button loop while the kids played. Came home. Sewed the loop on to the cloak. Gently, but quickly, folded the cloak and put it in a gift bag. Taped it shut. Breathed a sigh of relief!
Why do I do this to myself?!?
For the record, I am pleased as all get-out with the fabric. My stiff-as-a-board sampler is only 5" wide. My fabric was 30" wide on the loom. What a difference! I knew I wouldn't be able to pack it as tightly as the sampler, and I didn't want it to be like the sampler...but who knew that it would turn out so nicely!
The shadow weave pattern I used is from Strickler's 8-Shaft Pattern book (I think it's #301) and makes me think of leaves. Even though the contrast of the yarns I used isn't great, I can still see the undulating lines that look leafy to me.
And better yet, my now 4-year-old daughter likes her "Hobbit" cloak.