Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Slow Cloth--Terry cloth Pile

The November/December 2010 issue of Handwoven Magazine focused on "Slow Cloth" and included a piece by Rita Buchanan on weaving terry cloth. I got bit by the "I wanna try it" bug and decided to give it a go.

To the left is a piece of a sampler that is in progress. The ground warp (light blue) is 10/2 cotton, as is the pile warp (purple). The weft is a 100% cotton sewing thread that I had on hand. My "dowels" that I am using to raise the pile into loops are really bamboo skewers from my kitchen.

It took a bit of sampling to figure out how to get the pile dense enough to feel like a towel. My first few attempts looked like a forest with too few trees!

My husband helped me design and make a second back beam for my Baby Wolf. I wasn't willing to spend a lot of money on the nice second back beams that Schacht makes for this loom just to try terry cloth pile. I run into this fairly regularly...I want to try things, but I'm not sure that I will do them often, so it's hard to spend a lot of money on the equipment to try the technique. This back beam is held on with c-clamps, making it very temporary, and only cost $10 for wood. There is no brake on the beam and I'm using a live weight tension on it. I'm really pleased how it is working!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Plethora of Projects

My blog posts have dwindled due to the nature of much of my projects lately. There was a pair of pants for my son (a Christmas present), a set of Barbie clothes for my daughter (a Christmas present), a wall hanging made of t-shirts and machine quilted for my husband (a Christmas present), and a pair of socks for me (a Stocking stuffer)....There seems to be a theme here!

I'll start with the socks because I have a photo of them. This is yarn that I dyed in the workshop with Rita Petteys back in May. It is a 100% merino wool, lace weight yarn. I'm not used to knitting with lace weight yarns, and these socks had almost 100 stitches per round! Needles to say, it has taken a long time to get these done! The socks were knit with two different patterns from Sensational Knitted Socks by Schurch. I knit the lace pattern first. After I got it done, I paused my sock knitting to work on my mittens for Alia (that eventually got frogged and sewn out of non-itchy polyeseter fleece) and I got a lesson in color/pattern combinations. So, by the time I came back to knit sock #2, I tried a different pattern (the basket-weave pattern in the top left sock in the photo). I liked the effect of the basket-weave pattern better than the lace. I thought that it showed the colors of the yarn better. But, when they are on my feet and I am looking at them from about 5' away, they both look just fine. Go figure! ;)

Here's the wall hanging for my husband. A friend of mine makes quilts from t-shirts and she is often sewing on the binding during storytime at the library. I love her sense of design and the way her use of scraps and pieces in between the big blocks of t-shirt art unifies her quilts. (Check out the 4th picture down on the link) Needless to say, I wanted to try my hand at this. I rescued two t-shirts from the rag bag, figured out how to prepare my machine for free motion quilting (actually, I knew how to make my machine ready...It's just that this time when I tried to make the feed dog covers go on, they actually did! Hooray!), and did some quilting. It was fun and I'm looking forward to doing more!