Saturday, January 22, 2011

Quick Weaving

It didn't take long for this project to get on and off the loom. It is a "thick and thin" four-harness weave structure. It was easy to put on and easy to weave...and it's done--wet finished, pressed, and awaiting final decisions on the bag it's going to become.

The thin yarn is a 10/2 cotton; the thick is a 4/2 cotton.

I ran into challenges with my "new" method of warping back to front. When I warp with one color of yarn, it is easy enough to put the lease sticks through the cross, thread a rod through the end of the warp cross, lash on to the back beam and wind the warp. Color changes every few threads is not easy on my warping reel, so I wound two warps--one thick, one thin--and then needed to combine them and get them on the back beam and then threaded without making a mess of the order of the threads.

I ended up using a set of lease sticks for each warp and then carefully picked up threads from each lease stick with my rod to get them lashed to the back beam. It was a little challenging getting the threads picked off the lease sticks and onto the rod, but it did work. Whew!

I found this pretty piece in the kids' dress up box this week. It is (was) a chenille poncho for my then three year old son made by my cousin, Ruthie. Over the years it has been worn as intended, worn as a costume accessory, and played with in countless ways. The yarns are beautiful. When I saw it languishing in the costume box, I couldn't handle it anymore. Such beautiful yarns need to be used!

So, I carefully frogged the knitted poncho and now have some chenille yarn to play with. What am I going to do with it? I'm not sure yet! I know that chenille is not good for warp, so I've got to go digging through my library for ideas on how to show case these yarns (there were two yarns knit together). Stay tuned for future developments!

(edited to add: I may be wrong about chenille in the warp. A quick search on Weavolution showed that it gets used as a warp lots...just keep the tension gentle on the warp and sett it for the core yarn, not the pile. Now to dream of how to use this chenille! :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

All Because of Ellen....

I'm going to blame this pretty piece on my friend Ellen. She is a felter, as well as a very accomplished weaver and she loves reds.

I've been reading a number of different things about felting knitting and weaving and came across the idea of starting the felting process by hand (hot water w/soap, followed by a cold water plunge--repeated a few times as desired) then putting the piece in the dryer to finish it off.

I tried it. I liked it!

The piece in the photo was handspun Romney wool that I dyed (a two-ply yarn) alternating with a commercial wool that I had dyed Turkey red in a dyeing class. It was woven in plain weave with the yarns sett at 6 epi and the weft at 6 ppi. It was kind of lacy and open when I took it off the loom! I did two hot water/cold water washes with it then put it in the dryer! Voila! The open plain weave piece turned into a beautiful piece of felt (30% shrinkage in both directions) ! I am so pleased! I'm so pleased that I've been spinning and spinning to make more yarn so I can weave and felt more!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Tactile Projects

This is one of those moments when I wish photos allowed for tactile experiences. This terry cloth/pile sample has been washed and I love how it feels!

And this is my latest, finished knitting project: "The Proverbial Cap" by Meg Swansen. It is an exercise in twisted stitch knitting where the knit stitches are knit backwards or twisted and there are many single stitch cable-type crossovers. I've wanted to try this for some time and finally got a copy of Interweave Knits Fall 2010 magazine which has the pattern for this cap and a number of different suggestions for working this type of knitting. The yarn is Cascade 220...I know, I's a commercial yarn! However, I really wanted a solid color yarn to show off the texture of the patterns and I needed a yarn that I didn't care about ruining in case I had to rip it out multiple times. It took me about 10 rows to try a non-cable-needle assisted cable, but I did it and enjoyed it!

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Bits and Pieces

I did a bit of quilting. The frog is from one of my daughter's favorite t-shirts and is set in remnants from my first quilting project. The ducky flannel back was my daughter's choice. The blanket is small--just right for her newest babydoll.

This was my first attempt at shoemaking. I've borrowed a copy of "Crafting Handmade Shoes" by Sharon Raymond and am hoping to make some shoes for me and my family. This pair of doll shoes (in felt) was a start. I've been given some leather and leather working tools to help me in this project. I'm a bit clueless, but I'm getting started!

This collection of fabric is the start of a three year quilting project. The fabric will get turned into three stacks of 9" quilt blocks this year, and then over the next few years (maybe it will take four or five years!) get turned into Christmas quilts for my children. In 2004 (I checked the date!) I participated in a Quilt Block of the Month Club organized by The Quilt Patch in Tecumseh, Michigan. For $5, I bought my first pattern and fabric and for the next 11 months, returned to the store with my finished block and punch card to get my next pattern and fabric free. The blocks eventually got put together and quilted and have become our Christmas Quilt. Every year it gets pulled out and snuggled under for the entire month of December. We love it!

The challenge is that my children have grown. The two I had back when I made the quilt have grown considerably, and the one that arrived after the quilt was made has gotten bigger too! I have decided that they each need their own quilt. Wish me luck!