Sunday, September 29, 2013

Prizes, Yarn Uses, Finished Scarf

Robin's multi-colored cotton boucle on the loom

I follow Robin Edmunson's blog "Rurification".  She lives within a couple hours of my home and posts wonderful suggestions of ways to use the local harvest.  My favorite food thing she suggested was making chive flower vinegar.  My youngest loved our chives and was thrilled when we put the chive flowers into the vinegar and it turned the vinegar pink, her favorite color!

This summer Robin had several give-aways on her blog.  One of them was some hand-dyed cotton boucle yarn and the pattern to crochet it into a shawl.  I entered....and won the yarn!  I was excited!  I tried crocheting the shawl pattern.  It didn't make my socks go up and down.  So, I found an alternate use for the yarn.  I wove it in a deflected doubleweave piece and turned it into a scarf.  Tee-hee!  Deflected double weave gives great dimensionality to a woven piece!

This weave structure is referred to as "Marshmallows" Madeline van der Hoogt and "Cloudy Day" by the designer, Lynn Tedder.  The draft is available in Handwoven magazine, Jan/Feb 2001,p.62-67.  The squares of cotton on the scarf puff out and push in....I love it!

The concept of deflected double weave is still a bit mind boggling.  Essentially two layers of cloth are woven at the same time on the loom (that's the double weave part) and the two layers are next to each other.  Upon removal from the loom, the threads shift or deflect so they are on top of each other which creates the multi-dimensionality of the piece.   Additional interest can be created if the two layers are woven with felting vs. non-felting fibers.  A felting wool will not only deflect, but also shrink and can create amazing textures in the final pieces.

So far I've only woven two deflected doubleweave pieces, but I'm hoping to do more soon!

Just so I remember--I wound the dark purple warp threads on a fake second back beam.  I used the raddle for my Mighty Wolf to keep the purple threads separate from the variegated cotton ones.  The purple threads had a rod placed in the end loop of the warp, the rod was held next to a larger wooden stick, the the warp was rolled with paper as a separator.  I hung the sticks with the purple warp off the back beam and then added two cords with live weights (two 15oz cans of veggies vs. one smaller, perhaps 8oz, can of tomato paste for each cord).  It worked well!  Also, the dark purple threads are a recycled wool blend yarn.  It originally came to my house as a sweater dress.  I like it much better as a weaving yarn (even if I do have to ply it to give it enough strength for a warp!).

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Dog Sweaters

 A fellow I know from church needed a new sweater for his little dog.  He knows I am a fiber artist and spoke to me at one point last year, but nothing came of the idea of making a dog sweater.  This year, however, we connected and I have made two sweaters.
The green sweater is an old one that the dog has worn for years.  The special part is the sleeves for both the front and back legs.  The replacement is the blue one.  The yarns are 100% acrylic (blue) and an acrylic/wool blend (grey). The sweater was knit in 6 parts--4 legs, the back, and the chest--sewn together and stitches picked up to knit the ribbing for the neck.

If I were to redo the sweater, I would change the sleeves.  I used stockinette stitch for them and they have a tendency to curl.  I used a broken rib stitch for the body and it doesn't curl.  The broken rib stitch would have been better for the sleeves.

I made a second sweater for the dog.  This one is the one I really wanted to do!  It has a woven back piece with knit sleeves, neck and chest.  I was surprised that it took just as long to make this one as it did to make the knitted one.  
I crocheted around the top edge of the woven piece.  The piece has been felted so I don't think it would have frayed, but the crochet gave it a much more finished edge.  I sewed the underside of the piece rather than crochet on both sides of the edge.

I am hoping to get photos of the sweaters on the dog when the weather is cooler.  I'll post them here if I get them!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Crochet and Cat Repair

A friend recently moved and I finally made it over to see her new place.  While we sat and talked she started telling stories about her 6-toed cat.  He's a young thing, maybe five months old.  Because of his extra toes (6 on all 4 paws) he can do fun things like walk the rim of a cardboard box.  But, he's also gotten into some trouble.  He attacked the crocheted window hanging.  It came down with a crash in the middle of the night.  Apparently he attacked the crochet work, as well as brought it down from the window.

This piece was crocheted by my friend's mother and it has hung in her window for nearly 10 years.  I wasn't sure how well it would take to repairs, but I managed to reconnect most of the clawed crochet and reconnect it to it's wire rim.  The hardest part was choosing a green to replace the leaf.  
The photo shows the original.  It was really a brown/olive color.  The more I looked at it though, the more I realized that it was severely faded.  The broken threads showed a much brighter green that the surface of the piece.  I opted for a crochet thread that was similar to the inner color of the old thread.  It's acrylic, not cotton...a fact that I didn't realized until after I made the replacement leaf.  But, I like the color and it works well in the finished crocheted piece.