Thursday, November 29, 2007
So if over the past three years or so, I've really revved up my knitting (egged on by knitbloggers everywhere), bought a wheel, learned to spin, learned to weave, bought a loom (tomorrow! did I tell you I get it tomorrow?) - what's next? Tatting? Crocheting? Quilting?
Did I ever tell I used to quilt? I even had a quilt in this show, a long, long time ago, before I had a life...a story for another time.
I'm getting a loom, I'm getting a loom, happy dance, happy happy dance....
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Very, very nice. Not Malabrigo-soft, but I don't care. The selvedges turned out beautifully and I love the misty, pointillist quality of the yarns in close-up.
Alas, the weaving class has come to the official end, at least for me. I thought there was one more project to come, based on a comment of Donna's but I think when she mentioned something about a third warp, it was because she can read this obsessive mind of mine and she knew I would continue weaving. Luckily for me, the rest of the class is not nearly so obsessive and thus are not yet finished with their chenille scarves, so Donna is going to let me continue to borrow the loom, at least till January (minus this week, when she needs it for a demonstration). Yay! I am plotting something big (like a seamed blanket) and excessive (because I'm an obsessive over-achiever), but at least I'm planning on using up lots of stash as weft (I hope). As for the rigid heddle loom, well, I'm going to try using some Elsebeth Lavold Cotton patine as warp for a big runner/wrap/scarf thingy - I'm not sure how it will work, but it's fascinating to me, nonetheless.
Friday, November 23, 2007
It's amazing how much one can get done when one doesn't have to work. I did indeed get the rigid heddle loom warped with the five Harrisville Highland colors - Hemlock, Turquoise Tweed, Bluegrass, Woodsmoke, and Charcoal, should you care - and I've woven maybe two feet of it so far, in your basic tabby weave. Subtle, yet complex. I thought that the creativity in weaving would come all in the planning stages, but I'm happy to find that, as in this scarf, warping a medley of colors together randomly works well and the weaving itself, although I'm only using one color (Charcoal), is quick enough that I don't get bored. I can't wait to see how this unwashed wool will bloom when I wash and finished this scarf!Did I mention my next weaving class is tomorrow? [happy dance]
Thursday, November 22, 2007
So, about that weaving - here's the rayon chenille warp I put on my loaner loom last Saturday afternoon.
And here are the two six-foot scarves I finished last night.
Woot! Pretty! Take a closer look at the random walk twill on one of these. I like it, I like it! It reminds me of river currents, especially in these colors. I made this twill pattern up as I went along, and I enjoyed the freedom this gave me to create (a little) as I went along.
You know, I just may have pulled out the rigid heddle loom Earle gave me two Christmases ago, right after finishing these scarves. I just may have pulled out seven cones of Harrisville Highland wool from my stash (what, you don't stash in prep for possible future obsessions?! what's wrong with you?) and chosen five colors to use in a scarf for the long-suffering Earle. I just may have measured off the warp late last night and I just may have threaded the warp on the rigid heddle loom. For that matter, I just may be waiting impatiently for a reply to the email I sent to a seller on Craigslist, who is selling a 6-treadle LeClerc loom three towns over, for only $100. Not that I'm obsessed or anything. Not me.
And if you're really good, I'll show you the new warp tomorrow, the yarn and my patience willing.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
So, let us start with knitting, shall we?
I finished the Minimalist Cardigan about 10 days ago, and I love it! I have a few days right after I finished when I thought, eh, is this all there is? But I figure that was just a short bout of the baby blues, because I've worn it several times since I finished and I find it very comfortable and I get lots of compliments. I'd show you a photo of it on, but I can't get me, a photographer, and the sunshine to all be in one place at once.
Pattern: Minimalist Cardigan, by Ruthie Nussbaum, from Interweave Knits Fall 2007. I knit size 43 1/2.
Yarn: Malabrigo merino, in the color verdeazul, about 5.5 balls, which is just about the yardage the pattern called for. I am proud to say that this yarn was in my stash and that I bought it at a 40% off sale.
Needles: Clover bamboo circulars, size 7.
Stated: August 26, 2007.
Finished: November 9, 2007, just about 11 weeks, slightly over the 10 weeks I estimated it takes me to knit a sweater.
Modifications and Comments: The only thing I modified was the grafting at the back of the collar: I did a three-needle bind-off instead, because I simply couldn't deal with grafting.
I don't think it makes any difference in the final garment, and since the Malabrigo pills terribly when you mess with it, I think it would have been hell to graft with. Which reminds me: I didn't use the Malabrigo for seaming; I used some Paternayan needlepoint yarn I had around.
And speaking of pilling, the collar is already pilling, after only a few days of wear, but the moss stitch isn't pilling at all. Interesting, eh? I think I'll invest in a sweater stone.
The only other knitting I've been doing is this Big Bad Baby Blanket; I'm maybe one-third done. It's slow, but I'll keep plugging away on it. Luckily, this baby isn't due till mid-December.
In spinning news, here's a photo of the Ashland Bay merino/silk I spun up a while ago, but couldn't get a photo for you. I have no idea what the yardage is on this, except "a lot," because I couldn't stand to count that many strands in the skeins as I wound it off on a swift. I think I need a skeinwinder and/or one of those yardage counter doohickies.
Last weekend, I had such a strong urge to spin that I grabbed the nearest hank of hand-dyed top, some Romney in deep purples, browns, and silvers. Lovely stuff, and I'd tell you the dyer, except.... Well, anyway, I spun it up very quickly and loved it! It looked like a brocade sitting there on my bobbin! I'd show you a pic, but all the ones I took were blurry, and I loved it so much I immediately plied it with four colors of Shetland fingering-weight yarn that I had, and plunged the yarn into hot water with Eucalan.
In better spinning news, I have a new convert to introduce to you.
This is the lovely and talented Isabel. She is 13 and she is spinning her first-ever single on my Louet S10. She looks happy, doesn't she? Last Sunday, we had the second in a series of Second Sunday Soirees we're having at the Millers River Environmental Center, in Athol, MA - a chance to everyone to come hang out in the afternoon and knit, spin, weave, whatever (feel free to join us on December 9th!). Isabel came with her mom Pat and her sister Olivia. This is the same Isabel who went to Rhinebeck with Pat and me, and the same Isabel whose Shetland lamb fleece I bought at Rhinebeck. We are all very proud of Isabel, aren't we?
Finally, I have weaving news!
Last weekend, I started a four-part beginning weaving class at the North Quabbin Textile Studio, with Donna Cavagnac. Before the first class, Donna had each student pick out 4 or 5 colors of cotton, and Donna, bless her, warped the looms for us with five yards of striped warp. That meant that at the first class we could just start weaving away! Donna started us with a few inches of plain weave and then gave us some treadling instructions for different twill patterns. After a couple of hours, she sent us home with our looms (4-harness Schachts) and cones of cotton, with a homework assignment: weave off the warp. Boy, there's a lot of weaving in five yards of warp! I didn't finish until a couple of hours into yesterday's 6-hour class. I haven't washed these pieces yet, but here are a lot of photos of some of what I wove on that first warp.
The last three photos show the stretch where I used some of my knitting yarns as weft, just to play (note the leaves I should be/am not raking up). I really like how the textures of the cotton and the wool or silk or wool/viscose or whatever played off each other. I'm not so sure how these will wash up (and Donna was a little worried, too) but even if the piece gets ruined in the wash, it was worth it to learn how the textures worked with each other.
After we finished our cotton warps, Donna had each of us (there are 4 students) choose colors of rayon chenille to weave two scarves. Then we got to measure and wind off the warp ourselves, and warp the loom by ourselves (with a lot of help...). The next homework assignment: weave those two scarves, one in plain weave, one in twills. I suspect I'll be badly behaved and mix up twills and plain weave in both scarves.
So, I've been busy - how about you?
Sunday, November 04, 2007
So, enough of that. Let’s focus on what I have accomplished, OK?
For example, this lovely pile of Kool-Ade-dyed Border Leicester roving. Scrumptious, I must say. Downright edible. Makes one wonder exactly what our tummies look like after drinking Kool-Ade, doesn’t it? Anyhow, this is roving processed by Friends Folly Farm in Maine, from one of the Border Leicester Cross fleeces I bought last year from a local sheepherder. I’ve dyed yarn with Kool-Ade before with these instructions, but not roving, and I was a little anxious that the roving would turn out felted or ugly or bad in some way.
It didn’t. I can tell you that the process worked a lot better for me if I simmered the dyeing roving in a pot on the stove, rather than in the microwave, but it worked! It worked! Color! I made color! I can’t wait to try spinning it up; my wheel has been tied up all summer with a pound of pale aqua Ashland Bay merino/silk right now – lovely stuff, but it’s taken the entire summer to get it spun. I just finished plying it this morning and I can't even get a decent photo to show it to you - I think I'm going to have to start using the tripod. Every photo turned out blurry - perhaps it was the excitement coursing through my veins over finishing the spinning.
Second example: this is not me. This is my friend Elizabeth (a different Elizabeth), who has just finished the sweater she's wearing. Nice, eh? Furthermore, she designed it herself. Very nice, yes? Note the nifty neck detail. Further furthermore, she bought most of the yarn years and years ago in Nova Scotia, or something like that, and because she is....well, not like me, shall we say, she felt that she should knit up the yarn into something wearable before she bought more yarn. (Yes, I know; I am doing my best to convert her.) So over the years, she has tried one design after another with no success, and thus no new yarn either, till finally she asked if she could borrow some of my knitting books for inspiration. I believe it was Sally Melville's use of tweed stitch that got Elizabeth on the path to happiness and joy, but Elizabeth was kind enough to credit me with being the catalyst. And I am happy to report that Elizabeth has already bought yarn for the next sweater - see that little square she's holding? That's part of a mitered-square-ish back to the new sweater. Stay tuned.
Third example: The fronts of the Minimalist Cardigan are blocked and ready for the grafting of the collar at the top and the seaming with the other pieces with that little skein of needlepoint wool there in the middle. Yes, that means the other pieces are finished (well, OK, OK, there's still the cap on one sleeve to go; picky, picky). I plan on using the needlepoint yarn for seaming, because the Malabrigo is too soft and I don't think it will hold up well. By the way, the stockinette collar blocked out quite nicely; there's just a little bit of a roll on the long, vertical edge and I like it that way. And the sweater fronts are the same size; they just look wonky in this photo because I didn't pay attention to how they were laid out.
Fourth example: At the Franklin County Fiber Twist last weekend, Earle bought some raffle tickets to support the whole shebang and ended up winning this charming apron, which he promptly gave to me. I plan on getting it filthy with dye as soon as practicable. Those are big bags of roving the apron's sitting on, by the way, from the fleeces I bought last year. Lots and lots and LOTS of dyeing to be done.
Fifth example: Speaking of the Fiber Twist, Gail Callahan, the Kangaroo Dyer, has saved my ass. As you will remember, I have one more baby due to arrive in my vicinity this year - in mid-December, to be exact. Now, I had bought some of Gail's sock yarn to make into a Big Bad Baby Blanket, and I had even cast on and knit maybe 10 rows, sometime pre-Rhinebeck. Then I got sucked into the Minimalist vortex. I don't think the baby blanket will get done in time. Instead, at the Fiber Twist I bought two adorable little skeins (which I've already wound into balls here) of Gail's hand-dyed angora (not very photographed above, I'm afraid), and I plan on making booties and a little baby hat from them, using Melissa's pattern. I may even start them tonight, as I spent the afternoon raking (only some of the) leaves, and I deserve to put my feet up right about now.
Angora in November. How much better does life get?