Saturday, January 19, 2008

Done. Badly, But Done.

I may have been quiet on the bloggo front, but I have been cranking elsewhere. At work-work, the biodiversity of Massachusetts is being conserved as fast as I can, nose to the proverbial grindstone, and on the home front, well, look!


It's the first project off my big loom! Yay for me! I am so proud of this, even though I kept breaking warp threads, I forgot how to hemstitch the scarf ends, I forgot to end the mostly twill scarf with 6 rows of plain weave (like the beginning), and I had no patience for the fringe, so it's going to have to cope without being properly twisted, but this scarf is done!

I took it to my LYS this morning and the Saturday morning knitters all oohed and aahed over it. There is nothing like the admiration of fellow fiber fanatics to make one swell up with wooly pride.

Here's the details:
Warp: Harrisville Shetland in purple, sett 12 ends per inch, 8 inches wide. I put on enough for three scarves, so you'll see more with this warp. I'll be interested to see how this fairly plain warp looks woven up with different wefts and different twills.

Weft: Noro sock yarn, 70% wool, 30% nylon, colorway S95 (finally, a real use for all that sock yarn lying around!). I used all but a small ball of the 420 meters in the skein, and the scarf before washing was 6 feet 5 inches long, exclusive of fringe. I had the usual problem with Noro yarn - a knot between bright orange and reddish-brown in the middle of the ball - but nothing I couldn't live with. I was pleased to find that when I washed the finished scarf in hot water and Eucalan, it softened sufficiently that this will be usable as a scarf - I was worried that the starchy Noro might turn this into a pretty, but unusable, wall hanging.

Weave pattern: Aside from the six shots (aka picks or rows) of plain weave (aka tabby weave; I'm planning on converting you knitters yet) at the beginning, the whole scarf is a simple 2/2 twill, marching 12 rows to the right, then 12 rows to the left, ad infinitum. A 2/2 twill means that the weft passes over 2 warp threads and then under 2, over 2, under 2, etc. I thought (correctly, for once) that this weave structure would show off the yarn's color changes and look good on both sides, and I'm quite happy with how it turned out.

The loom behaved impeccably and I learned a lot. For example, I learned that the boat shuttle which came with the loom, while perfectly lovely, is too big (12 inches long) for a narrow project like a scarf. Because of the shuttle's size and weight, I didn't leave enough weft in the shed each time - and that's why the warp threads on the edges kept breaking. Once I switched to using just your basic hand-wound ball of yarn instead, everything went along just fine. All in all, a great first project!

Next up on the big loom: another scarf on the purple Harrisville warp, but this time I'm going to be using Rowan Tapestry in a subtly varying violet as the weft. Pics tomorrow, if you're lucky.

As promised, I have indeed been spinning every day this month - here's the 1,111 yards of Border Leicester cross I finished last weekend. Not perfectly spun, by any means, but I enjoyed every moment of it - that fiber flowed like a beautiful river through my fingers.


Its flockmate, on the other hand - well, aside from the fact that this is a gorgeous dark brown, I'd say this was the black sheep of that Border Leicester cross flock. This wool is much more wiry, the roving is full of neps and vegetable matter (not the mill's fault at all; the fleece was that way, I probably shouldn't have bought it, but I was young and in love with all things sheepy), and oddly, it wants to be spun much more thinly than its white brethren, which became a worsted weight.


I still love this dark brown, though, and I'm trying to dream up something appropriate to do with the finished yarn - it certainly shouldn't be dyed, for example, which the white could be, and the brown may be too harsh for a sweater, even over a turtleneck. Maybe I'll weave a homespun blanket. Or maybe I'll let the brown marinate in the stash for a while.

OK, my cold (did I mention I have a cold on top of too much work and my spinning and weaving obsessions?) is reasserting itself. I think I'll go take a nap. Bye!


Elizabeth said...

Please include close-ups of the scarf! I'd love to look at the detail. It looks gorgeous sitting there on that tree.

Batty said...

That scarf looks great! And all the yarn, spinning, stuff... wow. You've been busy. How you manage to fit all that crafting and saving of our biodiversity in so little time is amazing. You are superwoman!