Sunday, January 20, 2008
Notice, in the photo of the Noro scarf next to the Blue Thing, how wonky the selvedges of the Noro scarf are, compared to those of the Blue Thing. I used floating selvedges in weaving the Noro scarf, which would normally help, but my ineptitude with the angle of weft laying-in overwhelmed the floating selvedges.
While I'm at it, and before I go off to knit and spin for the day with That Sue and her charming brother and sister-in-law, here's a close-up of the next scarf on the big loom.
As I said yesterday, the warp of this is Harrisville Shetland and the weft is Rowan Tapestry. That bright spot in the middle of the scarf is not my usual photography; it's actually in the yarn. I think this will be an elegant scarf when finished. I'm using a treadling sequence called Cord Weave, from Marguerite Davison's book. Essentially, it's an alternating sequence of tabby weave with one twill shot - fairly simple, and probably fairly boring rather soon, I'm afraid, if I do 6 feet or so of this. Ah, well, these scarves are supposed to be learning experiences, and I bet I learn with this one that I need more variety than 6 feet of Cord Weave will afford me.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
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!
Sunday, January 06, 2008
Luckily for me, it's Spin Every Day month! On New Year's Day, I grabbed the first big bag of roving I came to in my stash and hied myself to my wheel. Well, come to find out, the roving was one of the Border Leicester cross fleeces I sent off to the Friends' Folly mill in Maine this past spring, when I was there for the Fiber Frolic.
I've made real progress - here are three fat bobbins full of nice thickish singles. One more bobbin, at least, and then I'll ply to make a worsted-weight 2-ply. I may dye it, I may weave with it, I may just stick it in my big bin labeled Handspun, but I am enjoying this spinning immensely, especially with all the nice company I have on the Knittyboard.
Speaking of company, you all are invited to join me, my Knittyboard spinning pals, my real-life creative friends, and anybody else who wants to show up at this month's Second Sunday Soiree, next Sunday, January 13th, from 1 to 5 PM at the Millers River Environmental Center in Athol, Massachusetts. These soirees are casual gatherings I'm hosting, where everyone is welcome to bring their knitting and spinning, their musical instruments, their paint pots, and anything else that tickles their creative fancies. Any questions, just leave a comment and I'll get back to you.
On the weaving front, I've finished the third strip of heathery knitting yarn on my rigid heddle loom. I'm not sure I like how these three strips look together, yet, but I'll wait until I have all five strips before I decide on the final placement and start sewing the strips together.
On the 4-harness loom, I've woven maybe 3/4 of the ball of Noro sock yarn into this:
From a distance, this is thrilling, but I'm definitely learning a lot about how to repair broken warp threads and how to aim for nice selvedges on this scarf, not to mention how much of a pain it is to try to make smooth color transitions in the weaving, while winding the yarn onto bobbins to weave with. In short, this is a great learning opportunity. Ahem. Quite. We'll leave it at that for today.
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
1. Put these resolutions in my sidebar. Done!
2. Reduce my stash of yarn and fiber by 10%. Nope, didn’t happen; I can’t imagine why.
3. Spin up and knit two projects (shawl, cardigan?) from Rhinebeck 2006 fiber in time to wear them to Rhinebeck 2007. This didn’t happen either, but I know why: babies. My friends had six babies among them this year and I knit for every single one, which wasn’t in the plan.
4. Knit something from the yarn I acquired at Emily's Needlework's 2006 Midnight Madness Sale in time to wear it to the 2007 Midnight Madness Sale. Well, I didn’t finish anything in time to wear it to the 2007 Midnight Madness Sale, but I did wear my Minimalist Cardigan, the yarn for which I bought at Emily’s more than a year ago. Besides, I didn’t buy any yarn this year at the sale; somebody scooped up the only stuff I really wanted!
5. Knit a Hanne Falkenburg Mermaid jacket. Didn’t happen.
6. Design and knit a sweater with many colors. I think the Modernistic Log Cabin Blanket ought to count for this one.
7. Design and knit a sweater with cables and textures. Didn’t happen.
8. Knit one damned pair of socks, just to see what all the excitement is about. Done!
9. Knit these items for charity: an afghan, five kids' hats, a kid's vest, and something for the annual Athol Bird and Nature Club auction. Five hats for adults finished! But the rest … nope.
10. Create the Fernsworthy design, whatever that is. Didn’t happen.
11. Learn to crochet and crochet one successful project. Didn’t happen.
12. Lose 10% of my weight. Didn’t happen, to put it mildly.
13. Cut the miles I drive by 10%. Well, I lost track when I bought another car, but up until that point I was down about 17% in miles driven over last year. I count this as a success.
14. Reduce my use of electricity by 10%. I ended the year down 8.5% in kilowatt-hours; not bad, I’d say.
15. Read 10 non-knitting books. Done! And way more!
16. See 10 movies in a theatre. I ain't going to do this. Movies are boring and overwhelming at the same time; I'd rather live in real life, thank you.
17. Attend 10 cultural events (plays, concerts, etc.). Yep!
18. Find and document 10 new sites of rare species in Massachusetts. Yup, I found ten - all dragonflies. I'm good at this.
So what did I learn from doing this? That probably I shouldn't make unrealistic resolutions, like reducing my stash or my weight. On the other hand, making resolutions really did help remind me to do some tasks, like cutting down on electricity use or miles driven, or reading some mind-stretching books (meaning not fiber-related).
Will I do this again for 2008? No, except that I am resolving to spin every day in January. In February, maybe I'll make another resolution for just that month. One month at a time I can handle - more than that, apparently not.
I did, however, knit and spin and weave a lot in 2007. To prove it, here's a lot of photos of most of what I accomplished. And Happy New Year to all of you!
Not a bad year, I'd say!