Thursday, October 23, 2014

I Can Do That.

I have a medicalert bracelet that I've worn for over three years that needed a minor repair. Instead of mailing it back to the company from whom I'd purchased it, Lauren's Hope, I thought, "I can do that". It's a simple fix.
Then, I decided that if I was changing this one small thing, why not switch out the color of the beads? I wanted to go from black to this denim color.

What do you think? Ummm. That's not denim. That'll teach me to take showers. Apparently, these seed beads were not color fast!

I went to a different store, re-bought all the findings and new beads. Dare I wash?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

It's About the Journey

It's about the journey, right? Well, I could show you my in process knitting project or crochet or spinning. Instead, how about I show you where I am in my weaving. I don't know if I'll get there, but my son asked for a gym bag. This does Not mean, "will you buy me one from the store?" It means, "Mama, will you weave me some yardage and sew it into a backpack for me?"

So, here's the last of the warp, ready to come off the warping board. By wrapping the yarn along the same path over and over, each "end" is the same length as the others. See at the bottom of the board where the yarns cross? That is important. It keeps the threads in order. And, Hey! Check out that cone. STASH BUSTING!

I put those two slats of wood in the "cross" to keep it in place. That keeps the threads lined up and it all from becoming a tangled mess. I take the yarn off the frame by crocheting the opposite end from the cross into a chain using my hand as the hook. Next, I take each end and pre-sley it through the reed. That just means, keeping the ends in order, I spread them out into the general places they'll be later on, when they're on the loom.  

Fast forward. One end of the warp is now tied onto the loom. It's been wrapped around the warp beam. Now, each individual end is threaded through a heddle, one at a time. The heddles are on different shafts. The order of the threading, like the heddle on shaft one, then the heddle on shaft two, is part of what makes the design of the cloth.

Keeping the ends in the order in which they were threaded, they get sleyed in the reed. This reed is 20 dents per inch. I'm setting it at 42 epi (ends per inch). That means mostly two threads go into each of those teensy slots, in order.

Hubby and I took a timeout to go down to Vista to their Fiber Arts Festival, again. I think I spent nearly two hours chatting with this lovely lady. She was so patient with me and my questions.

She's using a dobby loom. See the pegs on the right side of the picture? They are pre-set and make this loom work kind of like a player piano. Can you say "early computer"?
Something else that caught my eye was this shuttle. Do you see it on the left? It looks like a block of wood, right? Well, it holds a metal cannister stuffed with fabric strips.

How do you stuff it? Well, let me show you. Turn the handle on the big gear wheel on the top. And use the long piece of wood to mash it into that tube.
Outside of the loom museum, were people spinning. This little sweetie caught my eye. It's called a Pocket Wheel. Day dreaming: Hmmm. I'm picturing the drive back to L.A. Once I've finished the lace scarf I'm knitting, I could just tuck the wheel under foot (it fits). Or, maybe I could put one under my desk at work. Do you think the boss would notice?
My last picture is of a first. My friend has been experimenting with all sorts of art. Here's her very first weaving project. Amazing!
 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

I Couldn't Resist!

I couldn't resist! After I made the kitty, I saw this pattern for a dog. And I just happened to see the yarn in a store I was visiting, in all the right colors. I had to buy it. Really, I did! Then, with 15 rows to go, I ran out of yarn. So, I ordered one more skein. And if I was ordering one skein...

I might as well get enough to make the teddy bear.

Believe it or not, I'm stopping while I'm ahead. I'm on a stuffed animal hiatus. Instead, I'm spinning and knitting from my stash.

For example, this little bag is from leftovers I had originally used to crochet over the straps of flip-flops. I am SO proud of it! This is the first time I've made anything asymmetric without breaking into hives. And, I did it without a pattern, too!!! The bag is the perfect size to carry the lace scarf I'm knitting. (And from this angle, it hides my naked loom. Shhhh! Don't tell!)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Doing and Re-Doing

I guess I haven't learned life's lessons for me, yet.
  1. shortcuts take longer
  2. sampling is learning by doing
  3. I learn by doing
  4. I don't like learning by doing (I want it perfect the first time)
  5. I enjoy doing, it's the worry about possibly having to re-do that's stressful
So, since our trip I've been doing and re-doing.


I made full-sized samples of bath sheets from the 8/2 cotton I had on hand. De-stashing! I finished off a couple cones of yarn! For what it's worth, with this weave, I have to use both towels to dry my 5 foot tall self. They're absorbent, but there's just not as much surface area as terrycloth.
I spun up this silk with my Suzie and stylus.
My husband fell in love with this yarn, Caribou by HiKoo, and kitty pattern when we were in the yarn store in Kalispell. It was so much fun to make (although with all the fluff, it's hard to count rows so I had to pay attention).       
My niece and I got to knit together.

Here are the first pair of socks I've made for my daughter's fiance. I made them on our road trip. I only had to rip out the first sock once.  No more shortcuts! For toe-up I have to do the math first! Clearly, toe-up is not as intuitive for me as top down. I did use all but a few yards of the yarn. And, what a brave man he is to try wool socks on in July!
Now, here's where we talk shortcuts. This is from the yarn I originally bought to felt slippers. After knitting up 1 1/2 slippers, I decided to sample. This yarn does not felt. It's Columbia by Imperial Yarn.        
 This is my first sweater with a sewn in zipper ever! I'm pleased to say that it went in perfectly on the first try. It did take me just under two hours, because I kept having to step away from it and worry about if I was doing it right.          
The pattern is Gwendolyn by Twist Collective. For whatever reason, the sleeves were HUGE. I didn't realize this until I'd sewn the sweater together. I had to redesign them. In all, I knit FIVE sleeves for this sweater!!! 
 And by the way, where did I get the zipper? That's right! I went to Mood!!!
 In one of the areas of our front yard where I started to dig up the grass, we planted cantaloupe. 
This is my current spinning project (If I can force myself to keep at it). When I bought the wool, I didn't check the length of staple or how it's prepared. I like to spin fine yarns. This fiber wants to be at least worsted weight.
I bought a trash bag full. Sigh. No shortcuts next time!  


Thursday, July 3, 2014

There and Back, Again

 The reason to travel is not only to have time to knit, but it doesn't hurt! I made two pairs of socks, two pairs of slippers, and most of a sweater (the hood and half a sleeve left). All this while we saw
rainforests (Hoh in Washington's Olympic peninsula),

rivers (this was the Fraser River passing through Hell's Gate, BC, Canada),

goats,

glaciers (standing on a glacier in the Columbia Icefields, looking up to two others),

dinosaurs (Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta, Canada),

deer (in the middle of Waterton Village, not four yards from our hotel),

waterfalls (Bridal Veil in BC),

whorls (in an incredible, Viking exhibit at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria)

(and Coast Salish in another exhibit at the same museum)

fluff (couldn't figure out what tree this was from, but thought about collecting enough to try spinning...)

flowers (we hit wildflower season)

and yarn

(in this lovely shop in Kalispell, Montana)!

This totem was in Duncan, Vancouver Island.

She who taught us to weave.

I came home with lots of yummy wood. The spoon from a store outside Glacier Park. The spurtle is a traditional porridge stirrer I bought in Barkerville, BC. And the two un-named tools (what are they called?), Ed at Glimakra USA made. They're used to hold unused heddles. No more heddle tangles! Yay!  
We were lucky to be able to visit with him and MaryJean (at Glimakra USA) when we drove through Montana. Unfortunately, we missed Joanne. But it was a lovely visit. We got to tour their work spaces and felt very welcomed. 

I was restrained. The many cones of yarn I bought from Glimakra don't count as expanding my stash. This is the only fiber I bought. It's tussah silk from the above pictured yarn store

And when we got home, one year after starting this project, I picked up the never-ending needlepoint from the framer.

Monday, May 26, 2014

I Did it!


I did it! I finished the grocery totes!
These are from the yardage Sophie and I were playing with. They're beautiful and functional, but I think I'll sett them closer next time. Maybe instead of 36 ends per inch, 40 or 42. Although it may change the pattern somewhat, I'd like the cloth to be a little more dense. The pattern is a crackle weave from handweaving.net.   
At work, I have to pick up and put down my knitting at a moment's notice. So, I was desperate for a row counter of sorts to keep track of this pattern. The pretty stone counter/markers I bought were a little too heavy for sock knitting. And I kept forgetting which row I was on when using them. The bead store didn't have number beads, but they did have letters. It works!



Tuesday, May 13, 2014

In Process and Making Progress

I'm in the process of and making progress towards finishing some projects. 
Here's a better picture of those socks I made for my nephew.


I made a yummy challah on Friday that was enjoyed by all. However, it has been requested that I give whole wheat a try from now on. There goes my perfect recipe. I'll have to start from scratch on the new one.

As you can see, this 60/2 silk from Redfish Dyeworks is cut. I've never worked with anything this fine before. I'm waiting for the 30 dent per inch reed (it's like a fine-toothed comb for keeping the threads organized) to come from Glimakra.


While I'm waiting, I'm preparing another warp. This is more of the 8/2 cotton I bought from Glimakra USA. By wrapping the yarn repeatedly, back and forth, along the same path on this warping frame, each piece will be the same length.                         If you squint at the bottom right of the picture, you can see the green yardage that's ready to come off of Sophie for the grocery totes.




I decided to make a sample. I know, I know. Will miracles never cease?! Anyway, it's a good thing that I did. As different as these yarns are, the Shadow Weave pattern hardly shows. I'm glad I haven't wasted more time and energy on this.


These are the current socks in process. And, No. They are not that pink. Will I never figure out how to get the colors right with the camera? Since they're toe-up, I'm knitting them at the same time, from both ends of the ball.           In the background, do you see that exquisite tool? It's a rolling pin my hubby and I bought at Grist and Toll for Mother's Day.