Monday, February 23, 2015

Twist my Arm

Back in July when my younger son said, "Mama, I need a gym bag", it felt like a ridiculous (read 'overwhelming') request.  How easily he can twist my arm! I started to work on it. The only ready-made pattern I could find was McCall's M6410, which is a children's size. When is the last time you altered a backpack pattern? Yeah, me too. Fast forward a few months and I had the cloth on the loom. That was completed in November. And, not that I was dragging my heels, but I didn't start sewing until last month.
This is a picture of my jammed sewing machine. And a project once again marked as "pending".
But I did finally get it done!
I can't remember if he told me it was "legit" or "sick", but I'll take either one! I'm pretty proud of myself, too!
And since I'm always knitting, here are some warm wool/silk socks for the Bostonians. This yarn was the RedFish I bought back in November.
And finally, here's Gilmore on his way to his new home!

Sunday, January 11, 2015


I've been somewhat housebound, so I've been able to get a thing or three done (silver lining).
Per request, I made a ski hat for my son in law. Perhaps you've noticed that I never do it the easy way. Instead of making two hats and sewing them together, I cast on with two strands of yarn together. Then, I separated the stitches onto two circular needles and voila! To give it some body, about three inches up I crossed the yarns over each other (kind of like switching colors for intarsia) and back.

Both yarns are superwash merino by Lorna's Laces. He should be plenty warm in these freezing temperatures!

I put one last warp (thinking positively) on my Gilmore loom. I just put him up for sale and am Hoping someone will jump at the chance to bring him home!

That's white 5/2 pearl cotton for the warp and some cotton softball for the weft. I had enough for two baby blankets. The second one is a grey-blue that almost completely emptied the cone!
And I'm still working on the 60/2 silk scarf.
I'm loving it!

But most of what I've been doing has been spinzen. I've been enjoying peaceful, calming moments at my wheel with the yak/silk blend I showed you here.


Friday, December 19, 2014

I've wanted to try weaving with a fine yarn. Over a year ago I bought some 60/2 silk from RedFish. I chose a pattern, did the math, cut the warp...and life happened. So, I'm finally back to it. The thing is, I couldn't find my worksheet, and what pattern I'd chosen. Rewind. I was surprised that it wasn't terribly difficult to dress Sophie with such fine yarn. It's like thread. I decided to use a snowflake pattern. 
This is from Twill Thrills. For whatever reason I couldn't keep my place. I ended up using a stitch marker and sliding it along!

It's amazing how fast it weaves up. There's only one problem. I don't have the right size temple. I thought I could do without, but I broke a selvedge thread after about three inches. Do over! I'd rather stop and start again when the temple I ordered gets here.

And you guessed it! It's sock time! I liked the way this yarn knit up and looked in a reverse stocking stitch rib. It turns out my son likes them better the other way around. I'd call the way he's wearing them inside out (look at the toe and heel), but he's happy. 
The rug he's on is a handwoven rug we bought in Jordan.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

It's All Learning

I finished the fiddly 12 shaft yardage! So, here's another tote. After doing 36 epi (a little to loose, although not flimsy) and here at 42 epi (odd striping in the warp with this reed), I've decided that the perfect sett for totes with 10/2 cotton, is 40.   
 Looking to the future, I asked Joanne at Glimakra USA what I need to know to be ready for a drawloom. She sent me some patterns. This is one of them from her website. It's an 8 shaft drall.
From start to finish, with life in between, I got these done in four days!

Yes, I know I'll never be a stylist.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Stop and Go

It's been kind of stop and go around here. I've finished some things and struggled on others. I finished spinning and plying the fiber I bought at Imperial Yarn in Oregon.
It's three ply, done Navajo ply method.
And I've started spinning up this luscious 50/50 yak/silk blend from RedFish.
Another completed project is this lace scarf/shawl I've been knitting from my standby, Victorian Lace Today. It was supposed to be a stash buster. Sigh. There's probably enough yarn left to make a second one. Maybe I'll donate it. 
And also, compliments of RedFish, I bought three sock yarns. They're 75% super wash merino wool and 25% silk. I've started on the green skein.
Interesting. I just noticed that the one in back is very similar in color to the fiber shown above. (And fyi, in the photo, the colors do not show as rich as they truly are.)
 Now, as to my weaving, it's been a struggle. As I've said before, I learn best by seeing and then doing. Book learning and no feedback is hard for me. So, I got stumped for a while on the 12 treadle/12 shaft tie up. I got it all done, but too many of the sheds were iffy. Thanks to some generous feedback from Karen at Warped for Good, I took all the ties off and started, again. I marked them as described by Becky at Vavstuga.
I did all 120 of them. And then, put them back on.

Most of the sheds were better, but the shafts still dropped. The shafts and lamms should be parallel to the ground. Because I kept stopping out of frustration, it took a while to get to the point where I could just weave. The sheds are not all good, but they're usable. I just have to push the shafts down, before stepping on some of the treadles. 

Luckily, this is yardage, so the selvedges (which are effected most) don't matter. This is another pattern I got from

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!