Saturday, September 24, 2016

Time for a Road Trip

My husband said it was time for a road trip.
So Suzie, my Majacraft, and I finished spinning and plying the wool/silk I'd been playing with.

And I finally blocked the cowl I'd knitted of my handspun (yellow to green) and store bought (charcoal).
Then, I headed to my LYS (local yarn store) for an afghan in the making. I found the pattern on Ravelry. Instead of knitting it in strips, I planned to drop a few edge stitches from the pattern and make it all in one piece.
Gingie (as I've said) is a Pocket Wheel. She was made on a nice, humid island in Washington state. The dry air during that trip we made in the spring to Death Valley was a bit too much of a shock for her and, not a common occurrence, it split her wood. Jon McCoy (Mr. PW) said he'd fix her up and send her back to me. We put her in the car and off we went!
This time around, we pretty much visited all of the volcanoes in the Cascades range from Lassen in California, all the way up to Mt. Baker, just below Canada. This photo was taken at MacArthur-Burney State Park.

At Maryhill Museum in Washington, right on the Columbia River, there was an exhibit of Trade Blankets.

Are you drooling, yet?!

As we drove, Gingie and I finished spinning and then Navajo plying this silk from Anzula. Then, we dropped her off with her personal Geppetto on
Whidbey Island.
This was taken at Picture Lake. We'll have to work on our selfie skills. This looks more like photo bombing.
In Oregon, we followed a sign to an alpaca farm and store.

I'm going to have to quit my day job in order to have enough time to play with all of the wonderful fibers I just couldn't do without!
A road trip plus a month, and I completed the afghan and

gifted it to my daughter and son-in-law.

And I finally finished the sample towels I've been making on my drawloom!

Cotton/linen warp with cotton weft. The patterns are from books, pinterest and my doodles. If you can draw them on a grid, they can be woven. It's been a good summer!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Cat's Cradle for Grown-ups

I'm LOVING using my drawloom so much that I decided, "if not now, when?" and bought myself 20 more shafts and the parts to make her a combination drawloom. Play time! Remember cat's cradle? Well, this is cat's cradle for grown-ups! 
Funny, on Ravelry people are always complaining about having to get on the floor to adjust their looms. That's never been much of a problem for me. However, when the instructions say to just reach up and thread the cords... Uh huh. Here I am, standing on my bench. Luckily, this set up only happens once.
Do you see the little handles? And now, there are 30.!

At the back of the loom, a tangle...organized chaos.
What with reading and re-reading the instructions, watching and re-watching the video, taking sanity and life breaks, it took me about two weeks to get everything ready to go.
Looking from the back of the loom, you can see the direction the pattern heddles move along the warp threads. Starting at the far left, follow them from left to right, left to right, then right to left, right to left. Scroll five pictures down from here and the same movement is seen in the pattern design.
The locking pin keeps everything still during set up. Finally! Time to pull the pin! 

Here's the pattern. Time to start pulling handles!

Drawing the handles let's me make a repeating pattern across the width of the fabric.

Stepping on a treadle at the same time as the handles have been pulled gives me pattern and ground cloth at the same time. To me, it seems like I'm embroidering on the cloth while the cloth is being made!

Looking from the side of the loom, you can see what it looks like when the pattern shafts (on the left side of the picture) have been raised. The ground shafts (on the right side) will weave the background fabric. These will be raised and lowered as I tap on the treadles.

It's like magic!
And for a footnote *wink*, more socks (stash busting ones at that). Take note of the yellow and pink ones. They're the first ever pair of socks that I've knit from my handspun! They are the rainbows colorway of merino and tussah silk from Anzula.

Monday, April 18, 2016


I just noticed the "kind of" theme of my latest busy-ness. Trees. Mostly. Sort of.
My brother has a huge volunteer of a climbing rose. I decided to try a nifty trick for propagating roses I'd heard about to see if it would work.
Cut potatoes in half. Puncture them in the middle. Then, sprinkle the potatoes with cinnamon and put the end of the rose cutting in the potato. Cover with soil and keep moist for a couple of months. ...We'll see. And I'll let you know what happens!
On a lovely spring day, I went outside with my warping reel to prepare for my next weaving project. All of these "ends" (pieces of yarn) follow the same path over and over. That way each is the same length as the others. Then, onto the loom. 
More specifically, onto Sophie's drawloom! What fun! Trees!!! I just copied this pattern from the teaching video by Becky Ashenden. Then, I took about three days, with the help of the Ravelry weaving community (it's kind of like Facebook for fiber nerds), to work the kinks out.  
Almost. I've been told that weaving with the drawloom is slow going, but the only thing slowing me down is this. Note to self. Don't use newspaper for "quills" (like bobbins, they're what you wrap the yarn around). Way too fragile.  Using the drawloom is  like weaving a simple piece of [ground] cloth while overlaying it with a woven design...all at the same time. It's kind of like two layers, only not. 
There is no "kind of" about this. I taught myself to double knit. Here, I'm actually knitting a separate front and back of this afghan at the same time! In this picture, you can see white for the front and black for the back. Those yarn colors are switched for the pattern.

My youngest son chose this tree design from an old pattern book. It looks like an inkblot of trees to me. The original was only knit as a single layer with a crocheted border. To make the afghan longer, I added more rows in the center area. And I knit the border as I went along.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Dobby and Winky wanted to know what were all the goings on, going on? 
You see, we've all been needing a little spinzen.
Gingie and I took ours in the form of some merino/silk fiber. At the same time, I was prepping for a rag rug (that was to be my last mandatory project before I could start playing with my new drawloom).

Rag rugs mean cutting a LOT of fabric strips to be used to weave with instead of yarn. I'd hoped that this rug for our front hall would use up most of my fabric stash. Sigh. Dream on. I am pleased with how well the rug turned out!
The pattern is called Rosepath. To finish the fringe, I learned to do four-stranded braiding. It's supposedly flatter than three-strand. Anyway, since I'd completed the rug, I wanted to get a quick start on dressing the drawloom to show off it's paces to the masses. (I've been waiting so patiently to get started!) Unfortunately, we decided Sophie would need to relocate for a temporary hiatus. Twenty minutes and...

Yep. That's Sophie, relegated to a corner of our bedroom. And "the masses" came in the form of over 60 people in our house for an "Out of Towners' " party. Why 'out of towners'? Remember when I was being cryptic about a secret?

I was weaving yardage using a pattern from Twill Thrills to make a chuppah (wedding canopy) for my daughter and son in law. This is ecru and whipple blue tencel.  

We did a trial run in the living room to see if it would work. Then, the real thing:

Friday, February 19, 2016

Maiden Voyages

My name is Karen and I'm a fiber addict. You see, there was this trunk show...
And my brand new, just born Pocket Wheel had finally arrived...!!!
Her name is Ginger, Gingie for short. She weighs six pounds. The show side of her wheel is a red wine, copper veneer and her treadles are quilted maple.

Here's Gingie's maiden voyage! She's so petite that, take a closer look at this picture, she fits in the front passenger seat of the car!
Here she is, showing off just outside of our hotel room at Death Valley, CA.
This desolate land was having what is called a "super bloom".
By the time we got home, Gingie and I had spun all four ounces of the tussah silk/superwash merino.

To speed the time it takes and simplify dressing Sophie, here's another first. Do you see the water bottles? They're hanging from a trapeze. Without it, I have to move each of those bottles every time I wind 18 inches (the distance they can rise between floor and breast beam) onto the warp beam. Using this simple tool, two long boards and one pole, extends that distance to as much as six feet!

And I took another step closer to getting to use my new drawloom. I threaded and tied all the strings.

I'm so close to being able to play with my new toy!