Sunday, December 11, 2016

I had nothing to do, so...

I had nothing to do, so...
I bought some yarn I didn't need from Anzula's trunk show. The pattern's called a shrug, and hat (from Knitter's magazine, Summer 2009). To me, it seems like a tea cozy for people!

Then, I had nothing to do so I bought some yarn for a shawl. I didn't realize that I'd made this pattern before, from Victorian Lace Today. It's beautiful, but the corners make me crazy.
My classic "nothing to do" project is always socks (cotton this time). And I learned to do a new kind of heel shaping. With this easy heel, I can start knitting at the toe and work my way up (instead of top down). That way, I can keep knitting until there's no yarn left!
The last time I posted, I had just finished spinning up the BFL on the left of this picture. I plied it with the fiber I got from Redfish for that purpose.

And here, it's finished up. Now, what to do with it?
A sweater's always better than a swatch (a small sample) for selling yarn. My LYS needed a sweater to show off some Debbie Bliss, Falkland Aran (that's this yarn), so they gave it to me! And since I still had nothing to do, I gave them my time (one month) and labor and made this sweater. It'll be mine at the end of the season. But now that it's finished, I have nothing to do.! 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Since Last We Spoke

I don't think you can quite call it a spinning frenzy, but since last we spoke
I made up a two ply of superwash BFL (blue faced leicester) in blood orange.

And, I spun up this bright, superwash merino/nylon from Wooly Lizard.
It is also two ply.
I've finished spinning up this BFL fiber, again by Sweet Georgia, called Smitten. I tried to make it two ply, as well. Sadly, all the pretty colors disappeared. The not so technical term for that is "muddy".  So, I'm waiting for a pretty something from Elff and Sandy at Redfish to spin up and complement these bright colors.
At the same time, I've been struggling with this summer purchase. I'd never tried spinning flax. Part of what's different is that I have to sit with a bowl of water to keep my fingers damp. It's starting to get easier, but I've given myself permission to give up if it stops being fun. To be announced.

Usually, I'm fairly successful with the basic, technical aspects of weaving and spinning. With untold masses of handspun piling up, I've decided to challenge myself and try to do something with it and at the same time, to learn something more complex. I thought that twill would show off the pretty handspun yarn I'd made. In this picture, at the bottom of the sample, the cloth was too dense. At the top, I tried spreading it out, but it still wasn't right. So, I did some unweaving (I hate wasting yarn) and just made some plain weave (also called, tabby). 
Not bad for a first attempt. The colors are so pretty., but the cloth doesn't hang (it's called the hand) the way I'd like. Hmmm. What to do next time? Maybe my new DVD by Sara Lamb on Spinning to Weave will help. Stay tuned.
On the knitting front, I decided to make up a black something for work that I could throw on instead of a smock. It looks dowdy to me, but it's the black background I needed.

Please forgive the over-bright exposure it was the only way to show the cloth. This pattern (from Vogue Knitting, fall 2015, p.63) is actually knitted up in three rectangles! Fun!
On Sophie, I used a pastel, variegated and a natural colored cotton for the warp and an aqua for the weft of this baby blanket (pattern from Book of 8 Shaft Patterns, p.107. Stashbuster!

Mama's happy!

Ummmm. What?! Really? Really! It's Very Soft and on its way to becoming
my current project, another baby blanket on Sophie. This pattern is from Handwoven, May/June '96. I changed the treadling, so that I wouldn't have to press two or more treadles at the same time. Note to self: next time, stop at the hand (on the girl/boy), instead of going part way up the arm of the next pattern repeat.

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.