Saturday, October 22, 2016

Maxfield Trippin'

It all started in the Spring of 2015, when I saw a cardigan pattern that I had to have...for me.

I made it for me, and the younger daughter liked it so much, she asked me to make one for her.

Hers was knitted up for Christmas and when the older daughter came home and saw her sister's cardigan, she wanted one, too.

That's three for those who are counting...

Pattern: Maxfield Cardigan by Amy Christoffers

Yarns: Valley Yarns Northfield for the solid colors (Black and Navy), Koigu Kersti Merino Crepe in 641 (reds) and K118C (on the Navy background), and Lorna's Laces Honor in Shoreline (blues on the black cardigan).  

I LOVE the Koigu Kersti. It is springy and lovely to touch and knit.  The Northfield was a nice surprise with a blend Merino/Alpaca/Silk at a reasonable price.  The Lorna's Laces was my least favorite, even though the pattern was originally designed with this yarn. Despite its Alpaca/Silk blend, I found it to be stringy and thin. It is also very expensive.  I would not use it again.

The first sweater took me about three weeks to knit. The second a couple of months, and the third about ten months.  

The pattern is extremely well written, and it is a delightful knit. I just found knitting it for the third time to be sluggish, as there were no surprises.

Having said that, I could not be more pleased with the result!!

Now, to wrap it in anticipation of Christmas!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

About that photo shoot

Cowl/scarf details here.

Long Live the Cricket!

The younger daughter is fifteen with a sixteenth birthday looming in December. Since she has had her learner's permit, she has voluntarily been my designated chauffeur, especially once her father and I bought her an Xterra.

When I stopped in Lucky Ewe Saturday a week ago, she went with me. Okay, she actually drove me there.

As I was visiting and shopping, she spied a skein of Vice Yarns Blurred Lines that she really liked with black, greys, and reds. It was in the San Antonio colorway.

There was a scarf sample knit up in it, and she tried it on. While sold on the colors, she said she wanted a thin, but long infinity scarf to wear. I bought two skeins with that in mind.

On Sunday of last week, I warped the new 25" loom with black tencel and started weaving with the Vice as weft.  It was not long before I decided I had a problem.  The color changes in the yarn were very long and I had 12" with no change. I put it aside to work on other things, as I tried to figure out how to make it work.

Over the week, my little Cricket loom was returned to me, I lent it to a friend who was waiting on her new loom.

Yesterday, I pulled it out and decided to warp it with the Vice. Again, I was greeted with the very long and slow gradient changes. Now this may sound wasteful, but instead of just pulling the yarn from the ball and warping with one continuous thread, after I had a sufficient amount of red in the warp, I cut it and tied it off. I pulled off the remainingred from the ball, until it was changing to grey, and continued to warp with the grey, until I was ready for a darker grey, almost black.

Because I had used the Weavoloution Warping Calculator, I knew I had plenty of yarn for warp and weft. 

These were my calculations:

Warp length is 108 inches (3.0 yards)
Length to weave each article is:
90 inches (under tension)
83 inches (relaxed)
Width in reed is: 7.8 inches
Number of warp ends: 94
Total Warp Required: 282.0 yards (2.2 ozs.)
Total Weft required is 326.4 yards (2.5 ozs)
I used a 12-dent reed.
I had two balls of Blurred Lines, each with 460 yards.

For the weft, I returned to the first ball I had pulled from for the original attempt.  I divided that ball onto 6 bobbins.  Here are the remnants of those bobbins:

I changed bobbins every 15" inches of weaving. While the color changes in the scarf are more abrupt, I think it works well and resembles plaid.

Overall, I am well pleased with this.  

The finished dimensions are: 74” in circumference x 6.5” wide.

Once the daughter rises from her teenage slumber, I shall gently inquire if she would like to do a photo shoot...

Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Okay, that was fun...

Now, how may days until Christmas?

Pattern:  Pyropa

Yarn:  Vice Yarns Blurred Lines Fingering, although there was not a colorway on my ball band.

I knitted faithfully according to the pattern, until I got to row 21 of the pattern repeat.  At that point, I wanted to add a few more beads.

This is what I did:

WS:  Knit all stitches
RS:  K2tog, YO - all the across
WS:  Add bead to all the K2tog from the previous row and knit the YOs.
RS:  Knit all stitches
WS:  Elastic bind off knitwise

This gave me a whole row of beads to finish off the piece. I adore them!!

I had 2.5 grams left after my bind off.


Monday, October 10, 2016

A Little Vice is Quite Nice!

While I did not go back and look, I believe I may have promised not to cast on anything new in a post of the last few weeks or so...

Well, the Hill Country Yarn Crawl is in full swing.  I did not participate this year, but Saturday I could not resist popping into our local yarn shop, Lucky Ewe, and getting a big hug from some of my favorite people (there was a Ben, two Lindas, and a Lizzy). One of the Lindas and Ben own Lucky Ewe, the other Linda is a lovely, sweet lady, and Lizzy is the owner and master dyer of Vice Yarns!

Speaking of Vice Yarns, three skeins of her blurred lines came home with me. This was one of them:

It sat on my desk all day Saturday and most of Sunday, as I scoured Ravelry trying to decide what to make for ME with it.

I ultimately winnowed the choices down to two:

Pyropa by Susanna IC

Terraform by Cheri McEwen

I adore them both, but Pyropa was designed for Vice Yarns Blurred Lines and I have met the lovely Susanna IC, so I went with that one.

As we all know, lace knitting does not look like much until it has been blocked. 

So, before I left to run errands and go to the grocery store, I gave it a little bath and quickly blocked what I had knitted so far.

The results have spurred me on to try a bit of knitting monogamy to get this done!

Oh, did mention it has a few beads?

I love beads!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Fruits of the Loom

The first project of the new loom came off yesterday afternoon.

Yes, it arrived on Friday afternoon. I warped it and began weaving immediately, and less than 24 hours later, something fell off it.

The warp is some approximately 175 yards left over from a sock project - Zauberball Crazy socks. The weft is Malabrigo Chunky in Bobby Blue. The warp was 89" long, and I ran out of warp and weft at the same time!

I was originally going to use a fingering weight yarn in the melon for the warp, but when I tried it, the orange completely overwhelmed the other colors. So after a few inches, I simply cut it off.

In other news, I showed my friend Melissa how to weave on my little Cricket loom. This was her first project!!

It is actually long enough to make a cozy, doubled cowl, but the mannequin was having none of it.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

One can never have too many looms...

I remember it, as though it were yesterday, instead of some two to three years ago. My friend Isabel asked me if I were interested in weaving, as she had three or four looms and, at least, one too many.

I laughed and asserted that I had no interest in weaving.

She initially said "Okay," but added, "I can drop one off and let you play with it, if you like."

I declined, but over the next few months, I kept thinking about it.

Then, I did a little research, and I was intrigued.

So, I bought the extra loom from her.

It was a Schacht 25" 8-harness table loom.

When she brought it to me, she put together the warping board and showed me all the pieces and tools that came with it.

As she was preparing to leave, I remember feeling a tad bit overwhelmed. She smiled as she left and said: "Good luck. I want you to learn how to use it, so you can show me."

Here is the original loom, as she looked when I received her.

I had forgotten, but I anointed her Lady Vanessa Schacht because she was intimidating as hell.

A couple of weeks after Lady Vanessa arrived, Isabel, my younger daughter, and I took a Rigid Heddle Weaving class, which used little Cricket Looms.

That was a fun class and a nice introduction to weaving, but the rigid heddle was very different from the Lady Vanessa. 

We were allowed to keep the looms for a week or two after the class. In that time period, two dozen projects fell from it, mostly scarves.

A few months later, two friends posted about a loom for sale for another friend, and I acquired a 36" LeClerc Artisat with 4-harnesses:

By the time the LeClerc arrived, I was very comfortable with warping and weaving Lady Vanessa, so this one was a breeze. Because the treadles make weaving easier because your feet move the harnesses and not your hands, weaving actually goes much faster. 

I spent a lot of time of the LeClerc.

However, I finally had an idea of what my dream loom would be.  I was thinking something along the lines of a 46" Schacht floor loom with 8-harnesses. Brand new, they are very expensive. At the time, I could not justify buying a new loom, when I had two perfectly good ones at home.

Fortunately, I had two friends interested in weaving and they each took one off my hands. The LeClerc is residing just up the road, about 90 minutes from me.  The Lady Vanessa has made a voyage all the way to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where I believe she has a table runner warped on her for Christmas!

The day after the last loom left my house, I found a Macomber 56" floor loom with 4-harnesses, but with the capacity to house up to 10-harnesses! Within a week, the husband and I collected her from the East Texas woods and brought her home.

At around 400 pounds, I simply call her "The Beast."

The Beast and I are getting along famously!

She produces the most beautiful tea towels, rag rugs, and blankets.

However, over the summer, I realized I might need a smaller loom for quick projects.

Enter Isabel again. She had a 10" Cricket loom with three different sized heddles she was willing to part with because she wanted a wider one. I bought hers from her and have used it to teach the ladies at work how to weave.

Three of those ladies were immediately hooked and wanted looms of their own. In looking for options for them, I realized one of my favorite Etsy shops (from whom I have purchased raddles, shuttles, and spool holdlers) for weaving supplies now carried looms.  Handywoman is a lovely lady based just north of Houston.  She has different sized rigid heddle looms available.The ladies from my office each ordered 16" looms, which use Ashford Heddles.

Both of these photos are from her Etsy shop:

She offers them with acrylic or wooden ratchet and pawl systems.

I was so impressed with the 16" looms my friends received, I contacted her about making me a 24" one that would house 3 heddles, as I have been reading that three heddles on a rigid heddle loom can weave 4-shaft patterns.  Because I love to make 20" wide tea towels with 4-shaft patterns, I thought this smaller loom would be a good addition to my stable, which would free up the Macomber for large projects.

This lady makes beautiful items that are also really affordable.

My new loom arrived yesterday, and I immediately put it together and warped it.

I also opted for the wooden ratchet and pawl. I think it is beautiful!!

I did not warp it for multiple heddles, I just wanted to knock out a quick project.

More to come, I promise!