Monday, February 27, 2017

There is patience, and then there is patience...

Apparently, there is patience in the preparation and set-up of a process, and there is patience with the process itself.

My particular brand of patience appears to be the former, as in the setting up of the process, and much less with the process itself.

At the end of last month, I decided to teach myself overshot weaving. This is not a terribly complicated endeavor, but it does require one to alternate two shuttles when weaving.  The first shuttle thrown is the pattern shuttle, in my case blue, and the second is for the background even-weave to hold the pattern in place (natural colored).



While not hard, it was extremely fiddly, and the weaving process was slow.

I loved the results, but it was hard to get rhythm and constant motion going on it, so, it sat unattended, until I decided I wanted to begin my next project.

Friday night, I dedicated myself to get through this project, so at the loom I sat for a couple of hours. My progress was a sum total of 24 inches. Not bad, until you consider my ambitious self used a 4.5 yard warp.

Thinking I may have enough for a cowl, I decided to end the blue fingering weight and go with something a bit more exciting, that also happened to be a thicker yarn at worsted weight: Malabrigo Rios in Arco Iris.



The thrill was momentary. I was done with the overshot.

I rifled through my yarn and went to an old favorite for weaving: Universal Yarn Bamboo Bloom in New Year.

That did it!

Within an hour, I used up the whole hank and had 49 inches, enough for an infinity scarf.

It was not quite bed time, so I looked around and found some Manos del Uruguay Maxima in M6668 (a dead sexy yarn color name, no?) and quickly began weaving with it, hoping I could finish the end of the warp with it.

(Please forgive the poor photography, one of these days I may actually learn how to do it correctly. These pieces are also just as they came off the loom. Glamour shots once they are washed, blocked, and sewn.)

I eventually got tired, but first thing Saturday morning, I took a few more minutes and knocked out another 50 inches, again, enough for an infinity scarf.

In all, both scarves took less than 2 hours!

Best part?

I did not waste my warp!

Because, to be perfectly candid, I thought about cutting it after the overshot, as I was focused on putting these on the loom:

8/2 unmercerized cotton in nine gorgeous colors! 

With some guidance from the Facebook 8-Shaft Weaving group, I came up with a mathematical sequence for the gradient changes.

Here it is, as I was winding the warp on the back beam with lease sticks and tension rods:

Once it was all on, I admit I was feeling very proud of myself!

That was rather short-lived.

After threading heddles for a few hours, I finally got to the center of my heddles and realized I was not anywhere close to the center of my colors...

Referring back to my notes, I realized I calculated my threads per color based on the end color, not the grade changes for the colors within the edges...  The difference was 87 ends for the end colors and 149 ends for the middle colors.... AAARRRGGHHHH.

Did I mention the warp is 8.7 yards long?

I usually count the actual number of warp threads as I go.  My magic number was 783; however, I was so confident in my formula (and it was much easier) to count off the threads to keep track of the gradient changes and not the total number...  Huge mistake.

The good news?

I LOVE the combination and how the colors interact and change.

The first issue became what do I do with the half threaded warp?  I only had 1,000 heddles on my loom and I needed 1,217...

After I bought my Macomber, I replaced all of the heddles, but kept the old ones. Although, I had not attempted to add or move heddles when half of the ones on there were already threaded.

Fortunately, with the help of zip ties, I was able to slide them on without an issue.  Who knew?! 


That means, the goal at the moment is to get all the heddles threaded, advance the warp onto the cloth beam, so I spread out the warp better on the back beam, as I will be weaving 50 inches across, rather than 30 inches, and rewind the warp on the back beam.  Perhaps, I may eventually be able to begin weaving...

Of course, this brings up the second issue: What do I do with 8 yards of 50 inch wide cloth that was intended to be about 29" wide and 5 yards long?  (I added extra warp length to play with different weft colors and patterns with straight draw.)

In the back of my mind, I had been thinking about weaving fabric for a duvet cover for my Queen size bed.  My loom maxes out at 56 inches wide, so the thought was to have a center panel of 50" wide with side panels of 20" or so.  Each panel would need to be 96" long off the loom (my warp calculator says the length under tension should be 121 inches).  My warp is not long enough to accommodate three panels that length, but if I ripped (carpentry term) the second panel in half, I would have enough to make the sides.

More good news, I have plenty of thread left on each of the cones to make the project I originally intended.

Forgive the long-winded post, but now I have to get to threading those heddles...

Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


If I sewed the buttons on, I might actually have a finished object to share.

Monday, February 6, 2017

So, I couldn't wait!

The superbly fabulous Karlee at Crimson Clover just emailed me photos of what she was able to make out of the left over poncho fabric from the previous post...

In case you are wondering, it is lined with black twill with pockets and everything!!

She has photos of her other hip bags on her Etsy shop, if you want to see how she does the insides of them.

What is even cooler about these? The leather straps are attached with Chicago screws, which makes them easy to remove, so the bag may be washed, if needed.  


Saturday, February 4, 2017

A Feisty Poncho!

Remember that cloth I wove a few weeks ago?  The one I was going to ship off to Canada for a really nice and talented lady to make something for me with?

Well, she did!

She also just sent me a photo!

Fabric and weaving information here.

Links and information about this wonderfully talented lady here.

Oh, and there is another surprise, she told me there was enough left over fabric to make "a tote bag, a zipper bag, a couple pillows, pouch.. pretty much anything!"

So, I asked her to make something...I will share when it arrives.


Monday, January 23, 2017

A Tad Bit Tardy

Well, I finally got around to finishing those Christmas socks. However, they are handsome, no?

Yarn:  Twisted Fiber Arts in Lagoon.
Pattern: My own 4 x 2 ribbed socks.

Now, I need to complete the younger daughter's sweater...

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Final Four

Now that I have dispossesed myself of seventeen sweaters, I took stock of what remained and was kind of surprised at what I kept.

First, they are all cardigans!

Who knew?

Here they are:

My absolute all-time favorite sweater is Breckon by Amy Christoffers.

This one has a bit of an interesting story.  My friend Lizzy of Vice Yarns was over having dinner with us one night, and she showed us a sweater a test knitter had made for her in her own yarn, Vice Carnal, which is luscious blend Merino/Cashmere/Silk.

I had not considered a fingering weight cardigan, but the instant I slipped it on, I was in LOVE!

The sweater was complete, but for buttons.  I am pleased to say, a dive into the Feisty button stash produced just the right ones, and they currently adorn Lizzy's beautiful sweater.

The yarn I used is Yarn Carnival High Wire 3-ply in Amaranthine.

The lovely pattern, the squishy yarn, the weight of the yarn, and the color completely sold me on this sweater. It is light and warm, but not too warm!

If you have not knit a sweater in fingering weight, I highly recommend it.

Speaking of Amy Christoffers, what are the odds two of my four favorite sweaters are designed by her?

Number 2 on the list is Maxfield Cardigan.  This one had been in my queue for a very long time.

This is a creative and wonderful design, that was a pleasure to knit. So much, so, I have knit three of for me and one for each of my daughters.

This sweater holds the distinction of being the most comfortable to wear, as in how it sits and fits on the body; however, it is dk weight and a good bit warmer than the fingering weight.

The yarn I used was Valley Field Northfield (Merino/Alpaca/Silk) for the solid navy background and Koigu Kersti Merino Crepe for the multicolored stripes. 

The prize for the most worn sweater goes to the Everything Nice Hoodie by Tori Gurbisz. 

Truly, it makes its way onto my list as the third favorite sweater, because it is the one I reach for to walk the dogs, run to the market, and ward off the occasional chill while chilling on the coach.

Living up to its name, it has a hood, pockets, and extra long sleeves with thumb holes to keep the hands warm!

This one looks pretty doggone worn, too!

I used Noro Retro (sadly discontinued) for this one. Sure, it pills and looks rustic 99% of the time, but that is part of the appeal for me.  Because it looks worn, I am not afraid to wear it or get it dirty. I just wash it again and wear it some more.

The bonus is that I absolutely love these big plastic buttons!  In fact, I chose the buttons well before I chose the yarn.

The last of the favorites is actually the first sweater I ever knit for myself, some nine years ago.

It is B-Side Cardigan by Laura Chau.  Her recommended yarn was Malabrigo Silky dk; however, I wanted something jacket-like to pull on over jeans. Thus, I selected the Malabrigo Merino, which is an Aran weight. In order to get gauge, I actually had to move down to a size US 4 needle!

It took took FOREVER, as in three whole months, to knit this; however, I am still delighted with this sweater.

Like the Noro Retro, the Malabrigo Merino pills like crazy; however, it is so tightly knit, I can use a sweater shaver and it looks like new all over again.

This one fits well and comfy with lots of extra room and plenty of warmth.

As each of these was folded and tucked in a drawer until five minutes before these photos were taken, they are a bit creased and tired looking, but I still think they are beautiful.

Now that I have shared them, I have an itch to cast on a new sweater, probably a cardigan (HA!), and possibly in a fingering weight...

Friday, January 13, 2017

A new year, a fresh start,

and time to let go...

While I still knit, my knitting production has slowed down considerably the last couple of years, as I have been weaving and doing other things.

I still love to knit, but I find my projects are now smaller and less involved than sweaters.  Gone are the times I knit fourteen sweaters in a year!

Part of the reason the sweater-making has slowed, is that I just do not wear sweaters.  There is a meme running around Facebook that says:  "I survived the Texas Winter of 2017 - January 6-8!"

Three days!

Well, I guess that is better than last year, where it was an exceedingly mild winter.

When I opened the sweater drawers this year, I decided it was a waste to allow these beautiful hand knit sweaters to languish any longer. I contacted a friend in Minnesota and asked her if she would be willing to take them and help find them new homes, preferably ones where they could be worn and appreciated.

She said it was -17 degrees there and sweaters were always appreciated. She said she may add some of her own and distribute them to the single mom group at her church.  I am so thrilled!

This is what I have to send her:

There are several there that have NEVER been worn.  The others may have been worn once or twice.

The question is, will they all fit in the box?!