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?!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Outfoxed myself

Happy New Year!

I rang 2017 with a lovely weaving project.

This was the view on January 2nd. I started with nineteen balls of the black. This was what remained. The husband took one look and said: "Only five weft."  I love him.  He's funny like that.

By early afternoon, I had 5.5 yards of wool fabric, ready to make into one of these! (Stripes along the bottom edge, so rotate the picture in your mind 90 degrees clockwise. Also, I did not pattern my fabric after that specific poncho, but it does give a good idea of how it will work!!)

Although, I have not shipped it yet.

Once I had reached the length I needed, I decided to do a little experiment.  Remember when this project was first conceived, I wanted to use some lace weight brown wool as the weft? However, I talked myself out of it because who would use brown weft over black warp?

Well, the brown makes the colors POP!  Who knew?

The little strip is woven with the brown lace weight warp. It is divine!

Now, I am not the least bit unhappy about my fabric at all.  This little discovery only means I shall be warping soon for a SECOND poncho in a brown colorway....  SQUEE!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Loom down

Good News:  I have a finished project to share!!

This is what I am calling a Turkish Towel.  It is made using Maysville 8/4 cotton carpet warp used double for both the warp and the weft. Prior to washing (I could not wait, it was so pretty), the towel measured 19-inches wide x 31.5-inches long.

Not so good news:  I broke the loom.

I thought I was a little more than half-way through this project, as I had just started the second towel, but my rigid heddle loom had another idea.


I know I am a tight knitter, and I guess those tendencies have carried over into weaving. I kept my warp so tight, I knocked off the pawl on the front apron.

No great worries, though, I contacted the lady who made it, and she responded immediately, even though she is on vacation. Bless her.

My initial question was whether I could glue the cap back on.

Her response:
Goodness I'm surprised that came off in one piece. I would normally want to make any repairs but on this repair yes you can glue this back on. When you glue is on only place a small amount of glue on the inside of the little cap (in the bored out part. Then put the paw back on making sure it is going in the correct direction and then put the cap onto the dowel making sure the dowels goes into the cap firmly. Look closely to make sure no glue oozed out. You don't want the cap to get glued to the pawl or it will not move. If you need more help let me know. Also if the dowel is broken off inside the cap and there is no longer a place for the dowel to go let me know I will need to fix that myself or if you are a clever girl I can send you new parts and instructions. Sorry your loom got a booboo. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!!!!
I call that amazing customer service!


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Fade to Black

The Christmas sweater for the younger daughter is nearly done; however, as she wanted sleeves longer than the three-quarter called for in the pattern, I had her try it on this morning to gauge how long she actually wanted them to be when we discovered the sleeve was too tight...

No problem, all I needed was a pair of size 4 12-inch circular needles...of which I had none.

A pair is on order, but that means this will not be finished by Christmas, more like New Year's.

The daughter is fine. I am fine.

The buttons are perfect, no?  Vintage moon glow buttons from the 1950's!

On to those socks, which need to be finished by Friday.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

50% more harnesses!

The Macomber Beast has just completed her first ever update!

At 40-plus years old, it was time.

The original owner bought a model B4E, which means she has a 56" weaving width.  She came with 4 harnesses (or shafts), but was capable of holding up to 10 harnesses.

Last summer, the husband bought me 2 more harnesses with the requisite lamms, jacks, and treadles in a kit directly from Macomber.

The loom has been occupied for most of the last six months, which was a major reason the upgrades had not already been made; however, today was the day!

It took him a little while because none of the parts had been moved or altered since she was originally built, but he did it!!

There is really not too much to see, as the harnesses all look alike, but the two new treadles are very obvious.  The entire loom is made of maple and Birdseye maple, which darkens over time.  The new guys are rather bright, no?

At some point during the whole process, Coal must have come by and snatched a wooden spacer. He is the smallest of the hounds and most likely to go unnoticed. However, Bane is the one who had it (and tried to eat it) by the time I noticed it was missing.  So, he has certainly left his mark on my loom.  The husband did a good job sanding it as well as he could. It looked much worse before the sanding.

Here is what an unchewed spacer is supposed to look like.

I could not be more impressed with Macomber. The loom design is superb, and they craft an excellent product. I am really amazed they make parts that fit perfectly some four decades later.

The pair of harnesses were roughly half what I bought the loom for. The plan is to purchase two more harnesses next summer (another birthday gift).  The husband assures me adding more harnesses should go much smoother, now that he is familiar with the process and lubricated all the moving parts.  Bless him. He is so patient and methodical. I simply could not have done any of this on my own.


Friday, December 16, 2016

Spreading the passion

M is one of the lovely ladies at work who started her knitting journey with me just over a year ago.

In August, I believe, I sent a loom home with her.

Shortly thereafter, she purchased one of her own.

She bought a 16" Ashford-like rigid heddle loom from Handywoman on Etsy. (As of this morning, she did not have any of these looms available in her shop, but she is a very nice lady.  Just send her a message, if you interested and tell her I sent you!).

M has been going great guns on her loom, and she even managed to get her visiting mother-in-law and sister-in-law to weave on it!  As the sister-in-law boarded her plane back to Australia, she was sending M photos of floor looms she wanted to buy!!

Several weeks ago, M said she would like to make tea towels, but I told her she needed one that would accommodate a 20-inch weaving width.

Two days ago, M mentioned again, she would like to make towels.  This time; however, I reported I had seen a used 24-inch rigid heddle loom available here for $65.

I emailed her the link and, a few minutes later, asked if she had received it.

Her response?

"I have already sent her an email."

The woman responded and told her that she had posted the picture of a 20-inch loom, instead of the 24-inch, but both were available at the same price and it would only be a little more to ship them both.

Here is the actual 24-inch loom:

M did what any reasonable human would do under the circumstances, she bought them both!!

Yesterday afternoon I was chatting with my friend L, who bought my LeClerc 36-inch four-harness floor loom in April.  So delighted with M's success, I shared the transaction.

L responded knowingly: "OMG. It's a disease."

I had to laugh because she was right!  Although, it is much less like the plague and far more like gold fever or yarn fever.

As to the knitting, the younger daughter came into my room to visit with me last night, as I worked away on her sweater.

After she shared the events of her day, I held up my progress and warned her "I'm trying to get this done on time."

I thought she said: "As long as it's done by Christmas."

I blinked twice, and she looked at me funny.

"That's the goal." I told her.

She shook her head and slowly repeated herself: "It doesn't have to be done by Christmas."

Must have been the yarn fumes and the excitement of loom acquisitions because that is not what I thought I heard.

So, after today, I will be off work until after Christmas.  

The Macomber is scheduled to have two new harnesses added to it this weekend (I love my husband), and the warping thread I need is not due to arrive until Tuesday.  All that means is I have a decent chance of knocking out the sweater this weekend and on Monday.


That will leave a partial pair of socks before Friday of next week...


Anyone else feeling the crunch?

I love Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Delightful and Done!

While it seems like ages ago, on Tuesday of last week, I warped the Macomber with a delightful riot of colors for a pair of baby blankets.

By Saturday afternoon, they were done, beautifully done.

In the picture below, I had just pulled them off the loom and zigzagged the ends just to be able to cut them apart and begin to prepare them for hems.

Here is half the warp, as I was admiring the colors.

Yarn:  Maysville 8/4 carpet warp in purple, mood blue, dark green, pear, coral, and colony green.

The pattern is my version from Handwoven Baby Blankets by Tom Knisely.  The book is fantastic with lots of excellent tips!

The finished sizes of these are 30" wide x 44.5" long after hemming, washing, and ironing.  I just threw them in the washer, then the dryer.  They are wonderfully soft and, hopefully, long wearing.

With the leftovers, I warped the Ashford-like rigid heddle loom for towels. I used a 10-dent reed and doubled the strands for the warp.

In this picture, the pink is the waste thread to close the gaps from tying on. The purple will be the hem, with the thread used singly as weft. I have only just begun the body of the first towel with the colony (light) green used double for the weft.  I hope to get pre-washed towels 20" wide x 39" long.

Okay, 13 days until Christmas, and I still have a sweater and a pair of socks to finish....

This weekend, the two harnesses the husband bought for my birthday back in June are scheduled to be added to the Macomber, which means no big weaving until after that happens, although the warp for the poncho fabric is nearly complete (I ran out of black tencel...).

Knitting....I need to be knitting...