Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Knit wise... subway knitting

The Print O' The Wave Stole is progressing right along. It amazes me how quickly it progresses just from the amount of time I work on it while on my way to and from work, cello lessons, and a few other odds and ends trips. It's now 22" inches long--unblocked. That will translate to quite a bit longer after blocking as I will be really opening it up to reveal the lacey pattern.

There is that hideous pool (bottom right) near the beginning of the stole. At our LGBT "Knit and Schmooze" the other night someone suggested going over some of the patch with duplicate stitch. Great idea! I also mentioned in an earlier post my notion of spot bleaching and dyeing, but I think duplicate stitch would be much easier to control, and if it failed wouldn't ruin the piece. Another thought is knitting a flower and attaching it over the pool to hide it. At the moment, top option is duplicate stitch. I will definitely try that. I think the colors have behaved themselves very well from that point on. Knock on wood.

I've repeated the pattern enough times that I now have my favorite rows and my not so favorite rows, though truth be told none of them are horrible. Every other row, of course, is straight purl and I like that.

I had to rip out a row the other day, not once, but twice! I kept coming out with one too many stitches, and made the mistake the first time I frogged of not undoing the entire row. I got to the last two stitches and thought there was no need to go any further. Well it turns out that one of those two stitches was the problem. I had forgotten to knit two together! Sheesh. Got it straighted out and was merrily on my way again.

Knitting on the subway has made my commute an entirely different experience. I don't feel like I'm losing time and the trips seem shorter. Love it.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Weaving wise... handspun table runner is done...

I wet finished it today. Weaving was done yesterday and I hemstitched the ends last night after work.

This has been an interesting experiment. As mentioned, I was unsure about using this draft. My feelings now that the scarf is complete and the results visible? To be honest I think there are probably better applications of this draft. Either using finer threads and/or a tighter sett. But having said that, I do love the result. The scarf has real presence. The red is RED and it does a good job of melding the variegated colors of the weft into the whole. It also has a lot of texture. Fine, lovely texture that works well in a table scarf, IMO.

Don't you think it looks slightly early 70s retro? I do, and I like that. Those were my high school years. :)

Specifics: Both yarns were spun from Spinner's Hill rovings, and both were spun 2-ply. The red warp measures about 16 wpi*, and the autumn colored weft measures about 14 wpi. The scarf was warped with 140 threads at 10 ends-per-inch: 14". Due to take-up and shrinkage the end product is 12.5" which is almost exactly the 10% that is usually calculated for take-up and wet finishing. Yippee! The finished length is 40.5". \

The draft is from Marguerite Porter Davison's "A Handweaver's Pattern Book'. It's Rose Path Project #1 (Sampler), #XIV, threading #3 by Berta Frey.

Here it is...

Those 3 pictures were taken with flash which gives a reasonably acurate depiction of the color. This next picture is without flash and it shows the texture a little clearer:

*WPI = how many threads lying side-by-side fill up the space of an inch. This picture shows the measurement of some blue merino/silk I spun up:

Friday, August 24, 2012

Weaving wise... the handspun scarf as an FO

Received word today that the scarf was received, so I can post a few pics of the finished object. I sent it to my nephew as a graduation gift. He graduated college this spring with a degree in music education. We are all very proud of him!

Without further ado, 2 pictures of the scarf:

Speaking of my nephew, here is a video he posted yesterday with his brother and his dad (my brother). He is playing guitar and is the lead singer. My brother is playing mandolin and my other nephew is playing bass. Fun! Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Weaving wise... Autumn table runner

The handspun table runner is progressing rapidly. I do love working with my own yarn, what can I say? I've had a lot of uncertainties about this runner, from the choice of draft, to length, to width, to finishing. Some decisions will be made for me, i.e. length. I will continue until I run out of warp, or weft--whichever comes first!

I have a photo which I took after my first day of weaving. It's not a great photo, partly due to the fact that I had to get down under the warp to snap the pic. That's because the draft was written for a sinking shed loom. My loom is a rising shed type so to see the pattern on the working side I would have to reverse the tie up, but I didn't because it would have required too many tie-ups. So I decided to go ahead a weave it pattern side down.

It's been kinda fun to work it this way--the right side being hidden from view while I weave. Seeing the pattern side is a surprise, but I won't get the full effect--good or bad--until it's off the loom. Mystery and suspense!

The colors are working well together, I think. It's very red. The pattern has larger skips in it than I was aware of from viewing a picture of it, but I'm not bothered by this. It probably would not work so well in an article of clothing, but for the table, I think it's fine. Should finish up very nicely.

There is some wonky beating at the beginning (which is at the top of the picture). Took me 6" or more of weaving to learn the pattern and recognize which pics required a heavier beat. It's my estimation that this wonkiness will even out during the wet finishing stage.

It's not going to be perfect, but I think it will be nice. At this stage I'm experimenting, learning, making mistakes, experimenting, learning, making mistakes, experimenting, ... :)

The wool was purchased from Spinner's Hill and I spun it 2-ply.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Weaving wise... an update

The scarf using my handspun yarn is finished and I'm pretty well pleased by it. I will not post pics until the recipient has received it, though. I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise. A few pics coming soon.

Next up: a handspun table runner. This will be using yarn I made from Spinner's Hill rovings. Some deep red for the warp and the variegated autumn colors for weft. Both of which I spun during TdF plus some more red that I've spun this past week. The draft I plan to use creates an almost bargello effect. I think this will make the most of the fact that the weft is variegated. I'll post pics when I get an inch or two woven. Only time will tell whether this is a good or no-so-good decision.

The kick spindle arrived and I had a few moments to give it a quick try out the other day. Most interesting! I'll have to get some real spinning time on it in order to do a full report. More to come on that.

The knitting project is proceeding well. A few more "toads" than I'd like, but good progress is being made. Maybe I should post a pic soon. "Toads" is my word for un-knitting just a row or two, or even just part of a row. Since "frogging" describes totally un-knitting something, I thought I'd call these small frogs "toads"! There is a rather nasty pool of color near the beginning of the piece but I'm letting it go. I was wondering earlier today whether taking a little bleach to that area in a controlled manner and spot-dyeing with matching colors would eliminate the pool or whether it would end up a total mess!? I'll have to day dream about that some more before undertaking the experiment.

Off to do some spinning!...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Acquisitions and orders...

I have had something of a spree these past few weeks acquiring tools and materials. Golly! When it rains it pours! I guess the stars lined up to put things in my path.

When weaving the 2 throws I was using my sewing machine bobbin winder to wind the bobbins for my shuttles. Needless to say, it was makeshift and I had to take care since the bobbin shaft on my machine is only 1" high and the bobbins for weaving are about 4" long. Wobbly going. But it worked and as far as I'm concerned that's what mattered!

I had been dreaming, though, about getting a bobbin winder. In the course of my dreams I made up my mind that I did not want a belt driven one (replacing worn belts-I don't want that) and I remember having seen pics of vintage or antique pirn winders that were direct drive. One came up for sale in Warped Weavers Marketplace on Ravelry and I'm now the very happy owner of this wonderful tool. Since it's a pirn winder I had to wind a few inches of masking tape over the shaft to accommodate my bobbins but it works like a charm. I love this thing:

That's some handspun merino I'm putting into the scarf. Here's a close up of the weaving. I'll be done by the weekend--doesn't it go fast once the loom is set up!? I'm so happy about weaving with my own yarn. I placed an order for more merino/silk top, 8 oz. of deep red and 8 oz. of golden yellow. Should look pretty classy together, no?

In the next day or so I should have delivery of a new spindle! Yes, I'm getting another one but not just any old one. The twirly-hoo I ordered is a kick-spindle. It sits in a cradle on the floor and has a kick wheel that you put in motion with your feet. Sounds aerobic to me! Maybe I will start getting exercise after all. Ha! I'm very curious about this intriguing spindle and can't wait to try it out. It's a Mother Marian. I'll post updates of my experiences.

Also arriving shortly is a bobbin lace starter kit which I found online for a very good price. I haven't mentioned it, but when I was a teenager I investigated bobbin lace making and wove a foot or two using clothes pins as bobbins. (In fact, my sister asked me about it a few years ago. Wondered if I still did it.) Can't remember what I used for a pillow! Anyway, nostalgia and renewed curiosity prompted me to go for it. Don't know when I'll try it, but it'll be ready when the time comes. This man's videos are fabulous. Love 'em:
Basic Bobbin Lace Stitches

I'm remembering how difficult it was to get information when I was growing up. Books, if you could find them. That was it, unless you were super lucky to know someone who knew how to do what you wanted to learn. Even then, obtaining lessons... In this age of Youtube and all the other online resources at our fingertips!! Golly, haven't things changed!

I was given this little frame loom the other day. Isn't it lovely. I'll be able to weave a tapestry diary, and maybe some prayer flags,etc.

I said it poured! :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Weaving... sneak peak...

Oh...! I am thrilled... I spent the afternoon dressing the loom with some of the merino/silk I spun during TdF. What a joy to be using my own yarn! It will be a gift scarf. I'm afraid this picture doesn't reflect the true color very well. The silk in the yarn reflects the flash of the camera and creates a washed out look. The overall color is much more violet than this picture shows. When it is finished I will take it outside to photo without flash.

The pattern is called "Wheat" and is a combination twill. I'm liking this...

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Off topic... Saturday afternoon stroll...

I did this yesterday. It was totally impromptu. I had been out in the back yard spinning for an hour and came back in with only a vague idea of what was next. Surest bet was piano practice. Contenders included warping the loom or cleaning (!).

As I entered the what-used-to-be-called-the-tv room some back burner idea caught my attention. I hadn't been down to the Williamsburg flea market since summer started. Why not now? ... Why not?

I welcomed the idea with enthusiasm. There was still a lot of weekend to get around to the loom. Yes, I should do a bit of cleaning. Cleanliness is next to godliness. It's also over-rated. I'm sure, when I'm on my death bed, I won't regret not cleaning more. Oh, the cleaning can wait. (I did some straightening up today. :) )

So being that the temps were quite high yesterday, I lathered myself up in some sunscreen, donned my straw hat, bid the birds an au revoir and set off for Brooklyn Flea--a short 20 minute walk away.

Which wasn't there. Some Saturdays in the summer are set aside for what is called "Smorgasburg" billed as "A Brooklyn Flea Food Market". Well that's alright! Indeed! "I'll catch Brooklyn Flea some other weekend," I thought. So I began my world tour of food. What follows is a picture journal of my sojourn...

(Click picture to enter slide show mode--much better viewing that way.)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Woven throw #2 is finished...

I finished weaving this throw yesterday morning, hemstitched the ends when I got home from work last night, and wet finished it this morning. The finished size is 73" x 22". Harrisville Designs' New England Shetland throughout.

I hung it over a clothes line to dry and when I took it down noticed that it dried with a pucker on both edges where it hung over the line. Happily, I was able to use the steam iron to remove the puckers. Yay!

I think I did a little better on this one. Learned a few things from the first throw. Just little things, but they add up don't they?

Amazing how quickly the actual weaving goes once the loom is warped. These plaids--any pattern with horizontal milestones I would imagine--really seem to speed along. How enjoyable it is to have a few minutes--5 or 10--to sit and weave a block or two of color.

My next weaving project is going to use some of my own handspun. Exciting.

A close up, 2-2 twill, 10epi, 10dpi: