Friday, November 23, 2012

All wise... a bit of catching up... three

Spinning. I've been spinning almost every day for a while now. Late in the evening after the day's chores are done. A wonderful way to unwind. Light a little incense, pour a little wine, spin a little wool, and take a few deep breaths. Ah.

I mentioned wanting to weave another throw. It looks like the palette for this new throw is going to be pretty much as follows, possibly with the addition of a very pale green:

Those are recently finished skeins, except for the ball of Wellington Fibres at the top. I put that in the picture because its yarn is still on the wheel! (see next picture) I should be finished with the Wellington's by the end of the weekend. This gorgeous fiber is a lovely gift from a dear friend in Canada. Much thanks, jak.

I'm pretty sure the new throw will be a plaid, and most probably a twill. I love twill.

I'll be posting updates about this project as it proceeds.

(Just a little post-note: I received word today that my bank is ready to close on my house purchase and we'll be scheduling the closing date on Monday. It's happening! :) )

All wise... a bit of catching up... two

Crochet. I've been making steady progress on the sunflower lap blanket. I really, really like this pattern.

It's quite fun to sit down at the end of a long day and knock off a square. Doesn't take long, maybe half an hour. I only need to make 3 more squares and I'll be ready to connect all together. Being a lap blanket, it isn't very big.

I started this blanky before Harrisville Designs updated their palette and can no longer obtain the blue I began with. So I decided to make half the squares using a new blue and I think it still looks pretty good. However, in order to get a pleasing arrangement of the different shades I need 2 more squares in the original blue--which I can't get--so I've made 2 squares in a completely different shade: a greenish-blue, to fill 2 key positions. I say it still looks pretty good!

Won't be too long before this is finished:

All wise... a bit of catching up... one...

Well... November is turning out to be one of the slowest months for me in terms of posts written. Unless I get a lot written in the next few days, it's going to be a rather sorry showing.

This is the first of three posts I'm making in an effort to bring this place up-to-date.

Weaving. I started some placemats using a draft I found online. It's a freebie from the Leclerc company of Canada. I had figured out the instructions from the French version of the pattern before realizing there was an English version. It makes me feel pretty good to have been able to understand the French. I wish I were fluent. Alas. Non.

Here is the warp as I was threading it:

The pattern is warp-faced meaning the warp threads are so close to each other they completely cover the weft. This creates a certain type of fabric. If the weft is thick, one obtains a mat-like material. Good for placemats. I'm using 3 threads at a time to create a thicker weft and the fabric is turning out very nice. Not too thick, not too thin. Won't take forever to dry after washing, but thick enough to protect a table top.

Lot's of learning from experience on this. The warp is the longest I've ever wound at 6.5 yards. That's enough for 8 placemats. I did not tie the warp chains in enough places which caused some trouble when I went to wind the warp onto the beam. Some threads were criss-crossed and loose and folded over on themselves when entering the heddles. I ended up with 5 broken warp threads due to this (there are 514 all together). It was all a bit iffy for about 15 minutes, but I persevered and tied on some replacement threads and it's now proceeding nicely.

I have completed one mat and am just starting another. Half way through the first I noticed a threading error but decided to finish the mat and fix the mistake in between mats--in the area that becomes fringe. The mis-threading caused a glitch in the pattern that is pretty hard to see, one must know there is a mistake and further more, know where to look.

This shows the weaving at the end of the 1st mat, just after I fixed the threading error and proceeded to start the 2nd mat. You can see the knots where I had to re-tie the miscreant thread after fixing the mistake. I had to cut the thread in order to remove it from a heddle on frame #2 and move it to frame #3.

Pretty, aren't they? :)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Weaving Wise... Anniversary gift finished

Probably the biggest project I've ever undertaken seeing how I spun all the yarn myself. The African Adventure blanket was big, but it was commercial yarn. I cannot adequately convey the deep sense of satisfaction I enjoy in completing this project. There is nothing like making something out of one's own handspun.

I could not possibly be more pleased with this fiber, nor can I recommend it highly enough. It is Wellington Fibres' mystery roving, in 4 different colors. For this throw, it is perfect: warm, soft and beautiful (contains wool, alpaca, and mohair). It's also a fun spin. The shades of gray common to each of the 4 colorways gives the finished piece a smokey, washed out look that I find very appealing.

I spun it a thin-ish 2-ply, mimicking the grist of Harrisville's New England Shetland (the African Adventure blanket is knit in Harrisville's New England Highland). Plenty of twist but not so much that it feels like cord. I did not wash the yarn before weaving with it, believing I would obtain a better 'fulling' if I left it unwashed. It fulled beautifully.

The weave is twill with 10 ends per inch with a balanced sett (well, as balanced as I can manage at this stage in my learning process!).

The excitment of unwinding it from the cloth beam was just too much and I plum forgot to measure the before-fulling size. Oh well. The excitement of getting it ready to ship was just too much and I plum forgot to measure the finished size!! The finished size is no problem: I'll take measurements next time I visit. As for pre-finished size, I warped it at 43.5" wide and the warp was 96" long. There were a couple feet of waste so I'd guess it was close to 72" long pre-finishing.

The throw is a gift for my brother and sister-in-law who celebrated a milestone anniversary last year (yes, they knew it was going to be late :) ).

Here it is as I unwound it from the cloth beam. I have to admit having been a bit beside myself in disbelief that I'd actually made this. Yes, it was emotional:
(click to enlarge)

Here it is finished, "in situ". I can't wait to make one for myself!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Crochet...digging out a UFO...

I am having a bit of apartment time this week what with the aftermath of Sandy. Although I never lost electricity--internet service was down for one night--the office where I work is not yet fully functional. But I do have a problem getting anywhere... I waited an hour today for a bus that never showed up, and spoke with some people who said wait times were up to 2 hours! That, I suspect, is due to the unbearable traffic on the major thoroughfares. With a large portion of the subway system down, people with cars are clogging the highways.

So I've spent the week here in the apartment. I'm not complaining. Those in lower Manhattan who are without power have it so much worse. Quite a storm, Sandy.

I puttered around the living room this afternoon, straightening up. Organizing my unspun wool--much of it from the Sheep & Wool Festival a few weeks ago--and putting yarn away in paper bags (I've been told moths won't chew through brown paper bags. ?), and generally just trying to make some sense of the disarray that has been occupying the room for some time.

In the process of tidying up I came across some yarn for a lap blanket I started well over 12 months ago and never finished. I think I'll finish it now. It's a lovely pattern of crocheted granny squares in the colors of sunflowers. And they do end up looking like sunflowers:

Speaking of wool from the festival, I started in on some 2 nights ago. Over the course of 2 evenings I spun 130 yards destined for a new weaving project. (I finished a big weaving project earlier this week and will have pics soon, must wait until it reaches it's recipient.) This wool is wonderful to spin because it still contains some lanolin. Not enough to be really greasy, but just enough the make the hands feel all smooth and wonderful: