Posts categorized "Weaving"

I have my own drill...

Uses for your drill
Originally uploaded by Dr. Steph

And I know how to use it.

Turns out it's not only good for making holes and screwing screws, with a 9/32 drill bit, it makes an excellent bobbin winder.

Just be careful taking the bobbins off; I dug a nice gash in my thumb with the drill bit.

What am doing all this for? I'm warping the loom to make two scarves. The yarn is uber-gorgeous Briar Rose Fibres BFL light fingering (or maybe lace) in some of my favourite blue, teal and brown shades. After the Tour de Fleece (which I consider a success; just waiting for the yarn to dry so I can show you), I wanted to dust off the loom and burn through some stash.

2009 Fibrey Review

Happy New Year!

Here's my 2009 in review, mostly because I like making those photo mosaics.

Finished Objects: 25 (4 woven, 5 knit from handspun, only 3 adult sweaters--a new low for me)

2009 Fibrey Review

Biggest Accomplishment: Finishing the Grey Mist Bohus (also holding the record for my longest WIP.  That's why it has two photos ;) )

Newest Accomplishment: Learning to spin and buying a wheel.  (I've spun 780 yds of yarn, not including the desiccated brains singles)

Spinning 2009

Plans for 2010:

  1. Improve spinning.  I find it hard to make squooshy yarn (I like the squooshy stuff) and to make the weight I'm aiming for.  I suspect practice makes perfect
  2. Knit, spin and weave from stash.  Last year I wasn't as productive as in the past, however, I also didn't purchase anywhere as much yarn.  I have lots of pretty yarn and I want to use it before I buy more.  I'm not completely rigid in this resolution--I will buy if I go to a festival (since that's part of the fun) and I'm all for trading yarn, but I do want to knit what I have as much as possible.
  3. Learn some new weaving techniques.  Those tabby weave scarves are lovely, but I also know there's more I can do (even with my 2 shaft loom) and it's good to stretch myself.

A wee bit of Christmas gift-making

I gave up on getting stressed out about making everyone handknits for Christmas a long time ago.  I had big lists and big plans and well, it never worked out, so I stopped with the unrealistic expectations and I'm a much happier knitter because of it.

This doesn't keep me from making a few things for a few people every year.  This year's lucky recipients are my Mom and my Memere.

For Mom, a Shapely Cowl by Amy Swenson in Manos Wool Silk to match the beret I gave her already (the one I made for me, but which is not my colour).

Shapely Cowl

I love this cowl--a nice easy knit which is great for hand-dyed yarn.  I'm going to find a colour of Manos Silk that suits me and make myself one (or maybe use some Handmaiden Cashmere...)

For Memere, a woven scarf.  This was a last-minute decision, but weaving is great like that.  Besides, what can you buy your 83 year old grandmother?  Something handmade is perfect.


I really love this scarf--it was another one of those hard-to-give-away pieces.  The warp is Knitpicks Gloss and some left over Fly Designs BFL (the darker part) and I like how it striped.  The weft is Briar Rose Grandma's Blessing (good name for a grandma scarf) leftover from Shawl That Jazz


I used every last bit.  That's another nice thing about weaving--very little leftovers.


Now I'm back to doing some knitting for me.  I have two luxurious weeks off over the holidays and it's great to just sit and relax with the knitting/weaving/spinning.

I'll tell you about it when the Christmas dust settles.  Now back to my spinning and Caesar.

Happy Holidays to you all!

Thanks Carol!

I love the internet.  I've met so many interesting people from all around the world through it.  I do a lot of my job on it.  I connect with people I know in real life and those whom I'm only acquainted with virtually and I've made some amazing friendships through it.

When I started spinning, one of my internet friends Carol contacted Lisa Souza, another internet acquaintance (whom I met when I sold advertising for Knitty) and gave me the fantastic gift of a certificate for spinning fibre. Yummy Lisa Souza BFL roving to be exact.

Well, one good turn deserves another, so I made Carol a scarf to say Thank You.  I'm going to meet Carol in person for the first time at Rhinbeck, which didn't give me enough time to spin and then weave some of the fibre she gave me, so I took some of my brown corrie handspun and some Fly ing Sheep BFL for the weft, and some Fleece Artist Merino Sock for the warp and made this lovely scarf.


I went for truly random brown stripes because it was randomness on the internet that led me to meet Carol (well that and I didn't have enough for the whole scarf) and I really hope she loves the jeweled blue-green tones. 


I don't know if Carol reads my blog, but to maintain the surprise, I've set this post up to go live after I've left for Rhinebeck.  Thanks for the fibre Carol and for being one of my virtual friends.


Well, that didn't work...

I've been meaning to warp the loom for weeks now and last night the opportunity finally presented itself.

 Well, that didn't work...

I had four balls of hempathy in the stash--2 orange and 2 turquoise and wanted to do a houndstooth pattern like this one.

It's an easy design--the warp is 2 orange, 2 turquoise threads along the width and the weft is exactly the same.

I decided to get all crafty and make bigger "teeth" and warped a 4X4 pattern. But once I started weaving I realized that's not going to work.

I'm making gingham.

This was supposed to be a kicky little summer scarf, but I think it's going to be more dishcloths.

Time for Tea Towels

I finished the tea towels and I'm rather impressed with myself.


The patterns are random, to see how different combinations work together.  I also roughly followed the instructions in the Ashford Book of Rigid Heddle Weaving (2nd Edition).  A book I find good on ideas, but a little light on instructions for someone new to the craft.  But a good book all the same.


I consider myself a pretty proficient knitter, and I don't make a lot of mistakes that I can't fix.  Not so with weaving.  These towels are full of little errors, bad selvedges and those little things that show that I'm new to the craft.  And while I successfully used the sewing machine without cursing or crying, my complete lack of skill in that area only shows a bit.


I learned that I also need to take into consideration the shrinkage of the hempathy so I can make decent sized towels. These ones are soft and appear absorbent and there will be more; the whole process was fun, and it's neat to make something I can use.


All I can think of is "cult of domesticity"

Let me start with a little story...

When I was a teenager, I worked at the public library, which meant that I spent a lot of time around books.  For some reason that I can't remember I took out a book on horoscopes which provided long profiles of the various astrological signs and what personality qualities those people had.  I was completely horrified with the Cancer profile which stated that I was going to be happiest as a mother, nurturing a brood of children, keeping a perfect home, baking, being a homebody and a bunch of other stuff that made this young budding feminist cringe.  There was no way I was going to end up like that.

Now here I am almost 25 years later and I'm feeling a sting of irony. 

It's not because I'm a mother, or because I am a bit of a homebody.  It's certainly not because I keep a perfect home (unless they meant a perfect disaster). 


It's because I'm weaving dish towels. 

By choice.

I don't particularly like doing dishes.  Nor do I feel that my store bought dish towels are inadequate in some way (the orange and red heart ones from Ikea are really quite pleasing). 

I'm just content with the idea that I can make my own dish towels using my stash of hempathy. 


Hemp dish towels.

What next?  Macrame?  (If I ever consider that, please arrange an intervention.)

I know that doing things for one's home and for one's own pleasure is not anti-feminist--though I can also remember that university women's studies course where I learned about the "cult of domesticity".  And learning a new skill like weaving and learning to apply it with different materials like hemp and with new techniques is the point of this exercise. Nothing wrong with that.


I was inspired by my new weaving books (I'll do proper reviews soon), and the need to try out something new.  I've already messed up and realize that these towels (I'm doing three on one warp) will likely be too drapey because I should have used a 12.5 dpi reed, not the 10dpi (fewer slots and holes).  I'm hoping they'll shrink in the wash. 

But I'm having fun.

Both with the weaving and that little recollection about my strong, self-assured, know-it-all teenaged self.

Made it!

I set a modest goal of weaving two scarves for Christmas presents, which due to the wrong yarn choice on my part turned into three scarves. 

I've warmed up to the first one (which I will give to my cousin for her birthday on the 26th), and am really pleased with the other two.

Warp and Weft: Spirit Trail Fibers Superwash Merino Worsted with a 7.5 dpi reed and twisted fringe.  This is a better photo than the other day (nice to have some sunlight!).

Growing on me scarf

Warp: Beaverslide Worsted, 90% Merino, 10% Mohair in Chokecherry Heather.  Weft: Malabrigo Worsted in velvet grapes with a 7.5 dpi reed and twisted fringe.  This scarf is soooooooo soft and squooshy.  If the recipient even makes a little noise about not liking it, I'm taking it back!

Hannah's Scarf

Warp: Knitpicks Gloss in Black and Pumpkin, 70% Merino, 30% Silk.  Weft: Knitpicks Gloss in  Cocoa on a 12.5 dpi reed with regular fringe.  This is for my brother who wanted something not too thick to wear under his camel coat.  I think it's suitably masculine and I love how the stripe worked.  This one has inspired me to try some more solid colours and stripe combinations.


And as you can see, we're having a white Christmas. We're in the final scramble here before we head out to the cottage, but we did find time to go sliding and watch the original three Star Wars movies.  I'm on holiday until January 5th (one of the perks of working for a University; they close for 2 weeks) and I plan on doing a whole lot of loafing.

I didn't knit a stitch for 3 days...

But I did do a whole lot of weaving.  I don't do a lot of Christmas knitting because I don't like to put that kind of pressure on myself, but this year, I thought it would be nice to make a few scarves on the loom since it's pretty quick and the results are pleasing. 

The first step was to get Emma's project off my loom. I bought her purple yarn at the Purple Purl first anniversary sale for her own scarf.  The warp was Malabrigo and the weft, Manos Silk.  First, don't use Malabrigo for the warp; it's too delicate and it broke a few times on the outermost strand.  It was fixable, but also a pain the ass (think swear jar...see below).  We warped it right away and then Emma let it sit.  And sit.  And sit.  So a bit of threatening that I would weave it myself and keep the scarf, and a bit more threatening and she sat down and got it done.  I would say it's 50% me and 50% her, but I'll give her all the credit.

She's wearing her Medieval costume (the time period they're studying at school) and she's very pleased with the final result.  After washing it, it was soft and beautiful.

Princess Emma's new scarf

We used all the yarn up (which was my plan) and there's a neat spot with just the Malabrigo which makes it look extra neat (must remember that for future projects)

Now that the loom was free I warped my first project.  The warp and weft is superwash worsted from Spirit Trail Fibers.  It's yarn I bought 2 Rhinebecks ago and while I loved it in the skein, I loved it less in the ball and then less on the loom.  The lime is glaring against the purples.  It also didn't say "sister-in-law" to me, so I'm saving it for the right person.


It took about a day to do (and I didn't weave for 24 hours straight) so I decided to warp a do-over using Beaverslide worsted (which my pal Deena gave me--it is ga-ga-gorgeous and there will be more of this yarn in my life) and a skein of Malabrigo worsted in Velvet grape.  


I love the combination of the solid warp with the handpaint weft--it looks tweedy and subtle but also gorgeous and rich.  This one speaks to me as the gift for its intended.  It's going to be tough to give it away.

Pretty Fibre Distraction

With the election being a massive disappointment, I have chosen to cocoon with some smooshy yarn and my loom.  Yes, I will still be watching the CBC for all the punditry (I can't help it, I find this stuff interesting and apparently I'm a masochist), but I'll be weaving my Rhinebeck scarf at the same time for the sedating effect (it's also harder to throw things at the tv this way).


Pretty eh?

The colour changes are more subtle than these pictures make them out to be.  And it looks less dishcloth like and more smooshy wooly.  I'm learning that the work needs to be washed and dried before it really has the appearance of cloth.  Maybe I'll do a before and after.  Maybe...


And there will probably be beer. Beer helps.