Thursday, December 24, 2009
This is one of those weaving projects that should be stunning, but isn't.

I really like the way the weave pattern works. The warp floats, I think, are really interesting and create a rich pattern of color and texture. So much went wrong with this piece though - from the very beginning.

First, when I set up the pick up stick, I was off center. Therefore the selvages don't match and the pattern is pushed to one side of the scarf.

Then, when weaving, I made a mistake. When trying to correct it, I tangled the yarn and created a mess. I tried to fix it, but instead I accidentally pulled out the pick up stick.

That's when I gave up. I decided to cut my losses and remove what I had from the loom. The scarf it much shorter than I planned, but given the cock-eyed pattern, I'm glad I didn't invest more yarn. The pink weft yarn is a baby alpaca.

The good news is, I used a ball of the alpaca and then messed up just before I started a second ball, so I didn't waste some beautiful yarn. Also, while the scarf is short, and its too imperfect to be a gift, I can still wear it. Tucked into a jacket, the mis-matched selvages won't show, but the fun pattern will.

So....this piece is pretty disappointing, but in the end I do have something I can use.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009
More Texture

I warped the loom to make another textured piece with weft and warp floats.

I used Cascade 220 in purple for the warp and Plymouth Baby Alpaca for the weft.

This time I decided to play with different patterns alternating 1, 2 and 3 floats in the pattern. Honestly, I was disseminated. I don't love the way this looks. The yarn is beautiful, but in this combination the pink looks very baby colored and the texture just has no pizazz.

Then I took a peak at the bottom side of the loom. It's very hard to see the pattern upside down when holding up the loom, but it looks REALLY interesting! I can't wait to finish this piece to see the texture on the underside of the fabric! It looks like it will be richly textured and create an intricate pattern.

This experimenting is fun!

Hot pads

I usually hate making projects from all SC, but I really enjoyed crocheting these hot pads. Maybe the reason I like making them is that they're great hot pads - very thick and actually usable. I've made some other crocheted hot pads, and while they're cute, they're too thin to really protect from the heat.

This will be my new go to project when I'm bored or need a quick project for car trips. It's fast, easy, and creates a usable pad that we can use at home or give as gifts.

These are for one of my sister in laws who we will be visiting this weekend.

First Freeform Failure
I made my first attempt at a free-form piece, and it didn't come out as I had hoped.

I do like some elements of this piece, but for the most part it fell way short of my hopes. I drew the piece in on the red/brown chenille and the ribbon yarn, but then worked more loosly on the blue jewel, so the edges aren't straight.

I like the colors but don't like the proportions or workmanship.

Good thing there are always opportunities for second chances! I'm going to try and salvage the blue jewel yarn from this to reuse in another piece.

Monday, December 21, 2009
Ebb and Flow

Just took this scarf off the loom. I wove this with Cascade 220 in Summer Sky and Cascade Jewel Hand Dyed in Sapphire. The Jewel yarn is a thick-thin yarn, and I love the way the change in bulkiness adds texture to this simple weave! I tried to maintain a loose weave, embracing the space, and I love the way the warp shows in different lengths with the change in the weft thickness.

I was worried that my selvages would be too messy, but then I relaxed and just tried to maintain a consistent tension and not worry about the edges. You can clearly see the "ebb and flow" of the yarn in the selvages, and I like that.

This piece has inspired me to try and do some artistic wall hangings with my weaving. Now I just have to figure out how I want to get started!

Cool Pot Holder

We spent Thanksgiving with my SIL's family, and while at her house I saw that she had some really great crocheted pot holders. She said that a friend of hers had made them and that they were great because they are really thick.

This morning I stumbled across the pattern online and had to try making one. The photos show the front and back of the finished piece.

I really like this pattern. Unlike some potholders that I've tried before, this is 2 layers thick, so it really will be great in protecting hands from hot handles. It was also fun to make.

I used one ball of Sugar 'n Cream in Butter Cream Ombre. In the photo, the pot holder looks like it's done in pastel shades, but the yarn is really shades of gold, sea-foam, blue and salmon.

I'm very pleased with this quick and easy pattern, and will make more of these. They're great for around the house and will make for nice gifts.

Sunday, December 20, 2009
another corkscrew
I finished a secord 3-color corkscrew square. This is a fun pattern!

If I ever summon up enough patience to make 7 or more additional squares, I might get a nice lapghan from these.

Saturday, December 19, 2009
The beautiful rich earth-tones of this scarf inspired it's name. It reminds me of rich fertile soil - Dirt seemed a better name than soil.

This was made with 3 different chenilles - a rich brown, deep red, and variegated tones.

I had some problems with tension on my warp for this scarf, and had to rig up some weight for the back beam by slipping a small wrench over a jump ring. I worked very loosely trying to keep the weave open and light. The end result is nice, but the piece was a bear to finish.

I love the rich fabrics that I can make with chenille, but find it very difficult to work with. I better get used to it.....I think I have a lifetime supply of some of these colors!

Friday, December 18, 2009
Purple Cloud

I finished my second project using a pick up stick, and am just delighted with how it turned out. I feel like with this project I've moved from beginning status as a weaver to advanced beginner!

When weaving, I created a pattern of weft floats on the top of the fabric. It looks very pretty on the finished piece, but the real beauty of the piece is in the warp floats on the bottom side of the fabric. That side of the material has vertical chains down the length of the fabric. I'm just delighted with the way it looks.

Except for an inordinate amount of cat hair that has woven itself into this piece, I haven't found any obvious weaving errors. My selvages could be neater, but that's something I'm still working on.

I was afraid that the two purples I used for this project were to close in color, but the subtle combination adds something to the texture of the fabric. Also, on the warp float side, the lighter yarn is highlighted in the floats, which, I think, adds to the beauty.

I still have a lot to learn, but I'm very pleased with my work on this scarf!


Today we drove up to Sheep Street to buy some chenille for weaving. In addition to their bazillion sheep, Sheep Street now has 2 alpaca! They are so cute! Like Dr. Seuss llamas, only fluffier. Of course I just want to hug their fluffy necks, but this pair is not so into people, so I just took a few photos from the fence. Notice the toes on the white one - those toe nails look like they could do some damage, but it's hard to imaging anything this cute hurting anything.

I started thinking about baby alpaca and how large they must be (or small they must be) at birth. Then I wondered what a baby alpaca is called. We decided to call them Alpaca Puppy because it's fun to say (go ahead, say it out loud. You know you want to). According to the Google, a baby alpaca is actually called a cria.

Gestation for an alpaca is almost a year (11.5 months give or take 2 weeks), and alpaca generally give birth to only one cria. Wikipedia gives all sorts of interesting information about the sex life of alpaca - I'll skip most of the details.

I did wonder what sound an alpaca makes. They draw in their breath sharply to warn of predators, and the male orgles (or sings) to get the ladies "in the mood". What lady isn't a sucker for a good crooner?

The ladies are so very human-like. They go to the "ladies room" together. While males generally use a communal dung pile, the ladies like to stand in a line and go in unison. Can't you just imagine all the alpaca gossip that must take place at those times?

Much to this vegetarian's delight, alpaca have been deemed a protected species, and the trade of their meat is no longer legal. How can anyone eat something this cute that provides such delightful fluffy fiber? Who wouldn't rather have a sweater than an alpaca burger?

So....I don't know much about these delightful creatures, but every time I see them I just feel delight at their quirky look and soulful demeanor.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I have another textured project on the loom. I'm using a pick up stick to create weft floats on the front of this scarf.

I used 2 different purple yarns. The weft is slightly darker than the warp. On the actual piece, the color contrast isn't visible, but I think that using the 2 tones adds to the texture of the finished fabric.

I'm doing a simple pattern of 3 weft floats followed by a row of normal weave. What I'm loving about the scarf is that the bottom side pattern has vertical warp floats that are creating vertical ribs down the length of the scarf. I won't be able to photograph that side until I complete the piece and remove it from the warp, but I think that this is going to be nice on both sides and provide 2 different looks for the wearer.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Sunshiny Day

Not here today. Another COLD and cloudy day, but this cheery blanket is sun-shiny!

I had almost forgotten how fast and easy it is to make a receiving blanket with the Edgerydoo! I love Edgerydoo.

This little blanket will be donated to Marine Corps Kids.

Monday, December 14, 2009
3-color corkscrew square

I love the way this square works up in 3- colors. This is a really cool pattern and I think it would make a stunning afghan in mixed colors - I just don't have the patience to make it myself.

Corkscrew Square

Ghost ( of Ghost's Yarn Tales) inspired me to pick up the hook again and try this funky corkscrew square pattern. Knowing that corkscrews make up the center "flower", I'm not sure why I was surprised at just how dimensional this square is. The center is very raised and puffy. Overall, it's a fairly easy square to make. I believe I made a few mistakes, but the pattern is very forgiving.

I think this would look great if made up in 2 colors. It would make a really fun afghan. I'm not sure I have the patience to make up that many squares and join them though.

Textured Chenille

This is my finished textured chenille scarf.

I like the weft floats that were created with the pick up stick and think that this first attempt actually created a nice finished project.

It's a bit shorter than I would have liked. I ended the scarf early because the warp threads started to get very loose. I think part of the problem was that the strands around the pick up stick got loose and it was hard to tighten them back up. I had an extra shuttle, the pick up stick and cardboard floating around the back end of the scarf, and it was a bit overwhelming. Still, I learned the basics of using a simple pick up stick - I'm sure I can manage is a bit better on my next attempt.

Sunday, December 13, 2009
Insomniac Musing

My battle with insomnia continues. I decided that I can't continue to take Ambien (as well as it does work), and getting off the stuff is hard. I haven't had any of the withdrawl symptoms that I've read about, but I do have horrible insomnia again. I'll be up all night, and then crash the next day. Another few days and I should be back on some normal sleep schedule, but right now I'm a mess.

It's taking its toll on my crafting. Still not able to crochet much, though I do have some really cute fleece, and plan to make some more Edgerydoo blankets.

I do have a project on the loom. I got my Betty Davenport book and am working on a simple textured scarf with weft floats. I'm using a taupe chenille, and the yarn has so much sheen, the texture doesn't show well in the photo. If you look closely you can see some horizontal stripes across the scarf. These are weft floats that look like ribbon across the piece. I'm pleased with the way the project is coming, but working with a defined pattern takes more time than simple weaving, and with my sleep issues, it's been slow going. I think it will be pretty when I finally finish it.

Until then....happy sleeping!

Friday, December 11, 2009

With the completion of this scarf, Kangaroo, I'm officially done weaving holiday gifts. Kangaroo, named because - well, just because, is made from sugar cane and cotton in a pretty mauve palette. It's nice and long to wrap around more than once. I think the intended recipient will like it!

Now that I'm done with gifts I can play! Which is great because my copy of Textures and Patterns for the Rigid Heddle Loom arrived yesterday!!! I can't wait to start playing with new techniques. Well, I can wait - last night I had insomnia and was up until 7am - I'm too tired to try anything new right now.

Thursday, December 10, 2009
Purple Cow
I wove this scarf from Knit One Crochet Too Ty-Dy.

The yarn is 100% cotton. I love working with cotton! It weaves us so easily and nice.

I used the same yarn for the warp and the weft, and the resulting fabric is really pretty.

Not sure where this one will end up yet.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Tinkerbelle spewed

Despite the name, I really love this scarf!

I wove it from Cascade 220 Peruvian Wool in Purple and Lion Brand Moonlight Mohair in Rainbow Falls.

I made a bad mistake, initially warping the loom with the Mohair yarn. The fibers of the yarn clung together and I couldn't open a shed on the loom. I thought the entire skein was wasted.

Instead I cut off the warp strands, and rewarped with the Purple Cascade yarn. Then I used to short pieces of the mohair to randomly work in stripes or partial stripes in the weft.

I love the finished piece. The purple is a rich dark grape color, and the bright splashes of color and metalic from the mohair add a fun bit of color and pizazz.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

I wove this scarf for my dear friend Sara who has given me so much with her graphic design work (including the header art for my blog).

The photo doesn't show the correct colors for the yarn, but it is a deep rich chocolate brown and a luxurious green chenille. Originally I thought it looked like mint chip ice cream, but as I worked it and the chenille showed it's luster, the scarf looked too rich for mere ice cream - it looked like decadent gelato.

The pattern is a simple hounds tooth, but since the yarn is flat the pattern appears condensed. I love the way the colors work together and hope Sara will like it too!

Saturday, December 05, 2009
The camera
doesn't do justice to the fibers.

Since I've started weaving, I look at yarn in a whole new way. I'm more aware of the subtle textures and the richness of the colors. I love the way different yarns combine to create new color and texture patterns. I'm truly becoming a yarnie.

I hate that my camera doesn't capture the beauty of the yarns. This is a photo of my current WIP. It's a small houndstooth using rich chenille in chocolate brown and a magnificent rich green. The colors combine beautifully to create a luscious and soft draping fabric, but the photo doesn't even hint at the beauty of the piece.

I'm looking forward to finishing this one and removing it from the loom. I think I'm going to love the finished scarf.

Thursday, December 03, 2009
Good Dog

This 3-color scarf was woven with a basic hound's tooth pattern, but since I used 3 colors, it's not a hound's tooth. I don't know what that makes it, so I'm calling it "Good Dog". I think the pattern is rich and interesting.

I used Cascades Luna Peruvian Cotton in Black, Ecru and Gold.

This one isn't earmarked for anyone yet, but it will probably be a holiday gift later this month.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009
3 color woven "houndstooth"
Today is a gray and rainy day, and I'm having trouble doing anything productive. I didn't sleep well last night, and today I'm just dragging! I did manage to start another project on the loom, but I'm not making much progress with the weaving.

I warped up another houndstooth scarf so I could start the two colors from opposite sides. After warping cream and black, I realized that I didn't have enough black left for the weft. I had the same yarn in gold, so I started a 3-color scarf. This of course means that it's not a houndstooth, but it's an interesting pattern.

Working the gold and cream from opposite sides is working well. The two sides of the scarf match better and the edges look more balanced. I think I'll like this scarf when it's finally completed. I just need to find the energy to complete it.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Hounds tooth

So, this is my first woven hounds tooth! I'm rather pleased with it.

When I started, I convinced myself that I had to start each pass from the same side. That made the edges different. Half way through, I realized that there was no reason to start on the same side, and that if I had started the two colors on opposite sides, the edges would match.

Still, for a first try, I'm very pleased with this. The pattern is very simple, and the finished product looks great.

I used Debbie Bliss's Eco Fairtrade Collection in Beige and Khaki. I love cottons - especially for weaving!

Can't wait to try this pattern again!