Spring Weaving

I’m liking how this sampler is turning out, with the colourful rows followed by reversed, black and grey rows, and that it’s reversible.

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I made a small mistake in the first few rows, but it’s a sampler and if I do think of something to make out of it those rows with probably end up in a seam.

The Pinwheel Tea Towels are growing:

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I ran out of yarn two squares short for The Gamppa Rug, and one of the colours is discontinued. So I bought what I hoped would be the right colours on eBay. The dark brown is pretty close, but the lighter brown is a bit redder, but from a distance not so easy to pick as a different colour.

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I’ve started sewing the squares together.

Spring Spinning

I recently finished spinning up a pack of sample blends from Owl of Athena called the “Humbug Fibre Blend Sampler Pack”. All were lovely to spin. Some were a bit challenging for me, as a new spinner, being quite slippery. I had a few moments when the singles lost cohesion and came apart, both in the spinning and plying. But I learned to compensate by giving them a little extra twist.

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Which was a valuable lesson, as I’m now spinning some silk and alpaca together. Both are slippery, and the silk has a short staple (right term?).

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It’s quite challenging, and I suspect the fibre I spin after this will be an easy one, so I can relax again.

Textile Bazaar 2016

I just realised I haven’t shown off my purchases from the Textile Bazaar a few weeks back. Well, here they are:

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Two temples, one handmade ($5) one manufactured ($25). Both are too big for the pinwheel tea towels, which I need one for, so I was going to cut the handmade one down to fit. But it turns out to be a good size for if I weave the full width of the floor loom, so I decided to keep it as it is and have ordered a smaller temple.

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I bought this book for $1. There was a bit of a crush by the book bins, so I didn’t take a close look until later. It is hilarious.

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All I can see is a Hypnofrog eye, or if I turn them 90 degrees, the Eye of Sauron.

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A friend who likes sharks was rather intrigued by this one.

The technical information is useful, however, and I do like the idea of breaking free of convention. But maybe more along the lines of less rigidly symmetrical stripes and zig-zags or kaleidoscope-like patterns.

I also bought some 8/2 cotton and a skein of thicker orange cotton, but they’ve already disappeared into the stash.

Traveller Pendant

This was the craft project I took along on our trip to Norway and Denmark. It’s a line from a poem by J. R. R. Tolkien. I finished it just before the last weekend.

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It’s a bit wonky, but I don’t mind too much. Stitching on trains and planes, with low lighting as well as constant rocking and shaking doesn’t make for neat stitches.

I’d also taken some small pieces of felt and a vague idea about stitching circles onto black cloth. But the tiny pair of scissors in my travel embroidery kit are really only good for snipping thread. Cutting neat circles was not going to happen. That was okay – by then I had nalbinding to do!

Looms In, Looms Out

Last weekend I joined Ilka White and her weaving students over lunch, to catch up on our progress (or lack of it, in my case) since attending her classes. I brought the renovated loom in to get Ilka’s opinion on how to thread the shafts. It was well worth doing, as she suggested a different, better way than what the loom originally had.

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Since I was intending to sell the loom in the Textile Bazaar, I left it there. However, during the week one of her students, who she’d put me in touch with a while ago, contacted me to ask if she could buy it.

So that loom didn’t end up in the Bazaar. I still intended to put the Dyer & Philips one in as well as the Ashford Table Loom and its base. However, when I found out that the Guild’s commission was 30%, I realised it wasn’t going to make sense to sell the bigger loom at the Bazaar.

It all comes down to maths. With the Dyer & Philips loom, I got it free and the only parts that cost me money was $40 for the heddles. I hadn’t spend a big chunk of time fixing it up either. Add $20 for commission and I’ve got my money back.

With the Ashford Table Loom, I bought it new and spent money and time making the stand. It now costs $1025 for a new one. For an item that’s in excellent condition, I’d hope to get 2/3 to 3/4 the current price of a new one. If I reduce the loom to 3/4 the price of a new one, then add 30% commission, I’d be asking for more than a new one costs. Even if I reduce it to 2/3 the price of a new one, I’d still be expecting someone to buy a second hand loom at the new price.

The stand makes it more complicated. An Ashford stand for this loom costs $615, but of course mine is handmade and not particularly attractive (though I’d wager it was much sturdier). I would like to get something for it, but with commission forcing the asking price below 2/3 of new as it is, I’d have to give it away for free.

So I wound up taking just the D&P loom in for the Bazaar. Which sold to a weaver I follow on Instagram. Hello Mary!

In the meantime, I’ve been weaving. Thanks to edits being two weeks late to arrive, and Sunday’s lunch, I had lots of time and enthusiasm last week. I decided to get both the Katie and floor looms warped. I’ve put some 8/2 cotton onto the floor loom to weave tea towels in a pinwheel pattern:

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And warped up the Katie with a doubleweave sampler:

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I’ve made a few more squares on the pin loom:

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And I’m eyeing the Knitters Loom, thinking maybe a hand-manipulated lace scarf would be an interesting contrast to the other projects. I’m even thinking of warping up the little inkle loom. Just how many weaving projects can I get in motion at once?

Hmm. Time to get that Ashford Table Loom advertised before it winds up with another ‘test’ project on it.

The List of Lists

Holidays can be like punctuation marks in the flow of daily routine. Sometimes they’re a like a comma – a small interruption after which life continues in the same vein. Sometimes they’re like full stops – things begin anew but on the same or similar subject. Sometimes they’re like paragraph returns – a shift in direction. And sometimes it’s like an entire chapter finishes and another begins.

The new problem with my neck that began at the beginning of this year forced me to find a new routine. I had to work out what I could and couldn’t continue to do by trial and error, and found that I needed to restrict sitting and typing/weaving/whatever to an hour at a time, once or twice a day.

Since what I do for a living involves sitting and typing, that meant lots of changes. But I had a deadline, which kept moving as I discovered my limits. Eventually I knew I’d finish just before going overseas, and a lot of things I needed or wanted to do were pushed onto the ‘when we get back’ list.

Now that we’re back, I’ve been considering all those things, and all my to-do lists. Last week I divided everything into six categories that fit across my computer screen: work, general, house, garden, art and craft. (I use a program called Stickies.) It allows me to not just prioritise within a category, but across them. And when one task is held up, I can consider spending my time on high priority tasks in other categories as well as in the same one.

It’s been working really well. When bad weather meant I couldn’t tackle many of the more important tasks, or items further down, I moved across the lists until I found something I could do. That turned out to be renovating a loom I’d rescued from the Guild. Knowing I really couldn’t do those other things means I could work on it guilt-free. I didn’t stuff around wasting time in the house or on the internet.

As a result I’ve got the loom finished in time to put it up for sale at the Guild’s Textile Bazaar next Saturday. I’ll be bringing in the Ashford Table Loom on the homemade stand as well as the Dyer & Phillips loom. Hopefully they’ll find new homes and I’ll make back the money I spent on them with a little extra for my time… to spend at the bazaar!

Ancient Craft

A couple of days ago we got back from three weeks in Scandanavia. The last weekend I spent being a guest at a festival, and the rest was holiday time – half in Norway, half in Denmark.

While in Oslo we visited the Viking Ship Museum, where I picked up this book and a nalbinding needle:

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I soon stumbled upon a yarn store (and I kept stumbling upon them throughout the trip) and bought a ball of yarn so I could have a try. I was a little doubtful. I tried to learn nalbinding from a YouTube video a few years back with no success. However, the promise of “The easiest, clearest ever guide!” held up, and I soon was nalbinding away happily – but keeping it to one hour max sessions so I didn’t stir up my RSI.

First up I made a test piece, then started on a glove that I soon pulled apart because it was too small. The next attempt fit right and eventually turned into these:

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On the last day before we came home I found another store, and bought more yarn to make a hat. Nalbinding doesn’t seem to bother my hands as much as knitting does. It’s more of a stitching action. Though I’ve grown more proficient with practise, having to attach new lengths of yarn with spit/water joins all the time makes it a slow process. And it doesn’t unravel like knitting and crochet do, so it’s slow to undo mistakes.

But it is fun, and the fabric is makes has an attractive texture and robust feel.

Black Rose Red Cardigan

You might remember this cardigan that I embellished a while back:

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Well, I had another. A red one. I wanted to embroider roses all over the front. I drew a design based on a single line quilting pattern but worked out pretty quickly that it was going to be hard on the hands and back and take forever. So I simplified the pattern a great deal, and came up with this:

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Which I’m pretty happy with. I also changed the buttons over to black ones.

Blue & Linen

When I started spinning this roving, I thought it would take me several weeks to get through it. But it didn’t.

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The long pieces of linen were a bit of a challenge to spin in neatly, but only enough to make it interesting. I managed to get most of it smoothly spun in, but here and there it sticks out and makes the yarn hairy. The plying worked fine this time, so I must be getting the knack of it again.

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I have no idea what I’ll make out of it, but right now I don’t care. I made yarn!