Weaving Weekend

I was sick all last week. Aches, back pain, headaches, fatigue and insomnia. It wasn’t until Friday that I worked out it wasn’t just a change in the weather but a bug going around when I started encountering other people who’d had the same symptoms.

Once I decided Friday was a sickie, my whole outlook changed. Instead of it being a failed work day it was a day on which anything I got done was a bonus. That improved my mood greatly! I just pottered around, resting and thinking.

One thing I decided was that, if I felt up to it, the weekend was going to be dedicated to weaving. I’m still determined to strike off as many projects in the WIP list as I can before starting new ones. So on Saturday morning, after a bit of Vitamin D harvesting in the garden, I got stuck in.

I got a placemat and a half woven:

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But the main achievement was to finish the Paua Shell Ruanna collar:

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And to sew it to the ruanna:

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I was always pleased with the ruanna, and now I like it even more.

I’d decided that, for some reason I don’t remember, this could be a scarf it if didn’t work out. Maybe because I didn’t have enough weft yarn – Bendigo Luxury in black. And I didn’t have enough… but I just ordered some more.

Now I can think about what to put on the loom next. Hmm. Choices, choices.

Though if I’m to stick to finishing WIPs, I should finish the placemats and table runner first.

Ribbon Scarf

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After getting my craft mojo back post trip, I couldn’t decide what to work on. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to tackle anything on my to-do list but that I wanted to do all of them equally as much. So faced with too much choice I figured I may as well attack the WIP list instead.

The first thing I did was finish the flamingo pendant, then warp up the rigid heddle loom for some more placemats. But I wanted to reduce the WIP list and I had four placemats to weave then a runner to warp and weave so it would be a while before I could cross that one off. Rather than start weaving I set my sights on finishing faster WIPs.

I made a tough decision and unpicked the embroidery on the grey vest, While I thought it looked sweet, it really wasn’t me. Nothing like abandoning a project to quickly reduce the WIP list!

After that I examined the ribbon scarf. I’d been basting ribbons on slowly, usually during an evening of tv watching. But I found it hard to tell if I was getting the colours evenly spread, or if I had enough ribbon to cover both sides. So I decided to lay the fabric out on a table and lay the remaining ribbon over it. I worked out that I really only had enough ribbon to cover one side.

I started cutting and pinning ribbon, and once I was satisfied with the arrangement, I basted the ribbons down over a couple of sessions. All that was left then was to sew them down, hem the scarf and unpick the basting, and it was done.

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This is a 100% recycling project. The gauze was left over from another project, and the ribbons removed from an old costume.

As for the rest of the WIPs… I reckon I can get the Paua Shell Collar done pretty soon. I’ve also returned to art classes, so I’m finally making progress on Justin’s portrait. What I really need to tackle, however, is the Art Necklace. It’s the oldest WIP and it’s time I got it out of the way.

Warped Up

The placemat and table runner project is coming along nicely:

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I’ve made four. My sums seem to suggest that I have enough yarn to make eight placemats and a skinny runner. I figure I’ll do the placemats first then see how much yarn I have left over.

The collar/scarf is nearly done:

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I won’t know until I finish and start experimenting with the length of fabric whether I’ll attach it to the ruanna or just use it as a very long scarf, or cut it into two shorter scarves. It’s kinda nice to have options.

Memory, Reminder

The Memory Yarn Scarf is done:

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Remind me never to attempt one again.

Warping was challenging, but managable. It was the weaving that was tedious, demanding that the two weft yarns be tweaked constantly to keep them aligned. I could have done something more interesting than plain weave, but that would have just made it even fussier and slower, and I couldn’t wait for this one to be finished and off the loom.

The result is lovely, though – soft despite the stainless steel that imparts the ‘memory’. The metal is supposed to allow you to shape the fabric. With knit that look interesting and sculptural. With woven fabric is just looks, well, creased. Still, I don’t mind a crinkly scarf and it does have an interesting story to it.

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Next!

Pedalling On

Weaving, I’ve decided, is my friend. It doesn’t involve a lot of intricate finger movements. It would even less so if I used foot pedals for the table loom rather than levers. We’d always intended to add them to the loom stand we made ages ago, but didn’t get around to it.

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A few weeks ago I flirted with the idea of buying the Ashford stand and pedal kit, but when I told Paul it costs around $550 pre-postage we concluded it was worth having a go at modifying the existing table. So we did some designing, carpentry, varnishing and knotting of washing line rope…

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After a bit of tweaking I have working pedals, though the shafts don’t always fall back down completely. Still, it cost us nothing since we still had the parts from when we’d first made the table. And even with having to push the odd shaft down it seems much faster and a lot less work for my hands.

And that makes me very happy!

Bunny Mink Scarf

Last year I visited a friend in Canberra on the Australia Day weekend to teach her how to use a 4-shaft loom she’d adopted. This year she came to visit me over New Year and brought her Knitters Loom. We spent the last day of 2014 and the first of 2015 weaving.

While she whipped out two scarves over the stay, I managed just one. I chose an Ixchel yarn “Bunny Mink” spun from angora and mink – a soft, resilient laceweight yarn I’d fallen in love with at the Bendy Show a few years ago. It wove into a beautiful scarf.

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I had no head space for deciding on a fancier pattern than tabby, what with surviving Christmas, hosting three friends and arranging a New Year’s Eve party. But the yarn was quite slippery so tabby meant I had only one challenge to meet.

Toward the end I decided to try inlay. Well, kind of a cheats inlay, where you stitch the inlay yarn in rather than weave it at the same time. I did a simple pattern of staggered rectangles.

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This one is definitely a keeper. Unless I need a gift for someone I really, really like!

Mental Cull

A little while ago I had to go to Ravelry to check on the meterage of some yarn. I visit less and less these days, though it is still a very useful site. Sometimes, though, the sight of knitting makes me sad. (Which is a bit unfortunate when well-meaning friends send me pics or links to articles about knitting, not realising that it can feel like rubbing salt in the wound.)

Looking at my queue, I decided to delete all the projects I’d lined up for knitting machines. Then I culled the favourites back to patterns I’d made or projects I’d seen that I still thought were amazing. Then I trimmed the friends list – some I no longer recognised, some I only followed for the knitting, and some whose blogs I now follow in Bloglovin’ instead. The forums were next – down to a handful of weaving and machine knitting ones. Finally I took out all the books I’d given away from the library.

Basically, I had a big mental cull.

At the same time, I marvelled, as I always do, at how great Ravelry is. It’s still a useful and fun place to be even though I’m only weaving now. I really admire how user-friendly and intuitive the interface is. The creators did – and are still doing – a brilliant job.

Test results came through a few days ago and I’m immensely relieved to learn I don’t have rheumatoid arthritis. I don’t have the symptoms for carpal tunnel, either. But the RSI is bad enough all on its own. I’m supposed to be back at work next week, and I don’t feel I’ve recovered nearly enough for it. It’s going to be… interesting.

Stash Overview Conclusions

Here’s the overview:

(I’ve noted the final destination I have mind for them, too. Yarns I’m thinking of culling are in italic. Intended loom in brackets.)

Scarves:
Frogged Inca (AKL) – donate
Vintage Hues (AKL) – donate OR FELT TO MAKE FABRIC
Frogged purple-blue silk (AKL) – keep
Leftover Ruanna yarn (AKL/TL) – keep or gift
Red cashmere (AKL/TL) – keep
Blue silk handspun and white silk (AKL) – keep
Purple laceweight (AKL/TL) – gift or donate
Blue cobweb (AKL/TL) – gift or donate
Sari silk (AKL) – gift or donate
OR MIX WITH BLACK COTTON TO MAKE A TABLE RUNNER
Memory yarn scarf kit (AKL) – keep
Particularly nice sock yarn (AKL/TL) – keep and/or gift

Blanket/shawl:
Cormo (TL) – keep or gift
Bendy Neon and green-dyed Country 8ply (TL) – keep or gift
Bendy Luxury and Hunky Hank (TL) – keep or gift
Navy Bendy Luxury 4ply (TL) – keep or gift OR SAORI JACKET OR SKIRT
Undyed sock yarn (TL) – (colour gamut project) keep

Shawl:
Purple Bendy Alpaca & handspun (TL) – keep
Olive handspun and brown weaving yarn (TL) – gift?
Silver metallic yarn and Bendy classic 3ply (TL) – keep or gift OR MAKE EVENING BAG
Pewter metallic yarn and Bendy classic 3ply (TL) – keep or gift
White gold metallic yarn and Bendy classic 3ply (TL) – gift
Blue boucle cone yarn (TL) – shawl to keep or gift OR SAORI GARMENT

Towels or Baby Blankets:
Bendy Cotton 8ply (TL) – baby blankets to gift
Bendy Cotton 4ply (AKL) – hand towels? OR PLACE MATS
Green cone yarn (TL) – blanket or towels to keep or gift OR PLACE MATS
Red and white cotton weaving yarn (TL) – tea towels to keep
Blue and green cotton weaving yarn (TL) – tea towels for Mum

Garments:
Blue Country 8ply – vest (on the Bond) to keep
Red Totem and black Bendy Classic – accessory (on the Bond) to gift OR TABLE RUNNER
Sock yarn (AKL/TL) – saori jacket to keep

Now I can see that I was wrong in thinking I had nothing to make on the knitters loom – I have plenty!

But I can also see I’m in a bit of an end-product rut. Mostly I’m thinking about making more scarves, shawls, blankets and towels? What about table runners, place mats, bags and fabric to cut up and sew? I’ve added alternative project ideas in all caps – and I’m liking some of them better!

Now to add these to my to-do list and prioritise…

The Stash #2: Thinner Yarns

These yarns tend toward the finer side, though there are a few exceptions, and include cones of weaving yarn. Once again, the yarn’s intended purpose is between brackets.

4ply yarns
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Left: Bendy Luxury (meant for a cardigan on the Passap, now… a blanket?)
The rest: various thinner or handspun yarns, including some sari silk, 4ply cashmere (scarf), laceweight and cobweb yarns (scarves), three kinds of metallic yarn (borders on shawls) and a merino cashmere I bought at Dimmeys a very long time ago.

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Sock yarns. (Here’s the thing. I bought the Passap because, of all things I used to knit, I thought I’d miss having and giving handknit socks the most. Well, I had quite a stockpile already, that I didn’t dip into in three years. Since I’ve not touched the machine in nearly two years I’ve just bought other things for Paul and my Dad. And even with knitting most of them on the machine, there’s always a bit of handknitting involved. So now that my RSI is back I’m thinking I’ll weave all this instead.)

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Left: A kilo of Knittery undyed sock yarn. (I never got around to dying this, but the yarn is lovely. It was top of my ‘possibly to sell’ list until I realised I could still dye it – only with a colour gamut project in mind instead.)
Middle and right: leftover sock yarn scraps (warp for yet more scarves).

Weaving yarns
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Left: cotton yarns (tea towels), memory yarn kit (scarf) and rug yarn (rug)
Right: wool yarns (shawls, scarves, etc.)

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Some cotton yarn I bought from a weaver’s destash (towels).

All in all, I have quite a few scarves, a few shawls, a colour gamut blanket or shawl and some towels to make.

Overall… I have way too many scarves lined up. Either I make them to gift or donate, or come up with something else to make, or sell/gift the sock yarn. Though the sock yarn could be combined to make a larger project. I’ve been meaning to look into saori garments, made from uncut lengths of woven fabric. I’d love to make a jacket. Hmm. Perhaps I’ll explore that in another post.

The Stash #1: Thicker Yarns

I’ll start with the heavier yarns, though since I was photographing by boxful a few finer ones were included in project bundles. The yarn’s intended purpose and loom is between brackets.

Bulky yarns:
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Top: frogged Inca on the left (woven scarf, knitters loom), leftover Vintage Hues on the right (woven scarves, knitters loom)
Bottom: frogged silk on the left (woven scarf, knitters loom), the rest are leftovers (cream ones might be mixed with the Inca)

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Ms Gusset Cormo. I signed up for 1 1/2 kilo, and got RSI not long after it arrived. (Reports of it being hard to dye and not being a white garment kind of girl have had me stalled. A woven blanket seems the logical solution, though I might see how well the Bond Sweater Machine handles it.)

8ply yarns:
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Top: Leftover Country 8ply (vest on the Bond), frogged Bendy Neon and leftover green-dyed Country 8ply (twill shawl, table loom), leftover Ruanna yarn (woven scarf, knitters loom)
Bottom: leftover purple Bendy alpaca and matching handspun (shawl, table loom), leftover red Totem and Bendy classic (accessory, on the Bond), ball of Bendy Serenade (hat and gloves on the Bond)
Right: misc 8ply

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Left: Bendy Luxury and Hunky Hank (small woven blanket or shawl)
Right: Olive handspun and Bockens Mobelatta (shawl or fabric to sew)

Cotton yarns:
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Top: Bendy 8ply (more towels/baby blankets)
Bottom: Bendy 4ply, leftover dishcloth yarn

So that’s several scarves, a blanket or two, a shawl or two, and a couple of things to make on the Bond Sweater Machine.

Next post: the thinner yarns