I Weave You, I Weave You Not

I’ve been trying to decide what to put on the table loom next.

Olive Handspun Shawl
The handspun is the yarn from the frogged Handspun Wrap Vest. I’ve bought some fine, strong wool from a weaving supplies store to use as warp. But I have no ideas for a weave structure beyond simple tabby.

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Hunky Hank Shawl
The colourful yarn will be the warp and the black Bendigo Luxury the weft. I want to try an undulating twill.

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Metallic Border Shawls
I want to weave finer yarns, and when I matched up these metallic threads with Bendigo Classic cones I started to get excited about the possibilities. I’m thinking of a twill forming diamonds, which will show up most strongly in a stripe of the metallic yarn at either end of a shawl.

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Cotton Baby Blankets
I still have a lot of Bendigo Cotton 8ply in my stash, and I’d like to weave more baby blankets out of it. I’m wondering if I could do a long warp and weave two or three in one go.

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Cotton Tea Towels
A few years ago I decided to make tea towels like what I’d seen in Handwoven and ordered some yarn. When I realised how many ends I’d have to wind and thread with the fine yarn, I lost courage. But I’m determined to do this one day.

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But the decision must wait until I finish the Handweavers and Spinner Guild Mystery Box Challenge, as that’s due soon. Here’s a glimpse of some of the weaving I’m doing for that:

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Yes, that’s the copper wire. Fiddly. As. Anything.

Bloggyversary

March the 9th 2006. That’s the day I started this blog. That’s eight years ago. Eight years!

The blog has gone through a few incarnations. First it was called “Knitting & Chocolate” and was only about knitting, with a few other crafts tossed in now and then. Then on November 5th 2009 I changed it to “Creative Fidget” and started blogging about all my creative projects.

That was also when I changed to WordPress. I looked back through my posts recently, gathering information as I added old weaving projects to Ravelry, and boy did I have a lot of grief using Blogger. WordPress isn’t perfect, but it is such an improvement.

I’ve had the same WordPress theme since then. I did try changing it once, but it resulted in a blank white page and I had to restore the old version from the backup. I tried again a few weeks ago and it worked (obviously). A different website host that supports the most recent version of WordPress probably helped.

Though I looked at a pile of other themes, I settled on the one that failed to load last time because I still like it. It’s simple and clean. The only big change is I can put an image up as a header.

And the blog content? No plans to change. Lots of craft, art, DIY, Recycling, home and wardrobe improvement, holidays, and occasional baking and gardening posts.

Happy Camper

Last weekend we went camping. Since I’m supposed to stay off my feet for six months or more, when everyone went walking on the Saturday I stayed in the camp site. But that was fine with me, because a hundred metres or so away were some impressive views. I took my homemade ponchard box and did two paintings, one in the morning, the other in the afternoon.

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While having lunch, I spotted a goanna snooping around the edges of the camp site.

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I took a lot of pics, but the goanna managed to hide behind things most of the time. Later, while I was sitting quietly reading and having a cuppa, I had company again. I stayed put, and to my amazement he/she came right up to my chair. I had my iPhone on me, so I took a video, but my attempts to embed it on this page haven’t worked, unfortunately.

The walkers came back a few minutes later, and with some frantic signalling I got them to approach quietly so as to not frighten off the goanna. Much snapping of photos followed – probably much better ones than I took with my iPhone.

On the way to and from the campsite we drove past a lot of bushfire damage:

Along country roads:
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A plantation:
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Even along the main highway:
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And the coal mine was still alight:
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Knitwear Refashions, Part 1

A month ago I decided to tackle the refashioning pile. I’ve posted about some of the sewing refashions I finished, but I actually tackled some of the knitwear first. One of the projects is taking a long time, since I can only knit a few rows now and then, so I’m abandoning my plan to do one knitwear refashion post so I can show you what I’ve done so far:

Sunrise Circle Jacket
Before:

After:

Because the garment has raglan style sleeves, and I wanted to use the same sort of hem on the arms as on the rest of the garment, I could only frog back to a short sleeve rather than sleeveless. I’ve added extra large decorative hook and eyes that have been in my sewing notions stash for twenty or so years. I like the change but I will have to see if I wear it now before I decided if I’m happy with it.

Cowly Vest
Before:

After:

It’s a little hard to see the change, but trust me, the vest sit better. After removing the triangles joining the shoulders I put the garment on the dress model, with the underarm about where it needed to be, and discovered a very simple solution: fold the front and back over each other and stitch into place. Very pleased with this one.

Olive Wrap Vest

On closer examination I decided a woven shawl would be nicer, so I frogged it.

I also frogged this:
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I’d outgrown it a while ago and made three attempts to add width to the front that all looked crap. I decided I didn’t want to send it to the op shop. I like the yarn, and I’m thinking of taking out the rocket needles to make another chunky scarf.

I wound up with quite a bit of frogged yarn:

All which I washed and hung to dry and straighten, wound into balls and added to to the stash.

There’s something appealing about frogged yarn, especially when it has gone slightly felty. It’s more rustic, and more honest. Some washing and wear and you see its true self, and hopefully what you knit with it won’t change any further.

The Big Blue

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Yarn: Vintage Hues (discontinued, I believe) and Dale Garn as warp and for the black stripes
Weave structure: doubleweave
EPI: 5
Comments: This is the biggest thing I’ve woven. Using doubleweave allowed me to make it twice the width of the loom – 160cm – and it’s about the same length. Unlike with previous blankets made with this yarn, I decided I wouldn’t bother to try and match the graduation of the yarn from one ball to the next, instead putting stripes of the warp yarn between them. This did mean I had to reject any ball that had a knot and sudden colour change, or the stripes wouldn’t have been an equal width.
Conclusion: I love it! It’s soft and cuddly and I can wrap myself up in it!

I also wove a scarf with the yarn as a sampler:

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The project has been on my to-do list for a few years, and now that it’s done my stash has reduced considerably. Not quite down to my comfortable baseline of 10 kilos, though.

Dreaming in Photoshop

I want to do more embroidery, and this brings up a very common crafty dilemma: what to make. We don’t have space to hang a pile of new artworks, pendants are fun and quick but I don’t need hundreds of them, and I’m not itching to attack the bed linen. What I’d like to do is embellish some clothing. These examples on my Pinterest board are along the lines of what interests me.

So one afternoon (with gloomy light thanks to bushfire smoke) I went through my wardrobe and pulled out garments that might look nice with, or be improve by, some embellishment. Then I opened the photos in Photoshop and played with the paintbrush tool to get a general idea for colours and position of designs.

This hemp vest and top, for example. I’m thinking a multi-coloured, flowery design or whitework:

Or this dress I made from a men’s shirt. I could add some feminine scrolly bits, or replicate the striped button band across the pockets, armholes and collar:

Perhaps this retro style dress needs some ladybirds on the collar and skirt, or tattoo style roses:

Speaking of roses, this jacket could do with a lift:

I’ve had these two ripply polyester tops from Motto for a while and I’m a bit bored with them. Nothing overly heavy would work with the fabric, but I like the idea of little french knots covering parts of them:

I love white shirts, but plain ones feel like part of a uniform to me. I’ve also been dying to cover a shirt yoke in colour. This one has mother-of-pearl buttons, so that put a sea shell theme in mind, too:

And this sleeveless top made from a men’s shirt begs for a subtle design:

Lastly, I have a black shirt dress that could do with a lift:

Now I’m eyeing my shoes, wondering if I could do something like this, or this or even this.

Diamond Necklace

I’m concentrating on finishing projects at the moment. I have a lot of works in progress and some of them are coming together really well.

WIPs have been listed over in the sidebar for some time, and I used the ‘strike’ code in html to slowly cross them out. Last week I went on a bit of website tweaking exploration, and I found a progress bar generator that makes them look a little fancier.

I’d like to do a bit more tweaking to this site, maybe change the theme, but I’m very good at stuffing everything up when I make changes and I’d rather spend the time finishing projects.

Turn an Umbrella into a Shower Cap

Broken umbrellas. It’s nearly always the frame that goes first, and for those of us with recycling tendencies the fabric is just begging to be used for something else. People have used them to make clothing, the most obvious being a skirt. I’m not all that keen on wearing shiny plastic, and though making a raincoat sounds like a natural transition it wouldn’t be very breathable, though this dog coat is adorable. Others have made bags out of them, which is a great idea but I don’t need more bags. This person makes beanbags out of them which is pretty cool, though I’m long past being able to sit in beanbags.

No, I decided make something I’ve been finding it harder and harder to find: a shower cap large enough to fit my head. Honestly, I swear the ones you buy in stores have been getting smaller and smaller, and the longer my hair gets the harder it is to fit them over my head and the little bun I tie my hair into.

For a while now I’ve had fabric from a plain black umbrella waiting for me to get around to making a shower cap out of, but recently I discovered that the umbrella I bought at the British Library, which changes colour when wet, was broken.

I’m going to pause here for a short gripe. This umbrella was expensive. It came, as they often do, in a little cover. The label’s care instructions specify you must keep it in the cover, but the fabric is thicker than the usual umbrella fabric, due to the special paint that changes colour, and getting it to squish back down enough to get the sleeve on is a real struggle. It was my efforts to do so that broke the frame.

Since I’d only got to use this umbrella a few times, I was determined to make something out of it. And I love the idea of having a shower cap that changes colour, too.

But this method could be used for most umbrella fabric.

So, this is what I did:

The umbrella was a medium to large size so there was plenty of fabric. I wanted to make use of the patterned part. After removing it from the frame and taking off the tie that holds the umbrella closed, I unpicked two opposite seams so I wound up with two halves:

I took one half, turned it inside out and sewed it together up the side:

I copied the seaming method, which involved folding it over before sewing. I’m guessing this make it extra strong and waterproof.

Above the top of the pattern, I sewed in halfway to the centre on both sides:

Then I refolded it in half with those two seams were pressed against each other and sewed in again from the outside to halfway, where the first seams met:

Then I trimmed off the excess fabric at the point:

Right side out, the top now looks like this:

Next I folded the outside edge of the fabric wrong sides together and sewed a channel for the elastic, leaving a gap to thread it through:

Partway around I reattached the tie, with the velcro bits removed, to use as a loop to hang the shower cap up by:

I measured some elastic by wrapping it around my head then shortening it a little so it gripped well. Then I fed it into the channel:

Tied it in a knot. You may want to sew the ends together so it sits flat. But the join will sit in the channel, not against your head, so it won’t be uncomfortable.

Done:

And yes, it fits:

I even tested it for you:

Look! The colours change:

Coolest shower cap ever.

I’ll Have One of Everything

A few years ago I ordered five years worth of Handwoven magazine as digital issues. They came on cds so I still had to wait for them to arrive. I never quite got around to reading them all, so I didn’t rush to buy more. Part of the problem was that the files weren’t all named in the same way, or even in a similar way. I’d try to keep track of what I’d read by reading a year at a time, but with all the issues out of order I kept losing my place.

I finally got around to renaming them recently. Then I noticed that Interweave was having a sale and I could buy another five year’s worth – four and then fill the holes in more recent years – for around $60. So I had even more renaming to do, but it was worth it. Suddenly I was tearing through them, five or ten issues a night.

It’s been interesting see the trends that have come and gone over the last 12-13 years. Chenille. Deflected double weave. “What is a blog?” articles. The inclusion of more rigid heddle projects. The Ashford Knitters Loom (January 2006). Ponchos! More in depth articles. Reader challenges.

When I first started buying the magazine there was so much in it that was beyond me. There’s still so much that’s a mystery. Nearly everything was directed at experienced weavers. Heck, I’m not a newbie any more but I’m a long way from calling myself ‘experienced’.

At the Guild a few weeks back I was asked where I’d learned to weave. I said I was mostly self-taught as there wasn’t much on offer about weaving at the Guild when I began. I learned and was inspired by blogs, videos, weavers forums on Ravelry, a couple of books and Handwoven magazines.

Two friends have asked me for advice or lessons recently, and that’s had me feeling more inspired to weave. I’ve moved the table loom down into the tv room to use on days too hot to be in the workroom – there certainly have been plenty of those lately! – and have a doubleweave blanket in progress.

After the huck scarf and the lessons, I’m beginning to wonder if I’m ready to upgrade my table loom to 8 shafts. There’s still a lot I haven’t tried yet with 4-shafts, though. Perhaps I should set myself a list of weave structures to try before I do.

Squirrel Scorpion Book

This is another of the projects I finished during the first heatwave.

Yonks ago, when I was on my bookbinding thing, I made a cover out of stiffened fabric but never got around to binding in some pages as I thought it was a bit boring. In the meantime I cut a design off a favourite tshirt thinking I’d applique it to something. The two were destined to meet. That just left the binding.

I grabbed some yellow embroidery thread and got stitching. The gingham lining made marking up the holes easy:

The pages had been torn out of an old cartridge paper sketch pad.

I wish the diamond and spine stitching had lined up better, but the binding does need to be centred for stability. Otherwise I’m pretty happy with it.

It’ll probably become a brainstorming notebook, once my current one is full.