Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Playing with a Straight Threading

In the Handweaver's Guild of Boulder, there is a Complex Weavers interest group. I decided to join when it started up even though I was a pretty new weaver. Nothing wrong with having the most to learn, especially when many of the others have been weaving for decades.

These ladies are amazing! They know their way around rules I haven't even learned yet.

Anyway, we've been working our way through Bonnie Inouye's book Exploring Multishaft Design this year. The first 6 chapters deal with what you can do design wise on a straight threading. So I put on a long warp and made mugrugs for chapter 1, twills. Some of the liftplans I made looked pretty good, so I wound a 7 yard warp pf 6/2 cotton and wove some towels. The fringe turned out to be a bad idea with that particular yarn, but overall I'm quite pleased. I got to play with pattern, and color too. I'm still figuring out how color works in weaving, mostly by imitation and my own trial and error.

I wove these in the spring but didn't get them out of the camera until last week.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Morgana Fingerless Gloves Knitting Pattern

Here's my latest, hot off the presses:

Morgana Fingerless Gloves Knitting Pattern

Cascade Fixation Solids #6388

For the past couple of years I’ve been trying to come up with a glove pattern that will fit both my teenage daughters and myself. These fit the bill. Because the yarn had elastic spun into it, I can knit a glove small enough for my petite younger daughter (Morgana is her middle name) that still fit me without being too tight. The cuff is knitted sideways, back and forth on 2 needles and grafted into a tube. Then the hand stitches are picked up and knitted on the round. While you may decide to knit the hand on shorter dpns, the cuff needs to knitted on long ones or circular needles. These gloves use either one ball of Cascade Fixation (98.3% cotton/ 1.7% elastic, 50g) or one ball of K1C2 Soxx Appeal (96% super- wash merino wool, 3%nylon, 1% elastic, 50g)

Finished size: hand circumference 6” (easily stretches to 8.5”). Total length 7”

Soxx Appeal #9627

Some folks have been asking if this would work with yarns that aren't so stretchy. I think it would work without alteration if you have small hands. If your hands are significantly larger around than the gloves, you would need to alter the gauge or add cuff repeats and hand stitches. Both could be done without much fuss. I would encourage you, however, to try one of these soft, wonderful yarns.

Cascade Fixation Effect #9967

I've used the Fixation for socks before, they are very comfortable and never sag. I really like the way the colors stripe and pool with the effects and spray dyed colors. After wearing the gloves for a few days, I can tell you they are nice for cool weather knitting and driving (thought I wouldn't recommend doing them at the same time!) No trouble getting things out of my pockets, and there was no gap between my gloves and my sleeves.

Cascade Fixation Spray Dyed #9816

Soxx Appeal is a new yarn for me, and I like it a lot! It is softer than it looks, very supple and, since it is mostly wool, toasty warm and soft. The colors pool more than stripe because the color changes every inch or so. I already bought a ball of solid navy to make myself another pair.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Kevin's Birthday Boxers

Today is my dear Kevin's birthday. He is 52, and I told him he is now playing with a full deck (probably for the first time). Good thing he gets my sense of humor. ;) I made him 3 pairs of boxers as a gift, out of fabric he went gaga over about 9 months ago and promptly forgot. It was Christmas clearance, $1/yd quilting cotton. Grande Pattern Company has a great pattern for boxers, without a seam going straight up the back. They're called the Back Panel Boxer Shorts, #7222. I'm not sure they're in business anymore, so if you find a copy somewhere, grab it. He loves them, says they're the most comfy boxers he's ever had.

He opened his gift this morning before work, was very surprised and so happy that changed into them before he left for work (yes, he's a geek, but he's MY geek). I was kind of tired of them by the time I finished 3 in a row, but with a reaction like that, I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Happy birthday, baby!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Silk Noil Woven Shibori Scarves

I wound this warp a while ago and just started weaving on it last week. The silk noil was an ebay find from several years ago. I thought it might make nice scarves, so I would a 10 yard warp, sett it at 16epi and started weaving. It's threaded to 8 shaft point huck. The plan is to weave a slowly changing pattern over the whole length of the warp, dye it in one piece, then divide it into scarves at the end. I usually measure and separate scarves and towels as I go, but I thought it might be nice to skip that part and see what happens.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Miniature Lace Tablecloth 2

I finished it this weekend. It's a nice new addition to the collection on the kitchen table. It blocked out to 12" across. Quite a bit larger than the one in the magazine, but I knew it would be. I knitted it on size 1 needles with size 10 thread. If I had it to do over, I would use size 0 needles instead. It's a little more open than I would like. A very fun knit, though! I'm thinking about starting something from Sonja Esbensen's Kunststrick II, maybe Bertel, Lars, Miki or Mikkel. I'd dearly love to knit Valde but that's more of a commitment than I feel comfortable with now.

There will be much dancing this weekend, yeah! Maroon Bells Morris will be dancing at Oktoberfest at 22nd and Larimer in Denver at noon and 1:30pm, then on to English Country Dancing at Berkeley Church after dinner. Sunday night is SCA Medieval dance practice at Berkeley Church again. I'm going for tired but happy. ;)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Handspun Handwoven Alpaca Scarves

I started spinning this luscious alpaca roving into yarn about a year ago, I think. I had bought it from someone on the Spinners and Weavers Housecleaning Pages a few years ago and finally got around to it. I originally thought I would knit it, but after an experience I had last year at TACtile Textile Arts Center, I decided to weave it into scarves.

I was working my volunteer shift for a the Holiday Gift Show when a lovely older gentleman came in looking for a scarf. For himself. There were any number of gorgeous hand knitted, hand dyed and handwoven scarves, but not one was suitable for a man (besides, perhaps, Eddie Izzard). The man had the means and desire to purchase a handwoven scarf for himself, and he understood all the work and skill that went into making one. But we had nothing to offer him. I felt awful.

So, my 15 ounces of dark chocolate handspun alpaca became 7.5 yards of warp, and the 12 ounces of fawn handspun pictured above became the weft. I used a 4 shaft Swedish Rosepath threading from Davidson's book and chose a different treadling for each of 3 scarves. A little rustic, but not bad and definitely something a man would feel comfortable wearing.

Have you woven something manly lately? Guild show season is coming up, and there are educated, fashion-forward men of all ages , shapes and sizes with ready cash shopping for themselves and their loved ones of both genders. Don't send them home empty-handed.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Miniature Lace Tablecloth

I've been knitting this little gem lately, A Miniature Lace Tablecloth to Knit for Titania's Tea Table by Mary Francis Wogec, It's in the September/October issue of Piecework magazine. I'm knitting it with size 1 needles and size 10 dmc cebelia in a lovely spring green (wondering what it is about green lately), but anyway.....

There was an error in the pattern, but Mary Francis came to the rescue! Here's the errata, straight off the presses for anyone else working on this one:

"Here is the correct correction (with profuse apologies):

Row 39 is correct as published.

Row 41 needs 2 added knit stitches in the second to last cluster. This means that row 41, reading from left to right, should look like this:
O | | \ O | O | | | | | | | O | O / | | O / O / O | | /|\ | | O \ O \

(I've just proof knitted the piece, and this works out the way it should.)

Row 43 is correct as published."

I have a few epsides of Farscape on DVD and some free time, so I hope to finish it tonight.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

8 Shaft Huck Towels

This past March, I took a class on weaving towels from Susan Wilson. It was a round robin where each of us threaded a different weave structure and /or fiber that's good for towels, then wove a sample from each one. There were also several lectures peppered throughout where she talked about the design tools you would use for each type of weave structure. I was very interested in working some more with 8 shaft huck, so I wound a 15 yard warp of 6/2 unmercerized cotton, got out my graph paper and notes, and went to town. I came up with about 12 drawdowns and converted them to liftplans (I weave on a table loom, no treadles).

I had such a good time playing around with the liftplans and weaving each one several ways, by the time I made it through 15 yards of warp I had only used the first 5 designs. I have another 15 yard warp ready to go so I can weave some of the rest of them.

I used the same 6/2 cotton for the weft on about half of the towels. For the rest, I used 7/2 inmercerized cotton in a slightly darker, duller green. I love the brightness of the 1 color towels, but I also love the depth of the 2 color towels. It makes the huck spots "pop" a bit, too.

I also learned to double-check the liftplan after transcribing from the drawdown. I had a few "surprise" patterns where I had missed a shaft on a particular pattern row. I still liked the pattern I wound up with, but I did have to look at what I had done and compare it to the graph to figure out where I had gone astray. Good learning opportunity, but If I had been weaving somthing that was supposed to be a certain way it would have been frustrating. I also found that all of my designs had been symmetrical. The ones with missing shafts were not, and I both liked them and found them interesting. So, next time I'm going to try drawing patterns that are deliberately asymmetrical just to see if I can. ;)

All in all, I wound up with 21 towels each about 12x22", except for one that came out much shorter (I must have mismeasured). They are all different. I can hardly wait to see what the next warp will reveal!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Morgana Fingerless Gloves

I'm almost done with my third pair of these gloves, I think I have the pattern written down as clearly as possible by now. I could probably knit the next pair with my eyes closed!

The first pair of socks I ever knitted were Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' Dresser Scarf socks. I made about 8 pairs, they were so comfy. I took the cuff pattern and added a hand onto it instead of a foot, but they were a little too bulky, especially around the wrist. After some thought I decided to make the cuff shorter and use short rows to cinch in the wrist a little. That also made fewer stitches to pick up for the hand and voila! They fit my younger daughter (Morgana is her middle name) and, since the yarn is so stretchy they fit me without being too tight.

All I have left to do is finish the last pair, take some photos, and the pattern will be ready to go. The photos will eb the tricky part, as the teenagers will need to be home during daylight hours for that to happen. Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Take 5 border morris dance

After the kid's practice today, the members of Breathless in Berthoud Border Morris worked on a dance we've been learning, Dave Brubeck's Take 5. It's in 5/4 time, so we've had to really stretch to get the rhythm right, but it's really starting to come together!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Happy holiday weekend!

We're going to take it easy and enjoy. The only thing we have planned is dance practice on Saturday morning. Two of my kids are on a children's morris dancing team, the Tommyknockers. The kids meet once a month in Berthoud so they can practice and learn new dances. If you're in the area and are curious,check it out. The kids have a blast!

I've also started sewing pillows out of worn out rugs for Oriental and Navajo Rugs Co . I just finished the first batch and will be delivering them next week. They have a gorgeous showroom! I was delighted by the variety.

Next weekend, the Maroon Bells morris dancers will be performing at the English Village Fete
at the House of Windsor Tea Room in Lakewood, CO. This is the first time they are having the event. We're all pretty excited about it!

I'm almost ready to publish my next knitting pattern, Morgana fingerless gloves. A little editing, a few pictures and we should be good to go!

happy dancing!