Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My checkered past....

Theresa's comment in the last post was the perfect segue to this post that was already in draft form.  Thanks Theresa!  (Have you been peeking in my windows?)

Back in April our guild had a workshop with Lisa Hill.   I still have to post some photo's and thoughts from that workshop, but here's quick taster:
 Lisa had a draft that she had woven in several iterations that intrigued me to no end.  It is essentially three layers of cloth that intersect the planes of the other layers at regular intervals.  The project below was done on 8 shafts with 8 treadles.  If I didn't want to have plain weave edges, it could have been woven on 6 shafts.  Magic!!

I decided I wanted to use the draft to weave some placemats for our new kitchen table.

Here's what they looked like on the loom...(see the checks!?)

And they are completely reversible:

Here's the set of 4 with one turned back to so  you can see the reverse side:

 The placemats have been wet finished.  If you click for a bigger photo you can see how the yarns filled in from the top two photos.  The yarns are mainly 5/2 perle cotton with a polyflax mill end (similar to 8/2's cotton) in the flax color.

I wove a sampler to help me make some decisions putting on the whole placemat warp.
What I learned from this narrow sampler: 
  • I learned that to take all three weft yarns to the edge selvedge was going to make placemats with ripply edges.  So I decided that the middle layer of cloth would have an interior selvedge as we had learned in Lisa's workshop.
  • As a result of the sample, the yarns were swapped about.  The flax colored yarn became the "base fabric".
  • I also changed the numbers of threads in the various blocks and adjusted setts as well.
  • The colors just weren't' doing it for me...too green...too orange...   So instead of using green as warp and weft, a dark turquoise was used as a weft against the dark green. 
  • The shrinkage and draw in on the sampler made for more accurate placemat measurements.
  • And the sampler helped me decide on hem treatments.
Let's just say that I am a fan of sampling.  It makes for much better finished products.

Speaking of finishing....

See that funny yellow needle above?  It is perfect for darning in yarn ends and correcting weaving errors!  The plastic is slightly flexible, so it doesn't split yarns or damage the cloth when needle weaving.  And the whole needle is an "eye", so if you have a short thread to weave in, just weave the needle where you want it, then slip the short end through the slotted needle and pull it through.  They are made by Dritz, come in a package with 1 each of 5 different sizes and can be found in the knitting section of your local hobby store.

So there you have it....my recent checkered past....

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Woman With A Colorful Past....

I've always liked that phrase.  But it's not one that applies to me...my past is pretty beige.  But I do have a colorful present:

A finished pair of colorful socks knit from Regia BlitzColor.  There isn't really a bulge in my legs....it seems to be an optical effect of the stripes at that angle.  Sock selfies are hard to do.

And here's a rainbow of color in the Antarktis shawl pattern:

The yarn is Shoppel-Wolle Lace Ball and only used half of the ball.  I will most likely wear it like this:

There has also been some colorful spinning:
 This is ~1100 yds. for 5.5 oz. of 2 ply lace weight yarn spun from 50/50 merino tencel roving dyed by Yarn Hollow in the Sun Salutations colorway.  My intention is to use this for weaving.
As I was assembling this stuff, I noticed that orange keeps popping up in my projects in the last little while.  Don't know what that's about.

While I was wet finishing the above skein, I was reminded of two other hanks of handspun that were less that inspiring in their colors.  No before pictures, but here they are after a trip through the dyepots:
 The skein on the left is about 2.5 oz & ~650 yds of merino wool that started out as a motlled mishmash of colors that read as drab brown from a distance.  It went through a "tangerine" dyebath and came out okay. 

The skein on the right started out as a mottled sage green and is ~1000 yds. @ 3.5 oz., also merino wool.  It went through a "marine blue" dye bath. 

Again, these skeins will probably be incorporated into weaving.

So ....that's my colorful recent past!