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Showing posts from 2013

Christmas blessings

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As we go through the last few days before Christmas (and how did THAT happen?!?), the weather reminds us all that we have no control over much of our lives.  All the hustle and bustle that is requisite this time of year comes to a screeching halt when Mother Nature says so.  So we all slow down.  Take our time. And wonder.


And if we really look around, while trying very hard not to slip and slide our way into the emergency room, we realize that even as challenges surround us, beauty abounds.


It is also easy to overlook the fact that others have it far worse than us.  I'm thankful that we still have power, that all my family members are safe and sound where they are, and that we are all healthy and happy.  This is especially true for Whirl, who for the last two days has had an ongoing tussle with the tree, poking his head through the garland, roughing up the tree skirt, and escaping with new "treasures," aka ornaments.  He has finally made peace with it all, and took a ni…

A Week Full of Dis...

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It's been quite a week here, and it's not over yet.  The weather has been beyond cold, with highs in the teens and lows in the single digits.  That's more suited for late January or early February.  We've only had a touch of snow, but are going to get walloped on Sunday.

There has been a lot of travel for me this week, which is the first "dis:" distance. Three days of long distance driving, which is not at all my idea of a good time, as anyone who knows me can attest.  I'm a real homebody when I'm not working.  So far, I drove 1.5 hours to the dermatologist, so she could look at some things on my face that have been there awhile but won't heal.  Sure enough, they were pre-cancerous lesions, which she sprayed with liquid nitrogen. Can I just say - OUCH!! Two sprays per lesions, and she found three, including one I didn't know about. That was a couple of days ago, and now they are losing the outer skin so they are weepy, red and sore - how festi…

Should I?

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I caught this ad for a used loom the other day.  Despite my best efforts to ignore it, I kept looking at it and finally contacted the seller.  It is located quite a ways away, north of Bangor, and has been used in a school, which is pretty cool.  It is an older 4 shaft Nilus Leclerc Fanny loom, 48" wide.

The pros:

It's larger than my present loom, so I could weave some of the wider things that I've wanted to do for quite some time.

It's also heavier, so I could finally try rug weaving.

It is a counterbalance loom, so the shed will be larger, so, um, I could try rug weaving...

The cons:

It's larger than my present loom, so I'm not sure where I can fit it.  It will fit somewhere in the bedroom I use as a studio, I think, but my brain thrives on order and space, and if the room becomes too cluttered and/or confining, I won't be able to think or create well there.  I'm certainly not willing to part with my smaller 8 shaft loom, though that can be folded when…

Limping Towards the Finish Line...

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...for holiday weaving.  I've managed to produce a couple of things only, but I've been consistent and just done what I could.  As with everyone, life takes precedence, so an hour here and an hour there is all I can give.

These scarves, from the Handwoven magazine, had really caught my eye.  Several weavers on Ravelry have produced some stunning versions, so I girded my loins, so's to speak, and began, figuring it would be a quick-ish project.  Nope.  Lots of problems all the way through, but I DO like how they came out.


Very drapey, with a nice texture.  I really love how the stripes have a ribbon-like effect!


Next, I quickly slammed out some huck placemats, one set in deep rich red


(not a good representation of the color, I'm afraid.  Does everyone else have issues with photographing reds???) and one in green


All of this was in preparation for the hospital's holiday party, which is going to be family friendly this year and feature a craft fair, among other things…

Weaving, sort of

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I'm not sure if it's because I haven't had chunks of time to devote to weaving, or whether it was the failure of the doubleweave sample, but I have had zero interest in weaving lately. This is a very, very BAD thing, with the holidays drawing near. My stock is very small, mostly because I've farmed many scarves/towels off to consignment stores, which I do realize is a good thing; I just can't seem to build up any inventory.

 My workplace is having a different sort of holiday gathering this year, and it includes offering up craft tables.  Usually it's a "grown-up" party, with a band and dancing, often on a night I work, so I've never been, but this year it looks to be more family oriented.  I've signed up, so now I just need to somehow churn out a bunch of weaving and knitting toot sweet, as they say, or mine will be a very sad table indeed.

Also, I'm working on 3 knitting projects right now, which I believe is a record for me - I tend to …

No Joy

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Well, I'm afraid that double weave is a no go for me, at least for now.  When I changed treadling directions on the first sample, the open side started to be woven closed.  Upon inspection, I saw that I didn't thread correctly.  So, after cutting the sample off, I rethreaded and sleyed, only to have THIS happen;


The blue section is the point at which the treadling changes, as you can see, but for some reason the open side decided to close, AGAIN.  Not right away, which tells me it wasn't a threading error this time - good to know my quadruple check worked!  All I can think of is a sticky shaft gumming up the works.  Any other ideas out there? Either way, I'm done for now.  I returned the many many skeins of yarn I had purchased for this project, and my loom has sat empty for over a week now.I think this is the first time a weave structure has defeated me.  I guess that goes to show that I don't try anything too difficult.

I am finally starting to think about starti…

A Bit of This and That

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Sorry for the delay in posting - again.  Life just gets too busy, and I'm dabbling in several different projects right now, so there are no great posting opportunities.

On the knitting front, I started and finished my socks using my first dyeing experiment.  This is KnitPicks Bare superwash merino and nylon, and I dyed it many moons ago.  I was a bit afraid to try using it, if only because it still smelled SO strongly like Koolaid, plus I've been so enamored of knitting with handspun that the idea of knitting with this almost texture-less yarn held little appeal.  Here's the yarn:


and here are the socks:


They are so much fun to wear!  I am NOT an in-your-face bright color person, but these add just the right amount of pizzazz.  I soaked them initially in Euclan, which did nothing to remove the smell, but the machine washing afterwards did the trick.  All in all, a very fun project.

Also on the knitting front, I've tentatively started my sweater with my handspun Faulkla…

Latest

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So, I finished the project from, well, H-E-double toothpicks, and I do like the finished product.  A nine yard warp gave me three finished scarves, woven to ~75" plus hems, plus another yard of fabric.  The cloth is slightly more dense than my usual tencel scarves due to the EPI, but they still have a glorious drape.  As usual, photos do not do them justice.






The light mint green really goes well with the black warp, I think.  For the last yard, I decided to try a turquoise weft.


Not sure what I'll do with this, but I have a decorative pin winging its way to me to see if I like the combination.

I've also finished spinning the fiber I'm hoping to use as a sweater.  To recap, after combining 2 6.2 ounce braids of Julie Spins Faulkland


with 4 ounces of Spunky Eclectic BFL


 I ended up with ~1720 yards of 2 ply, fingering weight-ish yarn.


You can clearly see the 2 skeins with the BFL, although there is purple in each skein.  A question for all you experienced knitters out t…

Not Much Progress...

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to report, I'm afraid.  Still trying to get the Falling Leaves scarves woven up.  I've been busy/distracted by several commitments related to work, community band, and yes, housekeeping.  I just finished weaving the first one yesterday, and was amazed at the increased amount of weft needed just for one scarf.  Usually I get away with 2-2.5 pirns per scarf when weaving with 8/2 tencel.  This time I'm using the same material, but the sett is closer, so the increased over/under is really eating up the weft.  I used 3.5 for the first scarf alone.  Lots and lots of pirn winding in my future, unfortunately.

Per a reader's request, here is a photo of the draft for Falling Leaves.  I did not create it - it was kindly shared by a weaver on Ravelry who's ravatar is "tonigatland" (http://www.ravelry.com/people/tonigatland).



Believe it or not, I've been on vacation for the last week and a half, yet still been too busy to even come close to accomplishing what I…

Playing with Sticks

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As most of you have surmised, I'm not one who loves to work with fringe.  More often than not, I hem my scarves, rather than hand-twist them.  When I decided to weave up some variegated scarves to finish the consignment order, I decided to let them have fringe, since the weave structure was so simple (tabby).  So I measured warp for 3 scarves, including enough for fringe.

As I was weaving the first scarf, I remembered a post that I had read recently from Laura Fry (http://laurasloom.blogspot.com/) about using sticks to help keep even tension when allowing for fringe.  I realized it could become an issue for me, since 2 scarves would equal ~16 inches of unwoven warp to wind on the cloth beam.  Laura had pointed out that the sticks were necessary to keep the unwoven warp from "falling off" the roll of cloth on either end, thus wrecking the tension.  Did I have any sticks handy to use?  Of course not!

I mentioned it to my hubby, who has a shop full of (rough) wood, but I d…

Playing With String

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Remember the rainbow shawl I wove from my towel warp?  Last time we saw it, it looked like this:


During the latest heat wave we had (with which I DO NOT cope well!), I decided that weaving upstairs was out of the question, even though I am still under the gun to get the last 5 scarves woven for the consignment shop.  So I set myself at the kitchen table, with an oscillating fan nearby, and began to work on the fringe of this shawl.

I know I could have left the fringe as it was, since this is cotton after all, and I also knew that I didn't have to twist it, which was a bonus for me.  So I decided to do some knot work.  My husband, who has been around boats, both in them and repairing, them all his life, has a book of knots, so I perused that.  After consulting with him, I decided on a simple tying plan, meant to leave the fringe looking like diamonds, with knots at all four "points" of each diamond.

Here's my set up:

 And a close up:


I always knew those old encyclope…

Hot Enough for Everyone???

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I don't know about you, but this protracted heat wave has overstayed its welcome. Everyone is tired and bit grouchy, me included.  Way up here is northern New England this is a very rare occurrence indeed.  Normally, we might have one or two days that hit 90 here on the coast, but some summers we don't even reach that mark, which is A-okay with me.  I personally am a huge fan of moderation, and don't care for the extremes of winter or summer, but usually our moderate summers make up for some very long cold, snowy, dark winters.  Not so this year!

The weather is also affecting my ability to weave for long periods.  My loom is upstairs, and I do have a fan which helps a lot, but after an hour or two, I'm drained of energy.  I'm still trying to weave off 5 more scarves for the Center of Maine Crafts' order, but it's slow going.  The first variegated scarf is done, with enough warp left for 2 more.  I used black tencel for the weft of the first one.


I've al…

Shawl Woven!

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I decided to go with the 10/2 bamboo as weft for this shawl, and what a quick weave! I wove to 90", and just finished hand hemstitching.  How's this for happy fringe??


I think I will try to do some knot work rather than straight fringe twisting, but I may change my mind after I tie a few.

The weather here has been abysmal, at least in my book - hot, hot hot and very humid.  Temps were around 90 all day, and while it's always a bit humid here on the coast of Maine, but the humidity is usually tempered by a lovely sea breeze.  Not a breath of it this time around.  I've come to a rather sobering realization with all this heat.  I am, ahem, of a certain age where activity in the great outdoors under these conditions is not conducive to then staying up all night, working, and being able to be at the top of my game.

The next town over does the 4th of July in a big way, and one of the activities is a big parade.  The community band that I play in has always participated, an…