Cheats/hacks… uses of a metal knitting needle

There are quite a lot of uses for a thin metal knitting needle when rigid heddle weaving, I think. From clearing a sticky shed to counting picks and even (I know I shouldn’t) poking my fell line, I’m always glad to have one on-hand.

Of course for those uses it doesn’t have to be metal, but I like a metal needle because it has a certain weight to it. Also, I tend to use it to provide lift-assistance to my string heddles and a metal needle never feels like it’ll snap under tension!

As with most such tools though, I probably find more uses for it simply because it is right there to be used!

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Future yarn and puppy considerations

Currently when I weave, I can do it anywhere in the house.

That will become harder when I finally get dogs, because as anyone with a pet knows their fur gets everywhere. My craft room and main weaving space can be kept fur free quite easily, but the living areas like the lounge room, where I like to weave in front of a movie or do hem stitching on the couch, are tougher.

Not that I can get furry dogs (allergies), but still. And I do want to get at least one rescue so I can’t be too fussy on fur types!

I’m a while away from getting dogs (dodgy fences), so I have more time to contemplate solutions, thankfully. And, no, I will not turn into one of those people who wants to spin their dog’s fur into yarn!!!

What a fascinating fibre

So, following on from my last post I have now seen and touched some lotus fibre!  Here’s a pic:

Brown and white woven lotus fibre scarf

It is definitely a lot like linen in feel, but has a sheen that’s really silky. The cloth had a great drape and that surprised me because it had a… stiffness? density? I’m not sure what the word is, but it was like I could imagine linen of a similar ply feeling like.

The muted colours of this scarf are lovely too, don’t you think? And the pattern is part colour and part different ply yarns which made for a very attractive scarf!

Lotus flower fibre

Someone I work with, who is a keen traveler, has found out that I weave. As a result I’ve been shown a range of wonderful photos of the workshops he visited in Myanmar where they make cloth from lotus flower fibre!

The locals harvest and process the lotus plants and then spin it and weave the yarn into cloth.

With any luck he will remember to bring in the scarf he bought for his wife and I will be able to report back on what this interesting fabric feels like! Having a look online it gets described as a cross between silk and linen in feel, which sounds fascinating.

My family has too many hobbies!

I’ve been resisting the urge to dye yarn for a long time, mostly because I don’t get on well with chemicals, but the urge to do some simple dye work has been growing. Finally I thought I’d try a small project and that meant getting a small amount of a mordant . Not always easy to do.

But I had a hunch that if I asked my family if anyone had some alum there’d be a ‘yes’. There was!

This is the thing about my family; we have far too many hobbies. Guaranteed someone will have the random chemical etc that I need when I launch into my own new random interest!

Stay tuned for more posts on my mini-dyeing attempt.

The yarn-y bits of my brain

At work the other day they’d been running a team-building activity that involved building a tower so they had all of these materials sitting in a box. Wire. Yarn. Sticks. I have to admit I kept staring at it thinking if I took the wire and used it to make a frame with the sticks I could use the yarn to make this… or that… or that!

I resisted the urge to make anything (they might want to use those materials in future), but the yarn-y, craft-y bits of my brain were firing all day.

Can yarn be cursed?

Some time ago I did a post on the “bendy scarf”. It was not the yarn’s fault the scarf had failed – totally knitter’s error – but I’m beginning to suspect this yarn has been cursed by an evil yarn fairy.

Why? I just finished it weaving it and… somehow my yarn calculations went screwy. Sigh. Now the result of this wasn’t fatal and the scarf was only for me. Still…

So what happened? Well, I’d always wanted to do a striped scarf with this cotton, so I warped with lovely stripes:

Blue, green and purple uneven striped warp on the loom
Here is the purple yarn as weft, crossing the stripes

The warp only took half the yarn I had left, so I decided I’d use the cotton for weft as well. Because I didn’t have enough of any one colour to do the whole thing, I contemplated a plaid, but I’m not a huge plaid fan. Finally I decided on blocks (roughly 3rds) of each colour.

The different weft colours are so subtle which I love.

The finished scarf folded to show the three different weft colours
If you look closely you’ll see green weft at the front, blue in the middle and purple at the back

But 3rds did not happen! I’d already transitioned from the 1st colour to the 2nd when I realised I had gone wrong… which means I was too far in to start over.

What I do love about this project though, is it’s a great experiment in colour. Not only are the colours much duller than most yarns I use but they are so close in value that the weft really does blend beautifully.

I also got to play with gradually transitioning the colours. Sadly this was also a casualty of my messed up calculations, so I’m not in love with how they came out, but the upside is that I’ve now tried the technique and know what not to do!

And where did my calc’s go wrong? No idea. I suspect I flipped some numbers around when I weighed the yarn originally… Ah well. I still have a new stripey scarf!