Weaving colour #3

So you have bought a lovely blue yarn and you think how great it will look with that other blue yarn in your stash, but when you put them side by side you realise they don’t look good together. Why? A common reason is that one is a warm blue and the other a cool blue.

What does that mean? Well, when colours have more red or yellow in them they tend to be warm and when they have more blue or green in them they tend to be cool. Usually what you’ll notice is that one seems livelier (warm) and one seems duller (cool). The tricky thing is that it can be hard to see until you compare them.

If you don’t feel that you really get this idea, take a trip to your local hardware store or paint store – anywhere that has one of those collections of colour cards/paint chips. Pick a couple of different greys and put them next to each other and do the same for whites. You should be able to see what’s warm and what’s cool easily with whites and greys.

Then grab different yellows, reds, blues and greens and compare. You should see what’s lively/dull or more pink/more blue (more yellow/more green)!

But what happens if you mix warm and cool colours? Usually you end up with a slightly “flat” result where the colours look dull, but you can get “muddy” colours that take on a brown or grey appearance too.

If you’re not sure about a combo of yarns… sample!

Cheats/hacks… warp end gap

Depending on how you attach your warp to your back beam/ back warp-stick on a rigid heddle loom, you can find that when you’re close to the end of your warp the warp isn’t all nice and level. Some warp ends are higher/lower than others and this creates a messy gap which can make it hard to get a clean shed.

My approach when this starts to happen is to get a nice long bit of scrap yarn and, just in front of the back warp stick, wrap it around bunches of warp ends. This cinches them together and removes the gap. I find I can squeeze the very last out of the length of my warp this way.

warp ends cinched together with scrap yarnIn this example I was grouping quite a few ends at a time, but I often do them in much smaller groups.

What’s been on the loom…

You may have noticed I’ve talked about not-quite-as-expected projects recently, but I don’t want you to think that I’m having a bad run. It’s not all sad faces and mutant cloth! No, the number of slightly wrong outcomes is partly a reflection of my sheer productivity. I haz been a weaving. A lot.

Here is a selection of the (successful) produce…

A number of finished scarfsIt has been wonderful playing with new yarns and lots of different textures!

Things don’t always come out in the wash

So I’ve been a bit obsessed with the honeycomb weave recently and decided to do a scarf to play with the weave more. The result is very elegant, but it’s not very honeycomb! This was a lesson in over-fulling.

To explain what fulling it a little too far did to the pattern, take a look at these photos…


weaving on the loom
This is the cloth on the loom. Showing it’s spot-lace origins, you can’t see the honeycomb much at all


the cloth off the loom
Once off the loom the honeycomb pattern sprang to life! Though a lesson was that black probably isn’t the best weft colour for this weave


the cloth after washing
Notice how most of the warp has vanished in between the rows of lace? That’s not because the photo is blurry – it fulled and made a weft faced cloth!

Now I didn’t full this more than I usually do. The problem here was just that I really didn’t need it to full at all and should have given it a much shorter, cooler bath.

Of course this is why you should take your samples all the way through the process. I’ll admit I hadn’t washed mine! Still, the scarf itself has a great 3D texture and the overall effect is lovely.

Naturally there will be another attempt at this weave in the future. It’s just too cool not to try again!

A knitter’s love of chunky yarns

A few weeks back my mum was talking about making herself a sort of ‘knee-warmer’ to keep her problem knee warm and I suggested she might use some chunky yarn I unearthed recently. It seemed like a good idea because it’ll knit up fast and be warm.

The funny thing was that she has many a set of needles, but none intended for 14ply. In contrast, when I went hunting through my needles I found no less than 5 sets!

So some of my needles are on agistment at her place (well not really but I do love that word) while she designs her knee warmer.

Why do I love the big yarns? Partly because they are quick to knit and that’s great for scarfs, but also they often have such a pluffy, lush texture.

Now that I’m weaving they aren’t featuring as often, though I did put one on the loom recently. It was something like good-planning that could do this because, in anticipation of my continued love of large yarns, I got a large dent reed when I bought extras last year!

Should have trusted my yarn-senses

Sometimes you just know a yarn will be trouble. It might be lovely in colour and texture, but there’s that little tug in your yarn-senses telling you it’s no good. Then later you wonder why you didn’t listen to it!  🙂

Of course I do listen to it most of the time and I regret every time I don’t.

In this case it was entirely my fault that I ended up with broken warp threads left, right and centre. And now I have a lot of relatively useless thrums. Sigh.

Well, it was pretty and fluffy and brightly coloured. Note the word ‘fluffy’ in that sentence. That was my downfall, because it abraded in the heddles rather severely.

Afterwards, when I was enjoying a post breakage coffee, my yarn-senses tut-tut-ed at me. I promise I will listen to them in future.

The forgotten yarn stash

As I mentioned at the very start of this blog I’m a long-time knitter, but I got tired of how long knitting took. Not because I don’t love knitting, but because I was mostly weaving for charities, my inability to wear wool limiting the scope of knitting for myself.

This meant I did have a small stash of yarn when I started weaving. What I hadn’t realised is that I had quite a few more stash balls hiding in a bag next to my couch! Well, it’s mostly part-balls and mostly 12ply, but there were some lovely red mohair leftovers and unused balls of a nice blue cotton too. Oh, and some ribbon yarn.

I possibly shouldn’t be quite so excited, but they are such different yarns to my more recently accrued stash there are new possibilities for trying things. That mohair is already on my mind…