Olive green and kind of plaid

So this is fresh off the loom! An olive green scarf with grey and blue stripes so it has a bit of plaid action going on. I like it.

A section of an olive green scarf with blue and grey fine stripes

The blue is actually more subtle in real life than in this pic, but I’ve had a cold and it was too much energy to mess around with the camera! The image gives most of the idea.

One aspect of this scarf that I’m very pleased with, is that I deliberately avoided symmetry by changing up the colour order for each stripe and I not spacing the stripes across the width too evenly.  The result works well.

I think I can say the first “not my colours” scarf is successful!

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Colours not my own

This week on the loom I am trying to weave a scarf in colours that I am never drawn to and never work with or wear. It’s been a challenge!

I’ve tried with my weaving not to spend all my time in the colours I’m most comfortable with. Tried and thought I’d done well. Then I found myself looking at some muted “winter” coloured yarn and realised I’d never gone far enough outside my colour comfort zone. These were colours I’d never even think to buy!

So I bought one – a dark olive green – and I’m adding a little blue and grey as stripes.

The funny part is that normally I have a great sense of how colours will go together. Not this time! I stared at the colours and twisted the yarn this way and that for ages before feeling confident it’d work.

Now it’s on the loom it seems to be going fine and I’m liking the subtlety. Pictures will follow once I’ve woven more!

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!

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!

Fooling with pooling…

The pooling project came hot off the loom this morning and I’m happy. Very happy. The pooled colours have come up a treat and, while I can’t seem to take a pic that is colour accurate (!), it looks amazing.

Here is a photo journey from skein to scarf:

Skein of yarn
The skein which you have seen in a previous post…
A big ball of yarn for the pooling project
Became a big ball of yarn…
A variegated warp aligned so the colours pool creating bands
The strands were then aligned in the warp so the colour bands appeared
Yarn for the pooling project threaded on the loom
The loom was dressed…
The pooling project web in progress
And some black weft used… please ignore the wobbly web (tension issues!)
The cloth fresh off the loom hanging from a coathanger
It all led to this! A very nicely banded scarf with lovely spiky colour changes.

Aligning the colours did take a bit of time and, truth-be-told, more than one go. Though, once I’d figured out how to best handle the skein’s anti-pooling measures it was a doddle!

Some tension problems occurred; partly because I was tweaked the alignment as I tied-on and partly because the sticky yarn wanted to clump. I should probably have untied the whole thing and re-done it, but I – of course – wanted to get on with the weaving.

Still, I don’t think it’s harmed the scarf.

I enjoyed doing this so much that I’m already planning another one! Though there are a few other things I might do before then… hmm…

Cheats/hacks… when you don’t know how you’ll finish

So, I’m not much of a planner. Well, not when I’m mucking about learning and having fun!

In weaving terms, this means I sometimes have no idea how I want to finish my web. Maybe I’ll hemstitch, or maybe I’ll get some funky knot-work happening. The thing about this is, if I decide to hemstitch then, well…hemstitching is hell to do off the loom. Or, hell to get neat.

My solution is to use scrap yarn (preferably a sticky one) to cinch together bunches of warp ends, before taking the web off the loom. Using a darning/yarn needle, I create running loops without going below the weft. The loops just wrap tightly around the warp ends.

This keeps the weft in place and the warp ends tidy while you decide what finish you want/need.

It also makes hemstitching off-loom work much better, because you only slide the loop of scrap yarn off a bunch of warp ends right before you stitch them. Gives a surprisingly neat hemstitch.