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!

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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.

Kind of like a charcoal rubbing…

So this is the new scarf and supplementary warp project…

Supplementary warp project on the loom

I lurve it! On the loom it was looking so much like a pencil or charcoal rubbing of some highly textured surface that I almost stopped weaving to get out some charcoal and paper; such was the inspiration! Thankfully, I kept weaving and am very happy with the result.

Of all the colours of that Noro Silk Garden comes in, you might think me mad to have picked the “Solo” and in brown (!!!!), but this was a yarn that just spoke to me. I’m not much of a browns person, but I do like the colour and particularly¬† flecked like this.

Being me though I’d forgotten that you can’t warp with this yarn! (I know, I know…) Thankfully, my stash had an appropriately matching 4ply in it. I could have put grabbed the appropriate reed and used the 4ply as 4ply, but I didn’t think the sup’ warp Noro would survive that much abrasion. So I threaded it double using a 30/10 reed.

Suplememtary warp project off the loom

So happy with the result. Such is the serendipity of my approach to weaving!

Thrum tubular

I hate to see things go to waste, particularly “useful” things like containers, so when my workplace had a sudden glut of plastic tubes I was very excited! But, I know from past experience that I can collect containers only to throw them out – completely unused – years later. So, I took a conservative 5 tubes to try them out.

Then another 25.

And another.

And… another.

I doubt any craft-er would be surprised to hear me say I found a range of ways to deploy the tubes, but the truly wonderful bit is they are now integral to my thrum storage system!!

A draw full of clear tubes in which you can see yarn
This is where thrums have always gone, but now… look at those peek-a-boos of colour!

Turns out the tubes sit on their heads rather nicely in my thrums drawer and I can cram quite a bit in each one. Soooo satisfying. Of course the extra joy of this approach is I can see the yarn! The drawer, I should point out, is only half full in the above pic.

Here’s what they look like up close:

Two clear tubes with red lids, containing yarn

And I’m going to take the ball-bands I’ve got for (most) of these thrums and put them into the tubes, so I will always know what the yarn is. Organisational goodness.

Oh how I love a good recycling project.

Weaving patterns #7 – Supplementary warp

I got interested in supplementary warps almost as soon as I got weaving! It’s such a cool way to add texture to your cloth and the possibilities are almost endless. So what is a supplementary warp?

Well, it’s where you take a yarn and add it to the warp yarn you’re already using. Typically it will be some combination of different colour, weight or texture. Here was my first go at it, with a fantastic thick/thin yarn (Pixie Dust) from Knit College:

A thick/thin yarn in shades of gray overlaying a dark grey cloth
It’s a little hard to see but for this scarf I ran the thin sections of the yarn over and under the cloth so the supplementary warp is on both sides!

The trick with weaving using this technique is to warp the supplementary yarn separately and – unless you have a second back-beam – that means weighting it. This is how I’m tackling a current sup’ warp project:

Yarn dangling from the back beam, weighted with metal washers
Metal washers to the rescue!

Of course if you’re using a different colour of the same yarn as the warp then you can just warp it with the rest, but the fun of this technique is mostly in the crazy yarns I think!

In my first project, because I was moving the warp under and over the web, I actually didn’t weight it. Instead, I pinned it to the fell line each time it crossed over/under to achieve a small amount of tension. The result of this is that the thick sections have a lovely bit of slack so they can move with the cloth.

For the current project, because I’ve threaded the Noro yarn through the heddle, the weights are keeping it under an acceptable amount of tension. I do occasionally give each one a little tug (gently!) too, but obviously the Noro Silk Garden will drift/snap under not much tension at all, so I’m being careful.

In this case, the Noro is also my weft and the affect I’m after is far more subtle than with the Knit College yarn. Keep an eye out for pictures of the finished project!