Finally! The 2015 Christmas gifts

So, my family has given up on rescheduling xmas, which means I could give everyone their gifts at last and finally blog about them! In truth I kind of did blog about them… remember the hand towel? And those two double weave examples I talked about? Yep, them.

So here they are in all their glory…

action shot of coasters
First the ‘action shot’ to give a sense of size
front side of coasters
Side 1
Coasters2a
Side 2

I actually did two of each and the second ones are a bit squarer and neater and the beat is more even than shown here, but you’ll have to take my word for it because I managed to delete the photos I took of them!!

So, you can see the outcome of the two double weaves. For the log cabin it produced a really nice dotty stripe on the back, as a result of a plain warp with log cabin weft. In the other coaster you can see how the black and grey warp threads have been swapped between layers to create the contrasting square in the middle.

hand towel hangingAnd here is the ‘action shot’ of the hand towel, though I trimmed that fringe back after this was taken.

The towel went into a darkroom/workshop as intended, and is adorning a wall there, but is apparently suffering from “too nice to use” syndrome.  The fate of many a practical woven gift, I think!  Well, it looks nice.

(In fact, rumour has it that one of the coasters is in the same boat, but I’ve been promised it’ll get used…eventually.)

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Itching to blog, but…

I had planned on blogging about further xmas gifts that I’ve woven – keeping the post for Christmas day of course – but sadly my family’s festivities have been postponed!

It seems I wasn’t the only family member to pick up a pre-Christmas bug, and the other sickie isn’t likely to be well for the big day. Plus it’s hot here, so on the basis of illness + heat = yuk we decided to shift the whole thing to next week.

That is good in terms being able to enjoy the xmas fare on a cooler day, but it does mean that the blogging embargo must remain in place. <insert anguished cry>

Yeah, I know, I’ll get over it.

Anyway, a Merry Christmas to all those out there who observe it!

Christmas excitement isn’t the only thing catching…

I’ve had a whole week tucked up in bed with angry tonsils and a cough, too exhausted to type. So, if this post isn’t full of Christmas cheer, I hope you will understand!

Strangely, despite being so tired, I did manage to do some weaving. Not much, but the project I was working on was small and pretty well suited to low energy levels. I was making a hand-towel…

Creating yarn loops with a crochet hook and a knitting needle for a towel

This is the towel in process. You can see my lovely bamboo crochet hook which I’ve used to pull loops of caramel coloured cotton through the black cotton warp and onto a knitting needle.

Now, I didn’t use a pattern for this (I know, you’re surprised), but after some thought I decided that I’d:

  • use an 8ply cotton as my plain weave base, on a balanced but slightly open weave
  • use a finer cotton for my loops
  • do a pick of the 8ply in the same shed as each row of loops
  • manually give each pick a bit more of a beat after changing sheds (did that with a darning needle, but something like a tapestry hand-beater would have been useful)

I’ll admit that my selection of knitting needle was more of a “that looks about the right sized loop” type decision. And, yes, the selection of needles that were close at hand may have influenced me!

So, for all my slap-dash experimentation, how do I feel about the finished product? I’m very happy with it. The density of loops is lusciously soft and thick, and the caramel looks lovely against the black. I wove a little tag at one corner to make a hanging loop and it hangs rather nicely, too.

Of course, I won’t know how it goes functionally until wet hands have used its drying services. I will report back on that and provide a photo of the finished hand-towel.

And we’re back… with a sucessfully delivered gift scarf

There’s not been a lot of weaving happening during my blogging break, mostly because of the same things that meant no blogging! But also because it was kind of tiring working on a gift scarf. (Me, a perfectionist…? Never.)

The good news is that the recipient of the scarf likes it (yay) and while it’s hardly scarf weather here, I’m hoping she’ll find it useful come the chillier months.

And how did I feel about the end product? Pretty good. My selvedges were alright and I only made one, not too visible, error in the pattern. Phew!

sample of the finished zig-zag pattern
Can you see the zig-zag pattern? It’s green and teal which I don’t think this pic shows all that well…

What did I learn from this scarf? A lot! Some of which I’ll talk about in more detail in future posts.

  1. When calculating sett with two reeds on a rigid heddle loom, it simplifies things if you just look at the front reed/heddle.
  2. Patterns in twill can change in interesting ways when you take the tension off and wash them.
  3. Just because you use a floating selvedge doesn’t stop you getting bumpy bits when you are using two shuttles… you need to think about how the floaties relate to the rhythm of the pattern.

I will say that I feel like I’ve conquered 3 shaft twill now. Though I have a few other fun patterns for 3 shaft to try! I might tackle a 4 shaft next…

First gifts

As Christmas is approaching, I’ve finally embarked on making a scarf for a friend; my first project for someone else. It’s strange the effect it’s had on me, because suddenly I’m fussing over my selvedges and worrying about the evenness of the beat.

Possibly just because it’s a gift, but I suspect it’s also because this friend has crocheted me a number of household item over the years. I owe a craft debt!

So far, the scarf has gone well, but I’m still eyeing those selvedges critically…

I don’t know if this photo shows the colours all that well, but it’s a nice bright aqua and green, in a 3 shaft twill.

blue and green scarf on the loom