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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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.

Patterns #4 – warp and weft floats

So, I’ve been talking about floats over the past few posts, but what textures can creating floats give you?

The answer partly depends on whether you’re creating weft floats, or warp floats, or both. To have a play, I did a skinny little sampler with a couple of techniques (I apologise for the blurry photos):

image of cloth on the loomAt this point I’d done – from the cloth beam – some “3/1 lace” (weft floats), then some windowpanes and some “spot lace” (warp and weft floats).

Weft floats are created the way I outlined in my last post. For warp floats, you insert the pick-up stick the same way to get the desired slot threads, but you then use it in an up-shed and slide it forward to the reed/heddle, keeping it flat.

Then I did windowpane with some supplementary weft (black, to match my black warp), which you can see on the left:

image of two pick up stick textures
The sampler is sideways here (black warp, white weft)

And on the right I was playing with the spot lace idea in regular rows.

The pictures here are all of unwashed cloth. What I found with the first sample I did with a pick-up stick was that the weft floats get tighter and more subtle on washing. That’s at least the case with these bamboo/nylon yarns I’m using.

Keep in mind too that if you create a weft float on the front of your cloth then you’ll have created a warp float on the back and vice versa. This may or may not matter depending on the use of the cloth and the effect you’re after.

Finally, I went a little crazy and created some weft loops!

an image of weft loopsThese aren’t technically floats, but I thought they deserved a mention!

In a future patterns post, I’ll talk about some other pick-up patterns, but these are some of the simplest ones.