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

Two months a weaver

So I’m two months into this weaving journey and I have reached a point where I’m thinking about more structured projects. My “I want to try” list is huge!image of scarfs and samples

But that’s the future… the last four weeks have been about – mostly – trying yarns.

It began with a sparkly polyamide as seen in the dashes scarf, which was painfully stretchy to work with, causing all manner of warp issues, but I’m not unhappy with the result. Sadly my hard-to-please skin strongly dislikes that yarn.image of a patterned scarf

The second yarn-speriment was a colourful super fine merino variegspot2detailated. I can almost wear super fine so I decided to mix it with a lot of cotton (2nd spot scarf) and see what that did to wearability; success! There may have been dancing…

I re-warped my first warp disaster (sett too open) on a finer reed and the viscose/cotton yarn made a slinky, silky but not soft scarf (viscose can be kind of “hard”).image detail of red viscose scarf

Then, I took some unplied variegated wool and made this lovey dense scarf (warp is matching 10ply cotton), but it has the worst selvedges I’ve done. Will do a sample at some point to see if it’s the yarn or me! The colour refuses to photograph true – it’s actually a nice pale cherry under all that variegation.detail of cherry pink scarf

So then I wove a sample of some $1 acrylic I had that was, well, the quality you’d expect from $1 yarn. It pilled like the blazes as a warp, but overall wove okay. Really didn’t like how crossing it with itself brought out the ugly complimentary colour.greenvariThen I decided to work with some soya yarn. It is sooo soft and fluffy (see me itch and sneeze as I work it) and the result was pretty cool. It couldn’t survive the abrasion of the reed as a warp, but I figured that’d happen. (You can see it in the group pic, above.)

It puffed up on washing like a nicely fulled wool, so it’s a pity that the wool I used with it was a superwash, designed to do nothing when you wash it. In my defense I thought it said “superfine” not “superwash”!image of scarf with clasped weft

That brings me to the final project; the same soy and superwash, used for a captured/clasped weft scarf. I’m extrememly happy with how it turned out, but I have to say it was a bit exhausting. It takes a lot of energy making yarn placement decisons on every pick!

Weaving with metal rings

I was wearing this handflower the other day and it got me thinking about how long it’s been since I did any chainmaille.

image of a chainmaille handflower

This weaving with metal rings is good fun, but takes a certain amount of concentration and dexterity. So, not as relaxing as weaving with yarn. I think that’s the main reason I do it periodically. Oh, and the fact I already have a handflower for each day of the week!

Because looms are herd animals

My obsession with weaving – let’s call it what it is! – coincided nicely with the local spinners and weavers having an open day at their association. So I popped in to watch people weave on different looms and to have a go before I went and bought the one I had my eye on.

The woman whose loom I sat at for a while, was answering my question about what is a good size to start with in the rigid heddle looms when she explained that it didn’t really matter because looms are herd animals, so every weaver ends up with more than one! I thought that was hilarious.

Given how many sets of knitting needles I’ve collected in my knitting life, it didn’t surprise me at all to be told it applied to weaving accoutrements too. So far, I’m too entertained by the capacity of my loom to have an eye on anything bigger/smaller/fancier, but I can imagine the day when maybe, just maybe, I’ll upsize to a table loom. Probably not a floor loom – they just seem like too much work!

I may live to laugh at myself over that statement, ey?

Spots and dashes

It’s early days for me to be discovering a favourite pattern, but that might just be what’s happened! First I did it in black and green and now I’ve done it in black and a variegated…

Scarf with green spots on a black ground

image of spot pattern scarf
Not a great pic – I’m awkwardly holding it up in mid air

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I love about this pattern, aside from how easy it is to weave, is that you have so many colour combination possibilities… I’m already planning my next version.

The other pattern I’ve played with recently was a sort of “dots and dashes”:

image of a patterned scarf

detail of sparkly yarn patternOf course I also chose a very hairy, sparkly yarn for my pattern which makes the pattern less clean, but I like the effect overall.

 

I’m loving being able to create so many different patterns with 2 shafts and just different yarn combos. Even though I now have a second heddle kit for my loom, I’m not ready to use it yet!

One month a weaver

Well, technically I think it’s just over a month, but who’s quibbling! I’ve had a ball doing samples and making scarfs, trying different yarns and colours in plain weave. Here are the first 4 scarfs…photo of 4 scarfsThe blue and white one came first (excuse the brightness of the mohair – there are more blue stripes in that bleached area). Woven with a white blue-flecked cotton warp and a variegated blue and white mohair.

Then, of course, the log cabin scarf – woven in black and creamy white cotton.

Here’s a detail shot of that green and black scarf.  It was woven with black cotton and a teal silk.

Scarf with green spots on a black ground

This is probably my favourite pattern so far, and interestingly both sides of the scarf look the same! (The fact you can see a green on black section, is because I ran out of black cotton weft half way and I just used the rest of my ball of teal silk!)

And finally, I wove the blue stripey one with a blue cotton warp and both the blue cotton again and a blue silk/cotton mix in the weft stripes. I had fun making the silk/cotton stripes wider as the scarf progressed while keeping the straight cotton the same.

There have been two warping crises so far… one where the yarn was too slippery for a 7.5 dpi reed, giving me too open a web, so I’ll try again when my finer reed arrives. (Yes, I’m already buying accessories!)

The other disaster involved black wool and a rather neat little sparkly poly. That was totally a lack of planning prior to my “dressing the loom”!

Thankfully, both “crises” were instructional and the yarns will get put back on the loom at a later date.

My first attempt (or two)

I jumped right into using my loom the first moment I could. This was after watching some YouTube vids of people using looms, and doing plain weave and making patterns, so I basically just tried to replicate what I remembered them doing. Then I played with some thoughts of my own to see what would happen. Sooooo much fun!

Here are the first few minutes of actual weaving:

Image of weaving on my loom

This turned into this sample…

My first weaving sample

 

And I soon followed it up with this…

image of my second weaving attempt

You can tell I’d discovered some actual patterns by the second attempt, even though I had some warp issues.

I was happy with how both came out. Given I’d just picked random cottons and bamboos from my yarn stash and winged it, I’d expected to hit more problems, but overall it was easy to get going and not too hard to just muck about.

Number 3 is still on the loom, but I was a bit more organised so you can see it is a bit neater:image of my third sample on the loom