Saturday, December 28, 2013

Fun new things

The Hogan family had a great Christmas. We traveled to Kansas twice in 2 weekends and visited family without A. Obtaining illness or B. Spreading illness.  Success!  The kids loved playing with their cousins and getting grandparent time. We spent Christmas Eve and day at home with food, presents, toys and PJs. We are feeling blessed this year and are looking forward to a new year.

My wonderful husband nailed my gift this year (of course).  On Christmas Eve, he had this delivered to our doorstep:
The kids were not included.  :)  It's an 8-shaft 15 3/4" Leclerc Voyageur, a table loom. 
It's the perfect size for weaving a smaller piece, and it will fold up to 13 x 9 x 20" and fits into the nice canvas bag they included. 
If I was packing it away for real I would remove the handles for the beams and move the beams to a holding area at the base of the castle.  It looks like you could easily transport it while it's warped and it only weighs 12.5 lbs!

I'm so excited about the 8 shafts!  There are more intricate pattern possibilities as you move up in the number of shafts, so I'm looking forward to finding a fun draft and trying it out.  This loom is just what I wanted to take to craft shows for demonstrating!  Another piece to the craft business puzzle I'm trying to put together. 

In his infinite thoughtfulness, Chris also enrolled me in an intermediate weaving class. It's an 8 week session that will get me out of the house (WAHOO!!), and help me learn some new skills. I've already got a mental list of questions going!  (Better write those down before I forget...)

In other news, I've finished my shawl.  I'm so pleased with how it has turned out! 
I'm really glad I decided to knit as many pattern repeats as I did.  The size is fabulous - giving you enough space to wrap yourself up in it.  I would grab this to go outside and sit by the fire on a cool fall night.  It would also go well with a dress, something to take the chill off your shoulders. 
The yarn, Southwest Trading Co.'s Tofutsies in color 728 (discontinued), has an interesting makeup: 50% wool, 25% soy, 22% cotton and 3% Chitin.  The Chitin is a unique fiber derived from crab and shrimp shells.  It is naturally antimicrobial.  Cool, huh?  I find it fascinating how people have come to the point of developing fibers, and even am intrigued by the age-old processes of taking fleece from a sheep and ending up with a clean, brilliantly colored skein of wool yarn.  One of these days I'm going to take a tour to see each step for myself (and maybe try my hand at it, too).  But I digress.  This great yarn is colorful and bright and lends itself well to the simplicity of the pattern.
Below, it would also work to be worn as a volumous scarf.
As you can see in the shot below, it is shaped as a trapezoid.

This is my second shawl.  I think they're starting to grow on me.  I really am the no-frills sort, but a wearable blanket is right up my alley!  The one thing that irritates me with shawls is the ever-increasing stitch count.  You keep adding width and adding width until it takes you FOREVER to knit one row.  And hopefully by then you are almost done.  :) 

This shawl is now up on my Etsy page.

On my needles now is a pair of convertible mittens.  I am not completely happy with how they are turning out, but I've decided to finish them out.  More on that later.

I keep forgetting to remind you all to come check out my Facebook page!  <----Click the link and "like" me to get updates on when new posts arrive, plus what I'm up to and reading that's fiber-related. 

Enjoy the last few days of 2013!

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