Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I feel especially productive this week, thanks to some motivation!  My mom and I attended the Affair of the Heart show last weekend. While I was expecting to see many more handmades, it fueled my excitement!  I would love to do 2 craft shows a year with my mom's help, and I'm considering the purchase of a small, foldable loom to demonstrate on.  I think people would be interested to see how the weaving process goes, and it would probably open up communication with customers.  So I've spent some time planning some projects for sale.

My current weaving is going great. I finished the first scarf on this warp and now have moved to this design:
I've nicknamed it Flying Birds!  Isn't it cheery?  I think one of my nieces or nephews will like it.  There will be one more scarf on this warp.  I seem to be steadily improving. 

On the knitting front:

I finished one sleeve on my cardigan and have several inches on the second sleeve done.  Ugh.  Not worthy of a photo.  I wish I had a magic wand to finish this thing.

I finished a hibernating project: a pair of robot mittens for my oldest son.  They are in need of blocking.

And I have started a cowl (here is the pattern on Ravelry) with this lovely Berroco Blackstone Tweed, color is Cape Cod (discontinued). The yarn is leftover from a coat I made.

And one more category, a new one for the blog: felt. I have been working on a felt activity book for my cousin's little girls and this is the 3rd page set. 
A dollhouse bed and bath page. The doll has Velcro undies and can change clothes.  The bed and bathtub have pockets behind them to allow the doll to sit in them. I got the pattern from Imagine Our Life, who has SOOO many cute activity book page patterns. I have 2 more page sets to do, so I'll post those as I finish them.

WHEW!  I'm worn out just telling about all I have finished!  Ok.  Back to work.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

New look

My omni-talented husband Chris helped me design my new banner and logo!  We priced having it done by a graphic design company/designer and decided we were DIY-ers and this shouldn't be the exception.  I'm so excited.  I hopefully can get business cards printed soon - maybe even some custom garment tags to put onto my handmades!

I am continuing to work on my woven scarf, as well as my knitted sweater.  I'm almost done with my first sleeve on the sweater - making progress.  My queue is ever-growing, so the sweater project needs finishing.  BAD.

So in the meantime, check out my adorable boys: Elijah (nearly 4, dressed in blue) and Noah (2 and dressed in orange).  They are my everything. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Colorful checks

I have this pretty yellow and blue stripes on my warp now, and plan to weave scarves in 3 different patterns for as long as the warp threads allow. I threaded it at 20 sett, as the last project was at 18 and it was hard to see the pattern. I wove a while and discovered I was getting rectangles instead of squares.  I believe it is because the plain weave variation has so many overs and unders, it simply won't allow me to beat in the weft any tighter. 
I was unsure whether to carry the yarn over when switching colors and tried it for the first several inches, but I quickly discovered it was hard to make the jump firm but not pull the warp out of wack. So I started cutting the colors and alternating the starting side with each color change. I like the look much better. 
You can see where I changed techniques on the right side, where there's a yellow string near the breast beam. Although cutting each color after only 4 throws is time consuming, it seems to work best. The pin you see in the left of the fabric is my measurement- that's the first 10" mark. 

I'm having fun and learning so much. The only aggravation is that my kids love to fiddle with everything, so my weaving time is limited to naps (haha- they're rare nowadays) and bedtime (HAHA- momma is tired by then!).  

This weekend, my mom and I are going to An Affair of the Heart craft show in OKC. I've never been but hope it'll be fun. I'm also looking to glean ideas on booth presentation, popular selling items, advertisement and the like.  I'm also excited to see my mommy!!  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Scarf Completion

I was so pumped to get to the end of my warp; seeing my scarf rolled up on the fabric beam.  I did not take a running measurement of how long the scarf was - I was just weaving until the end.  When I got to the end, I decided I really liked it.  It is a simple scarf, but one I think I'll actually wear.  Then I got the idea of adding beads onto the hemstitching.  I found some beads that coordinated with the purple and pink colors and gave a little splash of blue too. 
I worked the beads on both sides, alternating, so that the scarf could be reversible.  After completing the hemstitching, I felt a little insecure about the beads staying place, so I tied overhand knots just to be sure.  The problem with deciding to do the beads (and hemstitching) on the fly was that I hadn't hemstitched the beginning of the scarf.  No problem, though, I was able to do it off the loom, just being careful to not dislodge the wefts. 
Here it is completed (before the knots).  As I rolled it off the fabric beam, I was shocked at how long the scarf was.  My calculations were for a 68" length, but I knew that I had been very generous on the loom waste figure, since I had yet to weave to the end of a warp.  The scarf ended up being 93" before fringes, which add an additional 4" per side.  There was much less than 10% take up and shrinkage.
Here it is right off the loom.  I'm so pleased with the subtle color shading.

I have those silly windows that have the fake pane lines through them.  But I really liked this picture anyway :)

My beat was much more firm at the start of the project, but by the end I was getting good and you could see the pattern much better.

So the loom is now empty, but I have another project in the works....

Call me crazy misguided, but I'm going to try another project with the acrylic on as a warp.  I had decided that it would be best to use as weft only, but it seems such a shame to let it go to waste.  I ordered some thin cotton to use as a warp with this acrylic yarn on future projects - just ordered some white so hopefully it'll coordinate with the most colors. 

I ordered more inserted-eye heddles so I could have all of one type on the loom.  They, of course, are back ordered, so right now I think I'll wait and see if they ship soon.  More knitting time, I guess!  My cardigan WILL get finished if it KILLS ME! 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Guess what happened again?!

I'm getting frustrated with this yarn. 
Another broken warp thread!  I've decided that this acrylic will probably work for weft use, but not warp. It is thin yarn, and irregular in thickness in places. With its stretchiness, pulling it taut enough on the loom evidently is too much for it. The good news: I'm getting plenty of practice fixing broken warp threads!  

I've learned a few other things along the way during this first project of mine: 

1. I have shafts with two different kinds of heddles.  Two of the shafts are completely wire heddles and two have a half wire and half inserted eye heddles. My grandmother-in-law had the wire heddles on the loom and had purchased a set of inserted eye heddles. I needed more for this project (only 15 or so were on two of the shafts) so I just evenly divided the inserted eye heddles onto the shafts that needed more. 
Here is my clean shed when I raise the shafts that only contain one type of heddle. 
And here you can see the slightly off shed when shafts with different types of heddles are raised. It's not an impossible shed to weave through, but it obviously makes a difference - and it's a tad bit annoying. So when this project is off the loom, I will have to change out the heddles and proabably buy more. At this point I think the inserted eye might be more gentle on the yarn. 

2. I'm learning how better to manage my selveges, and honestly, I think only practice will suffice. I find I'm quicker now and more confident in the tension of the throw. 

3. I'm beginning to see the value in having a method of measuring the amount woven. I've done some weaving forum browsing and think I like the method of sticking a pin into the selvege at predetermined increments.  I'll try this on my next project. 
Elsie, my 8 yr old cocker spaniel, says "It's nap time. Can't you just sit down and knit something?"  Glad to oblige. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Trouble always finds me

I was so excited to get started on my first actual "project", so I picked up some 2/24 acrylic knitting machine yarn (that I've vowed to practice weaving with, despite its yuckiness) and devised a plan.  I used a blocks draft, from  I decided to use a simple one-color warp, one-color weft in this simple pattern to make a scarf.  After all my careful calculations, I got the warp on the board.
And then worked on loom setup.
And started weaving. I immediately realized there was something odd, because I was having a really hard time getting enough header woven to make the threads even. But I eventually did, and started off weaving. Now this 2/24 yarn is approximately 4800 yds/lb and is classified as lace weight. After weaving a bit, I began to see that I couldn't possibly beat the weft in LIGHT enough to allow the pattern to show through. 
So I decided the best idea was to re-sley, changing from a 12 sett to an 18. This seems to help quite a bit (however I probably could have gone to a 20 sett easily), and I started weaving again. I wove no more than an inch and a half and I realize a warp thread has snapped behind the heddles. 
Grrrrr.  Ok.  So what in the heck do I do with that?!  I get my books out, read a few options for fixes, and finally decide on one like this. I get an old M&M's candy tube I have in my crafting pile and fill it with long grain rice until the whole tube weighs 80g. 
I super glued the lid shut to save myself from aggravation later :). Next I measured a new warp thread and wrapped one end around this tube. I located and removed the broken yarn from the heddle and threaded the other end of my new warp through. I then removed the broken warp from the reed, sleyed in the new one, and secured it with a T pin in line with where the warp belongs on the woven material. 
The tube dangles off the back of the warp beam, giving tension to that thread as I weave. Neato. 

So now back to weaving. As you can see, the pattern is still very hard to discern, but I'm thinking a larger size of yarn would be needed for the desired result. I'm ok with it, so I'll keep going and see what will go wrong next!!  Haha!