Saturday, April 26, 2014

Striped Cowl

Oh my goodness.  This has to be one of my favorite things I've made.  And to be honest, I hated the way it was looking as I knit it.  But check this out:
This is my striped Terrain cowl.  I started off with the yarn.  This is Knit Picks Galileo and ever since I saw it in the Knit Picks magazine, I wanted to use it in something.  They combined merino wool and bamboo in a 50/50 mix, and boy does it have a beautiful luster to it.  It's also super soft. 

As you can see from the photo, it's made from alternating colors in stockinette and then reverse stockinette stripes.  While in process, the reverse stockinette stripes curled around, almost hiding the pink color completely, and I was sure aggravated with it.  The pattern seemed to play into this problem, having fewer rows in the pink stripes.  But I plodded along, grumbling quite a bit.
There is serious magic in blocking.  After soaking in wool wash and laid out to dry, everything became behaved, and it looks fabulous!
It is a very long cowl, so will drape nicely around the neck and give a bulky look.  I'm sure it'll be very warm, too!

Monday, April 21, 2014


I've sat and stared at my table loom and avoided it for long enough!  Time for action.

Here's the dilemma:
After beaming on nearly 6 yards of cotton, I ended up with super uneven lengths at the end. 

Now there are a couple reasons this may be.  
1. When measuring the warp on the warping board, starting off, the yarn is wrapped in contact with the wooden pegs, so they were all the correct length.  But as more threads are added, they were on top of earlier threads, which made the later threads longer. 
2. When measuring the warp, if the lengths are pulled tightly, it will bend the pegs inward. This will make your yarn shorter than desired. 
3.  The beaming process was uneven, which itself can be caused by several things:
     a. Inconsistent tension/speed while rolling
     b. Irregularities with the warp spacing material (cardboard between the layers of warp)
     c. Tugging on the loose warp as it's being beamed. 

After considering all this, I decided the only one that made sense was 3b. I had been trying to use cut paper bags as a warp spacer, and with this length of warp, I needed 9 of them. I also had so many tangling issues while beaming, I'm sure that contributed. Bottom line was I needed to rebeam. 

(Insert scary music here). 

Now no book I have describes the best way to pull forward your warp and rebeam. I found some tips in weaving forums online, devised my plan, and gave it a try...hoping tears would not be involved. 

First, the front warps needed tension. For this, I used water bottles. I fussed a good while trying to figure out how to secure the threads to the bottles, and eventually used rubber bands. 

I divided the warp into 1-2" sections, looped a rubber band through like this, and then wrapped the open loop around the neck of a water bottle 2-3 times until snug. 

Here are all 6 bottles hanging and providing tension. At this point I simply released my back beam and slowly let it roll out. As the bottles reached the floor, I would untie the rubber bands, move the bottles up, and repeat. 
As the warp rolled out, I let the segments pool on the floor. This is cotton and it clings together like glue. So the segments didn't tangle. If I were working with another fiber, I probably would have had the segments fall into separate containers to keep them neat. 

Once I saw the tie on knots on the back beam, I secured my new warp separator material: single-sided corrugated cardboard, which is in a long roll and should be much more even than the paper bags. 

I began rolling on again the warp, as evenly as possible. It went much smoother this time, I'm sure a lot of the tangles had been resolved. 

And here is my result:
Yay!  An even roll!  I'm so glad I went to the trouble of rebeaming. And now I'll have this documentation should I ever need to do it again!  I'm sure I'll refer to it in the future. 

Now to weave some placemats!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Stadium cushion

I've completed my 10 week weaving class that my husband gifted me for Christmas this year. It was so much fun getting out of the house, meeting with other people who know weaving, and learning a thing or two. 

I went into the class already knowing how to weave, but wanting to learn a new technique: doubleweave. My instructor, even though she had no experience with doubleweave, pointed me in the right direction. I pulled out my copy of Doubleweave by Jennifer Moore, and read (a time or two) the introductory chapters on how to doubleweave. I learned just about all I needed right there!  

After seeing how you can use doubleweave to create tubes, I had a brilliant (I'm convinced) idea to make a stadium cushion in school colors. 

I did a lot of math, picked my colors, ordered the yarn, and started in. Now I won't get into boring logistics, but in doubleweave, you are weaving two layers simultaneously. I found it fascinating and rewarding to see it weave up. 
In order to make your two layers of woven fabric connected at the sides, I simply interlaced the wefts at each edge (photo above).  Once the pocket was as large as needed...
See my fingers sticking into the pocket?

...I stuffed the pocket with polyfil...

...and then the layers swap positions (bottom to top and top to bottom), effectively sealing in the stuffing. 
Here is a side shot of a completed stuffed tube (dark blue) and working on the next tube (light blue). 

Once I had finished the number of tubes I needed, it's done!  There were unstuffed tubes at the beginning and end of the weaving, which was my next task. 

I carefully removed the header from the material and spent a brief moment admiring the layers.
I then stuffed it with polyfil, and took two top weft threads and tied them to two bottom weft threads every 20 groups, giving it some stability. 
I then worked down the line tying knots. 
There may be a better way to finish off the seam, but I couldn't think of any way other than leaving a fringe that wouldn't significantly shorten the end pockets. I may need more thought on this, but it works fine this way too. 

So here's the final project!
It measures a generous 21.5" x 13.75". 

I'm so excited to have learned something new and it resulted in a nice finished project!  I call it a big success. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I sure like making baby blankets!

I've really enjoyed making baby blankets - and this latest finished project was no exception.  I was given a huge skein of Bernat Handicrafter Cotton by my Grandma, and it had a neat variegated pattern of baby pastels, so I figured a baby blanket was in order.  I found a simple stitch pattern and set to work.

It was so nice to have one huge skein, since the only tails to weave in were the cast on and cast off edges!  I wish the skein would have been a little bigger, actually, so the blanket could have been a bit longer, but it works nice as is.

The stitch pattern was easy to remember, and knit up quickly.  There were only two rows to this stitch pattern, but it looks like more.
The colors are subtle and delicate, and I think they would work equally well for a boy or girl.  Being cotton, it will be a nice springtime stroller or car seat blanket.  Cotton is always a nice material to work with when it comes to babies, it just gets softer with repeated washings (which we all know will happen when it is around a baby), and it's very durable.  

Teddy bear liked it too! :)