Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Topiary Wrap

I bought 7 skeins of Knit Picks Andean Silk a few years ago to make a sweater.  Sometime after I bought it, I decided I didn't care much for making sweaters, so I looked for a new use for the yarn.

Andean Silk is a great yarn: 55% alpaca, 23% silk and 22% merino wool.  It has since been discontinued by Knit Picks, but I do like it.  It's soft, warm, and cushy.  The color I used was "truffle", a deep brown color.

I decided to make Michelle Wang's Topiary with it, and set in. 

This pattern on the left, right, and middle, has a cable that needs to be crossed on every right side row.  I wasn't anticipating how much I would dislike that, but it really was a deflater for me.  I had to force myself to do 14 rows a day, and while I enjoyed the cable pattern panels, I hated those cabled borders. 

 Nevertheless, I finally finished it and it turned out great.

My photographer Elijah helped me with these photos.  Excuse my no-makeupness.  :)

And while I really like the result, I don't see myself using this wrap.  Do you?  If you like it, comment below or on my FB page and I'll send it to you!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Chocolate and wine towels

My newest set of towels is hot off the loom, and I love them!

This is a design I devised, beginning with picking 3 colors. Now if I'm completely honest with you, when I ordered the yarn, I had a professional's pattern picked out to weave. I ordered, then started in on another set of towels, and then I lost my sticky note where I wrote down what I had decided!  So I just decided to design it myself. 

I initially had planned 3 towels, with a similar design except for alternating colors and different treadling on each towel. However, at the end of my 3 towels, I realized I had a TON of warp length remaining, and discovered that I had calculated for my usual 4 towels, not 3. Well, I just decided it was fate!  Four towels it is. The fourth was gonna be drastically different though...

Towel 1:
Towel 2:

Towel 3:

And the black sheep:

I actually ended up liking the black sheep the best!  I might design a full set of 4 like it.  Weird how stuff works out. 
Here they all are together:

8/2 unmercerized cotton in natural, chocolate, and wine. 
4 shaft 36" Leclerc Nilus
Undulating twill threading, 4 different treadling sequences. 

I do have to pat myself on the back: my selvedges are looking quite professional.

A learning tidbit:  I found it really helpful with stripes to use a 6" sewing ruler with a slider. I would place it in the middle of the finished fabric, with my desired length  indicated by the slider. As I wove along, beating in each weft pick, I would tap the ruler up to the beater and get a good measurement. This obviously doesn't work on sections larger than 6", but worked great for these towels. 

In the above picture, I would see by my measurement that I should throw one more pick before changing colors.

If you would like my drafts and calculations pages, please contact me.  I'd be happy to share them with you.

This is the last weaving project before our upcoming trip, so more towels will come until after that!  Stay tuned...

Monday, August 10, 2015

Shadow Weave Towels

I was commissioned to make towels for a very special someone, and I had a blast planning, picking colors, and weaving it.  Here's the story:

I was really liked a project in the Jan/Feb issue of Handwoven - Floating Shadows Towels.  So I gave it a try!

8/2 unmercerized cotton in 2 colors: Lipstick and Charcoal, 20/2 cotton in black for the hem areas. (I never took pictures of the hem...)
Loom: my 4 shaft 36" Leclerc Nilus.

Each towel had a different treading sequence, making four distinct towels:

From the beginning, I had troubles with these towels. I wasn't happy with sett: being 20 epi, I ended up having to beat hard to get the desired ppi. Then I began having trouble with loose warps at the edges. Grr. But I forged on, and finished! After taking them off the loom, they were quite wrinkled, and though a firm double pressing helped (I even tried a wet towel on top), they're still a little kinky. But have no fear: they will still dry dishes fabulously!

I was fascinated throughout weaving how the shadow weave made little optical illusions. It was a lot of fun to watch them unfold!  I'm sure to try more shadow weave in the future!

These are on their way to their new home.  On to the next set of towels!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Completed infinity scarf

I've finished my mom's infinity scarf!  This is a super-late Mother's Day gift (sorry, Mom), but I hope that she won't mind.

To date, this is the most complicated weave I've done.  The blue sections utilized all 8 shafts of my Leclerc Voyageur, and I had a complicated lift plan to follow - the draft is on my previous post.  I estimate it took about 20 hours to weave, start to finish.

As stated before, I used Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in this project, and while it is a knitting yarn, it really wove up well.  And the finished product is so smooth and soft, it'll be a pleasure to wear around Mom's neck.

The finished measurements: 37.5" infinity scarf, so 75" woven length.  My calculations overestimated on loom waste and shrinkage, so it ended up 3" longer than expected.  No problem!  It drew in only 1/2", so is 7.5" wide.  As I hoped, the yarn bloomed and made a cohesive fabric.

To finish the scarf, I zig-zag stitched the ends on my machine, then straight stitched the two ends together to make a circle.  Pretty simple!

I can say that for the first time, I really didn't make any big mistakes or feel I should have done something different with this weave.  I did have a threading error (a first), but I quickly identified it while I was starting and it was easily fixed.  I also changed sett after that initial weave, but the results made it totally worth it!

I hope you love it, Mom!  Happy mother's day (in August!)

I'd be happy to send you a copy of my record sheet, if you'd like to weave one yourself.  Just contact me!