Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Open Weave Shawl

I was finally able to start weaving the shawl, (excuse the photo Blogger is uncooperative today) It has not been without some challenge the yarn is slippery and doesn't catch on to itself, it slips and slides from one position to the other it's behaving like fine fishing line. In order to stabilize the first few picks I hemstitched them.
Another issue I'm having is that when the shed is in the down position which causes the slotted yarn to be in the up position is is very loose this is annoying but I have resorted to sticking a pickup stick in before the weft to keep it down. When the slotted yarn is in the up position same thing really loose, what I've done here is use another pick up stick behind the heddle for tension.

In the passive position when all the yarn slotted and heddle holes are even across the loom, the tension is fine ** scratches head in question** okay I give - wasup with this?? What did I do incorrectly cause I can't figure this one out. I retied and rolled the back and cloth beam as tight as I can, you can bounce a dime off this stuff it's so tight, if I rubbed coal on it for a week I'd have a diamond.
This is the close up of the fabric being produced very open and lacy I was going to do some leno and lace work but not with this yarn I can't even begin to control it on plain weave and I think I may drive myself crazy with lace work. I'm planning on trying to use some other thicker yarn for the weft maybe the 3 ply cotton and see if it reacts any different. More on this later.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cones, Knots and Weaving

I finally got into warping my loom after it had been neglected for a while and I must admit it felt really good to get going again. ;o). Since I knew the warp was going to be a large one for my standards, I started ten slots in and left ten at the end, I was having trouble with the cone as I started to warp on it would stay on the floor and would roll around which made pulling the yarn through the slots a task. As I was going along I thought there has got to be an easier way, and I'm all good for easier. I got to thinking with my limited space and the fact that the wall is mirrored, which I should have taken down years ago, urrrrgh! I hate mirrored walls, but they came with the house and since we were raising three kids the $$ was really never available to have them removed and now we're just selling the house so they're staying, but I digress. I came up with this; simple but very effective, some twine, and afghan hook and a crawl under the loom. Voila! easy peasy.
You can't see it in this pic but I took the thread and looped it around the bottom slat and then up to the back inner beam so that it would not tangle and had some tension to it. I was as happy as a piggy in mud, and proud at my solution to boot. DH thought is was great, of course he's already thinking of how he can improve it to make it permanent.
After all the sleying, and tying I was almost done, but this yarn is slippery, really you'd think it was coated with Vaseline. I would tie and do a few group then the first would be slipping, forcing me to go back and retie, this was annoying. Until I finally started doing some nautical knots, a bow knot did the trick and seemed to keep it tied with the tension cranked up, the final pic is of the warp still tied and tight this morning so I guess it's going to keep. Now for the fun stuff weaving!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Burn Baby Burn

Rubysue at Ravelry explained how to do the burn test on my yarn so that I could figure out what I'm working with before I start weaving. So I too a flame torch to my yarns (mawhhaahhaa)! I felt like a mad scientist

From left to Right:

#1 is RH acrylic - melted like ice cream on a hot day smelled awful.

#2 is Patons Tweeds 25% wool 75% acrylic - melted but smelled like burnt hair like a way too hot straightening iron, yep I know that smell ;0).

#3 is Peaches 100% cotton burned just like a candle wick not much smell other than burnt.

# 4 is the mystery yarn and it burned just like #3

So I think I'm safe to say that the mystery yarn is indeed cotton. Now I know how to treat it in the washing and drying of the garment I'll make with it.

After all that yarn murder, I needed to knit and let my yarn know that I loved it teehee. I've been working on the Oblique Sweater and I have frogged this back part more than all of my knitting put together, I know I wanted a challenge and this one is giving me a run for the money. I have read some of the posts for some members of Ravelry and they all seem to have some difficulty starting so I don't feel like a complete idiot. But 5 times is a bit much ,no? Last nite I decided to try the last time and so far I think I've accomplished the pattern. In the flesh I cannot see the left leaning portion but in the pics it showed up really nicely, which made me so happy I just burst into a happy dance when I saw it. Yes, the other people that live in the house think I'm nuts but their use to the knitting craze, especially if I've been muttering at it for awhile.

TA-DA! I know it's not much, but this took me some serious time to accomplish, but I'm on the second repeat and it's getting easier, so I should pick up some speed soon, hopefully.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Mystery Yarn Sparks Weaving Mojo.

My mom has lots of yarn, notions and material, as she was digging around her magic closet, she came across two cones of this. The story behind the yarn, well, we owned a grocery store with a cafeteria and we were close to the Miami River's shipping docks for freight cargo back in the late 70's early 80's. The men that traveled the cargo ships would come in, buy supplies and eat the great Cuban food my mom's cook Ana would make, in those trips they noticed that my mom and grandma, who both worked in the store and cafeteria would knit at idle times. As thank you gifts they brought them these cones of hilo(thread) pronounced [eelo] in Spanish. My grandma crocheted me a dress for my 18th birthday in a royal blue(azul vitral) [asool veetral] which I have to this day, I must get it out and take a pic of it. The colors were always primary; red, green, white and royal blue, I never saw yellow or black. They came from Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), Las Islas ( the Islands) or Centro America (Central America) somewhere on the southeastern coast of the Caribbean. It's not much to go on but that's their history, they are at least 20 yrs old and from the Caribbean - mysterious? Maybe, maybe not. What is it really, I don't know, I assume it's cotton crochet yarn because that what my mom and g- ma used it for, so I compared it with what I have on hand.

#1 - is the mystery yarn it is 3 ply I think cotton with very thin tight twist 2.75mm or 2.25mm
#2 - is Aunt Lydia's size 3 100% mercerized cotton also 3 ply - 3.5mm needles
#3 - is Bernat Cool crochet 70% cotton 30% nylon 6 ply cabled - 3.75mm needles
#4 - is Peaches and Creme 100% cotton 4 ply ww - 6mm needles
I still don't know how to figure out the scale of measuring yarn, that more experienced weavers use to identify yarns, like(80/20 or 80/10), I have read it a few times but it hasn't really sunk in. Since I'm visual I need to see the difference to really understand what is being talked about. A trip to the local LYS might help, and that is on my to-do list. I also don't know how to do the burn test I heard of other folks doing and quite frankly scares me some.

Here they are in the order that I photographed the threads, except for the cabled crochet. I did notice that the mystery cone has a super high sheen and doesn't break if I pull on it really tight, I can can break the Aunt Lydias and the Peaches. It is also the thinnest yarn I've ever thought about working with and the cone is plastic PVC. The mystery yarn has sparked my imagination for some weaving, I'm planning a shawl with it as warp and weft since I think it will drape really nicely and I want to see what it does together. Then I plan to try some experiments with the different yarns to see how they all react to each other after weaving, washing and drying. My Weaving Mojo is back and in force, this should be fun.
If anyone has ever seen any yarn that looks like this and knows what it is please let me know.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Donations Needed!

I found this post on Ravelry and wanted to Bless her family with as many fiber helpers as I could, please read the story and donate. She is raffling off her stash for a great cause, to help the most deserving people who have given so much of their lives to others.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Happy July 4th!!!!

Glitter Graphics

USA Glitters

Glitter Graphics

USA Glitters

If you can celebrate the 4th of July, remember to THANK a soldier or a veteran, it's because of them we can do it freely!

Have a great and safe Holiday & Weekend!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Knitting and Handmade Gifts

Since I've been knitting instead of weaving this past week I wanted to share some pics of the projects that are currently taking up my time and energy.The Knitted Ruana from Folk Shawls, I love the variation of colors, I'm not sure about the sage color it seems out of place, but it's growing on me. I may need to find a darker, forest green and put it in there for some extra balance, I haven't decided yet. I am enjoying the fact that I have to purposely think of the yarn choice before knitting the next row, it is an exploration in color sequencing and coordination, really an eye opener to the textures, colors and weights of the yarns.
My base is the beige color which has specks of blue I figured almost any color can be used, but the more I work on it the less that is evident, I don't want too many colors because I know I wouldn't use it and I really want to be able to wear it without feeling that it's clownish, so since earth tones are my game this one project won't be any different to much of the DH's dismay, he always wants me to wear bold colors, but I don't feel comfortable in them and so I levitate to Earth and Jewel tones, I have maybe one or two things in a shock color but not as overall wardrobe, just not me.
And last but not in the least less of a color experiment is the entrelac ghan, (see honey this has lots of color) it's grown seven rows since the last post, it didn't seem like much until I compared the photo 22 rows and counting. I figure I can do 36 rows, which according to this site should be 36 x 48 I don't know if that's right but it sounds large enough. My mom saw it the other day and thought it was beautiful, but she remarked what is it, once I answered, she stated that she wouldn't know what to do with it? (WHAT!!!???) I was defeated especially since I was going to give it to her for her birthday, but not after that comment, I've worked too hard on this one to gift it to another "gee thanks gift".
I try not to knit or weave for anyone for this reason, I'm always afraid I'll get the look, you know, the one that says gee thanks, but it's going into be re-gifted for a co worker I don't like, look (That's what I call the "gee thanks gift"). I use to make hand made gifts for Mother's Day or Birthdays, when I first started beading a few years ago, but since I always got the lukewarm thank you from certain family members, I figured I won't waste my time. I have five SIL's, two of which love everything I make, it could be poop on a stick and they would just love it, for these two I do still hand make gifts with enjoyment and pride, another one of them would have to be something really specific that she would have to hand pick yarn, project and such, for me to work on and that would ruin the surprise of gifting, never mind killing my creative mojo it's the equivalent to me of giving money or having to give from a bridal list and baby shower lists, I really hate those things, there's no creative thinking in it, no surprise. Then there are the other two, which are what the kids today call "Label Whores" if it's not designer it's not good enough, so for these two I don't do much and since I don't buy designer anything, I don't get them much other than house gifts, you know candles etc.. Which brings me back to, I now have a ghan that is without a giftee, DH has been hinting that he wanted one for the couch maybe that's who really deserves my knitting.