Finished scarf

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I finished my woven scarf and am declaring it a success.

You can read about the set up for this project in this post.

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I wove until I was having to fight to get the stick shuttle through the shed — the top and bottom of the warp get too close together to pass through smoothly, particularly with the mess of criss-crossing strands caused by using a variety of different yarns and spacing them randomly along the heddle.  When I weave with just one yarn I can be tidier and weave much closer to the end before I have to stop.

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Because the strands at towards the ends tend to resist moving up and down, especially the “stickier” alpaca yarn, I had to be vigilant to make sure I wasn’t skipping over (or under) any threads I shouldn’t have.  You can see in the picture above that I missed in one place.  The weft is going over three warp threads, when it should be under the middle thread.

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This was very close to the end of my weaving, so I just cut the warp thread, pulled it back through to the spot I missed, and then wove it in properly with a tapestry needle.

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Then I cut the rest of the warp threads loose and pulled them out of the heddle.

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Knots keep the whole thing from unraveling — every five stands together keeps things in place and makes a nice fringe.

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The finished scarf is a little rough and bumpy, so the next step is to even that out.

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A good sloshing soak relaxes the yarns and smooths out the tension.

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Some time drying in a slight breeze, a trim to even out the fringe, and I have a new scarf to put into the gift drawer.

 

 

 

Warm feet

I think I forgot to post my finished slippers from a while back.  You can read about their making here.

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I’ve been throwing them in the wash whenever we did laundry.  It took more loads than I thought it would to shrink them down.  On the last load I took them out of the dryer a little early so they were still damp.  That way I can wear them around and they conform to my feet a little better and any pressed in wrinkles smooth out more easily.

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They are comfy and warm.  I might make them a little less wide around next time, but they will do the job as is.

The pattern is Fuzzy Feet, free on Ravelry, and the yarn is Lamb’s Pride, worsted weight.

Reviving an old hobby

I dragged my rigid heddle loom out from under the bed, dusted it off, and got it warped this afternoon.   It has been several years since I’ve used my loom, so it took a while to dig out all the parts I needed.

To get the intended scarf long enough, I had to move the dining room table into the kitchen so I could put the direct warping peg on the kitchen counter.  I’m going to need a new plan for the future as that was rather a pain.

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For the warp I used a number of different fingering weight remnants from various knitting projects.

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The weft is going to be from a cone of untwisted plies I bought years ago.

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It took a little while to remember the steps, but it came back to me.  After warping, the yarn is wound up onto the back.

 

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Then pulling single strands through the small holes on the heddle.

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Knotting in bunches.

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Lacing to get even(ish) tension.

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And finally, weaving!

Starting with thicker waste yarn helps space out the warp and gives me a further chance to correct any strands with loose tension.  The warping took an hour or so, but then the weaving goes very quickly.  Knitting a scarf with this yarn would take many days.  I can weave a scarf in a few hours.  And it is a great way to burn up some of the yarn stash.

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Spring break in Surprise

We’ve just finished up spring break in Surprise, Arizona, where my mom has a winter place.

I took my usual plethora of cactus photos.

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We were very lazy this trip, spending much of the time hanging by the community pool during the day and playing games and working on puzzles in the evenings when we could pry the boys off their electronics.

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They finished a lot of puzzles, mainly because they kept buying easier and easier ones.  They wanted the sense of accomplishment rather than a challenge.

I walked a lot around the trails and neighborhoods with my sister, trying to build my endurance back up after a horrid chest cold that had taken down all my family members throughout March.

We did go overnight to Sedona and took one of the pink Jeep tours through the red rock area.  Rough roads but gorgeous scenery.

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On our way back we stopped at Montezuma’s Castle National Park to see the remains of the cliff dwellings.  We needed to sneak at least a little education into the vacation.

EE913583-DA59-490B-B431-65F9D633B256I got just a bit of knitting done – I brought my sock to the pool every time, but the water called me away from the yarn.

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This may be our last year here, as Mom isn’t sure she is going to come back.  Having two places is getting to be a bit much for her.  If it was our last trip, it was a very relaxing one.

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Growing Up Odd – a finish

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A windy photo shoot in the backyard for the finally finished Growing Up Odd quilt, based on a tutorial from the Wedding Dress Blue blog.

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We were racing to take the pictures in the last of the afternoon sunshine, hampered not just by the wind but by the fact that even on a chair and stretching, my son is barely 100” tall.  My husband didn’t need the chair but then he is 6’ 4” tall, before stretching.

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This quilt is made up of 2 1/2” squares from my precut scrap bin, sashed in Kona cotton’s windsor blue.  Nine-patch, 21-patch and 49-patch sections combined into 16 giant blocks randomly rotated to make a top that after quilting and washing is almost exactly 100” x 100”.  Bigger than a queen size, not quite a king.  It will be perfect for our bed in summer when the down comforter is too warm.

This is the quilt that I spent hours pinning badly, an epic fail of tape and will.  It ended up at Quilting Longarm Magic, a local service.

This was the first time I’ve ever sent a top out for quilting by someone else.  It felt a little bit like cheating, but then there are no quilt police, and I could never have done as well on my home machine.  It isn’t something I can afford to do often, but I can see doing it again for something equally large or a quilt that deserves really special patterns.  I don’t mind quilting, but it isn’t the part I truly enjoy, so I could finish a lot more quilts with the longarm help.

I chose a meandering squares pattern goes well with the multitude of square blocks.  With all those seams, I also wanted to anchor as many of the squares as possible.  A bed quilt will go in the washing machine and needs to be sturdy.

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The pattern shows up better on this section of the backing.  The thread used is almost the same blue as this backing fabric.

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He got it back to me in less than two weeks, on Saturday, and I spent Sunday squaring it up and then using the sliced off edges to make the binding.

It gives plenty of coverage on our bed.

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This is the largest quilt top I’ve ever made, and I have ambitions to make more now that this was a success.

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P.S.  I just did the math and there are 1,552 little squares in this quilt.  And I still have even more than those left in the scrap bin.  The scraps can never be defeated!

 

Snowflake #4 – Whisper

Last week I finally finished the 4th snowflake for the Paper Cuts BOM.  A little after February, but I am officially no longer behind.

This snowflake is called Whisper, which seems appropriate for the quiet that also falls when the snow does.

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The first four snowflakes in this BOM are the smallest at 9 1/2″.  Adding strips brings them up to 12 1/2″.  From now on, it looks like the rest of the snowflakes won’t need strips to get to that size.  The blocks will be on point when the quilt is put together, though I’ve been photographing them as squares.

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Paper piecing certainly generates a lot of scrap bits, both paper and fabric.  I spend a lot of time trimming the various sections.

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This time I managed to sew them all together in the right order, at least.

And the snowflake summoning magic of the blocks continued, because after I sewed the block, the next day the trees looked like this:

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Very rare for early March around here.

I’m a little worried about what happens when I get around to the March block at the end of the month, much less the April and May blocks . . .

Sweater and slipper progress

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I’ve finished the body of the Woolford sweater.  The last skein was rather a mess – multiple knots in the yarn mean I’ll be sewing in many ends.

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After a few trials and redos, I settled on a sewn bind off.  It flares a little now, but the lower half is supposed to widen, caused by a gradual increase in needle size rather than stitch increases.  So I think it will settle in during the blocking.

It is a comfy, slouchy sweater due to the rather loose gauge I ended up with because of my yarn and needle choice, but I’m still feeling good about it and the fit.

I also suddenly remembered the slippers I was making and pulled them out of their knitting bag.  I only had one toe left to graft, so I got that done in a couple minutes.  I’ve been throwing them into various loads of laundry and they are just about there.  The yarn is Lamb’s Pride Bulky, and it felts really well.  I’ve made many pairs of slippers from it.

Before – knit on size 10 1/2 needles:

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After the first washing and drying:

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Definitely felting happening (fulling, really, if I’m going to get the terms correct):

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A couple more loads of laundry should do it.  Luckily (?) my children generate a lot of laundry.

It’s getting close to the time where I need to look around for what the next knitting projects are going to be.  I’ll need a work lunch time project and a home project soon.