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.

 

 

 

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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Update – WIPs

I’m revisiting my WIP list from early June to keep myself on track.

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Knitting

A lot of frogging has greatly reduced this list.

  • Fingerless gloves – just the thumbs left to do
  • Red sweater – my oldest WIP, knit years ago, it just needs a crocheted edging and buttons, but will it even fit now?
  • Blue cable sweater – sew pieces together, do collar and add zipper
  • Shawl in Tosh blues – frog, find a better contrast yarn and restart
  • Pink handspun slippers – frogged and yarn returned to stash
  • D’s cupcake – frogged
  • Daily temperature scarf – felting has begun – remaining yarn returned to stash
  • Novelty scarf on giant needles – frogged and yarn donated
  • Orange sweater – frogged and yarn donated
  • Blue-gray socks –  finished and given away
  • Ladybug sweater – frogged and yarn returned to stash
  • New Start: – Blooming shawl in green silk (I just couldn’t stop myself from casting on.  This will be a slow project as the lace yarn is thread like and silk requires extra care to avoid runs.)

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Weaving

  • Rug – partially warped

Spinning

27 lbs. of fiber in the stash to be spun!   In progress list:

Crochet

  • J’s monster red monster – needs appendages and a face

Needle punch

  • Sheep in a field – needs field

Sewing

  • Three knit shirt conversions to tunics
  • Mom’s backpack purse – the pieces are cut out
  • Floor pillows – I’ve started combining the upholstery samples into fabric
  • Embroidered circles that need to be sewn into a pillow cover
  • Paper pieced snowflake that needs to be finished to become a pillow

Embroidery

  • Black work sampler – barely started and needs to be abandoned because my eyesight just isn’t up to it
  • Wild flowers – doesn’t need a lot to finish, but I couldn’t decide on how to do the blue flowers
  • Undersea scene – just a few more sea creatures needed

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Mini quilts

  • Octopus – finished and given to Haley!
  • Mountains and flowers – I don’t love it, but it is also very close to done, so just do it already!
  • City and trees – needs more embellishment, but the majority is done

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Quilts

  • Scrap in a box – top finished, needs back, quilting and binding
  • Scrappy stars around the corner – top finished, needs back, quilting and binding
  • Red and white Xs – top finished, needs back, quilting and binding
    • Update – backing pieced
  • Floral diamonds – top finished, needs back, quilting and binding
  • Wonky scrap stars – top finished, needs back, quilting and binding
  • Strings table runner – a couple more blocks needed
  • Oceans QAL – half the blocks done
    • Updatefinished two blocks, two more to do before putting top together
  • Tiny scraps block blobs (I need a better name for this one!)
    • Update – decided on layout, created third blob, started putting together top background
  • D’s Pokemon quilt – abandoned in the fabric pile state – he decided he wants the Oceans quilt to be his instead

 

Summing up:

10 items crossed off the list, 1 new start

Most of my progress was destruction rather than construction and in the knitting part of the list, but there has been some progress on the quilting front as well. A good start considering it was the busy end of the school year (checked in 8000+ textbooks!) and we went on a week long coastal vacation.

July is the start of the kitchen remodel, but I still hope to achieve more on the sewing front.

 

A plethora of WIPs

I’ve always liked the word plethora – the sound of it – but in this case, a plethora of unfinished projects is way too much to keep warehoused.  Projects must be finished at a much higher rate!

Back in March I made a list of quilting WIPs, but today I went rummaging and created a much longer one for all my crafts. There can be only one conclusion – I have too many fiber hobbies.

Knitting

A lot of this project list can be disposed of quickly as it just requires doing away with the projects – many I stopped knitting because they weren’t working out, but they are still hanging around.

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  • Fingerless gloves – just the thumbs left to do
  • Pink handspun slippers – frog, didn’t like the results of the first one finished
  • Shawl in Tosh blues – frog, find a better contrast yarn and restart
  • D’s cupcake – frog, he’s forgotten he ever asked for one
  • Daily temperature scarf – abandon and felt what is done for coasters
  • Novelty scarf on giant needles – frog and donate yarn
  • Red sweater – my oldest WIP, knit years ago, it just needs a crocheted edging and buttons, but will it even fit now?
  • Blue cable sweater – sew pieces together, do collar and add zipper
  • Orange sweater – what was I thinking with this yarn?! Frog and donate yarn
  • Blue-gray socks –  a project I just started, and the only active knitting project
  • update – I found another project, a ladybug sweater that is going to be frogged

Weaving

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This project list is thankfully short – just one project started, a rug that I’ve partially warped for recently.  It will be very quick once I start weaving.

Spinning

The last time I checked my Excel chart, I had just under 27 lbs. of fiber to spin.  The mere fact that I need an Excel chart shows how out of control this hobby is!

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Currently going on to bobbins:

  • Red alpaca/wool – 3 bobbins spun, probably three more to go
  • Purple/blue merino – 1/2 bobbin done, 1-2 more to go

Crochet

  • Just J’s monster to finish – it has a completed and stuffed body, but needs appendages and a face

Needle punch

  • My sheep in a field has been waiting his field for years now

Sewing

  • Three knit shirt conversions to tunics
  • Mom’s backpack purse – the pieces are cut out
  • Floor pillows – I’ve started combining the upholstery samples into fabric
  • update – left off the embroidered circles that need to be sewn into a pillow cover
  • also left off the paper pieced snowflake that needs to be finished to become a pillow

Embroidery

  • Black work sampler – barely started and needs to be abandoned because my eyesight just isn’t up to it
  • Wild flowers – doesn’t need a lot to finish, but I couldn’t decide on how to do the blue flowers
  • undersea scene – just a few more sea creatures needed

Mini quilts

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  • Octopus – so close to done! Just needs hanging tabs
  • Mountains and flowers – I don’t love it, but it is also very close to done, so just do it already!
  • City and trees – needs more embellishment, but the majority is done

Quilts

  • Scrap in a box – top finished, needs back, quilting and binding
  • Scrappy stars around the corner – top finished, needs back, quilting and binding
  • Red and white Xs – top finished, needs back, quilting and binding
  • Floral diamonds – top finished, needs back, quilting and binding
  • Wonky scrap stars – top finished, needs back, quilting and binding (well, that got repetitive!)
  • Strings table runner – a couple more blocks needed
  • Oceans QAL – half the blocks done
  • Tiny scraps block blobs – still trying to visualize where I’m going with these
  • D’s Pokemon quilt – fabric purchased – barely qualifies for the IP part of WIP, but it needs doing so it goes on the list

I’m sure there are more that I’ve missed, so this list may grow before it shrinks, but I am vowing here and now that it will shrink!  My goal for the summer is to halve it at least.  And this public posting, with updates, is going to keep me motivated and honest.

 

 

 

 

Filling in

In spare moments during a busy week I’ve been filling in the gaps between stars on my scrappy quilt.  Soon the partial seam sewing will begin so I can start attaching all the large seams that are left.

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I also finished the scarf that I started at the cabin.  It only took a day or two to weave.  The very vivid warp yarn was toned down some by the solid green weft, but I didn’t lose the rainbow stripes I wanted. It is light, airy, and warm, and I’m already looking through the yarn bins to decide what the next one will be.

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Starting out right in 2016

A belated happy New Year to everyone!  We were away at our wifi-less cabin for a few days.  We came back today in the midst of both holiday traffic and a sudden unexpected winter blast of snow and freezing rain.  My district has already declared tomorrow a snow day!  To the despair of my sons, their district is so far opening on time.  My joy at the possibility of a childless day at home is deep.  🙂

It has been a smorgasbord of crafts during the beginning of 2016.  I got started in the quilting of my older son’s night sky quilt, warped a scarf on the rigid heddle loom, and dug out the cotton for some kitchen knitting.

My basement floor no longer has room to pin a quilt after my sister dropped off a piano this summer, so we went last week to her school where she organized her classroom and I pinned a couple of quilts.

My knees and fingers were only good for two quilts worth of pins, plus my boys’ patience ran out at that point.  But that gives me a start on the pile of tops.

The kitchen wash cloths were looking pretty grungy, so I pulled out my cones of cotton and made a few more in simple seed stitch patterns.  They are a little uneven but that’s not very important in a cloth destined for scrubbing around oven burners, and they tighten up when they are washed.

I also packed the loom and warped it for a scarf while we were at the cabin.

All went smoothly until I looked for the stick shuttle to start actually weaving and realized I hadn’t packed one.  I made one out of folded cardboard but it wasn’t very stable and bent a lot, making it a very slow process.  But now we are home and the shuttles are at hand so it will move faster.

 

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I used a Crazy Zauberball yarn for the warp – it has long bi-colored color changes creating stripes.  The weft is a green lace weight alpaca yarn (Misti alpaca) doubled.  Still trying to use up stash yarns, though I have to admit the Zauberball is a fairly recent purchase.

So a lot of different crafts to start out the year.  Starting as I mean to go on!

Ironically, spinning wasn’t one of them, though that is on the top of my crafting resolution list – to spin more regularly in 2016.  I love it when I’m doing it, but have just not turned to the wheel very often.

My resolution list is shortish and project based. More spinning.  Doing more home improvement sewing like runners for bureaus, covers for the living room chairs, and wall hangings for a few bare walls.  I’m also going to finally refinish the dining room tabletop and stain the unfinished dresser.  And a biggie – have the kitchen remodeled! The only really personal improvement is to establish a regular walking routine.  I need more movement.

Now that I reread that list, it isn’t very short.  But I have a whole year to accomplish it all, and I think it is doable.

I hope everyone is having a happy, safe, and fiber filled start to the new year.

 

 

 

Visiting socks

My friend came into town for a weekend visit.  She is my long time knitting and spinning buddy, with a particular passion for sock knitting.  Countless pairs of socks have come from her double pointed needles!  Currently she’s working on a basket full of colorful mismatched socks from all the leftovers of previous pairs.  The plan is to sell them at a craft fair – people can choose any two of the socks they like.

Crazy socks

She also wanted to try weaving, so we warped up my Kromski loom with more sock yarn.

Weaving lesson

The two of us converged as crafters from different starting points. I began as a knitter, way back in college, though I gave it up for about ten years after college because of tendinitis. There were a few years in there somewhere when I was an avid cross stitcher as well.  Ten or twelve years ago I took up knitting again and quickly developed a lace knitting passion.  About five years ago I also started spinning, and then added some weaving.  She is a quilter who shifted to mainly knitting about 8-10 years ago and became a spinner fairly recently. And now she can also say she weaves.  I took up quilting two years ago (after a bit of simplistic quilting years and years ago that faded away) and haven’t been doing a lot of knitting since, and even less spinning.   Amongst my fiber friends we all pass the various skills and interests around to each other.  Everyone teaches someone else one of their interests until we all can do most of them to some degree.  Keeps the interest levels high!  We move into and out of various types, but the love for fiber in all its forms never goes away.

I so so miss being part of the knitting and spinning group we had up north.  I really need to do something about finding a group around here to do fiber crafts with.  I’ve just never been good at going out into a group of strangers.  She and I have been friends for more than 30 years, since before either of us had anything to do with yarn or fabric, so it was easy to slip into her already in place group when my husband and I moved back to the U.S. some years ago.  Starting completely from scratch with new people is harder for me.

Oh, and she brought me this!

Sock yarn to dye

We went in together on an order of undyed fingering weight yarn.  So much potential just waiting for me to splash colors onto it!  Add yarn and roving dyeing to the fiber skills list for our crafting circle of friends.

It was great to spend the day together.  She wove, I worked on my running stitch embroidery, and a third friend who joined us for the afternoon was knitting, so there were a lot of different fiber forms represented around the table.