Falling leaves

So much fun yesterday,

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I got together with my usual fiber gang yesterday, and we spent the day turning leaves and silk into beautiful combinations.

Seattle Leslie had taken a class in using leaves to print on silk scarves so she led us in techniques throughout the day. Everything began with a big pile of vegetation gathered from various neighborhoods, both green and dried.

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There were also a lot of onion skins to add yellow and orange options. The dry leaves were soaked in water so they would be less brittle and could handle the process.

First the scarves had to be soaked in a heated alum solution and then wrung out gently.   After that there were various options. The leaves dipped in an iron water solution could just be directly laid on the scarf and wrapped up, or cotton blankets (sheet strips) with dye could be laid on top, with or without more iron water.  Stems and flowers?  Why not.  Rusty washers?  Toss them in!

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The scarves and Saran Wrap were tightly rolled around plastic and wood dowels and tied tightly to keep the cloth in close contact with the leaves.

Some of us really put themselves into getting that part right.

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Then the bundles all went into this fabulous old steamer Oregon Leslie found on Craig’s List.  It was originally for canning, but it makes a perfect scarf steamer.

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The unwrapping, after the bundles had cooled, was magical.  So many unexpected results!

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The scarf above, made on a wool/silk fabric, came out really yellow compared to all the others.  Less heat perhaps, as it went in as one of the later bundles?  But the red Japanese maple leaves with all the yellow are gorgeous.

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We learned that chestnut and oak leaves left wonderful imprints, as did smoke tree leaves.  Cedar and fir left ghostly jagged lines, and onion skin gave sharp burst or yellow and orange.  Hydrangea leaves, on the other hand, didn’t give much of an effect at all.

D12D03AA-A0B4-42F7-A9EF-E7474E2BA271Rose branches, rusted washers, and broken dye made this mirror image square of silk frame worthy.

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Bundle after bundle unrolled incredible prints.

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The joy just keep coming.

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Some were even more joyful than others.

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Can’t wait to do it again!

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Neck cloud

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I am knitting the softest imaginable scarf/shawl thingie. (The official term for this type of neck knitting.)

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Malabrigo silkpaca lace yarn.  Wonderful stuff.

It is just row after row of garter stitch, increasing one at the start of each row – a truncated triangle because I started with 75 stitches.

I worked on it during our weekend camping trip, the last before work and school officially start next week.

Yarn and dog both spent a lot of time at the river.  I was the Official Photographer for Teens Jumping Into Glacially Cold Rivers. Theo was Official Barker at Boys Jumping Into Freezing Water.

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Of course, they didn’t always jump voluntarily.

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While they swam and splashed, I knit rows and rows of cloud-light alpaca and silk.  I’ve 800 yards of the yarn, so it is going to go on for a while.

I did stop for hikes and s’mores, but then was back at it.

This is actually replacement knitting as I’ve ransacked my house several times and can’t find my other on-the-go knitting project.  It has to be somewhere, but it continues to elude me.

I did unearth other neglected knitting projects and pulled one out to be the home knitting project.  My purple sweater now has a sleeve. So close to done!

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I’m sad to be nearing the end of camping season, but so glad that we bought the little pop-up trailer last spring.  We haven’t traveled far and wide, but we’ve discovered and revisited some great corners of Washington and Oregon nearby.  The boys complain a little bit before hand (generally due to the lack of WiFi) but they mostly have a great time once we are out there.

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Even when it is really, really, really cold.

 

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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First finish of 2019

Welcome 2019!  Asking, nay pleading – please don’t have all the crazy of 2018.  We need some calm and sanity to even it out.

My Dress no. 2 obsession (compulsion?) continues into the new year as I finished two more flannel tunics, bringing the number of work wear tunics to ten.

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These are both from Robert Kaufman Mammoth flannel, the same fabric as my gold and gray check.  I loved that first one because it is thick and warm, important in the winter in my library as all the heat goes up to the open second story, leaving none for the people far below.

This one got back ties.

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All the plaid may be a bit lumberjack, but I will be warm and comfortable, and the red and black are my school’s colors so I’m set for spirit days.  And hey, I live in the Pacific Northwest.  We live for plaid flannel. It goes with our Birkenstocks-and-socks.

I screwed up a bit on the blue and gray version.  I was so eager to cut into the fabric that I forgot all about matching the lines on the side seams.  I realized it as soon as I finished cutting out the body pieces, sadly too late to do anything about it.  I was more careful cutting the red and black.

My plan is to pause on these now that I have two weeks of work days worth now, but who knows when the need for just one more will strike?

I had long strips of left over fabric so I ran a narrow hem up each edge and made two long scarves.  I can spend some TV time pulling strings from the end to fringe them.

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Wishing you all a warm, healthy, happy new year.

 

Summer progress

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Finally on summer vacation!  And then I made the mistake of watering all the new plants in the garden, and a sudden rain storm blew in.  My fault – I should have know better than to temp the rain gods like that.

But it made for a lot of available sewing time.  I’m back at work on the Growing Up Odd quilt, chain stitching the little squares and building the different sized blocks.

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I’ve finished the 7×3 and 7×7 blocks, 16 of each, and I have 34 of the 48 3×3 blocks done.

I tried hard to not duplicate fabrics in the same blocks.  That was easy in the nine patches, but harder when it was a 49 square block, sewn together randomly in chunks.  There is usually at least one repeat.

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Sashing next.  I’m planning to quilt it in strips to make it more manageable, though the actual quilting will have to wait until I get my Juki back from the shop.  My smaller Brother machine is great for regular sewing, but it doesn’t like too much bulk under the needle.

I also finished up my ribbed scarf knit with a variety of coned yarns.  I’m trying to clear up space in the craft storage.  It is entirely 1×1 ribbing, so it made a great work project I could pick up during lunch or faculty meetings.  No pattern or thought needed.

While I was knitting it the yarns were thin and almost cotton like – coned yarns still have oil on them as they were meant to be used on machines – but once it was done and hand washed in hot, soapy waters, and then dried on the hammock, the yarn softened and bloomed. Definitely a cold weather accessory, so it will be put away for awhile.