Sunday, January 8, 2023

What's up for 2023?

Hiking between the raindrops
I'm in a bit a crisis at the moment, induced by too much of good things. I'm training for hut to hut hike... the more time I spend on the trails now, the more I'll enjoy the trip.  And hiking calms my brain, gets me to sleep (most nights), and is in general good for me. But it saps my energy for other things.

So I'm prioritizing my piano. Which is fun and I'm paying for lessons so I should practice.  And I'm trying to cut weight for the hiking trip, so cooking good food is a priority. 

This is all leaving very little time for my other passions. And my studio is becoming hopelessly cluttered.

I'll start by saying I did spin 3+ ounces of chain plyed wool on the new e-wheel; too much fun!!! It's my first finished object of the year. I'd like to knit a cowl from it. (photo coming soon)

I'm currently working on
  • Fabric from the paper yarn and a shirt from the fabric.
  • The Sommerloch sweater (almost done).
  • Spinning some goat for rugs.
What I need by March is a decorative neck band for my fleece and possibly a belt (tablet woven).

For the next knitting project,  I plan on casting on a mobius shawl from the handspun. I'm also winding off yarn for a DanDoh poncho.

And I need a plan to unclutter the studio.

Other than that, the priorities are similar to before with some additions:
  • Mosaics, probably stepping stones and the table. I'm also thinking about a sculpture and the pot with the cat.
  • Dye something.
  • Make 2 small rugs for the Lodge master.
  • Beiderwand for the study group. 
  • Leno in linen
  • Carve a stamp for some cards.

Q4 finished things (4), 17 for the year.

I don't have much to say for q4... 

Still life of Nano and Foot
One deflected doubleweave scarf, and one cowl. I joined the cowl, non-mobius, with a flat felled seam and am very pleased with it; the scarf went to JE. 

2 baby blankets for the 2 new grandneffs.

I resized the green sweater, and attended SOAR.

So I ended the year with 17 finished objects which is not too bad!

And I've acquired this little bit of fun... Foot included for scale.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Lake Breeze made wearable, Baby Blankets

I finished the Lake Breeze sweater in March 2020. Knit from Irish vacation wool (but unlikely wool from Irish sheep), I loved the sweater but it was just too big. Big enough where had I tried it on in a store, I would have gone for a smaller size. I'd worn it maybe 3 times over the last two years...

Finally a couple of days ago I removed the zipper, basted the fronts together and threw it in the washer on Hand Wash with warm water, after measuring it carefully.  Then I threw it in the dryer for 10 minutes; when it came out, I'd lost nearly 3" in width and less than an inch in length.  After picking out the basting and drying it overnight, I tried it on and it's perfect! I sewed the zipper back on and now I have a warm, slightly denser very comfortable sweater that fits nicely. I'm very pleased.

Baby Blankets ALMOST on
their way to their babies

Here are the two Baby Blankets. The Mr. has emailed his sisters to get the addresses so we can send them.  I love the one with the white in it; it's dark blue and light blue in the warp, dark blue and white in the weft.

On a wine note, we opened a bottle of 2015 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet for Thanksgiving and it was amazing! Can't wait to drink the rest of it over the next few years. Kudos also to Easy Entertaining's recipe for Indian spiced turkey; I'm not sure how everyone else felt about it but it was a REALLY good turkey. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Long Break, and Mystery Yarn

 It's been awhile since my last post... Lots going on including a trip to Canada, a bout of Covid, and a trip to Chicago, then SOAR. Meanwhile I've been finishing off the 11 yard scarf warp and the baby blankets for the grand-neffs...  Plus thinking a lot about what I want out of the next 10 years. (Still thinking).

Mystery yarn on top, 
8/2 cotton on bottom
I started to think about what to work on next, and I'd like to put a Beiderwand project on one loom and the paper fabric on the other. I had thought about using a 8/2 cotton warp but it's not exciting me... I went looking through my stash of other-folks-destashes and decided on this huge cone of an adorable little boucle of mystery fiber. How do you figure out what a yarn is?

I used a McMorran balance to get yards per pound... It looked to be in the 3000 YPP range, but I couldn't find a yarn on line or in one of the yarn charts that was a boucle with that YPP. 

Then I started analyzing the yarn by unplying a bit of it. The single that's the bulk of the yarn was non-reflective, super soft and very short stapled; probably about 1/2".  The binder was long fibers that were super strong, and shiny. At this point I guessed cotton with a silk or synthetic binder but the cone had come in a bag marked silk so I wasn't sure. 

I think this is silk?

So I tried a burn test, but I've never had good luck with that. The only thing that was conclusive was that it wasn't synthetic and it didn't smell like hair so probably not wool. Some search online found a site that suggested you burn samples of things that you know the content of to learn the differences! What a great idea... I'll play with that someday.

Finally, DH and I looked under a microscope. What fun! I compared to photos online. I think the binder is silk; it is slightly translucent, wasn't as regular as man made fibers and didn't correspond to any of the animal or plant fibers. 

Cotton! Love the twist
The main fiber looks just like cotton; if 
you zoom in you can even see the cute little "Z" twist to the fibers. Cotton is traditionally spun in the Z direction, make it hold together easier...  

So I think I know the fiber content. Based on the size of it compared to other yarns (slightly bigger than 8/2 cotton) I'm going to sett it initially at 16 EPI and sample.

I've also been getting stuff done...
  • Finished the two baby blankets except for trimming and hemming; planning a finishing day in the next two weeks.
  • Finished the scarf and cowl on the 11 yard warp. I sewed the cowl together with a modifed flat fell seam and I've very pleased with it.
  • Still spinning goat for a rug.
  • Finished and published the Zoom doc I'd mentioned; it was well received and B. asked if she could give it to another organization. Sure!
  • The green summer sweater (Sommerloch) is coming along... It's in the idiot knitting phase. So... Do I power through it? or save it to be idiot knitting and switch my evening knitting to something that takes more concentration? 
  • No progress on the mosaics. 
  • And I'm pausing everything to clean up the studios.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Q3 Finished things (8)

It feels like things are starting to work for me again... This is the list from this quarter, for a total of 8 "things':

  • Scarf from the mistakes warp
  • The big blue rug
  • A class at Canada "Copying Ready to Wear", and made a pattern and muslin for a dress
  • Deflected doubleweave scarf in blue, green, magenta and orange
  • 2 blue on blue deflected doubleweave scarves
  • Tiny basket and tiny basketry mat

For next quarter, this is what I'll be working on:

  • Finishing the two baby blankets.
  • Finishing two neck things from the 11 yard Zephyr warp.
  • Mosaics, probably stepping stones and the table. I'm also thinking about a sculpture and the pot with the cat.
  • Dye something.
  • Make 2 small rugs for the Lodge master.
  • Beiderwand for the study group. I'm looking at 4 shaft 1 block beiderwand with a decorative yarn; I'll sample with ladder etc.
  • Fabric from the paper yarn and a shirt from the fabric.
Events for the quarter will include SOAR in October (and a few days in Chicago) and I'll be receiving my Electric Eel spinning wheel and will be playing with that as long as the color isn't Blue.

I got the blues... bad...

11 yards of blue scarves
S from the Study Group gave a demo last month in how to lash onto the front apron rod instead of tieing on... it saves time and a lot of yarn (6 or so inches per thread? And possibly 600 threads? That's 100 yards).  I lashed on both the scarves and the baby blankets. Here's the scarf... and so fast. 

Speaking of the scarves, I wound the warp for them on K's warping mill. I'm frankly tired of guide strings and figuerd for a 5 1/2 yard warp, I just needed to go around it 5 times, right? I wound away... As I chained off the first of the two sections, I found myself thinking... this is really long... And of course it was, since the mill is TWO yards around, not one.  I wound the 11 yard warp onto the loom and figured I'd just do a couple of extra scarves. Anyways, I finished weaving 2 of them; one will arrive at J's house tomorrow and the other is going to live in Canada as a host-gift. I know I have enough for one more scarf; the last will either be a cowl or a scarf, depending on how long it is. Tension, so far has been perfect. I have no idea why.  The scarves are from  Double with a Twist by Stubenitsky; one scarf is the same motif repeated for the whole scarf, scarf #2 has different borders; they're in Zephyr (50% Merino 50% Silk) sett at 24 EPI. I wove them Looooonggg!! 90", and they wet finished closer to 80"... The next two will be shorter. S took photos for me which I'll add to the Quarter End Post.
Baby Blanket, 1 of 2

One baby blanket is off the loom but not finished... I found two issues in it. First, I'd skipped a dent in the reed and was too lazy to go back and fix it (Shame!!!)... I think it will be less obvious after it's washed. Then, a yard into it, I found a threading error! I fixed both between blankets, and it's lashed on and ready to go. I'll need more yarn but will order that just before we get back from a little vacation. Here's a photo of it on the loom if you want to play "spot the error".

See a color trend here? Yep, after that rug then these two projects I'm getting awfully tired of blue...

I've also been doing the following:
  • Writing a document for the guild on how to host a Zoom session. I'm not a tech writer, let's leave it at that.
  • I'm practicing piano daily (working on full octave C scale right now)
  • I'm knitting slowly away on that green cotton summer sweater even as I see summer drifting away...
  • I am spinning goat for a rug
  • I bought and Instant pot and have been making food in it.
  • I played with Tanghulu, which is fruit covered in a hard sugar shell. I used the cape gooseberry from the garden.
And as the quarter ends, I'm thinking about Q4...

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Back at it!

Mistakes Scarf
 Now that the Rug is off the loom, lots of stuff is happening...

I wove off the scarf we put on the loom for B's Mistakes Clinic in April... It's going to J's charity scarf project. Yes, I know I've been weaving for many years now but this is the first time it clicked that the tension of the threads after I advance the warp greatly affects the WPI and makes a huge difference in how the textiles looks... Light Bulb Moment!!! I'm excited to weave more consistent cloth. It's 8/4 cotton carpet warp,  probably sett at 10 or 12 EPI, maybe 8 inches wide? I used purple, blue, magenta and yellow warp, with the same blue weft.

This is so light and
squooshy and warm
I also made this deflected doubleweave on for a study group project, and to wear to upcoming cool weather trips... It's from MA 2020 Handwoven magazine, Gilia and Locoweed. I used 18/2 wool and 18/2 wool silk from stash, set at 24EPI. I was aiming for 16 WPI in the weft but was afraid of beating too hard (this has been an issue) and so I beat WAAAY too lightly for the first 15 inches. Note to self; check WPI often at the beginning of a project, and put on an extra 12 inches so I can play with the weave structure before beginning the project.  Here I'm showing the last part of it, which is pretty consistent, and correct.

I also took a basket class and made my first ever basket. It's darn adorable, and just big enough to fit in today's crop of Peruvian groundcherries. It's seagrass bound with raffia, and it's a coiled basket. It's almost round.... 

I also have been knitting on a green sweater for summer... I measured it and sadly it's too small. I'll be ripping it out.. 

Also have been prepping some of the ikats I bought in Indonesia for hanging. This is time consuming! And I've been spinning paper; I think I have enough to start weaving.

Next on the Gilmore is 2 baby blankets in blues; I'm in the process of threading them. One will go to the newborn Grandneff, the other probably to his slightly older cousin. I'm using 8/4 cotton (not rug warp) in a rose path pattern with alternating colors. It should go quickly once I have all 544 threads on the loom.  There may be some more baby blankets in my future; I'd love to have a couple of them put any just in case they're needed anywhere.

And for the baby Mac, one or two more deflected doubleweave scarves in blue; one for R, as a thanks for letting us crash at his place in September, and the other? We'll see. 

There's a work queue... later this year, it'll be the paper yardage, an ikat project (more yardage?), a trip to SOAR and it's ensueing projects, and some bulky stuff for a rug. I also want to make a couple of rugs for the lodge master, and... and... It never ends, does it?

I showed T how to spin paper a few weeks ago; she's intending on spinning bulky and weaving with it. I'm thinking I'd like to do the same, making coiled baskets with it, and using thrums as the weft...