Alpaca for shawls and scarves

Alpaca for shawls and scarves

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Saga Continues

My third warp came off great and I would the yarn for the final warp of shawls.  Again, I tried to get the correct number of warps, and again I was wrong.  This time I had about 16 extra warps.
Extra ends from miscounting
I don't know what my problem has been with this dummy warp (a bit of a dummy myself?), but I was careful and did not cut this bunch of yarn, I was able to wind it back up on bobbins and used it for the weft.  (There is another tale, 5 yards of warp on the floor and me walking back and forth trying to save it.)

This fawn, alpaca and silk yarn is wonderful.  It weaves up easily and it looks great.
Beautiful Huck Lace Pattern

The family took a couple of days to go to St. George in Southern Utah.  The reason for the trip was a photo taken by my DS was accepted in the National Parks show down there.  It is a beautiful picture of the Madison River in Yellowstone.  I was so proud of him.  There were no pictures allowed in the museum, I tried to sneak one...but my DH was not pleased picture.

The next morning my DS went out before dawn to get pictures of Snow Canyon.  He came back and after breakfast and checkout, we headed up there for a look.  We managed one short hike in the shade (temperatures were up to 102 degrees--about 39C) so it was a short hike.
Reading the Pioneer Inscription
I think "Auto-correct" upped the color a little too much, but that area is beautiful and it restored my soul to be in the Red Rock country.  

And I love taking pictures of my children.

A student told me about the upper section of the canyon, up there the sandstone is the white Navajo layer and very different.  There is a large amphitheater,  but it was about a mile walk and in the heat...only my son went out.

The amphitheater is on the right,
When my son came back, he said it was beautiful, but the heat reflecting up from the white rock was hotter than the sun beating down on him.  But he said we MUST come back in the fall or spring when the temperatures are cooler and we will all get to see it.

Back home on the loom, I decided to re-thread the dummy warp to a straight draw and make it narrower for the warps of scarves.  I have been wanting to do pinwheels since I took a workshop and I decided that I would do it on the first warp for scarves.  Since it is faster to wind two threads at a time on the warping board, and I need the same number of black and white warp ends...I just wound them double.  

Two threads at a time cut the time in half!

When I tied the warp ends to the dummy warp, I pulled the first eight black threads out of the cross and tied them on.  That left eight white threads ready to tie next.
Tie on 8 black, then 8 white across the warp.
This gave me a striped warp.

And, wow, those pinwheels are dramatic.
I did a second pinwheel using the fawn with the white and got a very different look, the last scarf was a black twill stripe.  Sorry I did not get pictures of these on the loom.

Then I took another little break from the loom.  My sibs and I were responsible for the Family Reunion with my Dad's family.  We spent some time getting addresses and email addresses for extended family members and I hope we contacted most of the local family to attend.  It was great to see the family and to hear family stories about my Dad and his brothers.  
Here is Mom and her five children
Mom and my Aunt were the only two left from Dad's generation (Mom is 90 and her sister-in-law will be turning 91),  

We set up a photo space and provided some "props" to liven up the pictures.  

We even had the "Sawdust Scramble."  This is a big pile of sawdust with candy and quarters thrown in for the kids to "scramble" and find it.  I remember doing this one when I was a child...our family has been doing this for a long time.  I even heard the same remarks that I made as a child..."I got sawdust in my eyes."  We do prevent any throwing of sawdust so there is not many complaints and all the kids (big and small) got their share.  The organizer set up time limits for the various age groups so it was a big success.

Final scramble with all ages included.

I think it was a great day and I really enjoyed seeing the family.  I still want to get a few more email addresses to be able to pass on the list to the group doing the next reunion.

Back home on the loom I measured the next warp.  YEAH!  I managed to count correctly on this warp and I feel better about my math skills.
Second scarf warp
This second warp is a simple stripe with that wonderful fawn colored yarn.  I want to try a couple of eight shaft twill patterns on it.  

I started with the eight cones of yarn that are currently my heading picture.  I have been using them pretty evenly, but with this warp I emptied the third cone.  This is great, I am getting closer to the end of this commission.

Oh, and I finished the rugs that I was warping on the last post, that is for this commission also.  I will need to get a picture of them.  I still need to stitch and hem them.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Saga of the Dummy Warp

You saw the mess of the dummy warp last post.  It did really wind on easily, 8/4 cotton is an easy yarn to use.  My problems started coming up after the warp was wound and I checked the threading and reed.  First I saw that I had missed a dent...easy fix.  But as I was lifting some of the shafts to check the threading, I noticed three pairs of threads lifting instead of two pairs.  (This is a six block, eight shaft, huck lace and the pattern threads lift up in pairs).  When I checked, I could see I had threaded block 7, then block 8 then, then block 7 two times.  That is why I was 5 threads short at the end of threading.  I pulled that end of the warp out of the reed, it was less than a fourth of the width, and rethreaded the pattern.

I had the alpaca warp wound and I was excited to get it on the loom.  
Tying on the first warp
Unfortunately, I had not counted the warp threads right and I had 11 threads more than I should have...Oh well, I will use them on the third warp that is also white.  I wove the header and checked the pattern, somehow I had missed tying two threads, I only had a block of three threads instead of the five threads required...there were two of the extra eleven!   I put those two threads through the heddles and weighted them to hang off the back of the loom.  I resleyed the reed and checked again.  This time I had put those two threads on shaft 2 instead of shaft 7 and I was only getting plain weave.  I spent some time repairing that and finally got on to the weaving.
First shawl in Huck
The weaving was easy and pleasant, I finished a shawl a day...not as fast as I should be, but better than I have been for a while.

But I was still wondering if the dummy warp was doing any good with making things faster, especially after the many corrections and rethreading that I had to do.  For the second warp, I decided to watch the tying on in front better.  I decided to just tie four ends at a time.  That was a good number to have me double check my progress.
Four and four, I should be able to keep track of that
And the four threads made a good group to tighten.  I pulled each group of four to check the knots.
Checking the strength of the knots
This time I did not miss any knots, I was one thread short, but added that easily.  (I do have trouble counting!)  I timed myself on the knot tying, on the first I managed to tie 44 knots in 30 minutes--that was not good at all.  On the second warp, I was tying 96 in 30 minutes, so I decided that the prethreaded dummy warp was saving some time.
Second warp with knots ready to pull through.
I eased the knots through the reed and the heddles.  I only took a few minutes and I had no problems with tangling or knots slipping.
Hemstitching the second shawl on the second warp
The black warp was hard to see the first pattern, but the second one in the picture was a quick and easy to weave.  The small amount of silk in the yarn gives this piece a little bit of a shine and I think will make a couple of great shawls.

I had to spend some time at the craft house studio, so while I was there I wound a warp for a couple of rugs.  Since I have not finished the piece on my Macomber, I need to use the Macomber at the studio.  Since I have a class using that loom starting the 21st of July, I need to get weaving.
Sectional warping a small warp
The warp was short, only 7 yards, but because I had enough cones, it was faster to sectional warp, besides there was a student that wanted to see sectional warping in action.
Because I was talking and not paying attention when I cut off one section I cut two warp ends on the beam...(*&#$@*&).  
Two cut ends with temporary repair

I used some carpet warp to tie the ends together while I wound the warp forward to thread the loom.  I will add two weighted ends when I tie on.  I will probably make them long enough for one rug, then tie the original warps back in for the second rug...I do not want a repair in the rug!
Threading the heddles
I got the rug warp threaded and sleyed through the reed between helping my students...I will probably go in Tuesday (not during studio hours) to repair the two and get the rug started.  I already graphed out how I will stripe the first rug.

Back home last night and today, I put on the third warp and wove the first shawl on that warp.  I used the extra 9 ends from the first white warp...but somehow I was two warp ends short.  Well, better to have too few than to have too many and I could easily wind two ends to tie on the dummy.
Again, not able to count...two threads short
I wove up the first shawl and I love the pattern.  I seem to really like the diamond shapes, I was thinking of trying a square based pattern for the second shawl on this warp.  We'll see how that works.
Beautiful pattern on shawl 3a

Friday, June 24, 2016

Summer is Here

I don't know how much I've accomplished this month, I had a couple of classes and I attended Complex Weaver's Seminars.  I have done some small warps for my class samples.  I put on a warp for the Mermaid Scarf that was on the cover of Handwoven, but it is really slow to weave.  My biggest project is some shawls and scarves in alpaca.  I have been planning how to do them for most of the time, between classes and travel.

The first part of the month, we traveled to Logan for my DH's high school reunion...55th.  We had a nice dinner and he was talking to a number of the old friends.  They had a pretty good turnout for the occasion.  

I put a test warp of deflected double weave.  But it is similar to one I did last time I got interested.  I used 8/4 carpet warp and I put it on for my class to weave samples.  I will try to do a couple to have a washed and unwashed in the sample collection.

A local weaver had a great show at the City Library.  He does great things with color and paints on most of his pieces.  He does art and it is great to look at.

There were four walls of weaving.  This one was a number of overshot patterns with painting over them.
 This one was summer and winter with painting over it.  I love the way he brings out the colors by painting over the fabric in some areas.
This detail shows the summer and winter weaving and the painted stripes of blue and green.  John's work is great...check it out.

My trip to Complex Weaver's Seminars was great.  This is the second time that I have been able to go.  I think I was more overwhelmed last time (because it was the first time).  This time I enjoyed meeting people, and getting new ideas for my work.  The three things that really excited me were not even weaving.  I got to ride in a stretch limo for the first time, it was fun and a new experience.
Actually I rode from the airport (when I was surprised and there were just two of us), and then with a group back to the airport after the seminars were done...then we needed one because there were eight of us.  My second big thing was to see fireflies.  I had never seen them before and they are magical to watch.  My last thing was getting to meet Franklin Habit.  He was not attending the seminars but was just there with a friend, he is just as entertaining to talk to as he is to read...

I bought a couple of things that are wonderful.  My big purchase was a book by Alice Schlein.
Beautiful Lampas cover 
When we were at Fineline Craft Center to see the Complexity show I found the kit to make me some more fingerless mittens.  These are the ones that got stolen from my car last winter.  Now I can make another pair and keep better track of them.  
New kit for my new mitts

The Complexity show at Fineline was fantastic.  You can check it out on the Complex Weaver's website or if you are going to Convergence, it will be there.

I have written down in my Idea's book several items that I want to try/pursue from the information I got at the seminars.  Many of the seminars were using more shafts than I have access to, but the design and color ideas are rolling around in my mind.  The members and the teachers at CW are so sharing and love to tell you how they made something.

My DS replaced his sport car with a truck a few months ago and he decided to get a tent to go on it for his back country trips.  He likes to go into the back country of the parks and open land in southern Utah.  This gives him the four wheel drive that he needs for the rocky roads.  But the tent was a surprise.  
The first trip with the tent, he only made it partly down into The Maze in Canyonland National Park before getting a rip in the side wall of a tire.  He had to come home early, but he still got some great pictures and he will go back.  He is so new at driving in the truck, he is not used to judging it on the rocks.  By the way, the first week of July, we will go to St. George, Utah to see a picture that he got accepted in an art show...I'm proud of him.
Fun new toy for my DS
 I started putting the warps for the shawls I'm weaving for the next month.  I decided to put on a dummy warp because I will be doing four warps with the same threading.  I found some 8/4 carpet warp warps in a box at the studio.  I think they were taken off one of the old rug looms before it was sold.  I decided to use that up for the dummy warp.  The warps were chained in groups of 20 to 30 threads.  I needed a warp with 230 ends.
Rolled up chained warps

 It was a little messier for the warp that I hoped.
Yes, a bit of a mess
After the warp is straightened out, I will tie the alpaca warp on.  I just plan to use an overhand knot.  (I am so slow with the weaver's knot).  If the overhand does not hold I will work on the weaver's knot.  Alpaca yarn is slippery and I hope the knot holds.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May is Over Already

Last year during May, we were in Aix-en-Provence, and I have spent the past month reliving that vacation.  We had such a wonderful time and enjoyed the DS and DD coming over for a couple of weeks with us.
The family in Arles

Morning at the market
I found the calendar page that had all the events that we were doing while we were there and DH said to be sure to keep track of it so that we can remember the vacation again next year.  I don't know if we will ever get another vacation like that, but I am sure glad that we did it.  Like DH said it cost a lot, but it was worth it.
Looking out the window of our "home" for 30 days
Gardens at the newly finished museum 

It was such a great experience.

I have been doing some weaving this month.  I finally finished the alpaca scarves and I am pleased with them.  The yarn is a ragg yarn so the patterns are very subtle, but they feel fantastic.

In the bobbin lace group I am in, we had one of our members teaching some needle lace techniques and we started a small motif.

Here's my work so far, and a picture of the finished motif in a frame.  It would be fun to find an old looking broach to put my finished lace in!

Small runner from the Bronson lace sample
I managed to weave a small runner on the end of the Bronson lace sample I put on for the Summer & Winter class, if you look close you can see the error in the weaving (a white weft is floating over a red stripe).  Yes, I did repair the float in the finished runner and now you can not see it.
As you can see, I wove right to the very end of the warp!

I got some more yarn to weave some rugs (the large bumps on the floor) and for scarves and shawls (the eight cones on top of the loom).  This probably will keep me busy for the next couple of months.  I don't think I have enough warp yarn for the rug warp, so I will need to order more.  
You can also see the rigid heddle loom with the napkin samples and the spinning wheel ready to start the Greenwood roving (yes, I have not got around to that yet).

I finally got a picture of the socks from the sock kit I got from Mountain Colors.  I do love their color lines.  I have done socks in their yarns several times.  I followed the pattern that they provided in the kit, even though I thought I would like the ribbing on top smaller, and I ran out of the contrast yarn.
One toe has some dark yarn at the end!
It is really not that bad, the toes are usually in shoes anyway.

Next month I go to Chicago for Complex Weavers and I can't wait.  I thought I would have some handwoven clothing to wear this time...It seems that I need to up my game and spend more time finishing my work and less time watching Netflix!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Lovely month of May

Every day when I get up this month, I think what was I doing last year on this day.  Last May we were in Aix-en-Provence and having a wonderful vacation.  Below you can barely see me and DH looking out from our  apartment window.
We stayed in a great hotel/apartment
 The family was able to enjoy seeing some of the sites in the area.  We had a great time and today I realized that we are half way through the month and a year ago, we were saying good-by to my son when he left after spending a week with us.
Both kids were able to come over for some time.

This month has, of course, been much less of an adventure.  I have been worried about the continuation of my teaching...there is some concern that the city the studio is in does not want to continue the craft school.  We have had some good rain so the plants are doing well, I need to get some help with the Dye is really overrun.

I would like to put in more traditional dye plants, most of the ones in there now are just marginally considered dye plants.  Again, will l be able to stay in the studio to keep up the garden?...can I find some hardy souls to help me clean it out?...I am not much of a gardener.

I did spend a couple of hours doing some garden clean-up at my Mom's house.  She is ninety now and not able to do as much as she used to.  My DS was willing to come up and clean the roof of the carport, cut out some dead branches in the weeping birch tree.  We planted some flowers in the pots by the porch and trimmed back a bush my Mom wanted cut back.
We chopped off two bags full.
 Some time this summer we will need to shape the poor bush.  It was way overgrown and many of the branches had been tucked back into the bush making a "hedgerow" formation.

We planted the pots next to the porch to add some color.

I have not done that much gardening in my yard and I really need to get to it.  The herb garden needs cleaning and new plants and the deck and patio need massive cleaning and bagging up the leaves and pods that fell of the trees last fall and winter.

I have been getting a little weaving done.  The twill on the scarves was getting me down, so I re-threaded for huck lace.
Of course, with lace you can hardly see it on the loom

Looking from the side, it shows a little better.
I hope after the washing, it will open up and make a lace pattern that looks good.  I will probably put more lace on the next one, instead of the lace and spot sections.

We had some wild spring weather here.  We did not get any at my house, but when I I was at the studio we got quite a hail storm.  
View from the studio door
I could hear the sound of the hail hitting the roof, when I checked outside it was coming down and bouncing off the roof onto the side walk.  We ended up with the side walk completely white with the hail...Then in a half hour the sun was up and the hail was melted.  Spring weather can be so unexpected.  I remember asking about the netting over the fruit trees in Southern France and the guide told us that it was to protect the fruit from the hail!