summer flowers

summer flowers

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Saga of the Cat Mess

A couple of months ago,  I was not working in my studio (or doing much of anything for that matter).  I was using the studio room for a "just put it there for now" place.  I would go in there for class stuff then just leave piles of stuff...soon it was a pathway room.  
Unfortunately during this, there must have been a time when the cat litter box was not cleaned as it should be and Jasmine decided my handwoven rug was an OK place to urinate.  I have almost no sense of smell, so this added to the problem.
A couple of weeks ago, after I had come out of the fog, I decided to get the room cleaned and start weaving on the yardage again.  As I unloaded the piles and put them away, I found the wet rug.  This started a couple of weeks of work, and it is still going.
First I put a fan in the studio and opened the windows.  This dried the problem, but even with spray odor removers, the smell was still there.  So I got the steam cleaner and went over the carpet and the rug several times (3 or 4 buckets full).  The carpet got the fan and window open and the rug went in the garage to dry.  This wasn't enough...
Next came the visit to the pet store for their enzyme deodorizer, this was well sprayed on the carpet and the rug.  When the carpet was dry, I closed the door and window for 24 hours and the room was declared habitable by the noses in the family...YEH.  The carpet is old and very thin.
The rug was woven in the 70's and has a shag about 2-3 inches, so it was still bad.  My husband moved it from the garage, for obvious reasons, and put it outside.  However, it now attracts the local tom cats and we are having cat fights at night in the yard!!!  Luckily they don't pay any attention to the rug, they just go after each other, but it wakes me up!
 As you can see it has the style and colors of the 70's.  The rug is old, but it was the first rug I made and I would like to keep it.
  Today, I attacked the rug with the high power sprayer outside.  I was out there about an hour, we will see what that does, and if there is improvement.  Right now it is dripping wet and will probably take a day to dry...maybe I will move the fan out there to help.

On the bright side, I finished the second scarf and am building quite a bit on the cloth beam.

And the studio is cleaning up well.  I got a book on CD to listen to and I am going to try to get the yardage worked on.  It may take a bit for me to get back into the rhythm of 36" wide fabric after just working on scarves.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I Finished It!!

Wednesday I spent some time at my LYS, during that time I was able to knit all the points on the shawl but the last two.  Friday night after see my student's Miniature Golf hole at the Salt Lake Arts Center, I came home and finished the last two. 
I was not able to graft the end together until Saturday after going to the Farmer's Market (great peas, lettuce, pesto and eating a fruit pie).  First of all I needed good light and fresh eyes to do the work.  I think that I did a pretty good job, the faggot area of the border is messed up but the rest is passable and I will not be distracted by it when I wear it.

I laid it out on the dining table to look at it in full.

And did an "artsy" shot of it in the front yard.  I had taken it out into the sunlight to see if I could get the metallic and the beads to show up better, but it didn't work.

I stretched it out on the livingroom run and then sat there keeping the cat away.  I decided that I could not sit there for 24 hours and in our dry climate it does dry faster, but I put a low fan in the room to speed up the drying.  Besides I was excited to see it unpinned.  The yardstick is there for a size comparison.

When it was dry, I put it back on the dining table for a comparison.  It is beautiful and out of the Zephyr yarn (50% silk/50% merino wool) it feels wonderful.  The beads provide enough weight to have it hang well.

The tartan weaving is coming along well, almost done with the first scarf and soon to start the second. 

The studio space is becoming usable again (after stacking stuff in there during the black hole period in March) and the cat deciding the hand woven rug was a litter box (more on that later, I am still not finished with that-but at least the room is habitable now). That has been a couple of weeks of cleaning and putting away **STUFF**.

I have been moving on another craft front and have been doing some spinning with a beautiful roving that had belonged to another spinner.  It is 60% cashmere/30% silk/10% merino wool.  I spun up a sample and I think it could work well for a simple shawl someday.

Spinning is a combination of two parts, stretching the fibers out smooth (drafting), then twisting the fibers together (spinning).   For this roving, and for many that I purchase, I like to pre-draft to loosen up the fibers.  Here you can see the roving on the right as it came from the skein and after it has been pre-drafted on the left.  Now the roving is airy and the fibers will slip past each other easily as I spin.  I will do more drafting as I spin the yarn.

I have been spinning it on my Schacht matchless wheel, it is my favorite and has adapted to the fine spinning by using the faster whorl (converts each turn of the fly wheel to more turns of the spindle, thinner yarn needs more twist).   The quarter is for comparison for the size of the single yarn.  I will ply two of these together for the yarn to be ready for knitting.

I have seven skeins of 28 grams each of this roving, so I think I will have plenty of yarn for the shawl.  I like the honeycomb pattern shawl that I saw in Piecework.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

More Tartan Weaving

I have gotten a little weaving done on the tartan.  I haven't been working as much as I thought I would, because I have been working on the Evenstar KAL.  It is working beautifully, but I am close to finished and want to see it done.  I have only about 18 points to knit (out of 57).  

Here is a picture of one of the edge points.  I really thing the beads look great, there are over 2,000 beads around the edge.  You can see them pretty good on this picture.

The tartan is also looking good. 

I use a tape measure to get the length right.  For the first scarf, I need to weave 74 inches.  It will also have 2 inches of fringe on each end.  The scarf that my son is using now (a hand spun, hand woven one) is about 65 inches long with the fringe and he said he wants about 6 inches more on each end for a better fit on the coat.

I used to use  fabric tape measure to help me with the length and the pins went through it real well.  The new plastic tape measures are thicker and need a new technique.  I got a small paper punch (thanks scrap bookers) and punched the tape with two holes every three inches.  Now it is very easy to put the pin through the holes.

I use three pins and just rotate them  as I weave.  By that I mean that when there is enough weaving I unpin the first pin and put it in the next space.

When weaving this pattern, the weft order is the same as the warp order, so to keep track of where I am, I move a pin from square to square as I weave.  Last time I did a warp of the tartan, I messed up on one of the scarves, and at 30 ends per inch it is not fun to take apart.  So the pin helps keep me on track and not mess up.

I guess it is time to get back to weaving...or knitting.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Weaving a Tartan Scarf

A couple of years ago, I wove some scarves using a Cummings Tartan.  My Mother's family is  Cummings and I found a pattern with a slight asymmetry and I decided to try it.  I choose a wool/silk blend and the scarves turned out quite well.
Last year I bought some more of the yarn to do some more scarves.  My son decided that it would look great on his new coat, so I wound a warp.  It took many months, but I have finally got it on the loom and working.  I put about 15 yards of warp on and so I will be weaving these for a while.
 The 15 yards makes quite a large amount a yarn wound around the back beam.

After winding the 260 threads, I need to thread each one through a heddle.  Putting them in the heddles in the correct order keeps the stripes of color that will make the pattern,.

Once all the yarns are threaded though the heddles, you can almost see the stripe pattern.  I then need to thread each one through a space (dent) in the reed.

I have a tool to help me thread through the reed, and for this project I am threading two yarns through each space.

When the reed I completely threaded the pattern really shows up.  I love the center stripe, the black with the center threads of red, blue and black.  This area is the asymmetrical part of the pattern.  Unlike the green stripes on the sides, the black strip does not exactly mirror itself on each side.

More to come,