summer flowers

summer flowers

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

End of the Year Projects

As the year comes to a close, I am finishing up some things and wishing I was having better luck with some of them.  

I joined a SAL/KAL (I showed you the roving here Nov 24), it has been fun and disappointing.  I really loved spinning the yarn.  I pre-drafted and spliced the roving to give short color changes at the first of the project where the knitting rows were short and long color changes where the rows were longer.  This worked, but as I was knitting, I wished I had spent more time getting a more consistent yarn.  
Nice striping and no pooling of color.
Actually after knitting, the variations are not that bad, just while you are knitting it is so close and you notice all the little loose or tight spots.
The lace pattern was ok, but I wondered about binding off with the large needle,  I tend to knit so loosely anyway.  Sure enough the edge ruffled and looked funny.

Even after blocking, the edge was still loose, but it looks much better.

You know how it is, sometimes the project is better than you imagined, sometimes it is just finished!

And there there is the unfinished.  I have a loom sitting in my living room that is waiting for me to sand, oil and get it working.  It has been that way for over a what do you do with it???
Yes, you decorate it!
On the weaving front, there have been some little problems with the warps I have been working on.  I have two tea towel warps and both of them have been giving me grief.  The first is on a loom at the PCH studio.  I designed the plaid to use some yarns...more white, tiny amount of red.  After I designed the plaid, I wound it on the warp board...half way through I realized that I was only adding one red stripe in the block instead of two...actually half had one stripe and half had two (but not evenly).  So when the warp was in the raddle, I added warps to make all the blocks have two red stripes.  Problem number one corrected. 
After I had threaded and sleyed, I noticed 2 black threads hanging down and, sure enough, there was a black block with 11 threads instead of and resley.  (Fortunately, it was next to the last black stripe, so not so bad.)
Re-threading the warp
I wove a small start of the piece before I had to go home, and it looks like the twill is good.  I threaded a basket weave at the selvedges...not sure how I like that, we will see.

The other towel warp is on the Baby Wolf at home, I can work on this one this week while I'm home for the holiday.  I'm using #10 linen singles and although it worked fine for a narrow warp I wove earlier, this wider warp is having trouble shredding and breaking at the selvedge.  It started when I wound the warp twice as long and folded it to warp it on.  When I do this method, I end up with crosses on each end and so I pull the warp through lease sticks as I wind back to front.  With this singles, I think dry spun, yarn...I developed fuzz balls at the cross.

So I had to watch the cross carefully and clean out the fuzz balls when they developed.  

I have been thinking a lot about huck lace, so I designed a towel where I could put huck in the stripe, or alternate it in the squares.  This way I will have several related but different designs for the towels.  

I started weaving with a single color weft for the first towel.  With singles linen, I often wet the weft so that it makes a better selvedge, and after testing, this yarn needs to be wet for a better edge.  The problem is the the edge is fraying badly.  Maybe I should plan on a plyed yarn for the edges when I use a singles linen.  I will also try wetting the warp as I weave to strengthen the edge threads.

For this first towel, I am weaving the huck in the body, but not in the gold stripes.

Do you notice the reed stripes.  I have threaded this yarn 2 per dent in a 10 dent reed.  I hope the spacing is less noticeable after washing.  Maybe I should have done 1 per dent in a 20 dent reed.  

After I had woven some and was winding the warp on, I noticed one side go loose...I was afraid that I had done something wrong in the winding...bad tension or something....But it was the tie-on rod getting stuck, I was lucky this time.  We'll see how the tension at the end of the warp is with plain weave in some areas and huck in others...!!!

Tie-on rod getting struck on the side piece.
Speaking of loom things, do you tie the brake pedal on your Baby Wolf higher or lower than the treadles.
I tie mine lower.
After these two warp, I think...all I want for Christmas is a warp that goes on easily, no counting errors, weaves like a dream and gives me a WOW finished product.   Not too much to ask for, is it!!??

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Almost Christmas

The year is drawing to a close, and we are in the middle of storms and snow here.  At least, the air is clearing out and we had some sun yesterday and probably some tomorrow.  

I did manage to get a tree up this year, but it was a close thing.  I put new garland on the shelves and almost let that go as the greenery for us this year.  For several years, I have missed having a hutch or cupboard in the kitchen to put greenery on.  I finally found some cabinets that I liked and this year I put the nutcrackers and greenery along the top.  I made so new bows to add color and painted some of the pine cones that I have had around.
My favorite nutcracker...the Linen seller
The new bookshelves in the living-room have new garlands.  I saw one at the store, came home and put it up then went back the next day for another one.
This is how the first one looked
After I got the second one, I also got some red ribbon and wound it though for some color.  Maybe next year I will make bows like I added to the nutcracker garland.   The pine cones on this garland don't show at all.  I will need to take them off next year and then re-position them for a better look.

I put up a few of my favorite decorations on the tree, and talked my DD and DS to put up some of theirs.  

I had to put up one of the funny little gnomes...They are probably 70 or 80 years old, they were on my great Aunt's tree years ago.  I have two left, although the red one needed repair this year and will not be on the tree.

I also put the plastic nativity...I remember putting these on our tree when I was little.  It is probably 40 or 50 years old.

This one is from a kit that we bought when we were first married to decorate our tree.  It is a metal frame and came with plastic beads to put in the spaces.  Then you heated them in the oven to melt the plastic.  These are only about 30 to 35 years old.

It is fun to get out the old decorations and relive the memories that they bring.  We never did get any old ornaments from my DH's family and the decoration he had as a child, so I like to have mine there.

I quite a number of sheep that I have collected over the years.  I only put a couple of them up this year...the tree is so small it did not need to be over-run by sheep!

So many little things to remember and enjoy this holiday season.  I hope you all enjoy the peace and wonder of the holidays.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

December already

It finally seems like winter...Last week we still had flowers blooming and 60 degrees during the day.  This week 2 inches of snow, a high of 20 degrees, and more snow expected.  What a difference a week makes.  

I did get the first Christmas decoration up, my Advent Calendar.  I made it when my children were little, about 30 years ago, but I love seeing it every year.
Here's a picture of it several years ago.
Last year I actually put some nails in the wall to hang up some Christmas pictures.  I had not had them hanging for several years and it was fun to see them again.  I think I will get them up today.  I wanted to put new hanging wires on some other pictures to hang there during the rest of the year, but I did not get that done.  Oh well maybe after the holidays this year...
The color is a little off, but I did take a photo last year.
All of the pictures are stitchery, and all are about 25 years old.  The center white on white is done by my Mom using the candlewick technique.  The other four were a series that I did.  I like the variety of sentiments and the variety of techniques.  The Santa "Joy" is embroidery, the family "Tree" is counted cross, the snowman "Frosty" is needlepoint, and the baby Jesus "Nativity" is trapunto.  It was fun to put such a variety together.  The four 8" x 10" pieces hung for several Christmas seasons in a special place between our bookshelves.  When we got rid of those bookshelves, I had no place to put them.  It is fun to enjoy them again.

And I got the final shipment of my order out, I hope it reaches her in time for her show.  I know the first got there and she was very pleased with my work.  When I did the shawls this time, I used huck lace instead of Bronson lace.  I had just taught Huck lace in my class, so it was on my mind.  I have never done these in Huck and I really like them.
White on white shawl
Beige on white shawl
Here's a Bronson lace from the first shipment
I like the Huck better, maybe because it is the last warp I did!  I would not mind having a huck lace piece, I was thinking of cutting holes in it for my arms and wearing it like the lace "vest" that I saw Anita Meyer wearing.

I also did some ruanas, and ponchos for her.  The short poncho is a new design.  I like the versatility in wearing it.

Flipped over the shoulder
They really worked out well.  I just blended the colors of warp, then used two different wefts for them.  This is the 1800 yd/lb alpaca again, but this shipment had some colors to play with.

I also got a new loom yesterday, a very old, and needs some work, Schacht table loom.  I will probably use it in the classes.  It makes a great loom for beginning students and for rental.  It travels quite well.  But there are a couple of pieces missing and the wood really needs some TLC.  I would like to replace the apron cord with Texsolv, I hope I have enough left (I just replaced the apron cords on my Baby Wolf...scissor accident when I was cutting off one of the alpaca pieces.

I finally found the pattern and the yarn and the knitting for the socks I have been working on forever.  The pattern is slow knitting, cable work every row, and I only carried the part of the pattern I needed at the time.  So there was periods where I was looking for the pattern, then found the pattern and could not find where I put the half finished socks...anyway, I have all the components together and I want to get them finished.  I am really tired of this pattern.  That may be another reason it has taken so long, I knit for a while then put them away to do a less demanding design.
First sock at chevron cuff, the second sock is there now! Yeah!

And with the Alpaca work done for a while, I can get back to my yardage.  I am interested in seeing how far I get with the handspun yarn...I have more than I thought.  I may be able to have solid handspun in the whole body of the jacket instead of just stripes in the front and back.

I thought I had a picture of how it looks now that it is on the loom, but this is just a picture of the test.  The actual fabric is not that "stripey".  I think I will like it, even if it is MUCH brighter colors than I usually wear.