Archive for the “weaving” Category

On Saturday, Pirate-Husband and I stopped at Knit and Stitch = Bliss in Bethesda. He was in search of a bulky-weight yarn for weaving his utility strap, and I was looking for a skein of superwash Cascade 220. Neither of us found what we were looking for, but I did find this Trendsetter Tonalita that just called out to me and demanded to be my first yarn purchase of the year. The colours are very 'me' and I love gradients in yarn. The Tonalita is an aran-weight singles yarn, 52% wool and 48% acrylic. It's supposedly non-feltable but I still wouldn't want to toss it into the washing machine, as it seems a little on the delicate side. At first I was thinking of making armwarmers with it, but then I decided that a new hat would be even better. My Manos hats are showing their age and the Winterlude Hat(tm) is too warm for anything but the coldest weather, so I thought a wool blend would be just right for a medium-warm hat. After some searching I settled on the Hurricane Hat pattern, which can be found free at String in Motion. A more complicated pattern wouldn't show up well against the colour changes, and I really like the purl swirls of a Hurricane, especially the way they come together at the crown of the hat to form the eye.

Sometimes it's difficult to take pictures of yarn without a cat getting involved. Fortunately for him, Kipling was more interested in the wrist strap dangling from the camera than the yarn! I spent a good amount of time over the weekend playing with the new camera and learning the ins and outs, and I'm quite pleased with it and the quality of pictures. I had fun trying all the different settings, and I think I took more than a hundred pictures. For the first time ever, I even got some good shots of Floyd! I'll post them later this week for Feline Friday.

I suggested that Pirate-Husband might have more luck finding a reasonably-priced bulky washable yarn at a crafts store. The first place we tried didn't have anything, but I did get a replacement pocket measuring tape for the one that died last week. Then we went to Michaels and found Lion Brand super bulky Wool-Ease in burgundy, black and gray. We knew that one ball of burgundy and one of gray would be plenty but we weren't sure how much black he would need, so we bought a few extra knowing that it could be returned. While we were at the store, I bought a small hole punch that's exactly what I need for making the right-size holes for jump rings in stitch marker charms. That's going to be my next non-knitting project! Now I just need two pair of tiny pliers, and I'll be ready to go.

On Saturday night Pirate-Husband followed the advice from Eadwyn's comment last week to make new heddles and warp the loom, and by Sunday evening he had finished his new strap. It came out to be almost exactly ten feet long, and used up almost a full ball of the black yarn, since it was the majority of the warp and all of the weft, but there's plenty of the burgundy and gray left over. The yarn was a learning experience for him. Since it's not smooth like the crochet thread he used for the first project, it was much harder to get it to slide through the heddles. On the other hand, the super bulky yarn weaves up super quickly, and the finished product is exactly what he wanted! Sometimes yarn is like that, I told him. Sometimes you just dislike the yarn but love the finished product (like everything I've ever knit in cotton). That's a lot better than loving the yarn but hating your finished product...

Maybe I will ask him to make a matching or coordinating strap for me. Hmmm!

Comments Comments Off on In Which the Pirate-Husband Inkles More.

Several years ago, one of my friends in the SCA gave me an inkle loom. I bought a couple of books and swore that I'd learn to weave, and then... well, I didn't. This past summer I picked up a set of cards for tablet weaving, which can be done on the same loom, and re-promised myself that I'd learn to weave. Pirate-Husband seemed interested too, so over the holiday weekend we warped the loom for our first attempt at weaving, and then got to it!

On Friday night I read through the instructions about warping while Pirate-Husband picked the colours and pattern that he wanted to use. We made a bunch of heddles, and then I kept track of the pattern while he did the warping. We used size 10 crochet thread for the project, and the balls of thread were too large to fit through the heddles, so we had to wind some off. First we tried using my ball-winder, but the ball collapsed in Pirate-Husband's hand twice and we lost a lot of time to untangling. Eventually we did some math and wrapped the warping yarn around the shuttle, which was time-consuming but worked much better. We got so into it, and so determined to finish, that we didn't realize how late it was getting. Even though he would have started weaving right then and there, we decided that three o'clock in the morning was a good time to stop and go to bed.

Inkle weaving creates a warp-faced fabric, one in which you can't see the weft threads at all except for a tiny bit on the selvedges. Since the sides of the pattern we chose were brown, we used the same brown thread for the weft, and it comes out to be almost completely invisible. He got started on Sunday night with the football game, and was making such good progress with the weaving that I asked him to slow down and leave it unfinished to show my parents, who were coming over on Monday for the afternoon and dinner. I knew Dad would get a real kick out of the loom and seeing us weave, and I was right. Pirate-Husband wove through the afternoon while we all watched. We had a good discussion about the meditative nature of hand-work like weaving and knitting, and how much better we feel when we're being either meditative or creative, but both at the same time is an extra good thing!

It wasn't long before he was done, and pretty soon we we'd cut the band loose and were tying off the fringes. The strap has 67 ends; it came out to be an inch wide, and nine-and-a-half feet long. I think the total time was about ten hours, but the next piece will definitely go faster as we won't have the same troubles with the warp tangling - and we shouldn't have to make more heddles, either. A thicker piece could probably be done in half the time! He is going to use this piece as trim on SCA garb, and of course we've already made plans for several more projects. I want to make a piece that I can sew d-rings to and use as a belt with jeans, one to use as a much longer belt for my SCA dresses, and then I want to try fancier designs with tablet weaving. Pirate-Husband wants to make a heavier utility strap in simple dark colours that will have a multitude of uses.

It's only a few days into the new year and we've already learned a new skill. How cool is that?

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