Category Archives: fibre content

Happy as a Jay… Leno?

Leno weaving is gorgeous, in case you didn’t know.

That’s Lanaknits’ Hempton, and I luff it. I sort of regret not doing it on a smaller dent reed (I double-checked the sett, and it told me 9, so I used the 10 dent reed, but I think 12 would have been nicer) but still, its coming out pretty okay.

Leno lace is a lot like cabled knitting. You’re weaving the sheds out of order, and because of that, you get that lovely structured effect. I’m experimenting with 1×1 leno and 2×2 broken leno in the pictures above. I’m pretty pleased given that it’s my first leno project.

I’m weaving the ‘body’ of the scarf in plain weave. I like the simplicity of the light green weft against the dark green warp, and I have never really liked the idea of putting too much detail into a scarf. After all, the vast majority of the scarf is going to be scrunched up against your neck. The first and last seven inches or so will be lacey and the rest, plain. Should be quick and simple.

Right?

Advertisements

Can’t Weave it Alone

Oooh, man.  I’m hooked.  I mean, I’ve totally warped my psyche and all I can think about is weaving.  See what I did there?

I done designed my own plaid.  It’s in Cascade Yarns’ Pima Tencel (50/50 Pima Cotton and Tencel blend), and it’s going to be my next wallet.  Now, I’m weaving much more than what I would possibly need for a wallet, but this stuff is so addictive.  I’m using a 10-dent reed, and I’m getting just under gauge.  I think I’m doomed forever to have a tight gauge.

I’m so enthused!  It’s so pretty!  And what’s more, my partner kept looking over and saying, “Ha, you’re making your own fabric.”  I am on top of the world.

Last night, we went to an open mic at Shaika, in Montreal.  (I was also on the radio yesterday morning:  check it out here.)  We had a really good time, but the most important part was that I saw a djembe strap that blew my mind:  weft-faced with long warp floats in crazy colours.

I think I have an idea.

I Can’t Be-weave it!

Look what I’ve got!

ignore the obvious error; ain't it grand?

Yes, I did manage to not tie the warp to the apron rod properly (hint:  it’s supposed to wrap around the top bar) but that is the first warping I’ve ever done all by myself.

Last Friday, I went to the marvelous Colette’s weaving studio, Interstitial Spaces.  Her studio is a magical playground with looms and spinning wheels galore in a formerly industrial space.  I highly recommend it – and I have to say that Colette is a really awesome person, and that hanging out with her was one of the highlights of my week.

Actually, I’m going to back up and tell you a bit about my week.  On Monday, I had my first day off in about two weeks – pyjamas were busted out, and I was cozy.  Tuesday, I was at Ariadne, which just happens to be one of the best places in the world.  Wednesday and Thursday, I worked – and I worked nights, which I hate.  I’m a sleepy kind of person and I need a regular schedule in order to keep going.  Once I’ve established a good schedule I have as much energy as the next person, but if I’m dithering around late at night I know I’ll sleep in way to late.  I hate working nights.  So, on Thursday, I got home at midnight and then got up early enough to visit Colette on Friday morning.  Friday afternoon, I went to work and when I got home (at frigging half past midnight) I assembled my brand new loom.  I even survived this obstacle:

Luckily, my partner had a similar screw to replace the one pictured above.  Isn’t that bizarre?  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a screw borked that badly.

Regardless, I had to work again on Saturday, so I got up early and warped my loom.  I got everything wound up and cut properly so I could weave after work.  And then, again, after freaking midnight, I got home and decided to go crazy.

I wove a strip that Colette set up for me on Friday so I wasn’t a complete beginner.

I was pretty pleased with that mini-scarf.  It hasn’t been blocked (or fulled?) so it’s still not finished, but it does look mighty spiffy.  And yes, the colours aren’t my usual palate, but those are the colours that come free with the kit in Brown Sheep Nature Spun.  It’s 100% superwash wool.  My hypothesis is that the colours were chosen for contrast and so that beginner weavers won’t be shy in ‘wasting’ the yarn.  In terms of my first solo project, I’m anticipating that the scarf-like thing I wove will make the best cat blanket ever.

This is a picture of me weaving in action.  My partner took the picture, and I’m sort of glad that it highlights how I’m learning to change yarns.  See that big thick blue stripe smack dab in the middle?  That’s because I didn’t move the rigid heddle when I was packing the end of one length of blue yarn.

There it is!  It hasn’t been blocked (or fulled?) in these pictures.  It is dripping in my bathtub right now, but I wanted to get some before and after pictures.  I’m sorry that I didn’t get the snaps done in the bald light of day;  I was practicing the piano and got sidetracked.

I experimented a lot last night.  I don’t know if it was the exhaustion from working or the exhilaration of weaving, but I felt like a master of creation as I wove.  Of course, my edges are messy and my tension ain’t perfect, but I’m mighty pleased with the results.  Take the the picture above:  I wanted to replicate a pattern on a beautiful hemp scarf Colette had woven in silvery blue hemp.  I don’t know if I did it, but I really like the results.

I slipped some stitches as well.  Rather, I did something similar to slipping stitches;  I maneuvered the shuttle underneath the lower part of the shed so I could see what would happen.  Apparently, the warp gets longer and stripier.

This is when I maneuvered the shuttle over top the shed.  I also started playing with that haystack effect.  See how I wrapped smaller amounts of warp in the green part in the lower part of the picture?  It’s really cool, what you can do with this kind of medication.  I’m really excited to learn more about manipulating these effects.

And last but not least, some plain tabi weave.

Oh, dear.  I’m really tired and think I should rest up for tomorrow.  I’m going to rummage through my stash and find my next weaving project.  I see visions of plaid rumbling behind my eyes.

Looming Ahead

Hello internet!

I’ve not been posting properly lately.  I used to think that posting every three days was reasonable, and I really got it done – but then, the past two weeks happened.  I got a job serving, and wouldn’t you know that I worked 97 hours last week (plus other commitments doing other things).  Not only did I not knit very much, but I also barely managed to keep eating properly.  It wasn’t a winning couple of weeks chez nous.  But!  I did finish those Belle Epoque socks.

I decided to disregard the pattern instructions and knit the lace pattern down to the toe.  I did that by decreasing until the 1×1 rib was used up, and then I started decreasing the faux cable.  I think it worked out really nicely, and I’m glad I listened to my gut.  They fit perfectly, and the yarn is really nice and light.

I’m pretty pleased with the finished project regardless of my previous grumpiness.  I’m pleased I don’t have to knit on it anymore!

In other super exciting news, guess what I’m going to do with this yarn after Friday?

Why, yes!  That is Hemp for Knitting from Lana Knits in Sprout and Olive colourways!  How did you know?

I’m going to purchase (get this) a Cricket loom this Friday.  Come hell or high water – I’m so, so excited!  I’m going to use the lighter green for the warp and the darker green for the weft.

Sunset on my Insteps

There it is, folks:  my gusset decreases.  By my (rough) calculations, I have about 8 rounds until I can stop decreasing and start knitting the rest of the foot.

I am (in my most secret of hearts) an enormous and fierce complainasaurus, and I’m not loving the pattern.  It’s kind of like that part in The Fighter when those over educated folks tell Amy Adams and Mark Wahlberg’s characters about the cinematography in Belle Epoque (1992); over my head and wildly fruitless.

It’s not that it’s complicated.  In fact, the pattern could fairly easily be changed into a 2 row repeat with a lil’ something extra every 8 rows.  It’s the thoughtless editing that kills me.  I get exactly what Morgan-Oakes was going for:  a nice faux cable with a bit of faggoting on ‘ere side with lots of 1×1 ribbing for stretchiness and fit.  I get it, and I do think that the finished product would look sweet if it were written out exactly the way I wanted it to be.  In all fairness, the pictures in the book do show the sock as written;  there are just some odd bits that, in a parallel universe, I would fix.

You see, I made a (futile) commitment to myself at the top of the year to start knitting other people’s patterns.  I have a square head, and I know that, and so, most of the time I make up what I’m doing.  I have many calculators for that reason.  I have a colouring book for that reason.  I even have lead pencils for that reason.  But in music, in knitting, and in life, sometimes you have to concede that there is a lot to learn from what other people are doing, so I elected to knit 11 patterns that I didn’t design.

I’ve cheated remorselessly on this commitment.  For instance, I’ve added 1×1 ribbing to this sock, and I’ve ignored gauge because I’m a maverick and sometimes mavericks can’t help but maverick.  But the cast on number of stitches needs to be right!  And by right, I mean that the stitch pattern shouldn’t require that there be a strip of two knit stitches on ‘ere side of the sock legs.  That’s right:  on both sides of each sock there is a strip of two knit stitches where there should be a 1×1 rib.  See that seam-like thing in the picture below?

The fastest way I can amend this problem is to cast on two fewer stitches per sock;  that way, the k1,p1 rib which is then followed by the p1,k1 rib will stay constant by ending with a purl stitch and everything would remain beautiful and perfect in the entire word.  The slightly slower way would be to add another stitch to the faux cable.  I can slip four stitches!  I can!  I swear I can!  I have lots of faults, but dishonesty isn’t one of them.  And again, the picture in the book does show the same seam.  I had just assumed that it was due to a tension issue.

I guess my biggest regret isn’t cheating on my commitment one more time.  This is causing me so much disatisfaction that I’m near to ripping the whole thing out and starting over.

One think that’s keeping me content is this yarn.  Why oh why was it discontinued?

100% wool… ah.

Edgy

Isn’t it beautiful?  I’ve been knitting on the lace edge so I don’t have to deal with sewing.  It’s been a learning process, but it’s coming along.

You know what else is coming along?

My tea cozy!

A Thorough Update

I’ve been a bad, bad blogger lately, and I haven’t been thorough whatsoever in detailing my knitting projects.

Project the First:

The buttons weren’t sewn on when those pictures were taken, but they sure are now.  I’ll take another picture tomorrow, so you can see how awesome these are in person.

I knit the armbands with the handspun and hand dyed yarn that I got from a friend of a friend of an old woman who used to live in my borough.  Look at the tag;  that yellow yarn was dyed with turmeric and alum.

The yarn was over spun and dyed in an odd way.  I love how you can see her learning process.  As she learned, her yarn became more delicate and more consistent.  The dyes took better and you really got to see what she was going for.  That yellow yarn was all in pieces when I got to it.

I really like the symbolism of using her work as well.  The idea of a person becoming fascinated with creation (as opposed to participating in consumerism) at a late age at least twenty years ago simply points to how separated most of us have become from the creation of tangible and useful textile art.  I love that both she and I have had the same yearning to make cloth.

Project the Second

I’ve knit quite a lot of the ribbing, but I won’t know if I’m ready to bind off the ribbing until I try it on.  I’ve been crazy busy as of late, so I haven’t plunked myself down to slip all those stitches onto waste yarn to try it on yet again.  I think I’ll aspire to do that tomorrow.

Project the Third

The neckerchief is 7 inches long, and I think I’m going to knit for at least another inch.  I went to a bluegrass night at the Barfly in Montreal, and I dropped a bunch of stitches.  I ended up having to rip back about 3 rows to figure out exactly where I was supposed to be.  It’s looking lovely, though.

Project the Fourth

I don’t have any pictures of this project (my awesome flaming tea cozy) because I haven’t made any progress on it.  Alas!  I am dreaming of needle felting all over that thing.  Yeehaw!

Project the Fifth

I’ve recorded the first song I’ve ever written on my music project blog, ClairelyNow.  Please listen and let me know what you think!