Friday, February 19, 2010

Woven Shibori Scarf

I love this scarf - I love everything about this scarf!

finished woven Shibori scarf

1. I love the weaving.
This was the scarf I made in
Syne Mitchell's "Shibori Weaving" class at the Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat. The process is like traditional Shibori - creating a resist by stitching and/or tying a pattern into the cloth, and then overdyeing - except that in this process, you weave the pattern threads (that will later be gathered up tight and tied) into the cloth as you weave the cloth! The background is plain weave, with Shibori shots created by pick up sticks.

heddle down position
When the heddle is down, the pick up stick behind the reed is up on its edge, and a clever little shed pops up above.

heddle up position
When the heddle is up, the pick up stick is scooted up flat behind the reed and a secret little shed drops down below! It's so cool!
Here's what it looks like from above - the white threads are polyester kite twine!

beautiful woven cloth with shibori shots

2. I love the yarn.
I used superwash merino sock yarn hand dyed by Lisa of Dicentra Designs. The colors were so vibrant and created such a fun plaid-like effect, that I was sad to think of throwing it in the dyepot! (It's OK, I went back and bought some more. But now that I've seen what can happen, will I weave it plain or Shibori dye it again?!)

sock yarn

And the finished scarf has such a soft, sleek feel and such a lovely drape that it seems like a luxury fiber.

3. I love the dyeing.
Here's the poor thing all tied up tight and ready to slip into the dye pot for a black over-dye.

all tied up and ready for the dye pot

I even knotted the fringe several times to get some random color splashes there. The tied scarves went into the pot at the end of class, so we didn't get to see the results til the next day, but next morning I took my sad little black bundle, sat down and snipped the ties, and was stunned by the spectacular results.

pattern #1 and 2

pattern #8 flashy fringes

pattern #4 pattern #6

4. I love wearing this scarf!
It's beautiful, it's comfy, and it makes me feel fabulous. Thanks Syne for a great class, and thanks to Suzanne and Cornie for the fantastic Madrona Winter Retreat.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

finished another scarf!

scarf with painted skein warp

Finally posting last week's scarf - Painted-Skein Warp:Random Colors - woven in class at Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat. The warp was hand dyed by our fabulous and fun teacher, Syne Mitchell.

the warp colors show in the fringe

the yarn used for the warp

I highly recommend her classes - her instructions are clear and well organized, her style is supportive, relaxed, and encouraging, she's fun and funny and just plain nice (as well as being very knowledgeable and skilled and talented).

Weaving tech - 2 and 1/2 yard warp, 8 dent reed, plain weave

The trick with the painted warp is to choose a weft of a darker shade so the eye will be drawn to the colors in the warp. Then beat loosely so there is a bit of space in the weave (and a bit of drape as well). Pretty cool effect. Now I want to try some of the other ways of warping painted yarns and do color blocks or stripes - so much fun to be had!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Spaced Out Felted Scarf is finished!

finished scarf

The scarf is done! It never got much smaller, so it's a wee bit too long for me, but it works if I fold it in half and thread the ends through - Janet Dawson style (though it will need a very cold day!) - or perhaps one of my taller family members will want it?

it's a wee bit long for metwisted and wrapped

Felting tech - looking closely at the yarns, I realized something that I already knew (doh!) - loosely plied or unplied yarns felt much more readily than multi-plied or tightly plied yarns (that's Cascade 220/warp on top and Crystal Palace Taos/weft on the bottom)
Yarn comparison

And some close-ups of the felting (no, my wefts were not packed that tight - the yarn just shrunk that much!)
felting close-upfelting and color

It was a fun experiment, and I kind of like the scarf, even if it makes me feel really short!

So now I'm packing for Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat where I will be taking classes from Syne Mitchell and weaving my next two scarves!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Felting Day

ready to felt, originally uploaded by Dragonfly Hill.

Today I felted the Spaced-Out Felted Scarf - in the washing machine (yikes almighty) and it was an adventure!

First we have the scarf, fresh off the loom, at 8 and 1/2 inches wide and 107 inches long.

spaced out scarf before felting

It doesn't look as bad as I thought it would, but it is still a little loosey goosey and threads are apt to scootch this way and that without provocation. I did have fun twisting the fringes with my nifty new fringe twister - yes, it is shaped like a floofy little sheep who romps around in circles as the fringes twist (I am easily amused, I guess).

nifty new fringe twisterpretty fringes

The scarf was all carefully wrapped in kitchen towels, rolled into a tidy bundle, tied up tight with the legs from old pantyhose, and slipped into hot soapy water in the washer. This is a top loader, so I decided to check every two minutes, and good thing I did. Apparently, my ties weren't as secure as I'd hoped and towels, ties, and scarf were all merrily slooshing around loose! Fortunately, it was not long enough for disaster, so I re-wrapped and double tied (picture at top of post), and sent it all in for another two minutes.
not quite even!

Now one end was clearly more felted than the other (no that's not just my out of focus photography), so I re-wrapped and rolled it up from the opposite side and agitated for another minute. Then, re-wrapped and folded it in half, rolling the ends inside to get more felting in the middle of the scarf, and another minute in the washer.

Measurements after rinsing - It shrunk to 5 inches in width, but only lost a few in length - down to 105 inches (drat, it's still a bit long for me, but I can't really felt any more or
the weft sections will turn into little bricks).

All in all, I think in the future I'll just skip the washing machine and felt by hand (
though it takes a bit longer than the washing machine). It's a fun process, nice exercise even, and much easier to control where the felting happens, and how much shrinkage you get (mostly, sort of, up to a point). Actually it looks like the Crystal Palace (weft) loves to felt and shrink and does so quickly and eagerly, while the Cascade 220 is a bit more stand-offish.

Scarf is now on the drying rack - finished photos on Monday (tomorrow I'm off to Special Olympics basketball with my stepdaughter)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Spaced Out Felted Scarf

For my first February scarf, I've been making a "Spaced-Out Felted Scarf" from the Schacht newsletter, Winter 2008 (also in "Spin-Off" winter 2008).
Warped my little Cricket loom and started weaving Wednesday night. It seemed like it should be easy, and the design was suggested for beginners, but it turned out to be a tricky little rascal. The warp has one inch gaps, and so does the weft (accomplished with nifty little cardboard spacers).

funky cloth beam

This gappyness makes even weaving practically impossible.
Things shift and slide and refuse to stay balanced and straight!

Ah well, next it must be rolled in a towel and felted, so who knows what will happen (I've done some felting, I know how mysterious this process can be).

Tech notes - 8 dent reed, 120 inch warp (yes, very long, but it will shrink when felted, I hope), 9 inches in the reed (8 ends. then skip an inch pattern), 40 ends total . Warp is all Cascade 220 (solids and heathers).
Weft is Crystal Palace Yarns "Taos" - used 1 ball (128 yds.) plus a shuttle full from a second ball (OK, so I forgot to measure).
Wove 12 picks (a bit more than an inch) , then skipped an inch.

Since I'm picking up my fringe twister tomorrow, you'll have to wait til Monday to see what happens when the scarf like object gets thrown in the washer, but here's my proof that it is off the loom by my Friday afternoon (see the slanting afternoon sun)(and the sun-loving weaver cat) deadline!

Off the loom in the afternoon sun with cat

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Silk Garden Scarf

Silk Garden Scarf, originally uploaded by Dragonfly Hill.

I recently took a beginning weaving class, and used these new skills to weave a scarf with my little Cricket loom. Now, thanks to Janet Dawson's "Scarf-a-Day" blog, will embark on "a scarf a week" challenge for the month of February!

The first day

So here I am, doing a blog. Crazy, huh!