Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A scarf for Spring and some colorful spinning

I know I said I was done with scarves for a while, but they're so fun, and so easy, and I had this great yarn, and the loom was empty . . .
Spring Scarf

Wove this up on the Cricket loom - 12 dent reed, warped it 6 inches wide, 2 and 1/2 yards long, plain weave. The yarn is Dicentra Designs Nova 100% Merino sock yarn in the "Asparagus" color (used less than 2 skeins).
This is the same yarn I used for my Shibori scarf, just in a different color, and I really wanted to see what kind of a scarf it would make all on its own, and I love it. I love the little Ikat like color shifts in the warp (center section) and the plaid-like stripes and borders.
Spring scarf closeup

The sock weight Merino is light and drapey, and a little warm, but not too warm. And it goes perfectly with my spring coat (it's finally warm enough to call it spring here!).

I'm also back to spinning again (after a fairly obsessive weaving stretch there), working once again on the yarn for a simple, but colorful pullover sweater I'm designing. The fiber is a lovely Blue Faced Leicester dyed "Cinnamon" colors by Lisa of Dicentra Designs. I'm doing a "fractal stripe" method of color spinning (should create small stripes on top of big stripes giving a flowing color shifting kind of effect - I hope).

You start out by taking two equal lengths of fiber, keeping one full width and splitting the other into narrower sections.
split for fractal stripe

The big one gets spun as is (bottom bobbin), and the little ones get spun one at a time end to end (top bobbin).
Cinnamon on the bobbin

Then you ply the two together and get this really cool looking yarn.
Cinnamon fiber and yarn

I'll let you know how it knits up.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Beginning Quilting

So, two very lovely and generous women (Annie and Margaret) in the Vashon Quilt Guild have offered a free beginning quilting class, and I signed up. I am totally amazed at all the work they have put into this - lesson plans, two different sampler quilt layouts (one small, and one full size for over-achievers like me), visual aids, samples, an excellent notebook of info and instructions for each of us, and even homework assignments! After only two sessions I've already learned so much and had so much fun, too.

The first class session was in January, and covered basics of choosing and preparing fabric, measuring and cutting, sewing the all-important 1/4 inch seam, and matching corners - not as easy as it looks! Our first homework quilt block (after we went out shopping for our own fabrics) was a "Nine-Patch Block"
Nine Patch

February was all about 1/2 square triangles, and different methods of creating them. Then the added challenge of matching up not just the corners, but the points as well (grumble, grumble, reach for seam ripper). And pressing the seams in the right directions so they don't cause a major glomp of fabric where many small bits meet up.

In class we made two blocks - "Churn Dash"
and "Flutterwheel"
Churn Dash Fluttewheel

and then the homework blocks (after more grumbling and seam ripping and much careful pinning and some whooping and celebrating) I give you:
"Hovering Hawks" and "Bear's Paw"
Hovering Hawks Bear's Paw

"Jacob's Ladder" and "Windmills all Around"
Jacob's Ladder Windmills All Around

And my personal favorite, "Annie's Block" - a block design created by one of our teachers.
Annie's Block

It is challenging to be so precise, but very satisfying when it all comes out right.

This month it looks like we'll be up for 1/4 square triangles and who knows what surprises our teachers may have for us. A very fun class with a lovely group of people and hopefully, an amazing finished quilt at the end!

And I'm still weaving - just finished another scarf on my wee little Cricket loom (OK family members - it's time to start asking for scarves!), and I bought myself a larger rigid heddle loom - a 15 inch Schacht Flip - that is currently being warped up with some Malabrigo (color "stonechat") for a "painted skein warp" shawl (probably the color block stripes technique).

More later.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Lace Sampler Scarf

Here's the final Scarf-A-Week scarf - a sampler of hand manipulated lace patterns.
Lace Sampler Scarf
Wove this on my little Cricket rigid heddle loom, 12 dent reed, 7 inches wide, 96 inches long, using Rowan Classic Pima Cotton DK yarn. Working all the lace patterns was a little time consuming (every thread has to be picked up/moved over/flipped onto the pick-up stick), but the lacy patterns grow quickly and are very satisfying to create (and I think my brain grew some new cells figuring out these techniques).

I used several sources - the main one being "Pick-Up Leno Patterns for a Wall Hanging" by Betty Davenport (available in an e-book from Interweave) - supplemented by patterns from "Pick-Up on the Rigid Heddle Loom" by Jane Patrick (from the Schacht newsletter, Spring 2009), and Hands On Rigid Heddle Weaving by Betty Linn Davenport.

The patterns:
first picture - knotted fringe, hemstitching, lattice hemstitching, 1/1 Leno, and 2/2 Leno
second picture -
Karelian Lace and 1/1 Mexican Lace
tied fringe, hemstitching, lattice hemstitching, 1/1 Leno Lace, 2/2 Leno Lace Karelian Lace (with weft float border), 1/1 Mexican Lace

third picture - Peruvian Gauze (my favorite - though I'm not sure how useful it may be)
fourth picture - spot lace and Tarascan Lace
Peruvian Gauze (with double weft float border) Spot Lace, Tarascan Lace (with weft float border)

fifth picture - Brooks Bouquet and 2/2 Mexican Lace
sixth picture - Danish Medallion and Norwegian Lace
Brooks Bouquet (with weft float border), 2/2 Mexican Lace Danish Medallion (with weft float border), Norwegian Lace

seventh picture - undulating Mexican Lace and Honeycomb
eighth picture - 1/1 Leno diamond
Undulating Mexican Lace (with weft float border), Honeycomb 1/1 Leno Lace diamond (with weft float border)

ninth picture - Spanish Lace

tenth and last picture - 5 sets of 2/2 Leno with an offset in the center, 1/1 Leno, lattice hemstitching, hemstitching, and more knotted fringe (OK, the fringe is off the top of the picture, but it's there, really)
Spanish Lace (with weft float border) 2/2 Leno Lace offset pattern, 1/1 Leno Lace, lattice hemstitching

Well, there you have it. Totally neglected to take pictures of the process (which is pretty cool), but I'm sure I'll do some lace again, so next time I'll work on documenting the process a little better.

Done with scarf-a-day for now (thanks for the inspiration, Janet!)

next up: beginning quilting class!