Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fall Colors, Fall Sweater

Yeah! My sweater is finished just in time for fall weather!
My sweater is finished at last!

This is the sweater I started spinning for last year (details in my March post titled "A scarf for Spring and some colorful spinning"). The spinning uses a "fractal stripe" technique I learned from Janel Laidman in class at Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat back in 2008 (see Spin-Off magazine, Summer 2007 for her article). It is fun and easy and gave me some fun (and sometimes unpredictable) striping on this sweater (thanks in part to the fabulous dye work by Lisa of Dicentra Designs).

colorway Cinnamon (my favorite)
Cinnamon fiber and yarn

colorway Madrona (my favorite)
Madrona colorway
(OK, it's true, I love them both)

And this is how it all began
top down sweater begins

I used an "unpattern" - the "Top-Down Pullover with Raglan Sleeves" by Karen Alfke to size, design, and construct the sweater. An "Unpattern" is essentially a generic recipe/knitting sequence, that you plug in your own sweater measurements, gauge, and design details. Then you do a little simple math, follow the clearly structured steps of construction, and away you go.

And now it's done. Cinnamon colorway at the top, and Madrona at the bottom.
I love love love this sweater!
I love this sweater!
Thanks Janel, Lisa, and Karen!

Friday, September 17, 2010

The End of the Summer Blues

Well, this is the summer wrap-up, so it's going to be a long one!
spinning blue (and green, and purple) the banjo strap log cabin weave scarf
This is so weird - blue is not one of my colors, I'm a fan of fall colors - oranges, golds, olive greens, warm browns - but here I find myself with a summer's worth of blue projects! (OK, some of them tend towards green, and there's a bit of gold and purple here and there, but still . . .)

Part 1 - spinning blue
A Crosspatch Creations Signature Blend layered batt with lovely textures of Romney wool, Bombyx silk, and Tussah silk (colorway "Gwen and Her Daughters").
Crosspatch Creations Signature Blend

A Crosspatch Creations Rainbow Roving blended in sweet tweedyness with lovely soft CVM wool (California Varigated Mutant sheep - it's fine, really, they're not radioactive or anything), Tussah silk, and silk noil (colorway "Victoria into the Woods" - OK, it's green - but it's got some blue bits in it!).
CVM fine wool, Tussah, and silk noil

Tussah silk in the "Kelp" colorway by Tactile (love this stuff)
Tussah silk

Bombyx silk in the "Evergreen" colorway by Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks (sorry about the glare, that's the shine of Bombyx silk for you)
Bombyx silk

And a 50/50 blend of Merino and Bombyx in "Scarab" colorway from Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks
Merino and Bombyx silk (50/50)

Now I just have two decisions to make
1. Am I going to ply these or use them as singles?
2. What am I going to make? (I'm seeing some kind of a warm textured cardigan, maybe)

Part 2 - Weaving Blue
Rigid Heddle Weaving (Schacht Cricket loom) - Log Cabin Weave

This pattern is so much fun! I learned it from the Schacht Spindle Newsletter (scroll down the linked page to Spring 2005 - the instructions are for a table runner, but it's easy enough to narrow it down for a scarf).
I used some yummy O-Wool Balance (50/50 Merino and Cotton) in Gold and Teal
Here's the warp threading pattern (bottom shed is just the opposite)

threading pattern for log cabin weave

and when you weave it with the same sequence of colors in the weft, you get this
weaving the log cabin scarf

Because of the threading pattern, you end up with a double color at each block transition, which creates this cool outline/shadow thing.
log cabin weave scarf
Weaving tech -
8 dent reed, 7 inches in the reed, 56 ends (7 groups of 8 ends in pattern), 6 foot warp on loom,
Off loom - shrunk to 6 1/2 inches wide and 5 feet long (including finished fringe - twisted and tied)

Part 3 - Cardweaving Blue
This is a sampler (lesson 1 on Candace Crockett's DVD - it's out of print, but was able to borrow it from the Seattle Weaver's Guild) that turned into my banjo strap. Used 5/2 cotton.
All of these patterns come from the same threading (warp) of the cards!

the banjo strap
even the back looks cool
even the back looks cool

So here's some basic cardweaving - You thread your warp through the cards in a pattern, and tie one end up to some immovable object (the knob to the TV cabinet works well) and the other end attached to your own belt like so (OMG, I'm even wearing blue clothes!)
Card Weaving with Cat #1

Spread the cards a bit and turn them one quarter turn - either towards yourself or away from yourself, depending on the pattern (doesn't it look like my hands are turning really fast?)
Card Weaving with Cat #2

Then, after running the cards forward and back to clear the shed, push the shuttle on through
The shuttle passes through the shed

Use the shuttle to press the weft firmly into place, and turn the cards again. Then, with the weft locked in place, snug it up to even out the selvedge edge.

To turn it into a banjo strap, I had to narrow it down to fit under the keys around the "pot", so I dropped out a card (4 threads) on each side every 4 turns (or so, I may have lost count here and there)
narrowed down to wrap around the banjo pot

And here's how that works on the banjo
it narrows down and wraps around the "pot"

then I did a fun little 4 ply braid on all the loose ends
4ply braids closeup

And then you go to American Banjo Camp where you meet a fellow weaver who wants to make a strap, too!
found a fellow weaver at Banjo Camp!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Summer snippets

Wow! Summer is slipping away already, so here are just a few quick snippits of the last month- shearing alpacas and sheep Angus gets shorn Babe finally gets her shearing finding tadpoles in the frogpond Polliwogs! 
Granddaughter visits for a camping trip to the ocean,
mama deer brings her wee baby around feeding time 
 flickers feed their babies at the suet feeder flicker feeds baby 
 mama raccoon teaches her fuzzy babies to fish for tadpoles! mama raccoon teaches babies to fish 
 tadpoles get legs (that's how long it's been since I last posted!) tadpoles get legs! 
 the elusive salamander finally lets me get a picture (isn't s/he too cute!) salamander in the frogpond! 
 and I do a little weaving here and there, but you'll have to wait for my next post to see what I've been up to. happy summer!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

finished cardwoven strap and some random nature photos

Here's my first cardweaving finally finished. Not long enough to be a banjo strap, but pretty and easy (mostly) and fun (cardweaving details in April post).
finished card woven sample
The front and the back are really different from each other, and I like them both!

Random nature photos (birds, baby spiders, flowers, trees, and more).

First up - birds:
So I've been going through bird feeder suet at an alarming rate (putting out a new one every day!) and thought I would just do a bird count of suet eaters - this is just in one hour of watching (morning).

One large Flicker
Flicker #2

Two sweet little Downy Woodpeckers
Downy Woodpecker #2

Four bold Black Headed Grosbeaks (males and females or maybe youngsters)
Black Headed Grosbeak Black Headed Grosbeak female/youngster?

Five beeping Red Breasted Nuthatches (this might be a youngster - he let me get really close - I think all the parents are teaching their kids how to use the feeders)
Red Breasted Nuthatch #4

Seven greedy Stellars Jays
Stellar's Jay #2

Many (sorry, too many, too fast to count) fast moving
Chickadees (seen here with Downy)
Downy Woodpecker #3 (with Chickadee)
Well, I guess that explains the suet consumption (yes, I do have 3 of the suet feeders out now!)

Next - Baby Spiders: They are everywhere! Every gate has a little hatching (apparently the gate latch provides nice protection for the eggs)
baby spiders in the gate latch closeup

And this is what happens if you accidentally leave your garden gloves out by the compost bins overnight
baby spiders colonize garden glove

And now a few landscape items:
Vine Maple setting seeds
Vine Maple in the morning sun

Dogwoods flowering

sweet sweet scented monster peonies

And finally, what nature photo shoot would be complete without a wee little spotted Bambi
His mom just parks him on the back lawn while she forages (notice there are no photos of my rose flowers)
(what rose flowers?)

Well, tomorrow is shearing day for the Alpaca boys. More later.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rigid Heddle Double Heddle Double Weave!

So here's my crazy double heddle doubleweave sampler!
Doubleweave Sampler
Did this on my Schacht Flip Rigid Heddle loom using double heddles
(Cascade 220 yarn and 10 dent reeds)
What is this crazy thing? How did I get here?

Started out by warping the loom with two heddles.
First, all the threads are pulled through the slots in heddle one (4 threads to a slot - two light and two dark) - warping from the front of the loom here!

then every other light thread is pulled through the hole in the reed/heddle
(OK, on a rigid heddle loom the heddle is the reed too, so when warping, heddle=reed).
two heddles!

Then heddle/reed number two gets sleyed (threaded) with all threads coming through the slots, and every other dark colored thread into the holes.
two heddles!

This dark/light thing is just so I can see what the heck I'm doing (having never done either double heddle or double weave before).

And here it is all warped up and ready to go, looking really too dense and packed with threads, but one set (light) will be woven as a bottom layer and one set (dark) will be the top layer!
two heddles!

So here's how it works:
I've used a pick-up stick to separate out every other light color thread, which then drops down into an extra lower shed when the pick-up stick is flipped up on end (this is looking from the back of the loom)
two heddles!

Then a simple front heddle down gives the second shed for the light color/lower level of the weave
two heddles!
I pushed the stick shuttle in there so you could see the shed - below all the other threads!

Then for the top layer, the first dark thread shed is created by the rear heddle rising up
two heddles!

and finally, another pick-up stick (every other dark thread) and an extra shed pops up
when the pick-up stick is flipped up on end (this is looking from the back of the loom again)
two heddles!
So they don't get done in that order necessarily, it depends on what your final product will be. Anyhow, you end up with 4 different sheds!

So this is what happens:
double wide on the loom
This is a section of double width doubleweave, and I've just pulled the bottom layer over to the side so you can see what's happening. With this technique, I can weave a 30 inch wide shawl on my 15 inch loom!

And here's the two layers woven with separate wefts and kept separate, followed by a bit where the separate wefts wrap around each other
at the edge so the two different pieces are joined.
top and bottom lavers seperate, and joined
(I switched the weft colors to show the join more clearly)

And then, using a single weft, joining on both sides to make a tube
big fat longwise tube

Then joining at both sides and in the middle to make two connected tubes (stuck my hand in the big tube and stuffed fingers into the small tubes so you could see that they are open inside)
longwise tubes

And then, by switching the top and bottom layers, making widthwise tubes
sideways tubes

Then a completely closed tube with a little slot opening in the middle of one side
closed tube with an opening
the patterned area on either side is both layers woven together into a single thick
dense layer.

and finally, back to the single weft double wide with a little hemstitching to finish.
doublewide double weave

And that's my sampler.
Some parts were a little confusing at first, but overall it just wasn't that hard - thanks to my source materials:

1. HandWoven magazine, March/April 2010, "Rigid-heddle doubleweave" by Jane Patrick

2. Textures and Patterns for the Rigid Heddle Loom by Betty Davenport, pgs. 58 - 60

And now I have something to share at my new rigid heddle study group on Sunday!