Friday, December 30, 2005

Red scarf

Here's the scarf I wove for my mother-in-law for Christmas. This one turned out perfectly. After all the grief I had with the previous one I made (which I haven't posted yet) this one was completely and entirely perfect from beginning to end. And I like the color combo.

I can't help myself with the Fiber Terrorist pose.

In other news, my brain has ceased, for the moment anyway, its Death Before 40 campaign (see below). I even went running this morning. I'm human again!!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

My brain, she trying to kill me

I haven't posted anything in a while, but that should change now that most people have their Christmas goodies in hand. The other reason for my silence, though, is that I have had EIGHT migraine headaches in the last 48 hours or so. My current theory is that my brain would rather kill me than turn 40.

In the meanwhile, before my head explodes all over my desk, here's another necklace I crocheted-- I made similar ones for two friends.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Cool site

I just found this site called Frapper (Friend Mapper) where all your peeps can map themselves on your map, and then you can look at the map and see just how popular you are. Heh. So go ahead! Click and Frapp!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Another poncho

Here's the poncho I made for my one-year-old niece. Her name is Ruby, so she got the ruby-red yarn. This Color Waves yarn is so yummy!

And here are the two ponchos together.

Monday, December 12, 2005


I swore to myself that I would sit my ass down this weekend and attend to the weaving project that had paralyzed me so badly. I'd gotten some good advice from my weaving list on what the problem was (different tension on the problem area which required that section to be manually tightened up--such an easy solution for a problem that had me stopped in my tracks), so it was just a matter of forging ahead.

And I'm happy to say that, after many broken threads and MUCH swearing , I finished the blasted thing last night. I took it off the loom and literally threw it across the room--I couldn't look at it one more second. But this morning I sucked it up and gave it a good washing with much agitation, in hopes of getting all those loose threads to line up correctly. We'll see how it looks when I get home from work tonight. And I even spent a couple of hours last night winding on the warp of the last weaving project I need to do before Christmas. It'll be a stretch, but I think I can do it.

No photos until after Christmas. No peeking!!

I will start working on Christmas '06 in January. I will.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Since no one in my family ever checks this blog, I feel fairly certain that I can safely post the following pictures. This is a poncho I made for my three-year-old niece for Christmas, from a pattern I got here, using Lion Brand Color Waves yarn. It's supposed to fit a 3- to 7-year-old, so with any luck the child won't be swimming in it too badly. I'm just about done with one for my other niece, the one-year-old, so I'll post photos when that's done. It's super warm and cozy ... almost makes me want to make one for myself.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Apropos of nothing

Since I'm still in the throes of my crippling crochet paralysis (see below), I'll just post this photo and ask: why, WHY, does the national Christmas tree always have to be made to look as if someone put a gigantic condom on a perfectly lovely pine tree?

I swear we have the fugliest tree in the country. Every year, no matter who's in charge.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Baby blanket

Here's a blanket I made for my youngest niece, who's now 14 months old, before she was born. I got the pattern here. You can see it on the cover! The pattern called for silk, but come on, who has that kind of cash laying around. So I found a nice neutral tencel and doubled it up. It has a really nice drape and a silkish feel. I was quite pleased with it. You may be able to tell that the actual baby has been allowed nowhere near the thing.

In other news: I am completely freaked out about the holidays. This happens to me every year, and every year I swear I'm going to work on stuff throughout the coming year, and then I get distracted, and before I know it, it's December again.

I know what I'm making or getting for most people, but I have NO IDEA what to do for my mother and my sister. I have a project for someone (who reads this blog so who must remain nameless) on my home loom, but it's giving me problems. I know it's probably not as bad as I think it is, but I swear, since it's not going perfectly it has me totally paralyzed. I can't do anything on any project. I just sit staring at the tv all evening, knowing I have all these projects to work on, and totally unable to get off my ass and do some work. I need a kick in the behind. And some ideas. Gah!!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Crochet with wire

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving! I sure did. It was a vegan feast, complete with veggie cornucopias. Yummy!!

Anyway, I promised pix of pretty things when I returned, so here goes. This is my first attempt at crocheting with wire (actually, this is the first successful attempt -- there were three others that didn't turn out so well). I made it for my sister for her birthday, which was the day before Thanksgiving. She wore it on Thanksgiving, and again when I took this photo, so she must like it.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The holidays are upon us

I'm off to Seattle tomorrow for a week of hanging out with my sister and viciously smooching my nieces' cheeks. I'll post pix of pretty things upon my return. Happy Tofurkey Day, everybody!!

Monday, November 07, 2005

The best laid plans


Sometimes you just have to look at a project as a learning experience. Especially when you're trying to learn the quirks of a new piece of equipment.

This weekend I tied on the chenille scarf warp. This involves taking inch-wide sections and tying them to the apron rod at the front of the loom. When you advance your weaving it gets dragged down and around the cloth beam at the front of the loom.

The next step is to weave a header. Usually you use a nice thick yarn and put two or three passes of yarn (or picks) through and then beat them down. This evens all the threads out so they come down evenly through the reed. In the case of this scarf, the header is eight inches long and will eventually become the fringe.

Ok, so this is where things got hairy for me. The threads behind the heddles were so incredibly twisted (and I don't know why that is) that they were butting up against the heddles and causing all kinds of problems. So I did what the good people on my weaving listserv always advise, and I inserted lease sticks back between the threads, and each time I advanced the warp, I moved those sticks back. What this does is keep the twists on the other side of the sticks, far away from the heddles. This was working fairly well.

However, this new loom of mine is apparently slightly different from the Baby Wolf I'm used to. I wound onto the back in the wrong direction. This became abundantly clear when the pawl in the back kept springing off of the brake mechanism. So my husband and I wound the entire warp all the way forward, then wound it all the way back onto the back beam, in the right direction. This solved the braking problem, but now I have a whole mess of threads that are not under the right tension. This picture shows how, even with the tension cranked really tightly, half of the threads are dangling. The lease sticks aren't helping, and I don't know what else to do.

Can this scarf be saved?? I don't know yet, but I'll post the gory details when I find out.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Chenille scarf -- slow progress

Things might slow to a crawl on this here little blog, what with the approach of Christmas. I'll be busy, oh yes, but I don't necessarily want people to see what goodies I'm working on until after the holidays. I'm just saying.

Anyway, I did a little more work on the scarf this weekend. The next step is to thread the heddles according to the pattern you're working with. As you can see, the alternating color scheme starts to become more obvious at this point.

Then you have to sley the reed. This means taking each thread, or in this case two threads at a time, and pulling them through the reed. The reed serves to keep the threads at the proper width, and it also is what you use to beat the heck out of the threads that you actually weave with.

So now this is what it looks like from the top. The next step is to tie the whole thing onto the front, and then it's time to start weaving! With any luck that'll be this coming weekend.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Chenille scarf - WIP

I didn't get much done on the scarf this past weekend, but I did get to a crucial stage. Remember the two mystery crosses on the warp? Here's where they come in really handy. The cross at the bottom of the warp goes through the "raddle," which is the piece of wood with the nails, which are one inch apart. What you do is cross the threads in bunches that correspond to how many ends per inch you have. This scarf will be about 11 inches wide, and there are 16 ends per inch, so I changed the cross every 16 threads, 11 times. What this does is help to spread the warp out to its proper width as you wind the warp onto the back, and it also minimizes crossed and tangled threads, the bane of every weaver. Also, when you wind onto the "back beam," you put in layers of heavy construction paper so that the threads don't sink into the wrong layer. Another method of maintaining the proper tension and trying to keep the blasted threads from tangling.

The other cross can be seen where the "lease sticks" are. For this cross, which usually can be seen at the top of a warp, you want to cross every thread. This is where each thread will be taken and put through the "heddles," which is how the pattern will eventually emerge. So the next step, which I hope to start this weekend, is threading the heddles, a laborious process that takes a lot of concentration. But it's part of my own personal psychosis that this is the part that I like the best.

Monday, October 24, 2005


This is the first thing I've ever tried to create without a pattern (besides baby blankets). It's a crab, in case you can't tell. I'd love feedback -- what works and what doesn't? As usual I'm wrestling with whether to give him a mouth. Or more legs, for that matter.

He's a little out of focus -- maybe he's a soft-shell crab. Heh.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The littlest menagerie

Here we have the members of the Columbia Road Gang, who are recruiting. They hope to have a monkey, a skunk, and a hippo join their merry little band soon.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Just in time for Halloween, here's an eyeball, complete with veins and nerve endings. I tested this pattern for Regina at Monster Crochet, and had a blast doing it. She does very cool stuff.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Amigurumi frog ... or alien

These little critters are so darn cute. I'm just delighted with them. Again, here's the original pattern. I really can't decide if he needs a mouth or not. I'm leaning toward not ... although it does give him a certain alien quality.

Monday, October 17, 2005

That's better

This weekend I wound the warp for Take Two of the chenille scarf saga. Already I like these colors better. I'm still not crazy about working with chenille though. It's too ... slippery ... or something. I may need to find a way to use ten pounds of rayon chenille in some other way.

I thought I'd document the weaving process with this scarf. I won't go into excruciating detail, but I think the process is pretty interesting. The first thing you have to do is "wind the warp." You figure out how long your warp needs to be (in this case 2 3/4 yards, which I rounded up to 9 feet -- hard to believe that this will end up being a 65-inch scarf, not counting fringe -- there's a lot of waste yarn involved with weaving). A warping board makes this process very easy, especially when you have a warp like this one, with alternating colors. In an ideal world, the warp gets put on the loom in the exact order that it was wound. Ideally.

Then what you do is tie the warp in a few strategic places. Where it crosses at the top right is the most important place to tie, because that's where you'll eventually take the individual threads and put them through the heddles. If you lose this cross, life gets really ugly. Ask any weaver how many times she's forgotten to tie the cross, and the answer will never be larger than "one." The ties at either end are important, because you'll be sliding a rod through one end, and cutting the other end, and again, you don't want to have to figure out where the ends are, one thread at a time. I also have a cross at the lower left of the warp. This is because I "dress the loom" from the back to the front, and I need that cross so I know how to fill up the raddle. That's for next week though. The other ties mostly keep the threads from sliding around too much. You want to always keep your warp as even as possible.

After you tie the warp to your satisfaction, you take it off of the warping board and make a chain out of it, kind of like crocheting with your hand. Chaining also keeps things from moving around too much, especially if you won't be going directly from the warping board to the loom -- nine feet of warp can get a little unwieldy. This is as far as I got this weekend.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Amigurumi elephant

Here's a little amigurumi elephant that I made a few days ago, using the pattern from this site. Amigurumi is a Japanese style of crochet, all in the round -- I'd never heard of it before a couple of weeks ago, but I fell in love with the style. I love these little fellows and have every intention of making them all. They're really easy to make, and they're just so darn cute. And, as an added bonus, I finally have a way of using of the twelve tons of yarn I have laying around. Stay tuned for a slew of pix of various critters.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Thread choker ... thingy

Here's a little something I worked up over the weekend, using a pattern from the new Interweave Knits Crochet edition. The original pattern called for hemp. I didn't have any hemp laying around, but I do have loads of thread, so I doubled it up. Seemed to work out just fine.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

WIP -- Blue insanity

The Blue Insanity is now big enough to hide under! I have 10 of 21 rows sewn together, and since this photo was taken a week ago I finished another row and washed and blocked it, but it won't get sewn on until this weekend. Eleven down, 10 to go!

It looks like it's finally big enough to keep me toasty-ish this winter.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Popular item

The bib I made for my niece was a big hit, both with her and with friends and coworkers I showed it to. Here are the second and third ones I made for two coworkers. The top one was for a shower for a baby whose gender is not yet known.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Meet Furlonky

That's the name my three-year-old niece gave this pig, after declaring that he had "mud on his feet." I know these aren't taken at the best angles, but I didn't take these photos.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Zombie mouse

Here's a little mouse I finished last night. I found the pattern here. He was very easy to make, and I have plans to make all the other little critters found on that page. I think he's very cute, but he does suffer from the Terrible Zombie Arms.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Chenille scarf -- Take One

Here's the finished product (seen on the loom here). I got some good pointers from the weaving listserv I belong to, so with any luck, Take Two will be way better. I'm keeping this one for myself. It's not worthy of being given away!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Card weaving

I went through a brief card-weaving phase last year. I attempted to teach myself how to do it, and then broke down and took a class, where I discovered that I was doing everything the hard way. Figures. After the class I proceeded not to do any more card weaving at all. I could never figure out what to do with the bands.

Headbands? Yeah, maybe. Belts? Eh, if I wanted to spend my time at Ren Fests, maybe. Supposedly you can sew them together to make bags or rugs or wall hangings. I may revisit card weaving at some point, but currently I just simply don't have the time.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Fun with double weave

Here's my first, and to date only, attempt at double weave. This is a very cool method wherein you can weave two totally separate pieces at the same time. This is a sampler which shows all the ways that double weave can be used: open on one end (so you could, say, weave a blanket that's twice as wide as your loom), open on both ends (thus allowing the piece to be hung -- notice that at the bottom of the piece, the white is in the front, but at the top, the red is in the front), completely closed (if you wanted to make, say, a pillow), or using "pick-up sticks" (this is how the pattern at the top was done -- you use a stick to "pick up" the threads from the lower layer and bring them to the top). It's a very cool technique and one that I plan to try again.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Reupholstery, anyone?

These were some super fugly chairs at our cabin in West Virginia. There was an article on weaving upholstery fabric in Handwoven magazine a while back, so I thought, what the hell. I think they're just smashing now, if I do say so myself. And now I sit on one of them to weave at my cabin loom.