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.