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.