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Crafting For Those Dedicated to Experimentation

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Weaving

Keeping the Spin Going

I have not been slacking off!  Ever since my guild meeting I feel like I have been slacking off, sure I’ve been working on weaving an eyeglass case, starting my tapestry, spinning at least 15 minutes a day, prepping for a crochet class and figuring out how I’m going to afford a weaving loom of my own, other than the one in the garage. but I still feel like I’ve been slacking.  Right up until I think about what I have been doing these past 22 days, I’ve done a lot.  I love English Leischester Longwool locks, they are such a dream to spin!  I’ve got three bobbins of ‘Art Yarn’ singles waiting to be plied with some acrylic I’ve got lying around.  I managed to ply the yarn for an experiment I will detail in a later post, I just have to knit it up and figure out the results.  I have the yarns caked, the patterns printed, and the hooks bought for the crochet class I’m teaching (fingerless gloves).

Remember to take the time and reflect on your achievements before pushing to achieve more.  It is wonderful to look toward the next project, but not when you forget to enjoy what you are doing right now.  Craft on, but don’t forget to look back and enjoy what you have created.

Still Practicing

I purchased some Fluorescent fiber from Blue Barn Fiber and spun it up.  I then plied the resulting yarn with a Black Bamboo that I loved spinning.  This created a beautiful yarn that fluoresces under black light, I had to buy a little black light to prove this but it really is amazing.  Well, I loved the yarn but didn’t know what i was going to do with it.  Since I am practicing with my weaving I thought it would be the perfect fiber to practice weaving with.  I love how well, and proudly, my yarn stands out from the warp and the simple pattern is just beautiful.

I am really pleased with how this has turned out, and I will probably purchase more of the fluorescent fiber in the future.  I am very pleased with how my weaving and spinning are going.  I know that I am no where near expert in either craft but I am enjoying myself and learning all the time.

Happy Crafting!

Borrowing a Loom

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I am very fortunate that my guild allows their 4 shaft table loom to be borrowed.  I am having an absolute blast playing with color, threading, patterns, and more.  I will freely admit to being extremely overwhelmed.  The threadings, patterns, combinations, colors, etc. I am just lost with how much can be done with a simple 4 shaft loom…then there is how much and how many different yarns need to be purchased for each pattern.  I do not know how any craft-person can even claim to make a living on weaving, lol.  As a hobby I am finding it almost cost prohibitive.  But I persevere, I hope to find a single project that I am passionate about and work through things from there.  I have a 15″ weaving width to work with and right now I am having fun with some carpet warp and cones I bought on sale.  The picture above is a treadling sequence on the pink warp that was already on the loom using my variegated weft.

Happy Crafting!

Rebecca Mezoff’s Class

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I enrolled in Rebecca Mezoff’s Little Looms course, and then had to obtain a little loom to take advantage of the course, lol.  I tried to order a Hokett Loom from Woolery but ran into stock problems, one 10 day wait I can handle but when the items from the first wait came in they were sold out of something else in my order and wanted me to wait another 10  days!  That wasn’t going to work for me so I cancelled the entire order and picked up a Stash Blaster from another source.

I decided to warp this with some soft cotton twine I had lying around to see what it would do, unfortunately with the yarn I decided to use the results are closer to a balanced weave than a tapestry weave.  Oh well, it is really pretty and a good first try so I will finish my mug rug and try for a tapestry next time.

Happy Crafting!

Progress with my Scar(ves)

leftovers-scarf-with-leno-2scarf-with-leno-1

The top scarf is what happens when I run out of the right color of weft yarn to finish the first scarf and decide to try a totally different effect to create a small second scarf.  This is all made from handspun yarn, which is why I am a little worried that the stripe of green will full in a different way than the rest of the scarf.  If there is more twist or less give to that section it will pucker everything around it, in which case it is a ruffle scarf and I meant to do that, LOL.  This is all made from handspun yarn, which is why I am a little worried that the stripe of green will full in a different way than the rest of the scarf.  If there is more twist or less give to that section it will pucker everything around it, in which case it is a ruffle scarf and I meant to do that, LOLInstead of a one-over leno like I did on the bottom scarf, I decided to do a 2 over leno on this scarf.  The effect is much more dramatic and I am excited to see what it looks like washed as well.  I finished the ends off slightly differently to see if the methods I was taught would work to keep the ends from fraying, if not I will hem the edges.  I tried, and succeeded, to put a slit into the fabric that was woven intentionally.  The effect is neat, but I do need to plan a bit better since the slit is no where near either end but instead somewhere in the middle, lol.

Okay so the bottom image is the scarf that I intended to weave, pre washing.  It is neat, though I believe next time I will leave more room for fringe, and I like how the leno turned out.  The little holes are supposed to be there, if you have seen my last post about the scarf you can see what they looked like while I was weaving them, and I cannot wait to see how they will turn out when I am done.

My selvedges need a lot of work, I know this so this is something I can work on in the future.  I am very pleased with how everything turned out!

Happy Crafting!

Weaving to Distraction

I love crafting.  With the school year already underway I have decided to take my crafting to the next level, alright so I already did that by purchasing a spinning wheel earlier this year.  While preparing for Spinzilla (yes, I am that excited about this) I went through my stash, as I mentioned in an earlier post, and discovered that I have spun up a lot more than I thought I did.  With this in mind, I decided to take the plunge and try to weave up some of my handspun yarn.  The pictures above are of my efforts.  This is my handspun in a 7.5 dent reed on a 10″ ashford sample-it rigid heddle loom.  It is a plain weave with Leno Lace in between.  I can tell you that the warp and weft are all wool, I believe that it is primarily Merino wool.  While this started out as a bag, it might turn into a scarf depending on how it washes up!

I am so happy, and cannot wait to see it finished.  At the same time I am really enjoying the creative process!

Happy Crafting

Rigid Heddle Weaving

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The Enchanted Mountain Weavers Guild has given me the courage to go forth and Weave!  Okay so I joined the guild and they have been teaching me tips and tricks to improve my rigid heddle weaving.  I obtained a 10″ Ashford Sample It Loom, and I was promptly intimidated, I did try a test project but it did not go as smoothly as I would have liked.  With the guild’s help I managed my first scarf and had the courage to go forth and start my second scarf.  This is scarf made with Red Heart Acrylic Yarn, containing a simple pick up pattern.  I am really pleased with the eye scorching results.  The yarn is fluorescent so it looks even neater under a black light!

Big Project Update 4

The Loom is now complete!  I cannot believe how well it turned out.  The pedals still do not work but I managed to rig up some Texsolv Cord and Arrow clips (that are specific to the cord) so that I am able to treadle with them.  I did have to tie them up in a 1, 3, 4, 2 pattern instead of 1, 2, 3, 4.  When I tried tying them up straight from 1-4 then I could not press down on 1 enough to get a good shed (lift the yarn enough to pass the shuttle through).

Before the next part, I have to give you some background information.  I live with my mother on almost 2 acres of land.  We are surrounded by a bit of forest.  The house is built into a hill, which really helps avoid flooding, with a garage under the house and another detached garage.  We use the garage under the house for the car (we share one between us), and have not been using the detached garage for much of anything since my father died 7 years ago.  This is why my weaving has stalled.

While we have not been using the garage, other creatures have decided to move in.  Specifically there are some PVC pipes on a metal rack that a family of mice has decided to move into.  This was actually alright with me for a little while, I set out traps and would play music to keep them away thinking that the traps would get them overnight one of these days.  This worked long enough for me to get a bit of a sampler project done, then one day I looked up and found a face peeking at me out of the PVC pipe.  Well that was the end of my weaving until we get someone in to get rid of the mice.  My bravery only goes so far, telling a patron that I am pretty sure is high that they need to leave the library, keep it down, watch their language; Fine.  Telling a patron that I know is drunk that they need to leave the cashbox right where it is, and taking it out of their hands; Fine.  Mice around when I am trying to relax and concentrate on my weaving; NOT FINE!

Weaving Sample 1Weaving Sample 2

I managed to get these twill samplers woven (it’s a fraction of what I wanted to do but a decent start), and as soon as someone has been in to see about the mice I will put a topcoat on my loom and start planning for next year!

Spring Weaving will be a blast!

Happy Crafting

Warping Board Lessons

One of the ladies in the weaving guild I recently joined mentioned that a warping board is one of the least expensive pieces of equipment you can obtain.  Ow. At over $100 she may be right, but it does stand out as a good example of why weaving is an expensive craft to get started in.  If you have your Mothers or Grandmothers loom and shuttles, or if someone gives you a Loom (Thank you Linda!), then the first purchase is taken care of and the little extra bits can be slowly accumulated over time.  Admittedly, a warping board starts around $100, if you want a bobbin winder they are around $130, if you need some shuttles the wood ones start around $30+, so on and so forth.  There are a few more necessities but these are the ones that make it difficult to begin if you are lacking them.

I love these old crafts, it brings me a great deal of joy to know that I can accomplish a skill that young ladies have been working on for centuries.  That being said, I am also a modern girl and I really like my technology.  I managed to find, online and through Interweave press, plans for a warping board made out of PVC pipes.  I put this together, thanks to my local hardware store which cut the pieces for me, and took it to my first guild meeting/class.  This prompted the comment about how a warping board is one of the least expensive pieces.  For that first lesson where I wound about 80 ends of worsted weight yarn to sley my rigid heddle reed for a scarf, the board worked perfectly.  There may have been a tiny bit of bending, but not enough to effect the quality of my end product.

With this bit of success, and my loom sanded/painted/polished, I decided to try for something a little more difficult, I wanted to wind the warp for my 50 inch loom.  Due to the simple mathematics I had decided to wind my warp in 5 inch weaving segments of 50 ends (10 ends per inch over 5  inches is 50 ends).  The first five inches went wonderfully, I tied it off, created the choke points and did the crochet chain thing.  The first five inches are great.  I then tried the second five inches, at 46 ends in disaster struck and things started to bend, the top came loose and I was not happy.  I had done a counting marker so the first 40 were salvaged but the warping board was not going to work over the long term.   A little gorilla glue, okay a lot of gorilla glue, and hopefully the problem is solved.

Crafting can be very fulfilling.  There are some shortcuts that may work just fine, I have high hopes for the plastic shuttle and the bobbin winder that works on my cordless drill, but some may not work at all.  If this warping board works, then even with the glue it cost me under $20.  If it does not work, then I have learned an important lesson about what will and will not work, for under $20.

Happy Crafting!

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