Friday, October 31, 2014

Learning

So... I was told handwashing a woven project in hot water with a bit of wool wash will make the yarns bloom and the selvedges even out. That didn't really happen with my scarf. After handwashing I still thought the weave was too flimsy, or to use the weaving term, sleazy, so I put the scarf in the washing machine for a bit. That tightened up the weave and the selvedges nicely, and also made the scarf the thickness of a blanket. It also seems to have washed out the blue – the scarf started out charcoal gray (#8400) and silver gray (#8401) and ended up mushroom gray. Ah well, at least it's windproof.

Cricket Scarf FO

I'm still happy about the fringe, my first twisted fringe, and its A-B-A-B-B-A pattern. I like it much better than the simple overhand knot tassel that knitters frequently use. Hm... there"s no reason a knitter couldn't borrow this technique.

Having come to weaving from knitting, I was surprised by the amount of loom waste. Intellectually I knew there would be loom waste, but it still triggered a certain amount of thrifty clucking. What to do with so many leftover bits? Even discounting the lost yarn from warping the loom incorrectly, there was the lost yarn on the cloth end and on the warp end of the loom, and from spreading the warp. All necessary, so this newbie weaver will simply have to adjust.

Loom waste

Although the loom waste was amazing, I didn't have nearly as much draw in as I thought I might. I think I need to increase my tension for weaving. I'm sure wool yarn can take it, less certain about how other fibers would behave.

I was also surprised by the allocation of time for the project – pretty much equal amounts of time spent on warping, weaving, and finishing. Knitters may swatch, knit, and finish, but the majority of time is spent knitting. Which is another way of saying weaving creates fabric much faster than knitting and uses yarn much faster. Bad news for a slow spindler if ever handspun is to be woven! But, onward.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ready to Wash

After weaving, concerns about unraveling come to the forefront. To finish the raw ends of the scarf I made 2x2 twisted fringe, then realized that left a tail on the selvedge. Oops. Next time I'll hide that within the weaving.

Ready to wash

Some people enjoy twisting; I don't, and can see why people use a hair "braider" for the task (did not know there is such a gadget). By beginner's luck, although the pattern as written has the wrong number of ends for 2x2 twisted fringe, my mod added the right number of ends for the fringe to work out perfectly. I left long tails on the fringe on purpose.

So, the scarf is ready to wash!

Fall Practice

After assembling the Cricket loom, which was straightforward, it took me three tries to warp it correctly. But warp it I did! Rather than use the Nature Spun that came with the loom, I used pale gray Cascade 220 from stash and the 8-dent heddle that comes with the loom, following the Cricket Scarf draft with three added repeats. I wound a stick shuttle with more Cascade 220, only to discover big shuttle, small shed may not be the best combination.

First project on Cricket loom

It was a problem that fixed itself as weaving progressed. I was more focused on gaining familiarity with the weaving actions: up heddle, throw shuttle, oops, reseat heddle, retrieve shuttle, beat, beat, down heddle, throw shuttle, beat, beat. I still haven't quite got the knack of not unseating the heddle in the up position. I was really surprised by how firmly the warp threads locked in the weft threads in plainweave. My consistency needs a lot of work, both in the cloth and on the selvedges, and I'd like to build speed.

Uneven weaving

In spite of my newbie difficulties, in no time at all (compared with the time it took to warp the loom), the weaving was done and the piece cut from the loom. The resulting cloth was strangely stiff, almost like new linen yarn. Off the loom, the weft was easy to manipulate – too easy for my taste. It's clear that unlike a knitting project, where it can be tempting to skip proper finishing, weaving requires a lot more finishing to be presentable. Onward!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Beaming

My weekend was an exercise in delayed gratification – the marshmallow test, if you will. There was a lot of exacting work that needed doing and no time to get distracted by the backordered Cricket loom that arrived. I stayed focused – and finished on time and under budget.

Cricket loom in box

Although I may have smiled a lot more than was warranted by the task at hand. And now to play.

Cricket loom out of box

Look, a wingnut!

Wingnut

To be continued....

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Spoiled

The season has turned to nightly frost warnings, so I picked what was left in the vegetable patch. This year it was sorely tried. When I wasn't paying attention marauding deer ate most plants down to foot-high stems, then rabbits and squirrels devoured any new leaves and fruit. The eggplants were particular targets. Their leaves are hairy and I've read toxic to rabbits, but the cottontails don't seem to know that. Even the onion tops were cropped to the quick. I put up a garden fence which the big creatures knocked down and the little creatures chewed clean through. I've never seen the like. It's a marvel there was anything left for us. So what I just brought in may not be the most impressive last harvest ever, but it's not bad under the circumstances.

Last harvest

Speaking of marauders, while I wasn't paying attention DH got cold, helped himself to the accumulating pile of watch caps meant for the mitten tree, got squawked at, promised to wash them and put them back, and somehow managed to felt them. Plus he complained they're itchy. Sigh. Too bad, he's keeping them now.

Then, as we drove along Route 1, there was a sign. Literally.

Swans Island Yarn sign

Of course we stopped. Not least because if DH was raiding the charity bin, clearly, he needs a new knit cap of his own. The cobbler's children and all that. He picked the color and I insisted on the yarn, lovely Swans Island Organic Washable Aran. An evening's worth of very enjoyable knitting latter, DH had a hat knit to his specs. The good stuff always knits up quickly.

Knit cap for DH

DH is happy with his new hat, but when I went back to knitting yarn ordinaire, it seemed itchy. Alas, I'm spoiled.