Monday, April 18, 2016

The First Towel Project

I have been gathering tools for more advanced weaving projects.  To date, I have woven scarves and dish cloths and a few table runners (scarves that were either too short, or too stiff)

Friday, I decided the day had come to to something more challenging.  I went through my stash and after reading the weaving blogs, decided that the cotton/linen blends that I found would be a great start for my first project.  The suggestion was to use two heddles to be able to double the sett. (If you are not a weaver, sett refers to the number of threads running vertically on the loom.) For the cotton/linen blend, the threads per inch was 24. 

I gathered my warping board and yarn, and began counting out the threads.  My goal was 400 threads for my loom.

Not too easy to see, but here is the board and one set of threads.  I kept each vertical color section separate.

By the end of Day one, I had the warp all counted out and ready to go to the loom. 

I thought about starting to thread the loom, but my back was already giving me much grief.

Day 2, I drew two loops through every slot on the heddle and slipped them on the back beam.  This step was slightly different than I had done before, but I liked how easily it worked.


Here are all the color bundles waiting their turn.









 This picture shows the lease sticks in the fore ground.  The warp is rolled an the back beam.

I didn't do a very good job on the tension, but I know how to fix that.

Notice the threads are still 4 per slot and only on one heddle.



Sunday, we watched #1 Grandson while the Kids ran in the Race for the Roses.  Everyone had a good time.
I did decide to work on the threading after we got home.


I took one thread out of each slot and placed it in the hole next to the slot.  Then I added the second heddle.Next step was to carry the thread in the hole up to the next heddle and place it in a slot.  Then the three remaining threads are brought up and placed in order slot, hole, slot.  I worked on this until my back gave out.

Monday morning I finished up.  Unfortunately, I could not open a shed.  I don't really know how I managed such a mess.  I could see threads crossing where they should not etc.  So I rolled the entire warp on to the front beam, had Hubby help me with tension and re rolled it back to the back beam.  This made a tremendous difference in the tension, but still not shed.

I am a determined little soul.  I completely took all the threads out of the front heddle and started over.  It took me 4 or 5 hours, but I rethreaded the front heddle taking great care to see that every thread stayed where it belonged.



 This is the much better threaded warp.









There is even a shed.

Can't stop now, so I wound a shuttle with the white thread and began.







It is hard to see, but I have 1/2 inch of the white woven.  I will need to advance the warp fairly frequently to be able to open the shed for the weft, but that will be easy after all of this.

Monday, March 28, 2016

16-March 28

I have been introspective lately.

My husband was down for two full weeks and it just now (3 1/2 weeks) getting back to himself.

I learned a few things.  I do like to cook, I don't mind some housework, if something happened to Hubby, I would not fall apart.  I could totally manage the household.  (He doesn't want to acknowledge that.)

Since Hubby has been retired, some parts of our household have been left undone.  Primarily the yard.  It needs some color, it needs some real work, and I probably can't do it alone.  Hubby will argue with me all the way, so I need to hire a yard helper.  I want the outside to be as enjoyable as the inside.

I have been cutting back on personal social time (since the Fall)  and I am going to attempt to keep it that way.  I get more done, if I am at home doing it.  I have honed down the Knitting/Spinning activities that I want to participate in.

1.  Salem Handspinners First Saturday at the Mill April 2nd.
 
2.  April 23rd the Guild Spring Fiber Sale, I will demonstrate Turkish Drop Spindle and give my first shot at teaching how to use the spindle.

      That same weekend, is the Gathering of the Guilds.  I am going to try to get Hubby to go with me on the 22nd to see the Weaving exhibits.

3.  The Guild's Spring Tea on April 28th.  Probably after Senior Knitting for the balance of the gathering.

4.   Mother's Day Camping at Champoeg Park.  Weekend of May 5th - 8th  I will spend all day Friday with the Gang, then on Saturday head for Salem and another First Saturday Spinning at the Mill.

In June, if the First Saturday is on, then I will hit that again, and Black Sheep Gathering on the Weekend of the 24 - 26th.  Just waiting to be able to sign up for a class.  I have my reservations for a room already.

When I get the yard work done, part of my plan is an outdoor space where I can safely play with dyeing my handspun yarn.  For that, I want to purchase a sturdy "Pop-Up"  to give shade to my work area.  I have two places in mind, one in the front courtyard, and one in the back yard.  Neither are perfect, as there is no electricity to either area, but electric is not the highest priority.

That all sounds pretty busy.  One of the changes I have made is deactivating Facebook, again.  I want to reduce the time at the computer.  To that end, I won't be blogging daily, or weekly about my crafting projects.  They will hopefully be added into Ravelry as they are finished, with more notes there.

The loom has found love, dish cloths are being made.  The Orange/Red socks should be done, but the pattern I put on the legs was too tight to get on, so I frogged back to the heel turn and am starting again.  Swatching for a white vest with the wonderful Shetland Top spun earlier this year.  Must do the math for the Alpaca/Merino sweater too.

So my plan is laid out, now to implement it.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

16-March 24

Happy Birthday to Hubby's Brother.

Knitting:

Here is the Blue Vest:













The Brown poncho is done! No pics yet.

Here is the Strandwanderer: 














Here is a very big surprise finish, meet the Green Tee about 3 years in the making:











I finished the knitting around a year ago, and the project sat next to me until this week when in urge to finish stuff, I picked up the instructions and decided to follow them. (I had been debating using an I-cord finish, and thankfully choose to follow the knitting instructions.)  The neck edge took three passes to get it right. First time too few stitches, Second time too many stitches (ruffle) then the third time a better balance.  The arm edgings thankfully were only once for each.  It still needs blocking, and the instructions say that once blocked, it won't roll at the edges.  I will let you know when I know.

The orange socks have moved up to the active position for projects and I have maybe two more repeats of the pattern on the legs and then I will change to ribbing for the top.

Weaving: Oh so lonely,with the bag of cotton sitting on the chair.  Still.  I did pick up the bag of cotton and kind of think about the warp and how the colors might work.

Spinning:  
I plied the Cormo, 2 skeins, 1 210 yards, and the other 234 yards.
The other 8 ounces may be gifted, not sure yet.
At the guild Christmas exchange, I received a huge bag of fiber in carded batt form.  It had dark blue, teal, and violet fibers in the batt.  I spun them up this week and I got 2 skeins. 1 192 yards and 2 126 yards  Aprox 9 ounces of fiber.
The Wensleydale was a very interesting spin.
I ended up with 4 skeins and a total of 748 yards.  It feels similar to the Teeswater that I spun earlier.

Next up I pulled out a pound of Targhee top for my spinning pleasure.  And I will work on the Shetland/Llama batt with Emmett and get it ready to spin.

I plan to spend a little more time with the drop spindles and I prepare for a demonstration at the Guild Spring Fiber Sale.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

16-March 17

Happy St Patrick's Day.  I love Green, probably my favorite color.
Hubby's cold found a new target, me.  I just hope all my preventative measures will keep the bug to a minimum.

Knitting:

Yeah, I finished the Blue Vest.  And a bigger Yeah, it FITS!   

The Brown poncho is still in the neighborhood of 2/3rds done.
With the focus on the blue vest, no socks were worked on this week.


The Strandwanderer in Socks that Rock, Blue and White are the predominant colors is coming along nicely.  Ten stripes are done.  The designer mentioned 17 stripes, but I think my yarn has less yardage.  I took the other start to my knitting group on Monday and it was agreed, that the design would not be apparent, and with the amount of work involved, it should.  I frogged the project and immediately cast on for a new project that will be of my own making.  I will use the unique shaping of the Strandwanderer, but it will be knit in garter stripes using another stash yarn.  I had to start a couple of times, but I have the pattern written and moving along nicely.

Weaving:  Still so lonely with the bag of cotton sitting on the chair.  Still.

Spinning:  I have 4  '2 ounces bobbins' of Cormo ready to ply, still waiting.  For kicks, I spun up 8 ounces of Stitchjones' Polwarth/Mohair/Silk and plied it, obtaining 528 yards.  The colorway was Cloudy Midnight, which resembles purple more than black as I had thought.  I was wandering through my fiber stash, and pulled out 16 ounces of Wensleydale to spin.  I have spun 3 '2 ounce bobbins' so far and find it quite interesting.  It has a really long staple length and spins like it has silk or bamboo in it, even though it does not.

A new Turkish style drop spindle joined the flock this week.  A picture will be coming soon.  It has 3-D printed arms, with a wooden spindle.  It weighs in at .8 ounces and has weights that can be removed to make it even lighter.  I can't wait to give it a spin.

I was so excited to finish a knitting project this week.  I will soon be ready to start knitting on my brown handspun Merino/Alpaca blend.


Saturday, March 12, 2016

16-March 12

Today is day 8 of Hubby being sick.  It has been the worst cold ever.  He has only had a low grade fever (100 degrees or less) a couple of times in the first few days.  We were keeping an eye on that because our kids family had serious flu. 

This is eight days of no touching, mostly sleeping in separate rooms, a whole lot of sound in the house.  It seems that when you are partially deaf anyway, that a cold makes it much more difficult to hear.  The sound on TV has seen the 40 mark.  My preference on sound on the TV is under 20.

We have reached the coughing, hacking stage and throat clearing stage.  More noise.  Nothing seems to curtail the cough.  Hubby is still nodding off here and there in the daytime.  He sleeps about 6 hours in the night.

Fortunately the cold has bi-passed me so far.  I have my normal sinus issues, but nothing extra.  I have been able to be out of the house quite a bit.  This helps me stay immune.  I have spent a lot of time in the Girl Cave.  I have even cooked some meals.  (Hubby has no appetite).  

Hubby emailed his doctor who explained that he has seen some very bad colds this year.  They seem to last anywhere from 10 to 14 days.  Makes me wonder what our sentence will be.  He also said come in if there any fever over 100 degrees or any turning to the worst.  Otherwise, stay down, drink liquids and ride it out.

Here we come week 2.




Thursday, March 10, 2016

16-March 10

These weeks are flying by.  Part of my lack of posting is an effort to not spend nearly so much time at the computer.  I have been quite busy, though.  Last week I told you about emptying the laundry basket.  Those skeins are still hanging on the rack in the hall bathtub.  I haven't had time to put the tags back on them and find a home in the stash for them.  One of these days, a fiber bin is going to have to become a Handspun Skein bin.  

Last Thursday through Sunday, I volunteered at the Wool N Wares shop to assist while the public were yarn crawling. (Rose City Yarn Crawl)  My original idea was to spend from 9 am to 1 pm helping out.  I managed to spend a little more time than that, as friends from the Aurora Colony Handspinners Guild were demonstrating wheel spinning and selling raffle tickets for the antique spinning wheel to be given away at the Antique Spinning Wheel Showcase this coming weekend at the Aurora Colony Museum in Aurora.  Many tickets were sold.  I demonstrated Turkish Drop Spindle spinning while I was checking in yarn crawlers.  There was much interest in learning how to spin on a drop spindle.  So much, that we added a demonstration to the Aurora Colony Handspinners Guild Spring Spin In and Sale.  That will be April 23rd at Clackamas Community College.  Spindles will be available for sale, and another teacher and I will make an effort to get those interested started.  Saturday afternoon, Indie Dyer Huckleberry Knits came in to show her fiber and yarns.  She does an absolutely wonderful job adding color to fiber and yarn.  There was so much activity around her inventory, that I stayed to help her with her table.  It was really fun and some fiber did come home with me.

Meanwhile on the home front, Hubby was helping out our local son and family.  #1 Grandson started the whole mess with a serious cold, followed by DIL ending up with flu serious enough to need Tamiflue, then #3 caught a bit of it.  Through it all, our son only seemed to have a cold.  However, when I got home Saturday, Hubby was in full serious cold mode.  To date, he has only slept in the bed one night, finding that sleeping in the recliner in the living room gives him a better chance of sleeping.  Then he has spent his days there as well.  This cold really hit him hard.

So far I have escaped the cold.  I had meetings out of the house on Monday and Tuesday, then on Wednesday, I jumped in and took the car to an appointment and watched #1 Grandson, so the family could go to school for parent/teacher conference.  I am looking forward to Senior knitting today, although I have very little to offer them in the way of completed projects.  One of our member is getting close to being ready for knitting socks.  We are going to have a mini, two at a time, toe up, fish lips kiss heel, workshop.  I hope I can get them through it.

On the needles:
Blue Vest is separated front and back currently knitting both at the same time, with probably 5 inches to get to the shoulders.  Seen no love at all this past week.

Brown poncho is probably 2/3rds done.

Orange/Red socks partway up the ankle.  Found a neat stitch pattern that is more interesting than plain ribbing.

Cast on another pair for take along knitting.  Pastels with Mint Green and Light Orange as predominant colors. From the exterior of the skein I would have never quessed how the colors are coming out.

Cast on Strandwanderer, twice.  Once in a beautiful soft but too dark colorway that the pattern doesn't really show up in.  Second in Socks That Rock that works beautifully to display the complexity of the shawl stitches.  With this scarf, I am purling backwards in one area of the stitches and then there is a trick to picking up a whole bunch of stitches in another section.  Otherwise this really could be take along knitting.  There is only one (really two) places where you need the pattern to keep track of the sequence.

Weaving:  Still so lonely with the bag of cotton sitting on the chair.
Spinning:  Finished the Orange Cria Alpaca on an Aegean Turkish spindle
                 Began a CVM/Romeldale on my Egret spindle
                 Whipped through 4 ounces of Merino/Yak in Dark Teal by Alexandra's
                 Crafts.  Finished with 196 yards.  So soft and squishy.
               Next up I am going to finish 2 ounces of Cormo so I can ply what I have spun, the decide if I am going to spin the other 8 ounces.  I am not enjoying the spinning, which is supposed to be relaxing.

Teaching:  I have been working up materials for the demonstrations for the Guild Sale.  As soon as we can gather enough students, I will also teach the beginning drop spindling class at Wool N Wares.  For this I am writing a syllabus and then gathering the materials that will be necessary.  That consumed a large part of two days this week.

So while I have been extremely busy, I don't have too much to show for it in projects.  FYI, Knitty now has an article in each issue called "Get Warped" I have designs on trying a new technique I read about.

Let me know when "cloning" is available for the average person.  I definitely need more hands to do my bidding.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

16-March 3

Happy Birthday to my middle brother.  Now for six months, you will only be 1 year younger.

I will be very busy for the next four days.  I will post after.

If you have time, come see me at Wool N Wares.  I will be spinning and weaving between 9am and 1pm today through Sunday. (Rose City Yarn Crawl)

My laundry basket is empty, so I can tell you all about Tuesday's laundry day.  I have decided to call Tuesday "Fiber Prep Day"  Maybe if I devote a few hours every Tuesday, the mountain of raw fiber will turn into fiber ready to spin.


Thursday, February 25, 2016

16-Feb 25

Weaving:  No new project, hence no weaving.  A bag of dish cloth cotton is still waiting in the wings.

Spinning:

The pound of Shetland ended up with 488 yards in 1 skein and 438 yards in the 2nd skein.  My laundry basket is getting full of yarn for washing and twist setting.
I managed two bobbins of Bam Huey before we left, colorway High Tide, they will be plied when I get back.

For vacation, I took some Dicentra fibers.
4 oz Merino in Deep Red to be plied with 4 0z Merino in Wine 
8 oz Polwarth/Silk in Mr Big Dog (Two bobbins will be plied together.
And some New Hue Handspun fibers.
6 oz Bam Huey Merino/Bamboo.  I am working on the first 3 ounces, the second will catch up now that I am home. 
 
I have a lot of plying on my plate.

Knitting:
On vacation, the Brown Multi Poncho saw little attention still at 22 inches long. 
Same for the Navy Blue Vest is now about 9 inches. 

Socks on the other hand were prime.  I finished the Lucy KAL socks first; only my third time to knit from the ankle to the toe.  Grafting the toe is why I tend to go toe up.  No little 'ears' at the edges of the grafting.  Then the Teal/Raspberry/White finally made it to the top of the leg.  I did use a Lucy technique to add stitches to the top and make an inch of wider fabric for my svelte ankles.  The third pair Reddish/ Orange made great progress.  I turned the heels on the last day of our car trip.  Now I just have to decide if I want any pattern on the legs.

Otherwise, we drove to Phoenix and watched 4 days of Oregon State Baseball.  I knit every day in the car and at the stadium.  I spun every night.  We had dinner four times with my brother and his wife.  It was fun spending time with them while on vacation.  They were working on their family home in Sun City.  OSU did good, they won 3 of 4 games.  The weather was a tad on the warm side for me.  Averaged in the mid seventies to the eighties.  It was very nice to have clear blue skies.  I enjoyed wearing capri pants and short sleeve shirts.  Then on arriving home, I found that the good weather followed us, at least for one day.
It was a great mid winter break for Hubby and me.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

16-Feb 18

Normally, I would update my crafting progress today, but I am not home.  Taking a break from cool, wet weather and checking out what it is like where the weather is sunny and warm. Hubby likes baseball and this weekend is Oregon States opening weekend. We are in Phoenix to enjoy it.  I have been spinning in the evenings and knitting all day in the car.

The driving was mostly enjoyable, the hotels have been very nice.

Tonight we had dinner with my brother and his wife who are spending a week here.

More later.....

Monday, February 15, 2016

16-Feb 15

Happy Birthday, #1 Granddaughter!
As much as I love you, you are not the subject of this post.

Today an era ends for Hubby and I.  Over our lengthy marriage, we have had many kinds of camping equipment.  We started early on with a tent, then we have had a progression of travel trailers and actually a Class C and a Class A motor homes.  For the last 4 years, we have had a lovely travel trailer.  Today she goes to a new home where I am hoping she will get more use and will still be treated like royalty.  This little gem has only been used by us 5 or 6 times while we have had her.  She has lived in covered storage all that time.  She is a wonderful camping vehicle.  Walk around bed, couch, dining table, and huge bathroom.  Who could ask for more.  Well the bottom line is, she has to be towed everywhere she goes. Again, a vote for tele-porting.  I doubt I will live long enough for that invention.  I love the camping, but not the getting there so much.  Hubby is a worry wart, if there isn't something to worry about, he will make something up.  Every trip with the trailer is an emotional roller coaster.  So from that aspect, this will make one less item to stress over.  We want to travel farther afield and Hubby would probably not take any tow vehicle out of state.  The furthest he has taken any camping vehicle is Wallowa Lake in NE Oregon.  Those trips were in motor homes.

I am excited to begin planning car trips.  I have places I want to go and people I want to see.  Now I won't feel any guilt about not using the travel trailer for these trips.  

The one regret, is camping at Oregon Flock and Fiber.  I have the option of tent camping, or just driving back and forth.  I have done both.  The last couple of years, my day has started at 7 to 7:30 am at the fairgrounds to accommodate vendors and class attendees that really want to get their day started.  In retirement, I have to set an alarm for any morning that has a start in the ummm neighborhood of 9am. Home would add 1/2 hour for the driving.  Well, life changes and I will roll with the punches.  I hope I can report many fun trips as my year progresses.