Jumping back

I think I’m done with a concept or a fiber, but then I’m not.

black & white pinwheels scarf

I’d woven hand painted black and white tencel scarves in December, and black and white shawls in January. Then last week I decided I needed to jump back and revisit black and white, this time in crisp delinations. I haven’t woven pinwheels in a few years, and decided it was time to revisit this 2-shuttle weave. I stuck with 8/2 tencel, but didn’t dye anything myself. Took me several days to get to the fringing. Yesterday I wet finished and pressed 2 scarves and a long cowl.

black & white pinwheels cowl

I had thought I was done with rayon chenille for a while, too, but apparently not. As soon as those black & white scarves were off the loom I jumped back again and wound a warp for 2 rayon chenille shawls. I am committed to using stash yarns, so went with several blues for this warp. (I have A LOT of blues, purples, reds, and earth tones, so we’ll see more rayon chenille in the coming months. My gem tones always sell so much better than my earth tones; I must try a different combo of them – or something.)

Anywhoo, here’s the latest blues rayon chenille shawl.

rayon chenille shawl, in blues

Now that I’ve got the whole mobius thing figured out, I’ll make more of them. Here’s this one, in which I used 4 different wefts in wide stripes.

rayon chenille mobius, in blues

I am mentally committed to weaving lace next. In cotton. I’m working on design and calculations now, and should be able to start measuring that warp tomorrow.

It takes two

On Valentine’s Day, it takes two hearts to share love.

In my case, it also takes two photos to attempt to show the color. Neither is correct; the reality is somewhere in between. It’s those blasted reds – nearly impossible for me to capture accurately.

Here’s my latest rayon chenille work while it’s on the loom. In this photo the colors are a little brighter and bluer than in real life.

Valentine shawls on the loom

Now here’s a shot of the finished shawl. Here the colors are distinctly browner and duller than in real life. So imagine something in between these two shots for color.

Valentine shawl draped

It also takes two pieces to make my brain click. I’d made a mobius shawl before, also from rayon chenille, and hated it. There was no way I could make it sit on my body correctly. It sold, and the person who bought it liked it, but I didn’t.

I wanted to try again. So I looked online for measurements, and made mine match theirs. Hemmed it and sewed it up, and once again, hated it. Again it would not sit right on the body. I was seriously frustrated, and was convinced that (a) I would never make another one, and (b) there must be something about the rayon chenille fabric that was part of the problem. I unhappily resigned myself to my failure to produce what I wanted.

Then this morning, a light bulb went off in my brain. I had made the mistake of sewing hem to hem. In fact, I was supposed to sew hem to selvedge! Thankfully I had done all the sewing by hand, so I could easily take it out. This afternoon I sewed one of the hems to the selvedge, and VOILA! It immediately sat right on my body – no muss, no fuss.

Valentine mobius

Now I know I will make some more of these, in a variety of fibers.

Two completed pieces toward my monthly goal. Three more off the loom awaiting fringing and wet finishing. Plus I have 2 short pieces of the rayon chenille that I’ll make into collars, since the last ones sold quickly.

Towels & tootsies

I got 8 towels woven. Natural (unbleached & undyed) cotton threaded in point twill, 4 different tie ups, 2 of each weave pattern.

First I wove what I call a flower pattern. Wasn’t my favorite in real life, nor did I like dark that yarn – which was very cool on the cone – as much as I thought I would.

flowers weave draft

2 flower towels

Next I wove snowflakes. Started with a traditional blue, then went to some handpainted bamboo-cotton blend I’ve had hanging around for far too long. I was very happy to use up some stash yarn in small amounts, so went with more of that handpainted bamboo cotton for the next 4 towels.

snowflakes weave draft

2 snowflakes towels

For the 3rd pair I used a simple V weave structure. The warp is 8/2 cotton, and red-purple yarn is thicker than that. The green-purple yarn is the same weight, but the lighter colors don’t show the weave pattern as well.

double Vs weave draft

2 Vs towels

Last up was some Xs. I wasn’t at all sure about this, since I had used the draft once when I was doing baby wraps and wasn’t crazy about it, but in fact I really liked it for the towels. Again, the pattern shows up better with the darker color, but I really like the stripes on the yellow one.

Xs weave draft

2 Xs towels

Two of these towels will go to my friend, the rest into stock.

Now I wish I had more of that natural cotton. I can see something like that end-striped-towel in several colors, and by using a natural warp I can use up lots of odds and ends of nice hand painted yarn. The only downside is that the handpainted yarn (I didn’t dye it, I bought it) has a tendency to bleed in the wash. Could I wash all the yarn before I used it? I could, but I know myself well enough to know that I won’t. Anyhow, I don’t have much natural cotton left. Might pick up some at the Guild’s annual stash-reduction sale next month. We’ll see what people bring in.

On the needles, Friday night I finished a pair of socks I’d been working on. (Don’t tell me I don’t know how to have a good time on Friday night!) They look perfect with some of my favorite leggings.

new striped handknit socks

Finally, Cindie over at Eweniquely Ewe inspired me. Yesterday I got all the rest of the pre-accountant work done for my taxes. Ugh. But it’s done – yay! Just waiting on a few things to arrive in the mail.

Now I’m off to the warping mill to start working on this month’s weaving goal.

I’m in love

I know, I know, I usually love whatever just came off the loom, but this time I think it’s a long-lasting love, not just a passing crush.

beaming terra cotta & turquoise warp

In the last post you saw my work hand painting two bouts of yarn – a terra cotta and an intended teal that was actually turquoise. Neither was exactly what I’d had in mind, but I was hoping they’d play nicely together for my weaving plan. I was happy with the colors while beaming.

This is a deflected doubleweave structure, so it meant twice as many threads (480) as usual for a scarf, and 2 shuttles to weave. I picked 2 colors of yarn and started weaving. I really like this cool on-the-loom shot.

closeup of terra cotta-turquoise on the loom

As always, although I liked the look on the loom, I couldn’t be positive about the pieces till they were off the loom, fringed, and wet finished. Especially since this was a structure I hadn’t woven before, and the number of threads involved in a narrow piece, I had my fingers crossed that it would work as planned, that the ‘hand’ or drape and feel, would be pleasing, as well as the color choices.

terra cotta turquoise scarf draped

You just have to trust me when I tell you that none of the photos I took show these scarves to their best advantage. I couldn’t get the colors just right. But I know I will be using this scarf for one of my jury photos…I think it’s a show stopper! Sometimes I think it looks like a fish, sometimes like jewelry, sometimes like a watercolor painting with metals in the paint.

terra cotta & turquoise cowl

I used the same light teal for the green-ish/blue-ish weft throughout, but changed the terra cotta warp with each piece. The differences are subtle, and not noticeable unless you see them side by side.

2 terra cotta & turquoise scarves

I will absolutely use this weaving draft again, even though as a 2-shuttle weave it’s slow. So where did I get the draft from? A woman in my Guild bought a scarf and brought it into a weaving class, where she and the teacher analyzed it and wrote out the draft. A third woman wove it up, brought the finished scarf to a Guild meeting where I drooled over it, and later shared the draft with me. Thanks, Toni, Joyce, & Eleanor!!

In other weaving news, I did finish weaving the black and white shawls. Had to get them off the loom to do the terra cotta & turquoise. Just like the scarves, I much prefer the look of the shawl with the white weft. Don’t know how others will feel. I wanted a contrast with the creamy white of the warp yarn and a weft. This isn’t as noticeable as I’d desired, but was the best I could do…mercerized cotton white weft.

white and black shawl

So I’ll finish January with 9 completed pieces. Feeling good about that.

I’ve reconnected with a friend from years ago, and since she’s moved I want to bring her a few towels for her new home. My towel stock was woefully low, so I put a quick warp for just 8 towels on the loom and am weaving them. Towels won’t count in meeting my monthly goals, so I’m mentally planning for February’s weaving while I’m weaving those towels.

Not like me

My regular readers will know I am not a sampler. I don’t put extra warp on the loom, weave a piece, cut it off, and wet finish it to learn things. I just go for it.

Why, then, did I feel a need to do some sample dyeing? I can’t really say. But I did it with the black and white to learn what strengths and techniques would work for my concept. And learn I did. So I did it again, with 6 mini-bouts of yarn. It was sort of a pain, measuring out those bouts, carefully marking them with threads so I’d know which was which later on, preparing them for hand painting, mixing the dyes, doing the work, and then waiting. But I did it. AND wrote everything down! What a crazy concept!

dye tests

The reality is that I was using such tiny amounts of dye for these mini-bouts that I likely can’t match those color results exactly, but I can get closer to achieving an actual outcome of what’s in my head. I’m sure that I’ll often choose to go with serendipity, but I had a concept I wanted to try out, in hopes that it’d be a great jury piece, and it would require actual planning.

After those dye samples I prepared two fairly large bouts – 248 threads each, 8+ yards long. I dyed one in terra cotta (remember my terra notta experiment of months ago?) and one in teal. The terra cotta is lighter than I wanted teal is actually turquoise and brighter than intended, but both will work for my purpose. I think.

terra cotta painted

terra cotta yarn painted

turquoise yarn painted

teal/turquoise painted

turquoise and terra cotta yarn drying

turquoise and terra cotta yarn drying

turquoise and terra cotta yarns chained together

turquoise and terra cotta chained together

I’ll be warping my loom with these yarns today. Keep your fingers crossed that I can achieve my vision.

So in addition to actually sampling, here are two other things that aren’t like me. A bit of politics on my blog. Although I have strong opinions, I won’t share them here. I will tell you that I think voting is a critical thing to do, and that there is a unique opportunity in 2018. If you’re not already registered to vote, do it now! And then vote in November. And if you’re so inclined, run for office yourself. Stand up for what you believe in in whatever way(s) you can.

open political seats

My last not-like-me is actually sort-of-like-me. My participation in the soul line dance group has reminded me just how much I always liked dancing, and how happy I am to re-introduce it in my life. I distinctly remember having a sweatshirt with this image and words when I was a kid. Not sure if it was black or navy blue, but I loved wearing it.

Snoopy dancing

So when a friend told me about a silent disco being held here in Rochester, I was all over it. Sign me up! We went on Friday night and met a few other friends there. I. HAD. A. BLAST!! Can’t wait for the next one, likely months away. (The photo is lame, as people were just starting to arrive, and none of the photos I took later in the evening turned out well.)

silent disco

Parting shot: I was down with a cold/flu for 2 days this week. Jack was very patient with me, but was clearly extremely bored – even more than usual with my activity – or lack thereof. I always find it humorous when he uses this little bed as a pillow.

Jack sleeping