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Moving forward

If you’re visiting hoping to see photos of the gifts I made for Christmas, you’ll have to wait and come back. My visit with my friend got postponed so I’m still not sharing those and spoiling her surprise. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have anything to show you!

I’ve continued to knit for donating to people who need things. Just one hat-and I probably won’t knit more unless they are requested-and 3 pairs of mittens. Two are for primary-aged kids, one for toddlers. More mittens on my needles, this time for elementary-aged kids or adults with small hands. I’ll keep knitting mittens until the weather warms up dramatically.

1 knit hat, 3 pair mittens to donate

I’ve also done a fair bit of work preparing for my 2022 Christmas cards. I spent a bunch of time deciding on a weave structure, planning it out for the number of ends I need and centering the design. Just 185 ends. Wanting to stick to my stash yarns, I decided on 20/2 mercerized cotton, sett at 36 ends per inch. Doesn’t take long to measure out the warp or get it on the loom.

2022 card design weaving draft

I downloaded an audiobook, planning to listen while I wove. Well. Since this design is weave-as-drawn-in, that also means 185 picks. It therefore requires far more concentration than I can achieve while listening to a book, or even listening to music that will tempt me to sing along. So I stick with NPR. Still, I learn that I can’t weave more than 3 cards at one sitting or I lose my focus. No biggie; I don’t need these for 10 months. Although of course they can’t tie up my loom that long. 🙂

Now it’s time to start auditioning wefts, again sticking with the colors of 20/2 cotton in my stash. I started with a light-ish blue. Not enough contrast. Plus I wasn’t beating hard enough so the design was elongated and unclear for that reason as well. Next I went to a very dark purple. Both too dark and beat too firmly.

2 color audition samples

Moving on. Here’s a nice Christmas red, beat to just about square. Yep, this’ll work. I wove 5 of these.

2022 card-red

I didn’t want to weave 30+ cards exactly the same, as it would be even more challenging for me to maintain sufficient focus. So I dug out a Christmas green. That worked, too, so I wove 5 green.

2022 card-green

Then I found a slightly darker blue, although it’s slightly thicker at roughly 6,000 yards per pound compared to the 7,200 yards per pound of the 20/2. So I couldn’t get this color quite square, but I was okay with that. And although it’s not my favorite color combo, I wove 5 blue.

2022 card, blue

Woah! I found a small spool of gold metallic, so wound a bobbin with that and the gold 20/2 and checked it out. I liked it so wove 5 of these, as well. You can’t really see the metallic in the straight-on photo, so I took one at an angle, too. I also couldn’t get this design square as the gold & metal together are thicker than 20/2, but again was okay with that.
2022 card-gold & metallic

2022 card-gold & metallic, angle

Because I liked that, I tried using that metallic thread with the red yarn. I definitely preferred the red on its own, but wove 2 cards with the red & gold because I’d wound a bobbin with that much thread.

2022 card-red & metallic

Then, since I like the gold with the metallic, I figured I should try the gold on its own. Meh.

2022 card, gold alone

So I wove an additional 4 (so far) cards in just red.

If you’re counting, that’s up to 27 cards. I don’t need many more. But it’s clear that I have A LOT of warp left. I haven’t yet decided if I’ll keep weaving this design or just cut it off and toss the remaining warp. It’ll depend on where I am mood-wise when I get to that point. I’ll weave one more red, then I want to try one with just metallic, then…we’ll see.

It’s a real change for me not to worry at all about the fact that my selvedges are sort of ugly. They won’t be seen. 🙂

Knitting & nature

Yes, it’s now a bit over a week after Christmas, but I can’t yet share the photos of the gifts I made. I’ll be visiting a friend who will receive one this coming weekend, and can post all the photos after that.

Meanwhile, I was totally inspired by last month’s Evening Meeting of the Weavers’ Guild of Rochester. I got myself some yarn and started knitting mittens to donate to people who need them. Thanks to Suanne Pascarella, my Evening Meeting co-chair, for suggesting this topic (making to donate) and for subsequently providing a vintage 2-needle mitten pattern.

knit mittens to donate

The photo shows them in the order I knit them. The brown, maroon & gray stripe, dusty rose and light blue pairs were made from that 2-needle pattern.  The little purple ones and the (solo at the point the photo was taken) white were made with 4 needles from a free pattern available online.  I’ve since finished the mate to that white mitten and am knitting another child-sized pair on 2-needles.

Although I intended to hang the mittens in a bus shelter, I’ve changed my plan slightly.  As soon as I finish this post I’m going to call a local church that has a community garden in the summer and a food pantry year round.  While I could just hang my donations from their railing and/or bushes, I’m going to see if they would prefer that I bring them in for them to distribute.  Either option works for me.

I planned to knit a few hats to accompany the mittens before I brought in the donation, but it is C*O*L*D today, so if the church would prefer to get the mittens now while I keep knitting, that’s okay with me, too.

Parting shots:  yesterday morning was just a stunner.  We’d had rain overnight and then the temperature dropped and it changed to snow, so the white stuff clung to every branch.  Just beautiful.

snowy morning tree

snowy morning 2

Heading for the countdown

If you looked only at the fact that I haven’t posted in a month, you might think I haven’t been doing anything. You’d be wrong.

However a lot of my time has been spent making gifts, and I didn’t want to spend even an hour of potentially productive time sitting at my computer and blogging. Of course, I can’t share anything about my holiday makes until after Christmas.

I FINALLY got things finished and yesterday went to the post office with four packages going to other states, so here I am.

I did weave another run of towels. As mentioned in my last post, I had a customer want 4 towels in a very traditional, simple straight twill. My neighbor tagged on with 1 more, so I decided to wind a warp for 12 towels, with 7 able to go into my Etsy shop. In typical fashion for me, every towel is a little different. Because I don’t have much else I can talk about right now, I’ll show you all 12 towels.

I guess I didn’t take individual images of these, but here’s a 12 second video of the 4 towels my customer requested.

And apparently I can only show you 11. I guess I didn’t take a photo of the towel my neighbor bought. I was needing to get these towels done so I could move on to my Christmas gift making. But here are the remaining 7, individually, in photos I took for listing in my Etsy shop.

I called this one Sunrise. The majority of the weft is a cotton flake that’s a bit heavier than the 8/2 warp, so this towel is very thirsty although it may not fit inside a glass to try it quite as well. I chose yellow and red for its solid end stripes
sunrise Traditional towel

Sticking with the variegated theme, this one, called Crayons, is also woven primarily with a cotton flake, but this one is a bunch finer than the 8/2 warp. Basic red and blue are the complementary stripes. Interestingly, the size difference didn’t seem to matter in either of these towels. For years – decades – I was so careful not to mix the sizes of yarns I used in a given piece; I’m only now learning what I can and cannot do successfully.
crayons Traditional towel

In honor of the season, this one, simply called Red, looks traditional in every sense of the word to me. I just used the same natural for the three end stripes. I particularly like it.
red Traditional towel

Since one red one wasn’t enough for me, I chose a darker color and wove Cranberry with pink stripes. Personally, I still prefer Red, above.
cranberry Traditional towel

Then I moved to colors that aren’t necessarily my go-to colors, but I thought others would like. Here is Sage, with goldenrod stripes. Nice, soft colors that will look perfect in someone’s kitchen, I’m sure.
sage Traditional towel

For this towel I used some handpainted (not by me) bamboo-cotton blend yarn I’ve had in my stash for quite a while. Turquoise, with the stripe a coordinating blue-green-purple variegation dyed to coordinate.
turquoise Traditional towel

And last, this is Clouds, woven in light and medium gray. The one my neighbor chose was medium gray with black and natural end stripes.

clouds Traditional towel

The day after I posted these towels on Etsy, a TOTALLY AMAZING customer of mine, a woman who had already purchased 17 towels from me since mid-October, bought two of this batch. HOLY COW!!!!

Did I do anything else to report? Yes, I sent out a few dozen Christmas cards, using those I made last March. Remember them? You saw the weaving, but not the finished cards. I have only one more, which I will hand to a friend.

2021 Christmas cards with woven insert

I do plan on making cards for 2022, again, in February or March; I’d never have the time in November or December.

Now that all that is done, I am moving on. Making things for people I don’t know. Wonder what that’s about? I’m knitting mittens, specifically 2-needle mittens using worsted weight acrylic yarn and size 5 needles using a vintage pattern from the 50s. Once I have a several pairs, in a few sizes, I’ll put them in ziplock baggies and somehow (haven’t figured this step out yet) hang (?) them in a bus shelter not far from my house, with notes that anyone who needs a pair should take them. I plan to continue this, and maybe add hats, throughout the winter.

Parting shot – Jack got his first professional grooming in years, and he looks SOOOO much better than when I do it with scissors.
Jack freshly groomed

Off and running!

My customers are THE BEST!!

I sold 24 of the 26 towels I brought to the Guild Holiday Sale. Since then (less than 2 weeks ago) I sold those two.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

Because I sold more towels than I’d expected at the Holiday Sale, I quickly warped up my loom for another batch of towels to put in my Etsy shop. I really liked the draft I’d used for those Autumn Beauty towels, and I wouldn’t have to change the heddles or tie up, so off I went with several shades of blue & green, using both color from my stash and my new purchases.

8 Sea & Sky towels

As soon as those were done I quickly warped the loom again, this time using a solid cream warp in one of my go-to drafts, twill blocks. I used a different color weft for each of the eight towels, again using both newly-purchased yarns and stash yarns.

8 twill block towels

I posted those towels in my shop on Wednesday morning and by Wednesday evening had sold 6 of them!!!

So although all the Sea & Sky towels are still available, you know as soon as the person who loves blues sees them, they’ll be gone, too.

I usually warp my loom for 8 towels at a time. It seems like a good number for me, as I don’t have time to get bored with the treadling or the colors. But today? Today I’m going to warp for at least 10, maybe 12. Why? I have a customer who wants 4 of them to replace towels she bought from me years ago. Her towels will all be in very similar colors, so I’ll want to liven things up and excite my visual cortex with very different options for the others.

I would have been winding that warp this morning instead of taking the time to write this post, but I’m sitting at the car dealer’s getting my 20,000 mile inspection. And my snow tires put on. So you’re getting a new post.

In closing, I finally got a new phone, after more than 5 years. The new one takes much better photos, especially of reds. Yesterday as I was getting ready to do my yoga I looked out the window and saw this beautiful sunrise. I just stepped out the door to snap this picture.

beautiful sunrise

I did a bad, bad thing

13 new cones cotton

You know my commitment to using up my stash? Well I went to Daft Dames yesterday and bought 13 cones of unmercerized cotton. The four cones on the bottom are cotton flake, which is a thick & thin yarn that makes for great absorbency in towels.

What possessed me? Sales. That’s what. In the last week I finished and listed 16 new towels in my Etsy store. I have two left. That’s all. Sure, I happened to hit the colors and timing just right, but I was motivated! Inspired! Roused!

You saw the mostly orange and pink towels in the last post. They are all gone. Here is one shot of my all of my Autumn Beauty towels. Two of these are left.

8 Autumn Beauty towels

Add to that the fact that the Weavers’ Guild Holiday Sale is right around the corner, and every single one of my previously woven towels is going there. That’s 32 towels. I think last year I sold around 20 of my towels. While I don’t necessarily expect to sell that many again, I know I’ll sell at least some of them. (And some of the ones I’m bringing are, IMHO, not so attractive.)

Then, we have the holidays coming up immediately thereafter. So I wanted my Etsy store to be stocked with colorful towels.

So I can’t stick around here on my computer. I’ve got to go wind a warp!