More creating

I have no idea how a whole month has gone by without me posting. It’s not been for lack of doing things, some with photographs, some not.

Let’s start with the not. I’ve used my Macomber pretty exclusively for a long time. Knowing that for the past (?)three(?) years the only thing I’d used my counterbalance loom for was holding fabric, I decided it was time to move it on. I thought about the best way to do that, and decided that I was going to gift it to a new weaver. I worked with one of the instructors from our Weaving & Fiber Arts Center and quickly had a taker. She and her husband picked it up a few weeks ago, and it happily fit in their van. I am thrilled with all the space created in my studio, and have used it for sewing, weaving, exercising, and card playing so far. It’s such a pleasant space, I’m sure I’ll continue to enjoy it. And the new owner will hopefully enjoy the loom. She lives nearby, and I’ve encouraged her to call me if she needs help with it, so I’m betting I get to see it. 🙂

Next up, I did do a third round of geode dyeing, this time the final Tshirts for my grandson for his birthday. I used rubber bands for some of the ties, till I ran out of rubber bands of an appropriate size, then re-using the artificial sinew with a slightly different strategy. I’m happy with them.

3rd geode Ts, front

3rd geode Ts, back

Still, when my daughter asked (jokingly, I’m sure) if I was willing to make them for all of my grandson’s friends who admired them, for a fee, of course, I immediately replied, “NO!” I learned a lot, but this was not worth my time and effort to make them to sell.

Sticking with my grands for a moment, we assume that they will both be wearing masks all day at school. So they picked out a bunch of fabrics, and today I cut out 3D masks, their favorite style. 14 for the 10-year old, 18 for the 5-year old.

30 masks cut out

I’m taking bets – which child will lose more masks more quickly, the 5th grader or the kindergartener?

Back to dyeing, Rebecca over at ChemKnits has LOTS of great YouTube tutorials about dyeing sock yarn and other wool-based yarns. She uses a WIDE variety of things to provide the color on her yarns: acid dyes, fiber reactive dyes, food dyes, Skittles, and many more unusual items. She makes everything accessible and fun. So I dyed another sock blank with my fiber reactive dyes, this time hand painting it.

my handpainted sock blank

Again, I learned things, this time mostly about how much dye I needed (way less than I mixed up) and the difference needed between dark and light values of the same color (more than 50% difference). I’m really liking the chartreuse a lot, but wish there’d been more visual difference between the blue and the purple, and between the values, especially of those last 2 colors.

Still, I’m enjoying the process both of dyeing and of knitting with this yarn, and expect I’ll have to buy more sock blanks to dye. 🙂

knitting with my hand painted sock blank

On the weaving front, Elizabeth Tritthart did some amazingly beautiful pickup using vintage embroidery patterns. She inspired me. And since I’m not pressing to produce for selling, now is the time for me to try different things.

We are rapidly approaching the Weavers’ Guild’s 75th anniversary – the diamond anniversary. Some Guild members are planning for a great exhibition in honor of this event, one part of which will feature diamonds in weaving. So I decided to do some pickup. I threaded my rigid heddle, an appropriate and easily moveable loom for this. Then I did some sampling, trying various yarns, weights, and designs.

sampling pickup, 1

sampling pickup, 2

I decided I liked the relatively simple diamond-shaped designs, so did some really careful planning that had to include how my finished work would be displayed, since the back of these pieces have really long and ugly floats. I got my act together and slowly wove 4 sections and bought a frame to display them. I absolutely used the carpenter’s rule: measure twice and cut once. I sewed a machine stitch, using both straight and zigzag stitches to secure the ends. Then cut the 4 pieces out. D*%#! I only measured the first piece, red to orange and counted the rows on that! Clearly my gauge isn’t identical on all 4 pieces. Only the first one is appropriately sized for the frame. The others are all too stitched and cut too small. They will have to be re-woven. But here you get the concept anyway.

pickup designs cut out wrong

And fortunately I have plenty of time to re-weave, as the exhibit isn’t until the spring of 2022. So first I will sew all those masks, then I have to get some rayon chenille woven for a gallery that sells a bit of my work. Maybe the rigid heddle will come back out after that; maybe I’ll need more time to get back to it. The good news is that I used readily available embroidery thread for the pickup, so at least that won’t be a problem.

7 comments to More creating

  • Jennifer+Petschke

    You are amazing!

  • Judy+T

    Awesome shirts Peg. I can see why his friends all wanted to buy one of them from you. Smart woman to decline, given all you went through to make these perfect ones!

  • marlene toerien

    Hi Peg, I am glad to see you are weaving! After talking to my family as my sales are also down, they all said it will be easier to get rid of my woven stuff than my yarns, so carry on weaving. As we had two cold winters, 2020 and 2021, I would have stopped weaving if it wasn’t for a big order and our 2 oldest Guilds turning 70, and are having their celebrations next year when hopefully most are vaccinated. I also take part in a Fabric, Fibre and threads exhibition in the month of April, at a local art gallery. What is not sold will be gifted when I decide to completely stop weaving when I am to old to sit behind a loom.

  • Angela

    Beautiful diamonds, great colors on the sock blank. Even if it’s not quite the colors you were trying for, it still looks great. I love when there is overlap on the people I follow. ChemKnits is a great YouTube channel.

    • Peg Cherre

      Thanks, Angela. ChemKnits IS great! I would never have tried dyeing sock blanks with my fiber reactive dyes without her encouragement.

  • Your geode dyeing is incredible!!!

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