Friday, April 18, 2014

TGIF weaving

I have a long weekend away from the Big B where I work because it is an institution of higher learning that celebrates certain religious holidays with long weekends so students and faculty can catch up on their work before (ugh) finals.  So I get to weave, weave, weave and maybe tool around in the yard a bit.  We should be able to plant in a month and things do need to get ready.

Canadian Snowlflake handtowels.
I've made some headway on the Canadian Snowflake handtowels, but I would really like to finish them this weekend.  My stitch n' bitch is having a retreat next Saturday and they would be the perfect project to finish while sitting around sipping herbal tea and talking.

I've just started the teal color. Can I zoom through four more towels this weekend?  My weaving progress is usually fairly  slow, so we will have to see.  I am still forever fringing that shawl I wove and still don't have a finished object to show.  Such is life.

Warp for BGH overshot throw.
Meanwhile, I have this warp to beam for a 1000+ end overshot throw.  The warp is the lovely bamboo cotton blend I purchased from Yarn Barn's mill ends.  Thankfully, they had a spare cone so I didn't have to improvise a stripe in the warp.  Overshot is a whole new weave structure for me and I am looking forward to seeing what sort of lovely designs I can make.
Giant cone of 8/2 pink.
Every since I finished those washcloths, the DH has been lobbying for more of them.  I have this 1.5 pound cone of 8/2 pink and now I am thinking of a whole new weave structure: waffle weave.  Right now it is a research/math project as I try to figure out the proper sett and width.  Waffle collapses when taken off the loom, according to the books I've been looking at, so I need to make the warp quite a bit wider than my expected finished project.  This will be done on the Loomcraft Lulu as I want to start with four shaft waffle and then move up to six and possibly 8 shaft. I have some massive cones of 8/2 cotton I picked up as mill ends, and should make great washcloths.  And don't worry, it won't all be pink! I have plenty of colors to try in the weft to spice them up a bit.

But there's still the golden scarf sitting on the Loomcraft waiting to be woven.  Thank goodness for long weekends!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Weaving nirvana

Canadian Snowflake hand towels.
I've been having the best time weaving.  The Canadian Snowflake towels warped onto the Fanny have been exceptionally fun to weave.  Part of it is the 18" width, which believe me is much easier to weave than the 50 inch width of the throw I was weaving.  Plus the Fanny is a lovely loom to weave on, quiet, easy to treadle and ever so dependable.  The colors are fun too.  I have one more towel to weave in red and then I go on to another color.  Which shall I choose?  I have quite a few cones of the unmercerized 3/2 cotton for warp, and I have choices to make.  I'm thinking a rich deep teal may go next.

Beauty shot of the Canadian Snowflake throw.
This is my "beauty shot" (you know, the one to post on Ravelry) for the Canadian Snowflake throw.  I really love the way it turned out, and it lives draped over the rocking chair or some other piece of furniture.  I want to use it to artfully drape over my favorite chair for when company comes. Thanks to Laura Fry for this wonderful Canadian Snowflake draft!

 My next throw will be my first venture into overshot.  I will use a design by Bertha Gray Hayes, that wonderful woman who lived for weaving while earning her living at the phone company during the mid-part of the last century.  Her life's work was saved by weavers from her guild who had preserved her hundreds of samples, designs and notes and published a book for all of us to enjoy.  But more about that as I weave.

Weft colors for BGH overshot throw
Right now, I'm stuck on the warp!  I do love mill ends, and two of the colors you see above were purchased that way.  There is a danger in mill ends in that once you run out, you've run out. Not shown is a lovely natural colored bamboo/cotton that I'm using as warp.  Sadly, I ran out of it Thursday night.  Gladly, the Yarn Barn had one cone left.  While I was at it, I also purchased a badly needed fringe twister.  I am really looking forward to getting started on this throw! Just waiting for the cone to appear on my doorstep.

Golden Tencel for a scarf.
In the meantime, I have a warp of golden Tencel to put on the Loomcraft.  Shown above are my Leclerc Threading Helpers in a brand new configuration I figured out to so they work on this loom.  I am really enjoying threading this project because this golden Tencel is so gorgeous.  I am using the same threading as for my shawl, but this time my treadling will produce big interlaced diamonds.
Pretty cotton won in the Tour de Fleece 2013.
Spinning is a staple in my studio, and right now I'm working on this colorful cotton and I'm really enjoying it! I usually don't enjoy spinning cotton.  Maybe it's because I'm letting it be thick and a bit slubed? Could be.  I want to use it as a weft for some placemats.  I have some nice thick cotton/linen yarn I can dye to go with this.  It should be fun and colorful!

So that is what's going on at the Craftstead Studios! I hope you are all being productive too.  Happy spinning and weaving! Feel free to post about your project in the comments. I'd love to know about them!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Tencel shawl

IMG_0153 by Craftsteader
IMG_0153, a photo by Craftsteader on Flickr.
This shawl was begun in February will be cut off the loom tomorrow. The project went quickly but it did have a few snags. I had a lot of breakage, possibly due to the dry air. I've purchased a humidifier and I hope my next project will fare better.
Tencel is very strong and hard to break, but apparently became brittle on the loom in the dryness. I will see how the next project fares.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Karakul spun!

IMG_0147 by Craftsteader
IMG_0147, a photo by Craftsteader on Flickr.
I have reason to celebrate having finished spinning my supply of gray Karakul--two whole pounds--toward making super bulky rug wool. It's a good feeling to see produce something. I still have two other colors for my rug design.
I'm a bit tardy on blogging because yesterday I took an introduction of a style of yoga called Svaroopa. The purpose is to help muscles release and relax so it is extremely relaxing. It definitely NOT a workout, and when I was done there were places that were loose that I didn't even know could be loose. I'm definitely signing up for more classes!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Three little projects

IMG_0139 by Craftsteader
IMG_0139, a photo by Craftsteader on Flickr.
The Canadian Snowflake throw is off my big loom Bella. Now I find myself with three projects going--one I'm weaving, one I'm threading, and one I'm just starting to plan. I just hope there isn't a big bad wolf of weaving!

Having all these projects going at once is pretty exciting. I love admiring the one that just came off the loom and it still needs finishing (so that make four projects, doens't it?)

I've started to weave a Tencel shawl and the fiber is so shiny it's a joy to weave. Next, I'm threading the Canadian Snowflake draft from Laura Fry to make some hand towels, and that is also something to look forward to as I love the design. Next? A colorful overshot throw on the big loom--but I have a long way to go. I just figured out the wpi of the warp this morning and need to decide on a sett and a draft! Shall I go with Bertha Gray Hayes or Marguerite Porter Davison?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Cheer against endless winter

IMG_0136 by Craftsteader
IMG_0136, a photo by Craftsteader on Flickr.
With a giant March snowstorm forecast of doom pending, what better way to spend the weekend then weaving? I just finished these bright and cheery curtains for the loom room upstairs, and have a big diffenbachia perched in front of it to provide some oxygen. Yep, the loom you see is Bella, my 60" Nylus II on which I am weaving the complicated Canadian Snowflake throw. I plan to finish the weaving this weekend.
Over my coffee this morning, I joined Pinterest in order to save nice looking drafts I've been finding online. This will give me a nice collection for future projects.
In the meantime, I have but to wait patiently for SNOWMAGADON to come. If my memory serves me correctly, snowstorms at the very beginning of March can be the worst. The only positive being warm weather follows and the snow melts into a big mess. It is a very good day to weave.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Keeping it straight

IMG_0096 by Craftsteader
IMG_0096, a photo by Craftsteader on Flickr.
One of the challenges of treadling a complex weaving pattern is remembering exactly where I am in the pattern. I tried a number of different contraptions that included paper clips and index cards, but all this was too cumbersome for long term weaving.
Enter, the humble sticky-note. I place a sticky on each side of the portion of pattern I'm weaving. I chose the portions in 3 to 4 shot increments. The stickies can be advanced as I go. The glue on one sticky will last for several repeats of a long complicated pattern, so I would guess one pack of stickies will last through multiple weaving projects.
When I am called away from the weaving--usually the dog knocking on the back door to get in or the timer in the kitchen going off--I have the stickies butt edges at the exact line where I need to start again. This saves me having to remember, which I know I won't.
I love office supply stores, so, of course, I'm always amazed at how many cool items I can retask for weaving!