Monday, March 25, 2013

High Fiber—New Beginnings

My carpet warp came, along with five wooden bobbins for my boat shuttles, which I ordered from the Yarn Barn in Lawrence, Kansas. The bobbins will be used to make scarves out of my sock yarn (and other) stash:
I wasted no time getting my loom ready to go to make some denim chair mats. Here's the warping board with half of the warp threads:

It was nice to be able to take the reed out of the loom and sley it at the dining room table. (Note: No harm was done to my reed.) My friend Margareth, who has been weaving months longer than I have, suggested this method of holding up the reed using a C-clamp.
I had to hold the chain of warp threads (called ends) so they didn't get out of order and pull the threads through the spaces in the reed (called dents). The cross is what keeps the ends in order.
I finished warping all in one day, even with laundry and other chores to do, so I'm ready to go when I get a chance to sit at my loom and weave. That's a big improvement over my four-day, Bataan-Death-March warping job for the scarves! I'm going to use more of the warp thread to weave a few inches for a hem and then start with the denim strips.
I should be able to make both chair mats with the one warp...if I calculated right!

I do have other weaving plans. This sock yarn, Imagination in "Evil Stepmother" and Palette in "Aster" will be a scarf I think. (I probably won't use the crochet cotton in the photo.) I think I'm going to have a go with the Palette as warp and just warp for one scarf, with maybe a stronger yarn at the selvages or extra "ends" (threads) of it.

This will be a scarf or maybe a shawl, I think. It's lace weight yarn, Alpaca Cloud in "Oyster" and Manos Lace in the unromantic-sounding, perhaps even life-threatening-sounding color "9111." It's fiber content is much more romantic: 70% baby alpaca, 25% silk and 5" cashmere. Again, I'm thinking about not using the crochet cotton. I'll just be careful.
I have a shawl project using some Alpaca Cloud that has been hibernating for several years. I'm thinking of using it to make a woven shawl instead.

About the Christmas Waffle Cardi. Well, I frogged it and will use the yarn to make this:
(It's the Textured Stripes Pullover by Jon Gilliam from Knit Picks.)
Here's the story: DH kept saying he liked it, but with the waffle pattern (sort of a rib), it clung to his 71-year-old sexy body like a '70s sweater. (I'm not kidding; he's still really cute!) I didn't think he really would wear it much. I couldn't face knitting the same sweater again, so I suggested this one, and he liked it. I used the Kit Builder function on the Knit Picks website and found I had more than enough of the right yarn (Swish DK in "Lava Heather") for the project. It's a very economical project from the entertainment perspective. I've had the fun of (almost) knitting a sweater from this yarn, and now I get to have the fun of a totally new one with the same investment.
In the meantime, I'm swatching for a bunny suit for Daphne, also using Swish DK, but in "Squirrel Heather" and "Dove Heather." If the bunnies don't show up well enough with the "Dove Heather," I'll substitute "Bare." I'll show a photo of that project next week.
Common Threads met this week at Ellen's. Janet has made some progress with her Whimsy Cottage Quilt kit, the same kit Ellen has completed. Here they are together. Janet is making hers rectangular instead of square. Here's Ellen's finished quilt top together with Janet's kit, which is done except for the borders. The kit was featured in the 2002 "Quilt Sampler" magazine.
Ellen's French Braid is done and the binding is ready to put on. Then it will just need a label. It's for one of her grandkids.
Julie is working on my hexagon quilt, so I may have it to show by next week.

I found a pattern for this quilt and have added it to my queue. It's "Basket of Logs" from Log Cabin Fever by Evelyn Sloppy.
Ellen is going back to Florida soon, and she wants to make this quilt, too, so I thought we could have a virtual quilt along, working on it over the same time span and communicating by email.
In baby news, Zachary received his first pair of cowboy boots, an absolute must for his position as an honorary Texan.
The babies' Easter boxes were mailed last week, so they should have some fun from the Easter Bunny.
A report on my "condition." It has been two weeks since I fell, and I'm getting around much better, climbing stairs again and beginning to take over my old duties as household drudge. I'm planning on going to Silver Sneakers later today.
I hope everyone has a blessed Holy Week, filled with family and fiber fun!
What's on my needles: Christmas Waffle Cardigan frogged and Textured Stripes Pullover planned, Bunny Suit for Daphne and Dogwood Blossoms for me.
What's on my loom: Warped for denim chair mats.
What's on my Featherweight: Still the Delectable Pathways blocks, almost done, right where I was last week. The stairs were a problem for me, but I should make some progress this week.
What's on my wheel: I'm spinning another Full Circle Roving, this time in "Fawn."
What's on my iPad: Still listening to the Weavecast podcast and the Fiber Hooligan's podcast. Finished  His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik from Audible and will be starting Golden Days by D. E. Stevenson, one of my favorite authors, also from Audible. 
What's in my wine glass: Twisted's Old Vine Zinfandel vintage 2011. No relation to my favorite yarn shop in Portland, but still a nice wine.

Note: This blog post was produced entirely on the MacBook, using the iPad for photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for or cleaned.

Monday, March 18, 2013

High Fiber—So Many Projects, So Little Time!

In spite of my injuries, I made it to Vintage Stitchers this week.

Julie picked me up. She brought several quilts she had finished for members of the group. This hibiscus quilt was a kit Ellen bought in Hawaii. It's all batiks. Julie did a great job quilting it!

Julie also finished quilting this French Braid Quilt for Ellen. She stitched in the ditch around the braid segments and open areas have star shapes in them.

Some not-very-exciting fabrics really came alive for Janet in this charity quilt. I wonder if she'll be able to give it away. It was clever of her to use black for the background! Julie did the quilting on this quilt, too.

In weaving news, I finished the second scarf. I used my rotary cutter to trim the fringe at 4".

If you're wondering why part of my rotary cutter looks melted, it got got too close to my craft iron, a relationship doomed to failure! Fortunately, it still works.

Here are the two scarves together:

They look more like autumn than spring, but we still have a lot of snow on the ground, so the warm colors are refreshing. I used Knit Picks Chroma in "New England" (no longer available) as my inspiration for the colors, sort of like a focus fabric in quilting. I had some leftover Knit Picks sock yarn (Essential and Stroll) in the same green (except solid) as is found in the Chroma and in a kettle-dyed gold and a tonal yellow that played nicely with the Chroma. To warp my loom, I used the Essential and Stroll yarns and another sock yarn with the exact same green left over from previous projects. I used up all the Chroma in the two scarves, and most of the gold. I still have quite a bit of the green and yellow tonal. It was so much fun to see how the colors changed as I was weaving, and then I would change the colors according to whim as well, mixing in the greens and yellows. 

After the second scarf was off the loom, there was still some warp left, so I continued to play at weaving. 

I'm not sure what this will be. Maybe a small table runner. It isn't long enough for a scarf.

You may have read about my little accident last week. I'm walking much better now. I had a bruise the size of Texas, placed just so the incision for my hip replacement 15 years ago divided it exactly in half. The first couple of days I slept a lot and read weaving, quilting and knitting magazines and books, only getting up and "walking" when I had to. Then as I felt better, I started weaving. Moving my left foot up and down on the treadle of my loom was good exercise for my left leg. Thursday I was able to get around well enough to go to Vintage Stitchers (with the ride from Julie), and Friday I managed the stairs and did some laundry. by Saturday, I was starting to feel better as the day went on instead of worse. I'm not yet back to normal, but getting close. I never needed the pain pills nor the muscle relaxant. I'm so grateful that nothing worse happened when I fell!

This week also saw some progress on DH's Christmas Waffle Cardigan:

Benjamin Levisay's (the Fiber Hooligan) first podcast with the interview with Debbie Macomber was great! Don't miss this week's interview with Rick Mondragon. You can listen/subscribe after 10:00 Central Daylight Time today (Monday).

In closing, I thought you would all enjoy seeing Miss Daphne getting the most out of the last of the Wisconsin snow:

What's on my needles: Christmas Waffle Cardigan, some progress made this week, and Dogwood Blossoms.
What's on my loom: Just playing with what's left of the warp. Maybe it will be a table runner or....
What's on my Featherweight: Still the Delectable Pathways blocks, amost done with the blocks. Still have most of the appliqué to do, but that's by hand.
What's on my wheel: Plying the "Pigeon." (Boy, does that sound funny!) I'm planning to spin another Full Circle Roving. But which color? Hmmm....
What's on my iPad: Still listening to the Weavecast podcast, catching up. There don't seem to be any new ones, so I'm not in a rush to hear them all. Finished The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jaimie Ford from Great listen!
Now I'm listening to His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik. For something completely different.
What's in my wine glass: Concha y Toro Frontera Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot blend from Chile, vintage 2011. Yum! My wine steward really knows how to pick 'em!

Note: This blog post was produced entirely on the MacBook, using the iPad for photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for or cleaned.

Monday, March 11, 2013

High Fiber--Flipping Out!

I finished my first woven scarf:
If you look up close you can see very uneven selvedges and tension on the right end (where I started), but what you can see on the left side (where I finished) is my improvement as I went along. This scarf will be a great reminder of how far I've come! The second one is going better. My weaving is much neater and more even.
I also finished the lap blanket, which I wove before making the scarf. I used the warp that was already on my loom:
What I learned from finishing these projects: It's much easier to hemstitch your project while it's still on the loom. My temporary knots kinked up when I blocked the lap blanket, not so much with the scarf. I trimmed with a rotary cutter, but will have to re-trim after each is washed again. I snuggled up in the lap blanket Saturday night. It's warm!
Common Threads met on Thursday at Joanie's. Georgette came early to get set up and bring some upside-down cake for us to eat. Lynda brought some fruit.
This is the towel Joanie made using the warp she left on the loom for me. It was her last project from her loom (now my loom). She hasn't washed it yet, but otherwise, it's all finished. The warp is cotton and the weft is cotton chenille. It's reclining on her elevator chair. I think it looks great!
It looks very different from my lap blanket, even though it was made with the same warp. Just goes to show, when you make a project all in one color, the texture shows up better. When you use different colors, the pattern looks different.
While I was at Joanie's, I took a photo of the quilt she and I made together  in 2006. The colors are shades of brown, gold, forest green and gray. We had a lot of fun. Our friend Julie quilted it.
 Joanie commemorated the fun with a great label...with an insert with our names!
Now to the "flipping out" part. I almost didn't get this blog post out! On Sunday, I had what could have been a close call. I fell outside the grocery store on my way home from church. I think I got tangled in my long skirt and turned my ankle, which created the momentum that took me down. I thought I was OK when I got up, walked into the store, bought my three items, said hello to people I knew on the way out and drove home. I felt a little stiff when I got home. We Skyped with DD's family while I had an ice pack on the affected area. When I got up from that I was in serious pain. The urgent care clinics were all closed, so DH drove me to Emergency. I could hardly walk, it was so painful. After taking my history (total hip implant on the side I fell on), they took me into X-ray and took pictures of the hip. The diagnosis based on the X-rays was: possible dislocation of my artificial hip, although the doctor couldn't understand how I could even walk, let along not be screaming. More consultation with the orthopedists, more X-rays from a different angle (because metal on top of metal looks the same as metal inside metal), more waiting while I prayed it would work out. Finally, the doctor said the new X-rays showed that the implant was clearly OK. I have contusions, tissue damage, muscle spasms, but no dislocation and probably no fractures. The doctor said to "keep moving." I have some pain pills and later today I'll get a muscle relaxant. I'm taking a kitchen stool around with me, using it like a walker. It's good to live in an area where there are many more orthopedists per capita than average because of ski injuries.
DH is still the dislocation specialist (finger, shoulder), and no new joint replacement for me (to add to total hip and both thumbs' trapezium/LRTI).
Now for your baby fix: Zachary is 11 months old! Here he's doing pattycake (or maybe just applauding my fantastic moves in front of the grocery store). I need to give him some cards to hold up, all with a "10!"
I will be skipping Silver Sneakers today! However, Benjamin Levisay will be premiering his first podcast, starting with an interview with Debbie Macomber! Check it out!
What's on my needles: Christmas Waffle Cardigan, more progress made this week, and Dogwood Blossoms.
What's on my loom: My second scarf, about 24" long now.
What's on my Featherweight: Still the Delectable Pathways blocks, about 8 blocks to go. I'm not sure about the stairs, but maybe no entering my fiber studio downstairs for a while.
What's on my wheel: Still the Full Circle Roving in "Pigeon," almost finished.
What's on my iPad: Listening to the Weavecast podcast, and The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jaimie Ford from
What's in my wine glass: Salmon Creek Merlot, 2011. The big bottle! It will last a few days. Or maybe not. It's my painkiller of choice. I'll do a makeup day after Easter on my Lenten fast.
Note: This blog post was produced entirely on the MacBook, using the iPad for photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for or cleaned.

Monday, March 4, 2013

High Fiber--Warp Drive or Impulse?

I started warping/dressing my loom on Sunday afternoon. Um...I made a few mistakes.
My mistakes:
1. I picked soft, thin, stretchy, clingy sock yarn for my warp for a nice scarf.
2. The pattern that was my inspiration called for two yards. I upped it to three to make the scarf longer and to be sure I had enough. Then I doubled it, so I could make two scarves without re-warping. Bad idea! Longer warp means more trouble to get into!
3. The pattern called for several colors of yarn in the warp, so I couldn't just go through the process with one yarn. I had to spread the different yarns across the warp. (What was I thinking? Don't answer that.)
4. I didn't want to bother DH to play my DVD "Warping Your Loom" for the third time, so I started doing it from "memory." (Don't attempt this at home, especially if you have ADD!) I somehow missed that one circuit of the warping board (pictured above) would make TWO lengths of warp, not one.
5. When the instructions said, "Cut at the point furthest from the cross," I did it. Too late to undo it, I discovered they wanted me to cut right by the cross, too. (Weavers will understand this part.) I didn't do it, because I realized I would have twice as many warp threads half the length I wanted. My cross was in the middle of the warp threads, instead of the end.
6. I proceded anyway. Sleying the reed was no problem, but it left me with very long warp threads hanging behind the reed. Then they were hanging over the warp beam after I had threaded the heddles. (If you aren't a weaver, you're probably lost at this point, but bear with me.)
7. Concerned about all the looooooooong warp threads hanging off the back of the loom, I wound them up into little tidy balls and tied them with yarn (somehow, although I spin, not realizing that I was adding twist to them by doing so.)

This is where I stopped doing things wrong and started to correct my mistakes. I realized the only way I was going to have tidy threads on my warp  beam was by winding the threads forward onto the cloth beam (in the front of the loom). I tied the warp threads to the tie-up bar on the front apron (hope I'm getting the terminology right, but basically, I fastened the front end of the threads to where they belong in the front of the loom). To get the threads to go through the heddles and reed, however, I had to untwist each little ball, straighten out the threads, detach them from each other (they were clinging to each other in fright), and feed them back through the heddles and reed a little at a time. Then I had to wind the warp back in the other direction, onto the warp beam, making sure the cardboard was between each layer.

Success! Here's my warp on the loom:

I wish I had kept track of how many hours this took. I was now into day four of warping my loom...for a scarf! And for plainweave, not even anything fancy! (Too bad I didn't take a photo of all those little twisted balls!)

Then I watched the DVD again, and saw and heard where the warp on the warping board was supposed to be twice the length needed for the warp. Oops!

At this point, I checked to see if I had an open shed (pathway for the shuttle). I had two places where the threads crossed. Piece of cake! I knew how to fix this problem. I unfastened the offending threads from the tie-up bar thingy, pulled them out of the reed...and the heddles, since the cross was there, and re-threaded and re-sleyed.

Here's my open shed (one thread in the middle on each side is the floating selvage and supposed to be there):
I can't tell you how good it felt to get an open shed and all the warp threads on the warp beam! I also wish I could tell you I had made all the mistakes possible in weaving, but I'm still making them. 

Here's a photo of my first weaving on my own warp:
It has been fun so far, in spite of the challenges. Now I'm working on getting my selvages tidy. That may require a temple. (No burnt offerings or religious services required. This is another weaving term.)

Here was my progress as of Thursday:
My first scarf will remind me of all the errors/trials/tribulations/fun I've made/had/committed in my first journey into weaving. Maybe I can get another scarf out of it that will be worth giving to a friend or relative. Here's a look at 30 1/2" of weaving:

The yarns are: Schoeller + Stahl Fortissima Socka sock yarn in color 1006 (green), Essential sock yarn in Grass (no longer available), Essential Kettle Dyed sock yarn in Gold (no longer available), Stroll sock yarn in Tonal Yellow (color no longer available) and Chroma fingering in "New England" (color no longer available). As you can see from my yarn choices, I'm drawing from long-term stash.

Vintage Stitchers met this week at Rebecca's. We had lots of great projects to look at. Ellen's Christmas quilt top is done:

Rebecca showed us a quilt her grandmother made. It's hand-appliquéd and quilted:

Here's a closeup:

Rebecca made and hand-quilted this log cabin back when the only quilting fabric available was "calico."

Ellen showed us her finished quilt top from a Whimsy Cottage kit purchased at the old Whimsy in Heber. This one is based on the traditional "drunkard's path."

Rebecca has prepared this appliqué for sewing:

Julie had finished Barbara's quilt...interlocking squares all in batiks:

Here's the back...

...and a closeup of Julie's quilting:

This was another quilt Rebecca made a few years ago:

Barbara got this little quilt top from a friend. The tulips were paper-pieced and three-dimensional.
In spite of the warping fiasco, there's been progress on my "Delectable Pathways" quilt. I finished a few more paper-pieced blocks and put everything up on my design wall. I placed some scraps of the cheddar fabric behind the rows of blocks and hung up the partially finished appliqué panel, so I could see what it's going to look like. Other than the pieced blocks, nothing has been sewn together yet.
For those needing a baby fix, Soren and his parents have been vacationing in Kauai. They went on some hikes. Here he is, traveling in style:

What's on my needles: Christmas Waffle Cardigan, some progress made this week, and Dogwood Blossoms.
What's on my loom: My first scarf, about 50" long now.
What's on my Featherweight: Still the Delectable Pathways blocks, about 2/3 of them done.
What's on my wheel: Still the Full Circle Roving in "Pigeon," almost finished.
What's on my iPad: Listening to the Weavecast podcast, and The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jaimie Ford from Also listening to The King of Torts by John Grisham on CD from the library.
What's in my wine glass: Bota Box Zinfandel 2011, 3L box. Pretty good. Quantity doesn't matter, since it's Lent, and I've given up my second glass of wine each evening until Easter. (I might have to shop for a bigger wine glass....)

Note: This blog post was produced entirely on the MacBook, using the iPad for photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for or cleaned.