Huck Weaving Progress

I have woven a yard or so of my huck lace, so I took a few pictures.  According to what I have read, it will look quite different once it is off the loom and washed.  I like how it looks at this stage and am looking forward to seeing how it turns out.  Next I will do a section with a blue weft to match the warp.  I’m not sure how the texture will show up in photographs.

I work with a feline assistant.  She mainly helps me keep to a schedule.  She reminds me to take walks and let her nap in peace and makes sure that once I have a warp on the loom I keep weaving until it is done, before she turns the warp into a cat’s cradle.

Still a Zen weaver after all these years

I’ve been weaving for about fourteen years, I think, but am still a beginner.  Today I am thinking of the title Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind and feeling good about staying a beginner.  It means I’m always learning something new.

It has been about a year since I have woven anything, and yesterday I got the pieces of my eight-shaft table loom from various parts of the house and put it back together, then beamed a warp of 16/2 cotton.  When I thought I was ready to start threading the heddles, I had an epiphany – I suddenly realized why people design projects before winding the warp and threading the loom.  I had done as much design work as usual – I had chosen to make my first try at huck yardage, which I will combine with basketweave yardage

Basketweave yardage
I wove last year and Bronson lace that I plan to weave next.  I used the same width and sett as the basketweave.  I had read the chapter on huck in my book on woven lace but had not chosen which draft of in the chapter to use.

So with the warp beamed, I looked through the drafts and found that I had to decide between three-thread or five-thread huck, huck spots or huck lace, and decide how many blocks, whether to include plain weave blocks, and how wide to make the blocks.  None of the available choices seemed to fit exactly into the number of threads in my warp.  I fiddled with various combinations and came up with a pattern of two huck and one plainweave blocks that fits with a little extra plain weave at each edge, one thread more at one edge than the other.  I will remember this next time I wind a warp – not necessarily plan better, but at least give it some thought.

I do like the element of surprise so I wouldn’t want things too well planned!  Hold on to your beginner’s mind!

Belated pictures

front viewI finally have pictures of two projects I finished in May, in time to wear for a Mothers Day lunch.  I designed the sweater – inspired by a couple of Jill Vossburg’s designs – and made it from a linen/cotton/rayon blend yarn called Del Sol.  I had been working on it for at least two years, stopping for months at a time when I got to the point another decision had to be made.

I had been meaning to make a needlefelted hat for years and had purchased a foam form to make one.  I needed a hat to wear to a Mother’s Day event at Mom’s retirement home, and made this in just four or five days.  It is not as sturdy as I would like but I like the way it looks, and was also pleased with how it looks turned inside-out.

Quick catchup post

I’m sorry for the long hiatus in posting.  I got a few things done but somehow haven’t found time for a photo session.  There’s a new spring sweater, with a summer sweater underway, the first of three lengths of woven lace that I plan to combine in a garment, a needle felted hat, a hooked piece that will be the top of a footrest, and the block that I meant to include in the local yarnbombing (it was postponed by a thunderstorm and I missed the rain date).

It is spring and summer weather that keeps me from taking time for photography.  It’s too dark on the rainy days.  On the nice days I need to be outside gardening, hiking, or cycling.

Yarn in the streets

Next week the yarn community of Champaign is collaborating on a public knitted/crocheted art project called “Stitching the community together” as part of the Boneyard Arts Festival.  We will tie 8 inch by 12 inch knitted and crocheted blocks to a fence at the corner of Neil Street and Church street to make a giant mural.  I haven’t started to work on my part yet, but I think this is my chance to play with freeform techniques and a jumble of leftover bits of yarn.  The project also includes an element of performance art, as we will be knitting and crocheting at the site of the yarn mural next Friday evening from 6 to 9.

Yarn as public art seems to be everywhere these days.  I came across two articles just today on yarn bombing in Boston and on thread tagging as a form of graffiti.

Spring flowers and spring yarns

Spring is finally here!  I have been going for long walks, including a walk in the woods at Allerton last week where Phil captured these crocuses.

I’ve fallen behind on taking pictures of my work, but have a few accomplishments this month.

I started a spring weaving project with 16/2 cotton yarn that I received as a Christmas gift.  I decided to weave several short lengths in different lace weaves and put them together in a blouse or dress.  The first one is blocks of basket weave and plain weave, from chapter one of Handwoven Laces.  I need to iron it before taking a photo, but I do have one of the cones of yarn with the warp chain.

There is also a spring sweater that just needs the ends woven in and a few bobbins of singles to ply.  I’ll try to get everything photographed and be back soon with a progress report.

Finished a Sweater

It always seems to take me forever to finish knitting a sweater – especially one for me, since I put it aside to work on gifts or items for sale.  I started this one in January 2010 and finished it at the end of February 2011, but I think this adds up to just three months of knitting.

It is a variation of Medrith Glover’s Circumnavigated Cardigan,  using Shepherd’s Own – an undyed wool yarn that has flock numbers instead of dye lots.  The buttons don’t show in the photo – they are pewter, with sheep.

It is almost spring, so I will wear this every day until wool sweater weather ends, then block it.

As soon as I finished this sweater I got down a box of UFO’s from the closet shelf and took out a half finished spring sweater which I hope to complete at least a week or two before summer comes.

Happy Saint Blaise Day

I learned from the Spin-Off wall calendar that February 3 is St. Blaise Day — the patron saint of wool combers — so I did a little research.  According to Wikipedia, St. Blaise was a 5th or 6th century Armenian physician who was martyred by being beaten with wool combs.  The combs are included in icons of St. Blaise, thus his association with the wool combing trade.

I prefer to celebrate the British myth that St. Blaise brought prosperity to England by teaching the people to comb wool.  I still haven’t learned to comb wool, so I will be getting out my drum carder to observe February 3 this year.

Silky Singles

After reading Judith MacKenzie’s article on spinning plump, silky singles in the Spring 2010 issue of SpinOff, I wanted to try it.  The article recommends a 50/50 blend of silk and merino, so I searched for a space dyed roving with those proportions at the Fiber Event in Greencastle Indiana last April.  After visiting all of my favorite booths, I finally tracked down what I needed at the River’s Edge Fiber Arts booth.

Silky singles before washing

I’m used to spinning thin and plying, so it was a challenge to keep the yarn plump and avoid overtwisting.I did a practice run with a less expensive 30% tencel/70% merino blend, and now have finally gotten together the courage to work with the wool and silk.

The unwashed skein looked pretty kinky and messy, uneven in both grist and twist.

After washing and drying with weight

After washing in hot water with an icy rinse, and hanging with a plastic hanger as a weight to keep it straighter, the yarn is ready to behave.  I think the result is pleasing enough that I will look for more silk/merino blend roving and use this technique again, perhaps dying my own next time.

Closeup of finished skein

Too much yarn, too little time

I haven’t been getting much done lately.  After a search for lost items, half a dozen cardboard boxes of yarn and fiber are cluttering the living room floor.  I will spare you a photo, but I found a cartoon that sums it up.