Friday, November 30, 2012

Last day of November

I was at the lake taking pictures of a family and snapped a few while waiting for them to arrive.  It was such a pretty afternoon!

I really like this picture I snapped at the end with this family.  I love sunset shots!!

I wish I could show you more of the pictures I was able to get with this family.  There were some good ones this time!  Such cute kids!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Doubled up

This current weaving project is very pattern heavy... I have 120 repeats that I just follow very closely.  It's somewhat enjoyable, but I like the other kind of weaving better where I just look at a pattern, memorize it, and carry on.  This one is so number heavy that I decided to mark my treadles because I'm constantly counting them out and pressing 2 down at a time.  This saves so much time!!  And energy!!

I just printed numbers off on the computer, cut them out and taped them on!  They are removable, as long as I don't leave the tape on for too long!

This is my make-shift magnetic board, that also helps with the 120 repeats!  My stamp magnet (in the middle) helps me keep my place, and it's just stuck on the back of a cookie sheet.  It's so much easier to slide the magnet as I go than to use a post-it note.  The post-it note looses it's stickiness by the time I get to the end!  And then it falls off sometimes and I lose my place altogether. This is a much better way to go:

Here are my latest snowman experiments.  This first one is 2 strands of the pattern yarn, which is the same size as the warp and tabby weft.  So theoretically the pattern weft is doubled in size.  Each yarn is 12/2 in size.

Here is the same pattern in 8/2 cotton.  I think I like the above one better because it is still easier to see.  And I like the colors better in the above one.  The pink works better with the blue.

I get a kick out of the back of the piece!  It's funny looking at the opposites!  

Now I just need to wash these samples.  I have one last experiment to run before I make my final decision.  I want to spin two strands of 12/2 cotton together on my spinning wheel to use as the pattern weft.  I'm eager to see what kind of snowman that makes.  So far, I like the doubled size, but I wonder if I spin it together if it will change it very much.  I love to experiment with my weaving!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Snow and Hot Cocoa

I put my snowman in the washer and dryer, and he didn't melt!

 I think the snowman looks a lot better after a good washing and drying, however, I still want to try doubling up on my pattern weft because I think I can do even better!  The size after washing was 2.5"x2.5", so because it's square, I might have to pack it a little tighter to keep the squareness. 

This is the before and after image:

These are the exact same pieces of cloth, and you can see that the washed one is puffier and the pattern does show up more.  These are going to be very cute ornaments!  (PS. the colors are different only because they are two different pictures, but really, the color didn't change!)

And it helps in the winter feelings here!  While I was working on my snowman, it was snowing here!  I laugh because it's like I unlocked the magic!

This was a great day for homemade hot cocoa!!

2 tablespoons sugar
2 -3 teaspoons Hershey's cocoa
1 dash salt
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


1 Mix sugar, cocoa and salt in large mug.
2 Heat milk in microwave at HIGH(100%) for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes or until hot.
3 Gradually add hot milk to cocoa mixture in mug, stirring until well blended.
4 Stir in vanilla.
mmm mmm good!!!  And warm!!!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Trees Updated

It almost looks like I'm missing a picture between Oct and Nov, but I am not!  This is just fall in Arizona... the leaves quickly turn brown and fall off.  It was a disappointing fall this year.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Build a snowman!

These snowman have not been an easy project!  In fact, I have learned so much along the way.  My notes have been changed and re-changed many times already before they were even published!!  Here is what you will get with the work I figured out already:

Not a bad little snowman!!  I might try doubling up on the pattern weft because all the yarn is the same size.

Here are all my other trials:

1 on bottom & 2 on top

3 isn't much better!  Poor guy looks quite miserable!  He looks as though he's been run over by a big truck!

There is plenty of improvement... so far!  But it comes with a headache!  Sometimes these patterns are so consolidated that they are just a pain to have to interpret.  I bet they are a pain to consolidate them that small, too!  The cool thing about figuring out all of this is it means I could do the other patterns in this same pdf that follow this setup: trees, Santa, angel, reindeer, or the letters.  I'm going to just get through the snowman first though!  Good thing I sampled on this one!!!

 PS.  The craft show is now over and I was pleased with the amount of stuff I sold.  I sold more than I ever have before!  It felt good to be so appreciated!  The acrylic scarves were a total hit... all have new homes now, and I have a few special requests to fill when the snowmen are done and off my 8-shaft loom.  I am glad to see so much appreciation for hand-made stuff and local support.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Once there was a Snowman!

I was going over Christmas ornament ideas with Brian, and I suggested the sheep that I was thinking of doing this summer, but Brian saw this snowman in the same book of pdf patterns and wanted to do the snowman this year! 

This is a very complicated looking pattern, but it's really not all that bad.  The thing to remember is, tabby is at the left of the tie-up, and it's 1-2 and 3-4-5-6-7-8.  The left side of the tie-up is shaft 1 plus the combinations of treadles 3-8.  The right side is shaft 2 plus the combinations of treadles of 3-8.

The pattern pretty much goes:

  • tabby b
  • left side (two shots of shaft 1 plus 3-8 combo: make one black and one white)
  • tabby a
  • right side (two shots of shaft 2 plus 3-8 combo: one black and one white)

This pattern is from Handwoven Magazines book called Deck the Halls.  I love several things from this book!  However, I don't like how compact their patterns are.  The patterns are sometimes very complicated, but they are so consolidated that it takes a lot of time to pick them apart!

Their snowmen look better than the pattern, so I'm hoping some of the "background noise" that is seen in the pattern shuts off once I start weaving and compacting everything.  I made the hats a little bit taller, because they looked kind of silly being so short.

Here is the skeleton tie-up that Tim's Treadle Reducer helped me with.  I could not get it down to 10 treadles, but it did get it down to 11. 

Here is a tie-up suggestion for a 10 treadle loom.  I had to figure out a way to drop one of the lesser used treadles so that I can have a 10 treadle tie-up.  I will need to lift a shaft by hand.  I dropped treadle 4 and just lift shaft 8 manually when I need this rotation, but then all the other numbers past 4 had to change, like 5 is now 4, 6 is now 5, etc.  Below are all the corrections for a 10 treadle tie-up.  When you see "3+7, plus 8" or "3+7, 8", that means to depress treadles 3 & 7 with your feet, and then hold shaft 8 up with your hand.
This pattern is almost ridiculous! In fact, it has taken me about 4 attempts to get it to this point!  I have made several mistakes along the way, but to me, that's what makes weaving more fun: the challenge of it all!

Below is the pattern with everything "plugged" in.  It takes about 120 steps to weave the snowman!  Start at the top of the left column and work your way down, over to the top of the left column and down again, etc to the end.  Kind of opposite of a typical weaving pattern, but much easier to explain and read on the go.  If you see "2+3, 8" it means to press treadles 2 & 3 at once, and hold shaft 8 with your free hand... if you have one!

I have decided to start with something small, like 1 snowman on a very short warp of 3 yards just to be sure I really like what I'm seeing and to make sure it's working out ok!  Then I might do about 6 snowman across on a 4 yard warp to cover all of our Christmas cards this year.  Can't wait to get started!

Monday, November 19, 2012

book of scraps

A friend at work is going to be having a baby soon, and for her shower she only wanted books for her baby.  My goal is always to make my own gifts, so I decided to make a cloth book for her and her baby.  They can be used as "eye spy" books, counting, or just for looking at together.  I tried to include a few tactile things, like some weaving scraps or fringe from the end of projects.


I really like how the pages turned out!  They are plenty colorful and just plain fun!  My sister has just recently confessed that she also used her books to clean up spit-up in extreme cases.... haha!  The book is 100% cotton, so it is both machine washable and dry-able!  
 Here are a few close-ups of some of the pages:

I was able to use quite a few weaving scraps in this little book! 
When I look at all the scraps, it reminds me of the various projects I have worked on in the last year.
I think it will be enjoyed for many years!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

It's a Super Duper Match!

I personally think it's an incredibly close match!!!
I can't believe this is even possible!
If I were to do 1 strand of each color, I think it would be even better.  BUT, the navy yarn will be 4-ply and I want the weights the same.  So, I just went with 2 creams, 1 pink, and 1 green.

For now, my cousin doesn't think the colors match her hat as well, so she will send me some colors that will match perfectly.  So for now, this project will go on the hold list.

Friday, November 16, 2012

More on the super challenge

I decided to put my challenge more to the test than just a little sample.  I mean, if I'm going to make a commitment to undo enough yarn and re-spin it for a whole scarf, I needed to make sure my plan really worked.

My first method didn't work.  It was trying to pull large amounts of yarn out of a center-pull ball and take it apart.  There was too much energy in the yarn and it just didn't want to come off the ball really easily.  My second idea was to take segments and then when I am spinning, re-attach them back together.  So I took about 1 yard segments apart and spun them back together as singles.  Then I took 3 singles and plied them together.

Here are my original balls of yarn:

The center ball was something I wanted to try and stretch further anyway, so this was a good choice to try my new ideas on.  Also, I wanted to see what this looked like with a faded yarn.

I cut sections about a yard long, and each was a 4-ply yarn, so I re-spun each as singles, but there were 3 singles about 4 yards long.  Then, I spun each of them together as a 3-ply yarn:

This is 2-ply, because it was the tail end and I ran out of the pink:

Kind of neat, eh?!  It makes the super colorful yarn a little more toned down, and brings in more solid colors.  I wonder what this would look like all woven up!  I also wonder if it looks or feels different, or if you can see a difference in the plies if you look close.  I also wonder how it mixes with the original commercially done yarns.

It really does open up some doors though!  It's a little bit of extra work, but if you don't have the right shade or size, you could potentially change that!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A super special request and challenge

My cousin in New Mexico has a woven hat that needs a matching scarf.  This is the picture she sent:

She wants me to weave a scarf that is a close match.  Now I could take the easy way out and just pick out one color to match with navy, but that's just not my style!  No, I'm a take-it-to-the-limit kind of person!!

I thought about this carefully for a few days.  I thought about dying my own wool, but that makes it wool and I kind of lose the challenge of it being polyester.  So then I thought about ways I could weave with 3 or 4 strands of yarn that it just wouldn't make this kind of weave.  I really wanted to be able to match the original yarn of 3-ply pink, green, and cream and weaving with 3-4 colors wouldn't solve that problem.  Finally, I turned to my last resort: Dissecting already existing polyester yarn and re-spinning it together!  And it works!

Here is my trial run with very short pieces of colors that have nothing to do with these!

I'm pretty sure if I were to weave this together combined with another color, it would look like the above picture!  I'm terribly excited and I can't wait to try an even bigger amount of yarn!  I told her that if anything, I could make a very close "cousin" to her hat!

Here's what it looks like as 2-ply:

This is really cool!  I feel like I've hit upon a really cool new thing!  I see lots of visions... like I have very little of some ombre yarns that I liked... what if I mixed them with something else to not only tone them down but also stretch them further?!  :-)