Thursday, December 30, 2010

Finished Chenille Scarves

I managed to get all 3 scarves woven, off the loom, fringes twisted, wet finished, dried, in the mail and TO the recipients in time!  Hurray!  I didn't even begin to make a dent in my stash of chenille (how I love this stuff), alas.  Or maybe that's okay, because really - what's WRONG with surrounding yourself with stuff you love?  I like just moving the cones around looking at different colors together and thinking of all the possibilities. 

Here is the greeney one that was but a blob of warp yarns in the last post. 
 I used the outside stripes color (a rather marled yarn) for the weft.  I thought I'd like the pale green for weft, but I didn't...  This one turned out the softest once it was finished - like butter!  (why do we say that?  I don't think I'd want to be wearing butter...  maybe soft like a kitten!  not so easy to wear either, but I'd rather pet a kitten than butter...).
  Next up was a scarf in red tones...  I used two shades of red wound at the same time for the red stripes.  The other stripes are another marled yarn that turned out to be quite green in the light of day.  In my basement when I was choosing it it looked like something else.  I don't know what, but not so ...  green!  Oh well, covered in red weft it's a whole lot less green.  I outlined each stripe with 1 strand of blue. 
 This scarf started out 11" wide in the reed, because I can't count.  Well, more that I wanted the red stripes to be 2" and the green 1", and I wanted 3 stripes of green, and to surround them with red makes for 11"...  Surprise! 
Now my upstairs loom is naked.  I have 2 looms in the basement that have been in a state of partial warp for waaaay too long.  I need to finish warping both of them and get them woven.  Resolution!  Weave off both these projects!!  One is a shadow weave chenille throw, and the other is 8/2 cotton for dish towels to try out 12 harness weaving....   I'm entirely too tempted to toss a mixed warp I measured and dyed a long time ago onto the upstairs loom...  it's a gradation of greens from light to dark, intended for a vest.  I'd love to wear it to Madrona.  But should it be light to dark across the width once, or narrower flows of color back & forth (light dark light or dark light dark or light dark light dark light.....  sigh)  Sometimes the decisions are paralyzing.  It's a good problem to have. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

We're going to Madrona!

We get to have a booth at Madrona in Tacoma this February!  I'm VERY excited about this show.  I attended a couple years ago as a participant & class-taker, but this year we get to have a booth.  More formally known as the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat, this is an amazing event with many of the top names in knitting, spinning & weaving.  Take a look at that class schedule - some of the classes are still available (many of them fill within nano-seconds of registration opening), and the wait list is actively maintained as well. 

Let us know if you want us to bring something specific (save shipping, we'll bring your order there!  and if you pay for it ahead of time, the Oregon tax rate applies (zero!)). 

Very very excited!  It's going to be a BLAST!   Will you be there?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Socks (the cat)

Socks is our newly adopted shop cat. Or, I should say, we're her newly adopted laps. Once we moved in to our new location, she decided to come on in the backdoor and welcome us to the neighborhood. Ever since, she's been coming by every morning, meeting us at the back with a few hello meows. She comes in, decides on who's lap she plans on sitting in today and makes herself at home. As you can see in the picture above, she really likes to help out with the work being done around here.

Socks actually lives across the street, but it seems like she's made the whole neighborhood hers. Her real owners are gone during the day, so she comes and visits us. We do our best to keep her out of the actual shop part and only in the office, but she does her best to do otherwise. Anytime she sees the opportunity she makes a bee-line for the showroom. Must be all those balls of yarns in there and visions of batting them around.

It's come to the point now, that if Socks doesn't show up we get worried about her. Some days she strolls in a little later than others, but so far she keeps coming by, so I guess she's our shop mascot now. And who are we to say no?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Handwoven chenille scarves

I have a lot of chenille in my stash, so I'm trying to weave a few scarves for Christmas for some extended family members.  I want to get 3 of them done.  At this point, I'm on #3 so it's looking pretty good. 

First up, and completely finished, is one in shades of purple.
 I sett it at 20 epi for plain weave.  Chenille likes to worm (send out squiggly bits from the surface) if it isn't sett nice and snug.  Some of these yarns could have been sett further apart, at say 16 epi, but some of the colors were finer, so I just went with 20 over all.
 Off the loom, the scarf has all of the drape of cardboard.  It's really stiff!!  But I've since twisted the fringes, and washed and dried it - I hand washed, but threw it in the dryer.  Now it's soft and plush and lovely!  But I don't have a picture of that...
 Next up I used 3 shades - one is a marl-ey green, then 2 solids. 

 The blob of yarn (warp chains!), ready to go on the loom.
 This scarf is also off the loom now, but I haven't twisted the fringes yet, or wet finished it...  The 3rd scarf is wound and sleyed, and I've only just started threading it.  I'm a pretty slow warper, but I actually enjoy the process.  I just turn on my iPod and listen to some podcasts, and make my way through it.  I do need to get a hustle on this though so I can finish these other 2 scarves and get them in the mail in time! 

Tick tick tick tick...  hope your holiday projects are coming along nicely!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Decisions, decisions

I've been admiring and drooling after most of the designs in the book A Fine Fleece ever since it came out.  How I adore cables! 

This book shows every project in both a commercially available yarn, and in handspun. I recently started spinning some fiber from my stash that I'd had processed by Fantasy Fibers into roving, ready to spin.  A few years ago I gathered up a LOT of fibers - fleeces from all over in wools, mohairs, angora, silk - you name it.  I'd dyed lots of things without any projects in mind, just because it's fun.  Stupidly though, I didn't mark what I took in and had blended, so I don't know what sort of fleece or blend I've got in any of the colors I took her that day.  Sigh.  So Janell blended up the blues in one batch, the reds in another, etc.  I recently started spinning up the blue and I have a bit over 2 pounds I think.  Enough for an interesting project!  Now, I don't typically spin for a project.  I spin for the love of the process, just like I dye for the love of the process.  BUT, looking at this book, I keep thinking hmmmm, maybe I should spin for one of these sweaters.  And then I back away - way too ambitious a thought!  But I keep coming back to it. 
This week I committed to buying the book, and now I'm trying to decide which of these sweaters to make: (I apologize for my crummy photos, they looks sooo much nicer in the book!)

I have an abundance of wonderful choices!  I don't know how I'm going to decide.  They're all worsted weight, so I can probably spin a bunch of yarn before I have to decide.  And that's another thing, I'll have to spin some and ply it and SWATCH like crazy!  I tend to do swatches anyway, although I'm not as rigorous about it as I should be.  But this will be really critical - this will tell me if I'm making the right yarn to begin with!! 
There's a lady in Salem named Helen who is making EVERY project in the book.  I am so impressed with that goal!  Here I am barely able to commit to one of them. Helen, you're my inspiration! 
Maybe this will be my New Year's Resolution.  It will definitely be a stretch goal for me. What goals are you stretching for? 

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Handwoven Scarf in Tofutsies

I recently tried weaving some Tofutsies sock yarn, and REALLY like the way it turned out!  I used it as warp, sett at 16 ends per inch in a 2/2 twill, and used 8/2 cotton as weft.  It has a nice cozy hand and was super easy to warp and weave.  I'll be doing this again! 
 I put 2 ends per dent in an 8 dent reed, and used a floating selvedge.  Because a twill doesn't catch the side warp with each pick, using a floating selvedge keeps the edges tidier for me.  Some people don't like them, but I do!  A floating selvedge is a strand on each edge that goes through the reed, but not through a heddle, so it "floats".  When passing the shuttle through, you go over one side and under the other - it doesn't matter which side is over and which is under as long as you are consistent.  I go over at the starting side, and under at the far side - this wraps the edge thread every time.
 I really like a fairly long twisted fringe...  I use a double pronged fringe twister and twist 2 bunches together in the same direction - I count how many twists so I can be consistent across the whole warp.  On this scarf, I put 4 threads in each bundle, twisted a while until it was over twisted, and then put the 2 bundles together and let them ply together and tie an overhead knot at the end.  I like somewhat finer fringe bundles, but you get to choose the look you like.
I really like the way this fabric feels, so I'm toying with the idea of weaving some fabric to make a blouse...  It would feel yummy!  But first I need to finish up my Christmas weaving...  working on it!  Tick tick tick...  Hope your holiday weaving/spinning/knitting/felting is going well and that the recipients love what you make them!