Houndstooth Scarf

I wove a scarf in a couple of weeks in December.

handwoven scarf w/twisted fringe
scarf in a tree

Then it took me over a month to twist the fringe.

handwoven scarf
fringe

But hey. It’s cool. I love the fabric.

red yarn is koigu
black/grey is plymouth yarn happy feet

Misc Stats:
sett 12 epi
108 ends + 2 floating selvedge
basic 4 shaft houndtooth twill

wound the warp on 6 dec
done weaving on 22 dec
finished twisting fringe on 12 jan
finished trimming fringe 31 january

close up
close up

Yeah, I kinda like this weaving thing.

Inkle Oops

During lunch on Monday I warped my inkle loom for a new trial project, letters on 5-block checks.

Warped inkle loom for a new project during lunch
warped, in more than one way

After I warped it, I realized that I had accidentally left the tension flap swung in instead of out:

inkle_oops_skitch
oops

I had decent sheds though so I thought it would be fine. I wove a bit, tried a little pick up (obvious in this little sample, that wonky line that doesn’t match the checkerboard pattern).

Issues
sample

It was fine until I went to advance the warp. On an inkle loom, the warp is a continuous loop. So when you advance the warp, you just slide the warp down towards the starting peg, exposing more unwoven warp.

I tried to move the warp. It was stuck. I loosened up the tension flap and realized that this was the reason the tension flap needs to swing out slightly from the loom while warping — it offers slack that is necessary, especially on a long warp, to advance the warp. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

I slipped the warp off of the bottom peg and tried to figure out a way to MacGuyver it for this sampling project. I couldn’t figure out a good way to do it without messing up my entire warp or having to rewarp the entire thing. I could cut each thread one by one and tie to the one next to it. I could cut all of the threads, rewarp, tying each one to one another and that would work alright as long as I warped a shorter length. But what a pain in the butt!

I eventually just rewarped the loom in the same colors, making sure this time that the tension flap was swung out beyond the loom. It advances fine now… Learning! Hopefully I won’t make that mistake again (I’m guessing on a short warp it wouldn’t have been as much of a problem).

Itty Bitty Inkle

For holidays, my mom sent me an Ashford Inklette loom. It comes flat in a box and you have to do some very basic assembling. Sand the edges to smooth everything out and utilize some wood glue and a rubber mallet to insert the pegs into their holes, then screw the base in. Nothing major.

Putting the inkle loom together
assembling

Before you can warp the loom, you have to make string heddles. Inkle loom string heddles are used a little differently than string heddles on other looms — you fold the heddle over the warp thread rather than inserting it through the heddle. I used some plain white cotton rug warp — smooth and not stretchy. I wasn’t very methodical about tying them and wondered if I was going to have issues making clean sheds or not (I didn’t).

Tying heddles haphazardly and watching Netflix on my Surface...
tying heddles

I read a bit in the book and online about warping. Many tutorials suggested adding the heddles after warping the loom, which seemed a little fiddly to me (especially on my small size inklette loom). Instead I opted to heddle as I warped, which I think made mistakes easier to catch.

After that, I warped a simple band based on Single Flowers, a pattern in The Weaver’s Inkle Pattern Directory: 400 Warp-Faced Weaves (p.22). I had some issues warping, mostly with changing colors and keeping the crochet thread taut. I also had issues with the first and last warp thread — I wasn’t sure how to tie them to be taut. Inkle warp doesn’t wind onto a beam like other looms. In order to advance the warp, you move the band along the loom path. This means you can’t tie the warp to the starting peg, since it has to move when you advance the warp. I tried tying the first warp thread to the last warp thread but that didn’t work out so well. I also tried tying the first and last warp thread to the warp thread next to it, which is how I ended up doing it. It didn’t work great either, but it was passable.

Obvious to see where I started to figure it out
starting to figure it out

I had some issues at first because I didn’t realize how tight to pull the weft or when to beat it. You can see in the above picture how much of a mess it was at first and how I slowly started to figure things out.

Comparing beginning to end...
first inkle band

The band wove up quickly and by the time I got to the end of the warp, it was much tidier. I did have an issue at the very end where a warp thread came loose.

Part of the reason I jumped right in was so that I could figure out what I didn’t know. I had four major questions at the end:

  1. what is the best way to deal with color changes in the warp?

  2. what do I do with the first and last warp thread?

  3. how do I tidy up the selvedges?

  4. how tight should I pull the weft? is there a particular method for picks that I should use?

I searched around and found answers for the first three questions and I’ll try it on my next warp. I am thinking about trying some pickup and letters.

2012 Craft Review

2012, the year I started weaving.

I started the year with a couple of weavette looms I got back in 2008. They’re still in a box, but now I have three additional looms — a new 19″ Glimakra Emilia rigid heddle loom I got in April, a used 25″ Rasmussen 4 shaft table loom I picked up in August, and an Ashford inklette loom that my mother gave me for Christmas.

2012 Craft FOs
2012 mosaic

For 2012, I completed 11 knitting projects, 1 cross-stitch, and 3 weaving projects. I have two other weaving projects that just need a little finishing — twisting fringe by hand is not the most fun thing ever, though I really love love love the scarf it’s attached to.

Only one adult-sized garment! Only two things for me — Skelf, a sweater I love and wear often and my Different Lines.

2013, what will you be?

I’d like to finish my Collins sweater this year.

collins

And, you know, more weaving.

Rusty and Shiny

Before I bought the used loom, I verified that it wasn’t too rusty as far as the reed and heddles are concerned. Well, the reed was in passable condition, but once I started to clean the loom, I discovered the heddles really were not.

rusty heddles
rusty heddles

I tried the method of cleaning them off with naval jelly (which you can find in the section of your hardware store with the bondo) but they were so pitted and pocked at the eye that I didn’t feel right using them — I expected it to wear the warp thin. It wouldn’t have been so awful if only a few were bad… but this was almost all of them. I sucked it up and took a lunchtime trip to Weaving Works to pick up some heddles.

Before I went, I spent some time weighing the decision of flat steel heddles v. inserted eye heddles. I figured I may as well replace the flat steel heddles with shiny flat steel heddles. Unfortunately (or fortunately), Weaving Works only had 100 flat steel heddles. I wanted at least 300, more likely 400 heddles. There’s some sort of weird shortage (??!) on the flat steel heddles right now.

But they had a pack of 500 inserted eye in the 9.5″ size I needed – at a good price! – so I got them instead.

The last 125 heddles for the final shaft
shiny new heddles

In the end, I’m pretty happy with what I have. I put 125 heddles on each shaft and these heddles were quite easy to thread. I’m a little bummed that I had to invest $80 in new heddles when I had checked for rust on the heddles when I bought the loom, but I’ll take it as a learning experience.

Four shafts full
four shafts full

Shiny, shiny!

Cleaning the Loom

I mentioned last month that I bought a used loom from someone on Craigslist. Although I wanted to immediately warp it and weave something, I instead was convinced by people in the Warped Weavers group on Ravelry to clean it up first.

I’m glad I was convinced to do that because in the process I learned a lot and started to feel like the loom was mine.

One of the first things I did was realize that the reed, while in decent shape, did have a bit of rust on it. The worst spot can be seen in this photo.

reed rust
reed rust

I sat down with the reed outside and sanded each slot, from either side. 220 grit paper.

sanding
sanding the reed

It’s a 25″ 12 dent reed, so that’s 12 * 25 = 300 slots time either side is 600 slots of sanding. It took a while.

At the same time, I cleaned the wood of the loom.

rasmussen looms, seattle
rasmussen looms

I admit, I think it is cool that I have a loom from here in Seattle, even if they are long since out of business (sold to Dundas, then became Montana Looms, now out of business).

Niseag Spied!

One of my cousins is having her first baby real soon now. I used to babysit this cousin, so I’m a little verklempt (also: old!).

I decided to knit a stuffed little guy for the baby and thought it was a good time to pull out my copy of Hansi Singh’s Amigurumi Knits! book. I settled on Nessie, her pattern for a Loch Ness Monster.

Niseag
Niseag

I pulled some (washable!) Berroco Comfort out of the stash in lime and wild raspberry heather and knit this gal up in a few weeks. The pattern is fairly easy and well-written.

Niseag belly
Niseag belly!

It turned out very cute and gummable, I think. I even found a really cute kids book on Nessie that I’m sending along with it. Can’t wait to meet the baby in December!

[ravelry project page][ravelry pattern page]

Marin Tries Me

Earlier this year I ordered a skein of Bugga! from Cephalopod Yarns. I didn’t have any plans for it. Then Ysolda released a pattern, Marin, in a yarn whose makeup seemed to be exactly like that of Bugga! A perfect match.

Marin in Bugga
marin

I personally had some issues with this project — I thought I misunderstood the pattern and ripped out a few inches only to reknit them. Then I ran out of yarn, with many inches left to knit. I ordered another skein of Bugga! knowing full well it wasn’t going to match, so I ripped back a few inches planning to alternate the two for a while. Sure enough, the skeins differ a fair amount.

Marin in Bugga
marin in Bugga!

It worked out, though. I don’t think it’s that noticeable. Bugga! held up great to all my ripping and reknitting and it really is a delight to knit with. I also really love this pattern. The finished project is maybe a little small — but I didn’t block it much, because I don’t like overblocked garter stitch. I would knit it again and I recommend the pattern — just be a bit careful on yarn amounts.

[ravelry project page][ravelry pattern page]

Speedy Tea Towels

There’s a rigid heddle weaving class on Craftsy that I find very helpful. I watch bits and pieces of it periodically and pick up new tips and tricks that I slowly add to my process.

One of the two projects in the class is for tea towels made in Sugar’n Cream cotton or some other worsted weight kitchen cotton. I decided I could always use more kitchen towels and made a set.

finished towels!
tea towels

Lily Sugar’n Cream cotton in soft ecru, mod blue, and hot green. 136 ends in an 8 dent heddle, 2.5yd warp. I got two towels out of it, the same size as our store-bought towels (just thicker).

hemstitching
hemstitching

I hemstitched both ends and then cut the fringe fairly short. I did not knot it, which may be a problem later on as these are washed frequently. I’m not too concerned.

towels
towels

They were a very quick weave, about a week total. They didn’t shrink as much as I expected. Weaving with cotton for the first time and weaving almost the entire width of my 19″ rigid heddle loom created some tension problems. I had some warp threads at the left edge become loose. I added some weight to them while weaving to help — I think it did.

We’re using the towels now. Handy!

Birthday Lavanda

I try to knit my niece a garment every year. As she gets older and larger, I think I may have to adjust this, but I did accomplish knitting her a sweater for her 5th birthday this August.

lavanda
Lavanda

Originally I planned to knit this sweater, Lavanda, with the hood and pockets (of course pockets!). As I knit the sweater, I felt it was very heavy. I (obviously) decided not to knit the hood in the end.

I found the pattern well-written, though perhaps a little verbose for someone like me who prefers just the skeleton of a pattern.

I ran into a problem with the yarn, MadelineTosh Vintage in Lepidoptera — the yarn I ordered at once did not match… at all. It wasn’t obvious as I wound and compared the hanks, but it was very obvious once I knit them next to one another (you can see it at the hem of the sweater). I did some alternating magic and it worked out in the end, but it was a little frustrating for a bit there!

I wish I had worked a faux seam in stockinette stitch on the sleeves, because I really hate how decreases look in reverse stockinette. Next time I swear I will remember!

secret surprise!
secret!

It’s a sweet sweater and I hope it passes the fickle kid test. I snuck a birthday present in a pocket of the sweater. Double fun!

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