Tuesday, June 18, 2013

November Towels - Only One More Month to Go

I'm on the home stretch with the Calendar Towel project.  I've been leaving the "harder" months to last, although November shouldn't be that hard.  Perhaps because it was a monochromatic picture, I was afraid that it would be boring or something and left it to the end. 

Again, I've been pleasantly surprised at how the warp colors have turned out.  I've only gotten as far as threading the heddles, but I think these will be nice towels.

These are the original colors I picked for the warp. 

Instead of just using these, I pulled out all of the possible colors from my 10/2 perle cotton "pallet".   I found that the light blue, stone and white made a too blah color combination.  So I added a dark green and a light yellow-green. 

I like these colors much better. 

I decided to put on enough warp for 12 towels instead of just 10.  This of course caused problems since I guess I can't keep straight which peg on the warping board I'm supposed to use.  So they might be slightly narrower than others, but I think it will turn out all right. 

I'm threading these to a "M and W" pattern and will weave the towels with the 1-1-1-1-2-2 treadling.  I used the random stipe generator and selected "Fibonacci" width stripes - only up to 13 threads wide, i.e., there won't be any of the wider 21 thread stripes. 

I'm thinking they will look nice once they're finished.

The Space in Between

I really like that moment when the weaving is finished and the scissors come out to release the textile from the warp.  My first weaving teacher called it a "birth", which is pretty apt.  It is also a moment when one can take a breath and admire the almost finished work - and perhaps see things that didn't go exactly right that hopefully the wet finishing will help smooth out.

It's also a good time to see how good my calculations were regarding the warp length.  Did I put on too much and waste the yarn - or put on not quite enough and have to squeeze out the last few weft shots or inches. 

It's also a good time to start thinking of the next project...


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Lap Robes for the Shawl Group

I joined a knitting group about a year ago.  The idea is to knit shawls for people who need one.  It could be for a happy reason - like a new baby or to celebrate something, but more often than not, it is to bring comfort and a warm hug during a difficult time.  In the year, I knit one shawl.  It's really not my thing as much as weaving, so I volunteered to take some donated llama or alpaca yarn and make something out of it. 

This was a good challenge for me since I haven't woven with camelid fiber at all and really haven't even used wool in a long time.  There were a variety of colors of the yarn.  I didn't have a clue how much there was - other than I had about 5 pounds.  So I pulled out my McMorran yarn balance.  (I've had this for probably 20 years and I don't think I've ever used it.)

I figured out the yards per pound (see http://www.allfiberarts.com/2011/aa022800.htm for instructions, if you want to learn how).  I decided to do a 3/1 : 3/1 twill, changing the twill every other stripe as well as the colors.  I varied the widths - 8 threads/16 threads/8 threads/16 threads, etc., except the middle where it was 24 threads wide.

The yarn was set at 8 epi in an 8-dent reed.  I had a couple of threads break early on and I was afraid that the yarn was too loosely spun to be effect warp.  But fortunately those were the only breaks.  I used a medium and a very light natural yarn for the wefts of the two lap robes.  They turned out very nicely.

Here are some details of the pieces being woven and the finished products.  The reverse side of the lap robe with medium brown weft doesn't show up as dramatically as the one where the light natural yarn was used.


The lap robes were washed in a front loader washing machine on the hand wash cycle with warm wash and rinse. They were put on a rack to dry.  I didn't notice any felting at all.

This was a good experience.  It gave me some practice with camelid fiber and I hope these lap robes will provide an uplifting or comforting hug to someone.