WiPs and FOs

I finished a WiP (work in progress) yesterday, Hyrna með krónuprjóni is finally finished after 7 years (approximately 6.75 of those years it was in a bag).  Now it is a FO (finished object). I will submit it to my Weaver’s Guild UFOFF (unfinished objects finally finished) Challenge Exhibit in a week and it will be on display in the guild gallery for a while beginning in May.
Here is a pic of it before being blocked.

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After soaking in a little warm water and Eucalan wool wash, she needs to be shaped and pinned out to dry. I folded it in half for blocking to save space (along with my back–bending over and pinning it out takes a while) andto  keep the symmetry.

HMK Blocking

Wet blocking is a transformative process that softens the yarn, lets the stitches settle into place, stretches out and shapes and opens the lace. When it is fully dry and you unpin it, the shawl keeps it shape.

HMK close up blocking

Have I said how much I love Old Shale lace?

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Socks in progress.  The pink pair is waiting patiently to be removed from the machine and have the toes grafted closed.

Pink Socks

They will be part of the basket my study group is putting together for a raffle at the Weavers Guild of Greater Cincinnati for the Fiber Arts Fair we are having on April 30.  If you are interested in buying fiber art or making fiber art (members will be selling used equipment a tools and extra stash yarn) come to the Fair at the Guild House! I will have cowls, sock and some towels to sell.

I also finished up a pair of clogs for my 13 year old son. They were a collaborative effort.  I bought the yarn, my daughter did most of the knitting.  I finished the knitting, sewed them up and felted them. Here they are pictured with my size 8.5 foot.

Peters Clogs

He has outgrown two pairs (grown 8 inches in the last year), here is the first pair I knit Pair 1 and a post when I was working on his second pair. (for some reason I didn’t take a pic after they were finished) so the new ones are bigger than his size 10 feet to have a little growing room.

 

 

 

Hyrna með krónuprjóni

My local weavers guild has started a member challenge called UnFinished Objects Finally Finished. (UFOFF). Last week I dug a shawl in its bag out of a box on my yarn storage shelves. No pattern or notes were with it. Today I located the book and made a copy of the chart and translation page for the instructions. A few years back I was in a lace shawl knitting phase.  I had finished a lovely shawl from a book called Þríhyrnur og langsjöl / or Three-cornered and long shawls by Sigridur Halldorsdottir. The book was in written in Icelandic but came with a translation of some of the text in the book. The patterns are all charted.

The first shawl I knit from the book was called Hyrna Herbogar and it was fun, but tricky.

HH 2nd blocking

For my second one, I chose a simpler pattern based on Old Shale lace called Hyrna Með Krónuprjóni (or HMK as it will be referred to from now on). Here is the photo from the book.  Mine will look different since I chose a striping sock yarn called Noro Kuryeon in natural colors.

HMK

Based on my project notes in Ravelry, I began working on HMK March 16, 2009 and sometime in May, 2009, put it down.  From the posts in the Three Cornered Knitters group on Ravelry it appears that I had figured out I was going to run out of yarn for the second time.  The post says I had 34% remaining to knit and only 32% of my total yarn remaining (checked by weighing it in grams on a digital scale before and during the knitting). Then there was also a post that said I traded some handmade soap for the some Kuryeon Sock color 149 that another Ravelry member had leftover when she finished her socks. The yarn came pretty quickly after the trade was negotiated, but I never picked HMK back up to start knitting again.

How did I know how far I was you ask? I am a geeky knitter and I like to make spreadsheets for shawl patterns to keep track of my yarn usage and percentage completed.

So to document how far the shawl was when I picked it back up to finish, here she is two weeks shy of 7 years after beginning.

IMG_0451 (Edited) IMG_0453 (Edited)Fortunately all my stitch markers were still in place. Based on the number of stitches in the first section of the chart, I figured out I was on row 13 of the 32 row repeat. Then I remembered the spread sheet and counted the total number of stitches on the needle to figure out the actual row I was on and it matched with that row of the repeat. It was a simple knit 3, purl to the last 3 stitches, knit 3.  Then I went on to row 14 on the chart and was a stitch off when I got to the center.  (The chart is only half the shawl, then you mirror it for the other half as you knit.) Fortunately the stitch markers helped me narrow down that the mistake was in the section closest to the center. I read my knitting, compared it to the chart, and figured out that about 6 stitches away from the center and 3 rows below, my needle had caught a strand and I had knit it as if it were a stitch, increasing by one stitch in that section.  It was an easy fix, I just dropped the unneeded stitch down the 3 rows to where I had caught it and can now knit on!  I have 168 stitches on the needle (started with 384) and I am on row 76 of 130 and 21,512 stitches out of 26,128 total to be knit therefore it is 82% complete.  Each row decreases as I knit, so it should go pretty quickly.  I will update my progress on Instagram if you’d like to follow.  #UFOFF

Fiber Arts Sale

IMAG3190I am selling some of my handmade items at the upcoming Fiber Arts Sale at the Weavers Guild of Greater Cincinnati.  The sale begins Friday, November 13 at 4 p.m. and continues on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday noon to 4 p.m. The work of many skilled artisans of the guild will be available to purchase for yourself or for Christmas gifts that show you care enough to give hand-made. My cowls that are pictured here are hand-knit with luxurious merino wool hand dyed in Uruguay by a family business (Malabrigo Yarn) that hires local women, uses environmentally friendly dyeing practices, and sources the wool from non-mulsed sheep that are shepherded in the hills of Uruguay. They are a warm and cushy fashion statement.  If you can’t make it to the sale, contact me about knitting one just for you!

Some of my indigo dyed, shibori style cotton napkins are also in the sale.  They are priced for sale in pairs so that you can make a set of 2, 4, 6 or more, and each napkin is unique.  Indigo is a classic color and shibori-inspired fashion and home decor items are really trending right now. They sure make a for snazzy table at a dinner party or just for you family meals.IMAG2998

I have a dye day coming up and can make more napkins, along with generously sized silk scarves that flatter everyone.

I also have submitted handwoven cotton and linen towels to the sale. The warp is ring spun natural cotton and the weft is a blue cotton/linen blend.  Each has a unique weaving pattern. They are individually priced, so you can buy one, two, or all four if you get there in time! Want to commission a set of towels for a gift? Contact me and I can make something similar to meet your needs.
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The Weavers Guild is located at 480 Gray Road, near Spring Grove Cemetery. I’ll be there from 4-8 p.m. on Friday evening.  Get there Friday if you want the best selection, there is always a line waiting to get in.

One Ball, Minimal Math

Rigid heddle loom weavers often have stashes of gorgeous knitting yarns laying around.  If you need a quick present and want to weave a scarf from a ball of sock yarn, here is a quick method that requires almost no math.  You must have a digital kitchen scale that weighs in grams.  (This is one of the most valuable tools I own for knitting and weaving-make sure it weighs to the nearest gram, not the nearest even number of grams for the best accuracy).  You probably need around 80-100 grams if you want to weave a decent scarf.

  1. Determine the appropriate sett for your yarn. For sock yarn used as both warp and weft I use a 10 dent heddle.   If your sock yarn is especially thin, you may want a 12.  Remember you want the scarf to be drapey, not stiff.  The scarf shrinks when taken off the loom and the yarn blooms when wet finished.
  2. Begin by weighing your ball of yarn.  You want to work with the actual weight, not what is stated on the ball band.  Divide this number of grams in half and add 2 (3 if using a larger RH loom that has more loom waste than a Cricket).  This is about how much you need for warp.  Example 102 / 2 + 3 = 54 grams.    Then 102-54 = 48.  48 grams is about what you need to reserve for weft.
  3. Make a ball of yarn that equals the amount needed for weft (the smaller number; in the example it is 48 grams).  To do this, put the whole ball of yarn on the scale.  Wind off yarn until the scale says the larger number needed for warp (in the example, 54 grams)  what you have in the ball is the weft (in the example, 48 grams).  Double check both balls before cutting yarn between.  Set the smaller ball aside for weft (the example is 48 grams).
  4. Divide the larger ball of warp yarn in half by grams. Using the same method with the scale as you did above.  (example 54/2=27 grams).
  5. Take one ball of the 2 balls of warp to your prepared loom.  Decide how long to make your warp (remember to add loom waste to desired scarf length plus a couple of inches for take up and shrinkage).  An 8 or 9 foot warp makes a nice long scarf.  For a shorter scarf to tuck into a coat, you probably want 6.5 to 7 foot warp.  Fasten the peg that far away.
  6. Find the center of your heddle and tie one of the warp balls to the apron rod behind the center.  Warp your slots from the center out and stop when you run out of yarn or the scarf is more than half the width you would like.   Tie off at the apron rod or the peg.  Repeat with the second ball of warp, sleying the slots from the center out the other direction.  Again, tie the end of the warp to the slot or the peg.  Save 2 lengths of yarn for a repair in case a warp breaks.  You can save one from this ball and one from the other.
  7. Wind on to the back, sley the holes and weave as usual.  Remember in a  balanced weave  your Ends Per Inch or Dents per inch (e.p.i) = Picks Per Inch (p.p.i.)  Look for squares of light between warp and weft.  Do not beat your weft in too hard, use a light touch and place the weft with the heddle.

Hopefully this method has reserved enough yarn to weave the scarf with little to none left over.  You will never get it exact and you will have to be happy with the width you got with your balls of warp yarn.

This may work with other weights of yarn, but I have only used it with sock yarn.  Here is a chart for suggested heddle sizes with yarns.  If you yarn is slick, you would choose the closer sett if the yarn falls into 2 categories

Yarn Categories

Sock/ Fingering 1 Sport 2 DK,
Lt. Worsted  3
Worsted,
Aran 4
Recommended
Rigid Heddle Sizes
10 or 12 dent 10 dent 8 or 10 dent

8 dent

I am working on a little spreadsheet to do calculations for you if you want to figure out ahead of time how wide your scarf will be.  I will post it when it is ready, so check back soon.

Class Dismissed!

class with scarves

Today the weaving students returned with their woven scarves.  I showed them how to finish the scarves and make the big cut to take them off the looms.  Then the fringe was tied and evenly trimmed.  Check out the great scarves and the variety of colors!  Thanks Shirley, Nicole, Susan and Jean!  I had a great time teaching you!

Weavers School

warped class looms

I had a class of 4 beginning weavers today at Silk Road Textiles learning to warp and weave on Cricket Rigid Heddle Looms. I like to keep my classes small so that I can keep up with everyone and try to catch any big mistake shortly after it is made when it is usually easier to fix.  We use the simple method of direct warping, and within an hour and a half, all were sitting down with their warped looms, ready to weave.  They wove for a bit with my guidance, learned to measure picks for a balanced weave, then I sent them all home with my looms and instructions on what to do when they need to wind more weft yarn on the shuttle.  Since the yarn we are using is a long color changing yarn, care must be taken when winding shuttles to maintain the color sequence of the yarn.  They will return on Friday ready to cut the scarves off the looms and learn to tie the fringe.  I think they all enjoyed learning to weave as much I enjoyed teaching them.  Have a group of friends who want to learn?  Contact me and we can set up a session!

Wool Weather

Chunky Cowl

We have about 8 inches of snow on the ground here and its still coming down.  Today is about 40 degrees warmer than the -12° we started out with yesterday, so really, it’s not so bad.  I have a beer braised brisket in the oven, a nice chardonnay chilling in the refrigerator and soft, chunky, luxurious kettle-dyed, merino wool to knit with so I am happy as a clam.  I also sat down and ordered a bunch more of this yarn online in about 4 different colorways that can warm you and brighten your day.  Every time I wear mine, people want one.  I’ll post when I have some for sale.

Students’ Scarves

I have been having quite a busy month teaching classes at Silk Road Textiles and at the WGGC.  This post is to show is the work of some of my students in progress.

This is from my houndstooth scarf class at Silk Road Textiles.  I forgot to take other pictures, but there were four in the class.  Some of the other color combinations were light and dark brown and blue and black.
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One of my favorite combinations is a purple green,

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or red and black

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Next is a set of photos from my class on faux ikat.  In this class we use handpainted yarns that are dyed in a particular way.  These yarns have to be dyed across the skein or “palindrome dyed” where the dyer paints the yarn across the oval of the skein.

Pooling Yarn

I show them how to make the colors “pool” for a faux ikat effect in their scarves.  You have to be willing to work with the yarn and let it determine the length of the scarf.

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V-weave it!

V Scarf Cowl

 A newly developed class is now scheduled for March at Silk Road Textiles.  This new shape is a circular (sort of) scarf that has a V-shaped edge created by weaving the fringe from the beginning of the scarf into the end.  There are a few tricky bits, but I have some great tips to make it easier.  You must have had prior rigid heddle weaving experience or a class before taking this one.  Fortunately, we have just added new beginning classes to the schedule at Silk Road Textiles in addition to the one I am teaching at the Art Barn in Mariemont. If you are interested in learning how to weave, check them out!

V is for Victory!

v cowl

I have woven a new style of scarf/cowl that I saw recently other places on the internet.  I cobbled together some hints and tips and was very successful weaving it.  You leave some unwoven warp at the beginning of the warp, weave for the desired length minus the width, then unwind and untie the beginning and weave the fringe in as the weft at the end.  I hemstitched up the side as I wove in the fringe and across the end when I was finished.  I can wrap it twice around my neck and I like to wear it with the fringe off the v cowl2shoulder.

In my opinion, a nice aran or light bulky weight variegated yarn makes a lovely cowl.  I think a plain solid, heather or semisolid would look great too.  I don’t care for the plaid you get if you use a striped warp.  The rigid heddle loom is the ideal tool for this.  I think it would be trickier on a table or floor loom.  I call it a V-cowl and I plan on teaching a class on how to make it at the Weavers Guild after the first of the year. Check back in a couple weeks to see the detail.

 

Class is Now in Session!

Stripes and FloatsThe fringe is twisted and the sample scarf is washed and dried.  The class to weave a Stripes and Floats Scarf is scheduled for Saturday,  May 31 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. AND Sunday June 8 from noon to 1 p.m.  This class will expand your rigid heddle weaving skills by introducing a more complicated threading to direct warp using an uneven number of ends in the stripes and creating texture in the fabric by using pick-up to create warp floats on one side and weft floats on the other. You will also learn how to hemstitch at the beginning and end of the project.  Still don’t have your own rigid heddle loom?  No problem there, the class fee includes the use of one of my Cricket Looms for the week.  Contact Silk Road Textiles to register.

Everyone in the Pool!

Faux Ikat ScarfSometimes you see a beautiful skein of hand-dyed sock yarn that you just have to have, and it knits up looking like rainbow pony barfed on it.  The colors pool into blobs instead of blending nicely in the sock.  But in weaving, having the colors pool in a scarf creates an effect similar to that of a warp dyed for ikat without all the mess of dying it yourself.  With a rigid heddle loom like the Cricket looms I teach with, you can direct warp that skein of yarn in less then an hour and have a scarf with a few hours of weaving.  I made this colorful scarf with a 50 gram skein of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock yarn and some red 8/2 tencel (laceweight).  It’s just plain weave, but far from a plain scarf.

I made this as part of the Rigid Heddle Study Group that I lead at The Weaver’s Guild of Greater Cincinnati.  Next month we are going to continue our study of hand-dyed knitting yarns and help each other with this technique.  This scarf itself is destined for our guild sale on November 8, 9 and 10 as a donation to the sale from the Rigid Heddle Study Group.  If you are interested in weaving, starting with a rigid heddle loom is a good way to begin.  You can get started with small amounts of  knitting yarns, a relatively small investment in a little loom that is portable and a minimal amount of equipment.  Although they are simple looms, you can create quite complex looking textiles that anyone would be happy to have.  If you are interested in learning to weave, check out my classes at Silk Road Textiles or look for some to be posted on the WGGC website that will begin after the first of the year. If you want this scarf, go to the guild sale, hire me to teach you how to weave it, or I can take a commission if the price is right.

I’m a little bit biased…

but I think it’s really pretty.

Bias Loop Scarf
Bias Loop Scarf

This is made with 50 grams of Kidsilk Haze which is a kid mohair yarn.  This is one of the colorways designed by Kaffe Fasset and is self striping.  The cool thing about it is that it is knit flat  on the bias.  You begin with a provisional cast on.  (My favorite is the one where you crochet waste yarn over your knitting needle) then when you finish, you unzip the cast on and graft the 80 live stitches at the end to the beginning.  The first couple of stitches on the grafting were tricky, but then I got into an easy rhythm and it went smoothly (or at least as smoothly as grafting 80 stitches in mohair can go).  It is beautiful and warm.  See my Ravelry project for the details.