Sock Knitting Wins the War

wwi knit poster

In WWI our soldiers were suffering trench foot due to spending most of their time in the wet trenches on the front lines.  Often, it caused gangrene and resulted in amputation. They needed to change socks several times a day to avoid this.  An all out effort was made by the Red Cross to get people to knit all kinds of wool garments for the soldiers, especially socks. Wool is a miracle fiber, a fantastic insulator, naturally repels water for a time, can absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture and still feel dry.  It can keep you warm even when wet.

 

Multiple songs were written about knitting for the soldiers. Here is one example that is specific about how important the socks were to these men.

Knit, Knit, Knit Sister Sue

“A soldier who was fighting with the enemy in back,
With bullets buzzin’ ’round his ears, took down his old knapsack.
He wrote a letter, on a shirt front Sister Susie sent
And then he went and got it signed by all his regiment.
He said ‘Dear Sue, we’re stong for you, you sew those shirts so neat.
But how are we to beat the foe when we’ve all got cold feet?     So—”

“Knit, knit, knit a little Susie,
For what good is a shirt
when all our ‘Tootsies’ hurt?
My poor big toe sticks out,
You know it doesn’t like the snow.
Oh my left foot is red white and blue.
‘Pon my sole, there’s a big blister too.
The soldiers toes are froze to bits,
‘Holy Hoses’ Susie,
It’s a long tramp, tramp to Tipperary
So knit, knit, knit Sister Sue.”

“Don’t knit them white,dear Sister Sue, ’cause white will be no use.
While hanging on the firing line, they’ll look like flags of truce.
Don’t knit the kind that’s itchy, Sister knit them nice and thick.
We’ll put on two pairs at a time and charge them double quick.
The socks we wore before the war are full of darn old darns.
They won’t be hard to make; the daily papers full of yarns.     So—”

Music: Raymond Walker, words: Chas. McCarron, 1914, Broadway Music Corp., NY.

groupcsm

People would knit every where, even school children learned to knit socks and knit during breaks at school. People who couldn’t knit were urged to buy wool for the knitters and children were urged to do the housework for mom so she could spend her time knitting. The knitters could not keep up with the demand for socks since even a fast knitter could take up to a week to knit a pair. So, the International Red Cross gave people hand cranked circular sock knitting machines and wool if they promised to knit at least 30 pairs of socks for the war effort.  Knitting rooms were set up and production increased enough to help with the goal of knitting almost 400,000 pairs in 3 months that was set.  These Circular Sock Machines (CSMs) produced socks quickly and as high a quality (or better depending on the knitter) as those made by hand.

Antique CSMRecently there has been an interest developing in restoring and using these cranky old machines to knit with modern sock yarns. People love handknit wool socks, but again, they take so long to knit, that hand knitters can’t keep their own families in socks, much less knit them to make for gifts or to sell. To make it worthwhile to sell a pair, you would have to charge more than $100 if you wanted more than $2 an hour for your time.  (High quality sock yarn alone retails for $18-$25.) Finding parts to repair and cylinders to change the sock sizes in these antique machines has been a challenge. Enter PeeWee Erlbacher and the Erlbacher Gearhart Knitting Machine Company!

 

Wrapping up the Towels

CH Towel 1 CH Towel 2

CH Towel 3 2015-04-01 14.23.32

 

Pictured above are the 4 tea towels off my warp of 8/2 cotton woven with cotton/linen blend weft threaded in the Caroline Halvorsen pattern in Davison’s A Handweaver’s Pattern Book.  Each one is a different treadling pattern.  The fourth towel is my own treadling variation using an M and W treadling, but I think I like personally like pattern 3 the best.  I will probably keep one and sell the rest once I have them hemmed. They will $23 each right now to local folks who can pick one up and pay by cash or check, if you want one, send me a note.  I plan on creating a shop page before the end of April. If I use Etsy or another shopping cart service and take credit cards, the price will be higher due to their fees.   I have hand knitted cowls for sale as well and will post about those once I can get a couple of pictures taken.

 

Star Pupil!

2015-03-31 10.15.37

 

Here is one of my star pupils, Sharon, in her lovely sweater!  She finished it in just 4 weeks of class and learned a bunch of new skills in the making: swatching, increases, mirrored decreases, picking up stitches, ribbing, pattern reading and problem solving. The yarn is Juniper Moon Farm Moonshine a wool, alpaca and silk blend, and is the perfect color for her.  My two other students are well on their way to finishing and I will hopefully show you their pictures in a couple of weeks.

What’s Cooking

Curried Lentil Sweet Potato Soup

Today I depart from fiber arts and venture into the culinary arts.  I am making curried lentil and sweet potato soup, homemade pitas and goetta.  The picture is from the last time I made it.  I served it with fresh hot rolls that day.

The soup is a great recipe that has been adapted from the Cafe Brenda Cookbook by the authors of Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in 5 Minutes a Day. I also made my own little changes to it. The recipe as I make it will follow at the end of this post. Today I made a cilantro chutney as a garnish.  Other times, as pictured above, I serve it with fresh chopped cilantro, a squeeze of lime for a citrus tang and sometimes a dollop of low fat plain yogurt. The pitas are made using the methods in the Artisan Pizza book too. Yummy stuff.

When I make goetta, I use the recipe on the bag of Dorsel’s Pinhead Oatmeal with some adaptations. Pinhead oatmeal is steel cut oats. Dorsel’s is usually with the flours and cormeals in my grocery and is usually cheaper than the steel cut oats you find in the hot cereal section. Some cereal companies have come out with “quick” steel cuts oats lately, do not use those. My family loves spicy goetta for breakfast on the weekend.  Goetta omelets are a particular favorite.


 

Curried Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup

(makes a big stock pot full)

1 large onion, diced
6-7 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup peeled and finely minced ginger root
olive oil
1.5 TBS curry powder (or more to taste)
1 chile pepper (or jalapeno) minced or dried chili flakes to taste
1 cup diced carrots
5 cups (about 2 lbs) sweet potatoes, peeled and diced  *
*(I bake the potatoes and cut them in half and squeeze out the insides, easier than peeling & dicing)
1 14oz can coconut milk (I use lowfat coconut milk)
2 cup dried lentils (red lentils if you can find them-keeps the color of the soup nicer)
8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
juice of 1 lime or lime wedges
1 bunch cilantro, minced
plain yogurt if desired

or

serve with cilantro chutney (recipe below)

Add onion, garlic and ginger to a large pot with a bit of oil. Saute until softened. Add peppers, carrots, and curry powder. Saute about 5-10 minutes Add the sweet potato (add sweet potatoes after stock and a little simmering if already baked), stock and coconut milk. (If you couldn’t find red lentils add regular ones now too-they take longer to cook). Simmer covered about 30 minutes until potatoes (and lentils if green) are cooked.  Use a stick blender to make soup a little smoother or you can leave it pretty chunky.  I add red lentils after blending since they cook quicker and are softer.

Add lime juice, sprinkle with chopped cilantro and a dollop of yogurt if desired just before serving or serve with the chutney below.


 

Cilantro Chutney 

Ingredients

1 tablespoon oil
1 large jalapeno diced (seeds and all if you want it hot).
1 tsp diced garlic
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 cup cilantro leaves chopped
1/4 tsp sugar
salt to taste

Directions: Heat the oil in a small frying pan and saute the jalapeno and ginger for about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat and add garlic paste. Remove from the heat and add coriander leaves and mix completely. Heat a little to wilt the cilantro. Place the mixture together with, salt and sugar in a food processor or grinder and mix until well blended.


My Healthier Version of Dorsel’s Goetta in the Crockpot

6 cups water
2 1/2 cups Pinhead Oatmeal (Steelcut)
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 lb. turkey breakfast sausage
1 Tbs. olive oil
*1 large onion diced
2 to 4 bay leaves
3 teaspoons salt
1/4 tsp of black pepper
1/2 to 1  tsp. Hot pepper flakes (optional)
I also usually throw in some onion powder and dried Italian seasoning.

1. Put water into crock-pot on high, heat on 20 minutes, add salt, pepper, pepper flakes, and oatmeal.
2. Cook 90 minutes on high, stir once or twice.
3. Add meat, olive oil, onion, and bay leaves, mix well to blend meats after they warm a little. Turn to low heat.
4. Let cook 3 hours, stirring occasionally after first hour.
5. Pour into bread pans. When cool, place in refrigerator. Will keep for days
6. When ready to use, slice the loaf of goetta and put into a pan in which there is a little olive oil, brown slices until crispy  or break apart and cook until crispy.

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.

The Imitation Game

There is a great debate in the knitting/crochet pattern designer community over selling finished objects made from patterns. Some designers even go so far as to try to put a “license” on their pattern to restrict the sale of finished objects made from the pattern or to charge more for a pattern that people intend to make for sale in a craft show or on Etsy.

This NPR story reaffirms a lot of what I have read; useful objects such as clothing are not copyrightable.  The actual words and drawings in a pattern are what the copyright covers.  No one should make copies of a written pattern and distribute the pattern without the author’s (designers’) permission whether the pattern is free or has a cost.  What a knitter makes from a pattern (the finished object) is theirs to do with what they will.  They can give it away or sell it.  They can make 10 of them and sell those items too.  The actual finished objects are useful objects  and they have every right to sell them just like any property they own.   Whether a design is patentable is a different story, but if you have not sought a design patent, the point is moot.  What about patterns for knitted toys?  If the toy is an original design and you want to license sales you  need to get a trademark. (Mickey Mouse anyone?)  If you make a pattern for a “Mickey Mouse” toy, maybe you’re the one in the wrong…

People who write knitting patterns make their money from the sale of patterns.  (Or they wanted to draw traffic to their website or sale of other patterns by offering free patterns). They are hurt if you make copies of their pattern and give them to your friends who want to make it too.  I have created a couple of free patterns over the years and recently made one for sale.  I have never tried to ‘limit’ the use of the pattern.  If you want to make items from my patterns and sell them, feel free!  (Just don’t copy my patterns or class handouts and give them away please!)

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!

Busy Bee

I have been a busy bee lately and didn’t realize it had been so long since I had posted.  I have taught 6 classes since the last post.  I have pics from a couple of them, but forget during the class to snap a couple of shots.  I have another class tomorrow, and will try to remember to take some and to post after.  Meanwhile, the crochet bug bit me last night, so a happy St. Patrick’s Day to everyone!

crochet shamrock

To KFB or not to KFB-that is the question…

In one of my knitting classes right now we are knitting a top-down sweater that has a increase stitch every other row/round at the raglan lines separating the shoulders from the back and front.  We start out the sweater by knitting flat; knitting one row, then purling one row.  It’s easy to remember that you only increase on the knit rows, and not the purl rows.  Since it is a pullover, after the V-neck shaping is finished, we join the flat piece of knitting into the round.  The first round after joining replaces a purl row, so there are no increases.  Then after that you make the increases on every other round.  If you look at the fabric you are making, as you come to the marker that reminds you to make a KFB (knit front back–sometimes called a bar increase) you can see whether or not you should increase in the current round by noticing the little bump or bar that you created on a previous round.

2015-02-25 09.47.15In the photo to the left (click on it to make it bigger), you can see I have reached the point in the round that I have “knit to within one stitch of marker”. This is where I have to decided to increase or not to increase.   If I didn’t remember if I was knitting an increase round or not, I can tell by looking at the stitch I am about to knit at the marker.  Look at the base of the stitch on the left-hand needle.  You can see a little bump or bar at the base of the stitch.  This means that stitch was the “back” of the “knit front and back” in the previous row, therefore I should just knit it this row, not increase in it.2015-02-25 09.54.26

This next photograph on the right show the same point of the knitting one stitch before the marker. This time the bar is in the stitch BELOW the one that is on my left hand needle.  The one I am about to knit on the left hand needle does not have a bar at the base, therefore was not an increase. When I knit that stitch before the marker, I should KFB to make an increase on it.

If you learn to “read” your knitting, it can help you to figure out where you are in the pattern and what you should be doing.  This comes from really looking at it as you are working on it.  Look at the fabric you created below the needles; when you see something that doesn’t look like plain knitting, try to relate that to the instructions you have followed to create it.  Decreases, increases, yarn overs and slipped stitches are all obvious if you look at them after you make them and notice how they have changed the stitches..

I don’t have to keep track if I am on and increase round or not, I just look at the stitches when I get to the marker, and let the knitting tell me what to do.  I will occasionally count my stitches so that I can be aware of how many stitches are in the back section of the sweater. The pattern says to stop increasing when the back reaches a certain number of stitches.

 

 

 

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.
students feb 15

One of my favorite combinations is a purple green,

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or red and black

wpid-IMAG0169.jpg


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.

students feb 15 students feb 15 students feb 15students feb 15 students feb 15

H3

Halvorsen 3

I love this treadling variation.  (4,3,2,1,4,1,2,3) I may do the 4th towel with it rather than the 4th variation included in the book. (4,3,4,2,1,2)  I want to finish by tomorrow morning for my guild study group meeting.  I have caused myself a time crunch because I spent some unweaving time  yesterday. I had made 2 treadling errors in towel #2 and contemplated keeping that towel for myself and leaving the mistakes in. But, I decided to heed my own advice, I would rather keep a towel that didn’t have a mistake, so bit the bullet and unwove.  I wasted time over the weekend not weaving most of Saturday and all of Sunday because I couldn’t make myself go on with the mistake in, and I didn’t want to unweave.  It only took me about 20 minutes to unweave the 4 or 5 inches yesterday and much less than that to reweave.  I should have done it right away.  The towels would be finished by now if I had.

I need to leave to teach a rigid heddle class soon at the LYS and that will cut into my weaving time tonight.  Its a good thing I get up early with my son in the morning.  Hopefully I can push through and finish then before I need to leave at 9:30.  I used fusible thread in my hems, so a quick iron on the ends and I can take the cloth along to study group with out fear.  Washing,  cutting apart and hemming of the towels can wait until after the meeting.

I was there this morning teaching a knitting class.  I love my knitting classes.  It is so gratifying to see how successful people feel the first time they use increases and decreases to make something shaped like a hat in the round, rather than a rectangle or square.  Many people knit for years without going beyond the rectangle.  In my hat class not only do they use shaping, but they learn to knit on a circular needle and a set of 4 double pointed needles.  Such a simple project that creates skill and confidence when they complete it.

Everyone in the class wants to make a sweater now, so that will start in two weeks!

 

 

 

Halvorsen 1 & 2

Halvorsen 1

This is the first towel on my current warp of ringspun 8/2 cotton (bought at M&R Yarns while on a road trip to Georgia). The weft is Borg’s 22/2 cottolin in light blue. I got a copy of Davison’s A Handweaver’s Pattern Book, I studied it looking for a nice twill that had some threading changes so it wasn’t all one pattern and with some nice treadling variations to keep me on my toes.  I chose the Caroline Halvorsen patterns on pg. 44.  Above is Halvorsen I.


 

Davison Halvoersen 2

This is the second towel on my warp.  From Davison p.44 Caroline Halvorsen II.  The first treadling was the easiest.  4,3,2,1.  The second was a slightly longer sequence of 8 picks.  4,3,2,1,2,3,4,1.

The treadlings get progressively more complicated in 3 & 4 but should be fairly quick to memorize as well.  I am halfway finished with towel #2 and should start on #3 later today.


 

Here is the draft for towels 1 and 2.  There are plain weave sections at the beginning and end of each towel.  I am using a floating selvedge since there are some point twill treadlings.  I hope to finish all 4 before my study group meeting at the WGGC on Wednesday.

Halvoersen 1 & 2I

 

 

 

 

 

Mistaken Wisdom

Fixing feather and fan

A good quote came up in my Facebook news feed today.

Don’t cling to mistakes just because you spent a lot of time making them.

It’s attributed to Dr. Laura the radio psychologist, so I don’t think she was referring to weaving and knitting, but the words do sum up my philosophy a bit when it comes to crafting.  I discussed it a little the other day in my post on User Error.  I often come across people who embrace their mistakes and call them design elements even when they catch the errors before the work is finished. I just can’t adopt that viewpoint. Try to fix the mistakes when you can and as soon as you notice them and that will help you produce a better product. The time you have invested is wasted if the finished item makes you unhappy or you can’t sell it.

There is an oft repeated bit of folklore people use in defense of flaws that the Amish (or the Native Americans or the other artisan of the culture/ancient civilization) made a deliberate mistake in their work so as not to be prideful and offend God.  I think this is only a myth. It’s not often that we achieve perfection in our craft, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive for it or fix it when we can.  Yes, you can probably find mistakes in my work, but it doesn’t mean I didn’t try to eliminate them. I will fix what I can when I can, even if that sometime involves starting over.

I once read in one of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s books (I am paraphrasing since I can’t find the exact quote) “admire your work often, that is when you will find the mistakes while they are still easier to fix.” If we persist in clinging to and excusing mistakes just because we have already spent a lot of time on the project, we won’t become better at our craft.

When I teach knitting or weaving, I tell my students how well they are doing and how much they are improving and other good and truthful things about their work. But I also point out mistakes and discuss how they might have happened and how they can be fixed. I wouldn’t be a good teacher if I didn’t. I do assure them that the reason I am good at fixing things is that I make a lot of mistakes and I do my best to figure out how to fix them. Sometimes when trying to fix a knitting mistake, you can make it worse, and then have to rip out.  (Sometimes the only fix is to rip.) But if you never try to fix the mistakes you will never learn how to. Finding and fixing mistakes is a skill in and of its own that should be embraced as much as the craft.  By the way, I didn’t have to rip out the project for the mistake I am fixing above. I fixed it, and the afghan came out perfect.

Simply Gorgeous

100_0950

I think that this is one of the most beautiful things I have woven.  It is a simple plain weave scarf, made quickly on my 10 inch Cricket Rigid Heddle Loom.  Rigid heddle looms are such an easy way to get started weaving.  With beautiful hand dyed yarns from indie dyers like Robin Edmundson you don’t need to make something complicated on an 8 shaft loom.  A simple plain weave is enough for the yarn to be the star of the scarf.  In this scarf, I used a 12 dent heddle and warped with Robin’s Rayon Spiral yarn in Vineyard and wove with Warbler Cotton Boucle in Aurora.  The colorways had similar enough colors that they went together extremely well.  The rayon spiral gave a bit of shine peeking out between the textured cotton boucle.  It’s and ideal spring scarf.  Here’s a couple of more pictures of it.

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Have You Any Wool?

wire sheep

I found this sheepish little fellow when I was wandering about TJ Maxx today.  He will make nice decorative storage for all those leftover balls of wool I have stashed around my studio.  He is quite charming when he’s been fed, don’t you think?

User Error

1 thread in dent

Yes the auto reed hook kept me from skipping a dent yesterday, but it didn’t prevent user error. You can see in the picture above slightly left of center what the problem is.  I got my whole warp sleyed and tied on, then it was time to check for issues. I treadled some plain weave sheds and I examined the sheds from the front of the loom. Each dent should have two threads and when treadling the plain weave shed, one in each should move up and the other stay down. But, I saw an empty dent when I treadled the sheds. With the shed closed and flat, I hadn’t noticed it, but two of the dents only had one thread in each instead of two. When I raised a shed, the thread in one of the dents that only had one thread stayed down and there was a one dent gap. Fortunately the dents with one thread each were right next to each other. I contemplated leaving it, but it could leave a reed mark in the finished cloth. Since it was only about 4 inches away from the left selvedge, I fixed it and  resleyed those 4 inches.  If it had been in the middle, I probably still would have fixed it and resleyed 11 inches of warp.

I also looked into the sheds from the side and found 2 threads in the middle of the shed. I had twisted them between the heddles and reed. So I marked the threads with a piece of red string from a thrum and located the bout and untied it. I traced the threads back and sorted them out, resleyed them and retied the bout.

I  always look for problems before I start weaving.  That is the best time to fix things.  I don’t want to go through all the work that it takes to weave something only to have a flaw in the finished product that I was too lazy to fix.

I am like this with my knitting too. If I can fix it, I do.  I have been know to rip out almost completed knitting projects.  My philosoply is that if the mistake will bother me, I won’t want to wear it or give it to the person it is intended for.  I like knitting and I like weaving so ripping out or unweaving may take me a little longer to get that particular project finished, but I still get to knit or weave and will like the sock or the towel better.

DownhillSee this sock , it was a project I started last year during the winter Olympics. Shortly after this picture was taken, I ripped it out even though there were no errors in the knitting. I tried it on, and it was really tight. I didn’t take into consideration how the twisted stitches would affect the stretch of finished sock leg and they were intended for me. My daughter who has thinner legs said she probably would not wear them. I still had one sock to go, so I ripped. I want something that fits.

I will restart them on dpns (2.25 mm) for the leg with the same number of stitches. That will give a little more stretch. Then when I get to the foot, I will switch to two circular needles, one for the top of the foot in size 2.5 mm needles and stick with my usual 2 mm(US size 0) for the bottom of the foot. That should do the trick.

Meanwhile, I do have other socks on the needles.  I am trying to weave during the day and knit in the evenings, but have instead been working on weaving into the evenings since my days have been interrupted here and there by normal life.

Well, now its back to the loom to finish the last inch of resleying and hopefully to start weaving.

 

Dressed For Action

reed being sleyed

The warp has been beamed onto the warp beam and I have threaded the heddles.  I had a bit of a setback on Monday, I got the warp on the loom, spread it out to 22 inches and beamed it on only to look at it and think, “something is not right”.  I had only wound half of the number of threads needed. So, I carefully unwound the warp from the beam, scooted everything closer together onto one side, and wound more warp.  I then put that on the apron rod with the rest of the warp and beamed it all again.

I got most of the heddles threaded into the pattern yesterday and finished up this morning.  I started to sley the reed with the normal reed hook, but it was sooo slow.  I have gotten used to the auto reed hook, so I had to look for it in my unorganized studio (I promise to work on organizing) and am now sleying faster.  No it doesn’t automatically sley the reed for me, it just moves from dent to dent on its own, while I pick the threads, catch them with the hook and pull. I can leave it in a dent and do something else with my hands, and it doesn’t fall out, and most importantly,  I don’t accidentally skip a dent while sleying.
Here’s a short video to show how I use it. It works best if the reed is laying flat, not standing up in the beater.

After I run a few errands, I should be able to finish that up quickly and get to the real action of the day, weaving!