Monday, 7 April 2014

Meditation and Weaving and other totally non related topics.


I know, it's not a picture of weaving, but the boys took me up to Burnham on Sea for supper on Saturday, the tide was out and I couldn't resist.  I'm playing with the Sweep Panorama setting on my camera, considering I have difficulty holding my hands steady, I'm really pleased.  The colours are some of my current favourites as well, so it's pretty much a win/win.

I've been spending the last week or so trying to weave a little every day.  Whilst that means the 8 metres of fabric is now growing as I watch, it hasn't actually turned out as the main point of this particular exercise.  I have to concentrate on the weaving far more than my spinning (can literally spin myself to sleep!). But it's the odd stuff I have found myself concentrating upon. 
As there is no pattern as such, I don't have to ensure I treadle in a particular order, the tie up has been rearranged so that as I move across the pedals left to right, I produce six even passes.
I have to ensure that the tension is just right, so that I can throw the shuttle and not loose it down through the warp.  Too tight, and there is insufficient shed so the shuttle snags and fouls on the warp and get stuck in the middle. Too loose, my shuttle takes a nose dive into my loom. Again. (I have found that a pair of rubber ended cooking tongs - Ikea's finest - are just so useful for fetching it back).  I have also found that I don't mind snipping the weft to release the shuttle, fetching it out, and re-throwing it as if it were starting a new bobbin.  It actually is so much easier than trying to feed the shuttle back up from whence it came, better for the warp too. 

I think, what I'm trying to say is, that by weaving plain cloth I'm finally getting the feel for my loom.  I know I've had it a while, but it hasn't been the happiest of relationships, she has been neglected for months at a time, and I have threatening her with everything from kindling to EBay.  I have discovered many things about myself and Loom whilst getting to this point.  One of the major ones being, I like weaving tea towels as much as I like knitting face cloths.... another, what a 4 shaft Jack loom is really capable of! And that is the mind blowing one.  I no longer yearn after an 8 shaft or a Dobby.  The combinations and permutations of the one I have are enormous!  I have also discovered that I love weaving fabric.  Fabric to then full, cut and sew into garments.  Far more interesting and fun than tea towels and it gives me the opportunity to plan a piece of clothing from the beginning. To decide what it is going to be used for and weave it accordingly. I feel in a way as if I have finally taken that step forward that I have been missing for a while.

It's a little step though, but at least this one seems to be in the right direction. And to add to this, my selvages are now amazing!

(I own a Leclerc  60" Colonial VI floor loom.)

Thursday, 27 March 2014

And so it begins...


I'd just like to say, before I get drawn into this project, I love these colours, I really do, (Haifoss on grey Shetland/silk by Freyalyn) which is just as well as I suspect I may be seeing rather a lot of them.  But for now, this is the beginning of my Shetland Spencer Dress.  2 things had stopped me knitting it before.  One was I can't find a pattern and the other, I didn't have the yarn.  Well, I'm beginning to remedy the lack of yarn, and hopefully whilst I'm spinning it, I shall map out the beginnings of a pattern in my head.

IMAG0558 Also, this week the current Shawl of Doom has been laid to rest. This is just a snippet, the entire thing will hopefully be modelled by the recipient and I shall get gorgeous pics, but in the meanwhile, here we are.  I enjoyed the pattern, but it just ate yarn, something to be aware of if I every feel the need to knit it again.

This last couple of days have been finishing days.  I also plied a couple of hanks of yarn.

IMAG0548IMAG0549This is the first, a little silk and merino mix from Wingham - now officially entitled Squashed Frog (for nephew sweater). I plyed it with the never ending bump of squishy yumminess that Freyalyn gave me last Autumn (Polworth x Corriedale shearlings and Polworth blended together - really fun to spin).
and the other is the alpaca that I blended with some of Amanda Hannaford's mixing pots.  It's turned out a really squidgy light DK.  And at the moment I'm just enjoying it.  Both will need to be washed and blocked soon, but for now, they will just hang on the wall of the workshop egging me on.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Beautiful Day


It was a fantastic day today and the flooding had final gone down far sufficiently that the A361 was open!  This meant the journey to Guild was far more fun, if a little slower.

IMAG0525There was still a sight more flooding than healthy, and the smell was interesting (low key, sewerage meets silage), but the colours were fantastic and the light was amazing!  With any luck, the weather will hold and help with the evaporation of the flooding - there really was a brisk wind. 

I would like to take this opportunity to point out that I am able to exercise a modicum of restraint when faced with a room full of fibre.  The Guild were hosting a Wingham Woolwork tasting day. Now.  I was really good, I ignored most of the temptation, reminded myself I am off to Wonderwool Wales in a month or so, and to remember the fleece loft!  As a result, I came home with 2 little bags of fluff to spin for Niece and Nephew, and a couple of generous pinches of Angelina, just right to blend in with the next fleece to come down from the loft!


Thursday, 6 March 2014

I went stash diving and....

Blue Shetland (4)It was like this.  I've been feeling the need to cast on a new project or 6 for the last couple of days.  You see, I've got my shawl habit down to a couple of rows a day and can finally see the end - hooray!  I haven't got socks on the needles at the moment, I keep looking at the sock yarn stash and thinking meh, humph!

Blue ShetlandThe yarn for DH's next sweater is waiting for the dye pot, which is pretty much beyond me at the moment, although I did get an inspiration this morning, and will probably follow it though in a week or two when the weather improves.  

IMAG0505However, I really want to knit a Spencer Dress, but haven't the yarn (appropriate yarn, before you start yelling). So, I went wandering further afield into my fleece stash.  It's, ok, I made it out without search and rescue, but it was close. I know I said I wanted to make this year Alpaca Year (just to get the vast quantities under control) I do have alpaca on the house wheel at the moment, so I wasn't moving far off target. 

IMAG0513I did find a couple of hundred grams of Freyalyn's Halfoss dyeway on grey Shetland and silk rovings together with one of Olive Twists Silk bricks. Not enough on their own, but.  I also found the most fabulous Grey Shetland fleece I bought from Any Wier of Fernhill Farm in 2012.  And it was all scoured and just desperate to be spun.  So I did the only decent thing. I started to process it.
IMAG0515I divided the fleece into 2 pieces, the darker, slightly less fine part is being combed and will be spun worsted and plyed marl with Freya's Halfoss.  The lighter, finer half I popped through the triple picker and am in the process of carding into batts, blending some of the Oliver Twist silk as I go. This will then be spun woollen for the bodice so it's snuggy.

Whilst all this is really fun and will yield a yummy dress, I'm still left with a problem.  What can I knit right now....!