This may be the fastest item I’ve ever woven. It’s a scarf on the Glimakra Emilia using pink and white cotton. The warping and weaving took a total of two and a half hours! I’ll post the “finished” picture tomorrow.
I just started a narrow scarf for myself using Berroco Remix. The pattern is a favorite, the 3/1 lace pattern in the weft float section of Jane Patrick's book, The Weaver's Idea Book. Instead of using scrap yarn, I'm using a length of spool knitted yarn I made on this little gadget, the Embellish Knit I-Cord Maker. Works great!
These two kitchen towels will maybe, maybe not become kitchen towels. I like them, it's just that they're square and rather thick. Perhaps they'll make a nice kitty blanket for the summer… We'll see.
I spotted a $1 sale on Lily Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarn and bought a bunch just for fun. I've never had much luck making actual household items, and so I figured even my plan of dish towels didn't work out, they'd probably be useful.
I used the Glimakra Emilia and the 8 dent heddle. Just in case you're wondering, two skeins, 240 yards, is exactly the amount you need to warp 60" on this size loom with this size heddle. However, buy three! You should actually warp 70" or even a little longer to make a real towel.
For the weft I chose a striped green, extremely light. I think my camera is set to overexpose because I haven't taken a decent picture lately. They aren't quite as light as the picture shows, but the stripes are gradual. I like the variegated patterns better for towels so next time!
Off the loom, each measured 18" x 20", but then, after washing, the always-shrinking cotton ended up at 16.5" x 16". Yes, they are now shorter than wide.
This experiment led me to immediately warp the Emilia with another batch of cotton. My plan this time is for a bathmat.
It started as spa wash cloths, and ended up as a rag and a table runner. The warp was a nice cotton/hemp blend called Hempathy, but the weft, at first, was plain hemp 100% hemp yarn. Sorry, but after just one cloth, I was ready to call it quits. It has a rustic look, which is fine, but it was dusty, and it shed bits and pieces everywhere. It's best left for a rope, or a handle, or something other than a wash cloth. Plus, it smells when it's wet, too, so don't use it for something meant to be doused in water on a regular basis. I made one loop pile cloth, then moved onto a second, which I quickly turned into a little rag, and the final two feet of warp sat on my loom for two months.
I decided to use the hemp blend for the weft, and a little pick-up stick pattern to create a small table runner. The pattern was 2 up, 2 down, and the weaving was Up + Pickup Stick, Down, Up, Down. It worked out nicely, with the warp floats creating a stripe. Hemp is nice in a blend.
As the value of a dollar rises and falls due to economic stress and inflation, so does the price of an imported loom. I enjoy my Glimakra Emilia, but I had to weigh the cost of the loom less than a year ago when I purchsed it. It wasn't the most expensive, it wasn't the least expensive. It was somewhere safely in the middle of similiarly-equipped rigid heddle looms. I spent $189 (USD) on the 19" loom, from a site that had it priced a bit lower than the typical $209. Today, however, I'm surprised to see the cost of it has risen $100. It now sells at about $289.
I understand importing an item means prices will fluxuate, but I was a little sticker-shocked yesterday to note the change.
I'm very pleased with my loom, especially the construction and quality. But $100… in less than a year?
I've created a little challenge for myself — weave from my stash of yarn until all I have left are butterflies, those bits and pieces of left-over weft and warp that I wind into tiny figure eight shapes. And then weave something from the butterflies, even if it's Weave-It or Wonder Weave squares.
I never thought I had much in the way of a yarn stash, until I realized I was buying new yarn for every project and not using the yarn I had sitting around. I have plenty, let me tell you. It may not be super fancy, but there's quite a bit.
So, now my question is this: do I plan a project or go at it without any real rules, Saori-style? Do I mix and match textures, colors, and types of fiber, or shall I plan a cotton-only project, a wool scarf, an alpaca shawl? Something in me is saying to wind on the longest warp possible and then weave a very long piece of multi-colored, multi-textured cloth.
But first! I must finish those wash cloths that are still on my loom, two months and counting… For some reason, I'm not enjoying the hemp. I've also discovered I don't enjoy weaving anything that involves hemming off the loom. (Lazy!) I'm spoiled by making so many scarves.
Must… finish… wash cloths…
Sometimes, deep in the winter, when it snows and it freezes and it snows a little more, I grow a little weary of staring at snow. A few winters ago, we started making terrariums. It's instant summer, only in miniature.
This year, it's aquariums. We're on our third, a three gallon Eclipse, which I plunked down in my little office. So far, it's home to a piece of Mopani wood and a variety of low-light plants. Because of its small size, I won't put a fish in it, but maybe I'll look for a few shrimp. Even though there are no critters, it's nice to watch the plants grow in a constant 78 degree temperature.
My current project: Spa Wash Cloths from Weavezine. I'm using Hempathy as the warp, and 100% hemp yarn as the weft.
I finished this one the day before Christmas Eve, just in time to wash it, dry it over a radiator, and trim and tie the fringes. Woven on the Emilia using an 8 dent heddle and a simple 3/1 lace pickup pattern, I used slubby, handspun alpaca. The result was a pretty, incredibly soft and warm scarf. I only snapped these two pictures before waving goodbye.
I warped, wove, washed, and wore this scarf during a blizzard warning! It was two hours on the loom total, hand-washed and dried overnight on the radiator. When I wore it shoveling out from the 10”+ of snow the next morning, I was quite happy with it tied snugly around my neck. (And even happier when my neighbor drove up on his tractor and plowed our driveway!)
I used an 8 dent heddle and white acrylic for the warp, Rizotti (color: Marry) for the weft. The weft yarn is a blend of wool, mohair, nylon, and acrylic, and I found I hardly needed to beat it. It's very, very light and fluffy. I had a notion to make this a ruffle scarf by tugging a center warp thread and gathering the scarf in a little bit, but once I started, I didn't hold the opposite end and whoops! I pulled an entire thread out of the scarf. After scratching my head and laughing a little, I realized I kind of liked the look, so I pulled out two more warp threads on purpose.
The slubby texture led to some bumpy selvedges, and I just didn’t care. The one color change I messed up (you can see the color go from gray to white all of a sudden) didn’t bother me. It was a scarf woven during a blizzard! I mean, really!
Finished: the 7.5" x 16" table runner, woven with two heddles. Just big enough for a super small table or a mat underneath a lamp and telephone (which is where this one is living for now). I was thrilled to use two heddles and can't wait for the next project. This one involved embroidery thread and I used the Diamonds pattern from The Weaver's Idea Book. Very fun indeed. I don't even mind the bumpy edges (strange, I've read about this thing called a floating selvedge and yet never thought it would be something I need someday…).
Also finished: the shawl, poncho, throw-type weaving. It measures 17.5" x 60". I should have been about 6" longer, but I ran out of the Caron Simply Soft and was too impatient to buy some more. It's plenty long, however, and after knotting the fringes and trimming them to about 4", I called it done. It's now flung over the top of a chair. The pattern gives it a rustic look and I'm pleased with it.
The cat picture has a story. She suddenly flung herself onto the throw and skidded to the edge of the table. I snapped the picture just as she turned, shot across to the other side, jumped into her little basket, and skidded over the other edge where she landed on the ground. We think she was embarrassed.
I've been having a great time using two 10 dent heddles with my new double heddle kit I bought for my Emilia. I've never had to think so hard about threading. It was a brain teaser, but once done (by studying my Jane Patrick book, numerous websites and blogs, and also discussions on Ravelry), it all makes sense. Really! Basically, it's pulling four ends through each of the back heddle (also known as heddle II). Wind on your warp. Pull one strand from each grouping into each eye. So, when heddle II is warped, it has three ends in the slots, one end in an eye.
Then, you add in the front heddle (also known as heddle I) and it gets a little muddy, but in a nutshell, you pull two slot ends into a slot, the third slot end into an eye, and the final fourth end, which had been in the eye of heddle II, into the slot on the far side of the eye you just sleyed. Okay… make sense? Good! Continue on down, warping all of heddle I.
Now, you're ready! See? It's easy!
Well, not really. Would you believe it took me three hours? To warp 8" across? And just 36" long? Yes? Then you'd be wrong, because it actually took three and a half hours. Now, the next time, it'll be a cinch.
Once all that warp was carefully tied on, I was ready to weave… something… didn't know what… So, I pulled out Jane Patrick's book, picked a pattern from the Double Heddle chapter, and started weaving. I chose the Diamond pattern, mostly because it uses two heddles and no pickup sticks. (Yes, you can add in pickup sticks!) And there was much head scratching and pulling out of weft and so on as I followed the eight steps to complete one pattern section, until I finally realized it made sense and I was weaving the diamond pattern.
I'm using a variety of browns, reds, and off-whites from my embroidery thread collection. It's pretty, and even though my brain was taxed, it was worth it.
Merry Christmas to me, about six weeks early.
What's new? A Glimakra Emilia stand! It was delivered this morning, along with a second 10 dent heddle and a second heddle kit. I was able to swap out the big desk in my work area, and I replaced it with this half-size desk we happened to have sitting around. The new stuff in my room actually inspired me to tidy up–although I have some clutter in a few of those cubes–but now my yarn is all in its proper place in the organizer I bought this summer. Extra heddles are corraled by a cool sunflower napkin holder. Also on the top of the organizer is a neat Norwegian band loom, or grindvev, I picked up at a local thrift store. It's quite a treasure that I'll blog about another day.
My mini inkle loom was made by Mac's Traditional Shop. It's just 16" long, and it can make about a 40" to 50" band. Isn't it cute? I have yet to finish my first sample. I made some beginner mistakes warping, and after struggling for about half an hour, it occurred to me that I didn't know how to use an inkle loom! And so I went to Youtube and watched a few videos, and then returned to the loom with a new perspective.
The top of my organizer also holds my sewing kit and a wooden bird, carved for me by my husband 20 years ago this coming Christmas. It's one of my priceless treasures.