Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fiber Filled

This weekend was filled with all sorts of fiber fun. I had a lovely time at the Spin-Out in Central Park. Chante sat me down at her wheel and taught me how to spin. Above is a picture of my very first handspun on a wheel. Not bad huh? Pretty good for a beginner. Too bad Chante is not that great of a spinner because that blob on the left is embarrassing. *snort*

All you enablers, I know practice will make it better, but I'll stick to knitting the yarn you spin. I don't see a wheel in my future. But I did invite Chante to sit down at my loom and have a go.

And speaking on knitting while others spin, Sit 'n' Knit met up as well. I am making Cashew her own Rhinebeck sweater using Manos del Uruguay Cotton Stria and the good ol' Placket-Neck Pullover from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson.

And upon returning home, I wove a couple more placemats. A good day, indeed!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Get It? Got It! Good.

I have finally moved on. After asking the same questions over and over again, I walked away from the loom for a couple of days. I stopped thinking about the two threads per end thing. And then this past weekend I sat down at my loom and began to thread. There are two threads per warp end and I am going to thread them as singles.

The grand revelation? It works just the same.

So all you experienced weavers out there who are wondering with furrowed brow what to do when you come across two threads per warp end and you only need one and are utterly confused by this little dilemma - you can measure your warp with "two ends in hand". It doesn't mess up the cross, it doesn't mess up the shed. In fact, it can make things go more quickly. So pluck that little tip from the Annie Tree of Knowledge and finally get a good nights sleep. If you need any more help, just let me know. I'm here for you.

The poppana? Eh. I decided not to use it and instead am making placemats using Nashua Ecologie Cotton in various colorways. I'm loving this project now!

And for all my knitting buddies that got a headache from all this weaving speak...

Thanks for commenting anyway!


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Koigu for Sale

I am desperately trying to sell this yarn. 13 skeins of Koigu Kersti Merino Crepe in color 1144. All skeins are the same dyelot. I have listed it on ebay and the bidding ends today. I bought it for $13 a skein and have started the bid at $75. (Worth $169!)

Help me make room in my stash! Bid!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Blouson is On!

Well there it is. My Rhinebeck sweater. 1824 Blouson by Mari Lynn Patrick from Interweave Knits Summer 2007. Knit with Cascade 220 The Heathers, color 9450. I LOVE this color. Unfortunately the lighting in my apartment was not cooperating this morning and it looks more gray and washed out then it actually is. I can't fire my photographer because I'm married to him and he's the only other person in our house who can hold a camera without chewing it and drooling all over it.

For the most part, I am happy with this sweater. I even like the reverse stockinette! This pattern was easy to knit yet not boring because of the interesting finishing details. (My pleat tutorial is here.) My woulda, shoulda, coulda would be the size. I don't knit a lot of sweaters for myself, so I was fudging my size vs ease. I knit the smallest size which measures a 34" bust. I learned the hard way that the drape is not built in to the pattern. You have to knit up a size to get the drape. You can see more information about that here. (Wish this info been posted earlier!) If I could do it over, (and I probably won't) I would knit the next size up. I love the blouse effect of this sweater. I love how the sleeves turned out, but the waist isn't blousey. I blocked the hell out of it, but that just flattened the pleats, so there is not much of a blouse effect at all. Maybe when my boobs go back to pre-breast feeding size, there will be more blouse in my Blouson.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

If I Understood I'd Tromp as Writ

So my mom emails my family in Finland. Liisa reads my blog. She talks to her daughter Anna-Leena on the phone. Anna-Leena posts a comment to my blog translating the piece of paper. While all that is happening, Natalie's boyfriend tells her that "reunassa vahvikelangat" means "sides have re-enforced wool". Christine emails me, providing me not only with a manual of Finnish weaving terms, but a picture of what my weaving will look like. At least we think it will look like. I still have questions. So since the blogosphere has been a great help, let's go for round 2, shall we?

My loom - LeClerc 4 Harness
My weft - Poppana
My reed - 10 dent ordered and on it's way

According to Christine, I use 2 harnesses and thread them and treadle them as written. I don't understand how I treadle 1,1,1 though. According to Anna-Leena and Liisa, I am supposed to thread 2 threads per dent for the first two holes on both sides, (I think that explains the "reunassa vahvikelangat") and all the other dents should be threaded with a single thread. With a single thread. But each warp end has two threads. I am lost in translation. Is it each warp end per dent, or each thread per dent? Warp end (two threads) makes sense to me, but oh whoah is me with the new weaving terminology mixed in with a foreign language.

I have all these errands to run and phone calls to make and I can't because there are 2 threads per warp end. Do I thread through the heddles with a warp end or a single thread? If I am supposed to thread the reed with single threads per dent, why is the warp made of doubled thread? Where's that email from Christine with the Finnish manual? I am trying desperately to wrap my head around what is probably the simplest and easiest project ever.

Single thread per dent, but there are 2 threads per warp end.



Sunday, September 09, 2007


Every summer my mom goes to Finland. I must say, this works out very well for me, as she always brings back some neat yarn from the country where it seems like everyone knits and weaves. One summer she brought me this weaving project. The warp and weft are ready to go and I have been waiting to get better at weaving before I put this on my loom. I didn't want my beginner clumsiness to screw it up. However, I think the bigger problem is the little piece of paper that seems to hold some instructions. I don't speak Finnish. No biggy, right? Using my Finnish to English dictionary, I have figured out some words, and I am hoping that as I wind the warp on my loom some of these numbers will start to make sense. Meanwhile my brow is furrowed as I stare at this piece of paper, willing an English translation. I see Botox in my future.

If you speak Finnish or know anyone who does and can offer some assistance, I'd greatly appreciate it! So would my forehead.



Thursday, September 06, 2007

Clean Dishtowels

All this knitting really slows down my weaving. So this post is dedicated to my poor dishtowels, which have been finished for over a week and have been patiently waiting for their moment to show off. And seeing as these are my first dishtowels ever, I really need a moment to toot my own horn. Oh wait, I was writing as if my dishtowels were alive and had feelings... but who are we kidding.It's my blog and my bragging rights. Rock on!

So above is a photo of my Fibonacci inspired towels fresh off the loom. Kind of stiff looking. Kinda eck. But the beauty of weaving is similar to the thrill of blocking lace. Give them a hot bath and a hot iron and ta da!

They shrunk about 2 inches in length and one inch in width. They are much softer, though still burlappy. A little thick. And then I remind myself that they are handwoven dishtowels, not machine made towels from Williams Sonoma. That's right. Snuh-ap!

While admiring them, Hotty Hubby asked if we could actually use them. Use them? As flattering as I think it is that my very Hotty Hubby actually wants to sop up whatever dark, greasy whoknowswhatthatgoois with them, I am not ready to stain these towels. I promised him that I would make him his own set that he could trash with coffee grounds all he wanted.

Knowing that the fibers will bloom when washed, I was still nervous about my very obvious threading sequence remaining visible. See how the vertical lines in the towel are making their own little pattern?

After two hot washes and two tumbles in the dryer, everything bloomed just fine. The only thing that bothers me is that even after ironing, the fabric is very wrinkly, like a brown paper bag that was crinkled and that flattened out. I don't know why this is, perhaps it had to do with tension? Or the cotton used? Or my sett? I don't know. Overall, I am very happy with my first go at dishtowels and I look forward to making more. I have another warp for a different project ready to go and I am debating winding it on the loom and trying to bust out another FO before we move. Hmmm....

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Let the Finishing Begin

After blocking the front and back of my Blouson, I was worried that they were a tad short. My row gauge was a bit off, and it was naturally going to affect the fit. I had used a crochet cast on which made it very easy to unzip and put the stitches back on the needle and knit down another inch or so. This also gave me a chance to experiment with the pleats. The pattern says to pick up the stitches from bound off edges, here I would have the opportunity to make the pleats with live stitches. My sleeves were pleated using the method called for in the pattern, the front and back are pleated with my own method. Let's have a looky at how it's done and the finished results.

First I pinch and folded my pleats. (Sidenote on this matter, the pattern calls for 1.5 inch pleats on the sleeve which is huge compared to the pleats for the body. I did 4 smaller pleats instead.)

Using a crochet hook I picked up stitches and placed them on a needle. When I came to the pleat, I picked up through all three layers of fabric.

And there you have it, a nice, clean pleat! Each pleat was about 4 or 5 stitches wide, roughly 1 inch. This one is 1/2 done.

For the front and back pieces which had live stitches, I started with a life line. If all else failed, I could rip out my pleats and start over with the creating the pleats as written.

I marked the pleats as before, which was in a way easier to do as I could count stitches to make my total number of stitches accurate. My pleats used 9 stitches total.

I picked up each stitch one at a time, keeping my life line in place.

When I got to the pleat, I picked up the 3 stitches from each layer. They have to be lined up, which if you take the time and care to work that out beforehand, like the picture above, the pleat is really easy.

The finished result! Looks pretty much the same as the pleat that was picked up from a bound off edge. The time it took to do either was about the same, the level of difficulty was about the same. The live stitches might be slightly more tedious, the major difference was on the wrong side.

To pick up the stitches as written results in a very bulky edge. Considering there is still some stockinette to go with a hem, that's a lot of stuff around the cuff. (Rhyme intended, thankyouverymuch.)

So there you have it. The pleats of Blouson. A neat detail for a basic sweater. I am so close to being finished...

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