maaike would be so proud

Yesterday was a good day (except for the fact that my kids and hubby are all sick, and my strep throat, which should be gone ‘cus I’m on my last day of meds, started hurting again).

First I took the boys for haircuts- no pic ‘cus I forgot.

Then I got a hair cut:

You like?

Then, in the evening, in a shock to even me, I finished my mom’s scarf!  I still need to twist the fringe and wash it, but SERIOUSLY?  After only about 6 hours, the scarf is off the loom!

I still can’t show it to you though, but pics will come once I give it to her.

My aunt was in town yesterday and was admiring one of the yarns I had out, and mentioned that she likes those twisted cowl scarves that you can loop around your neck a few times.  She also mentioned that her coats are black and brown, and that people are always telling her to add color.  So I decided I’m going to make her a woven cowl scarf.  I’m not quite sure yet how I’ll join the two ends later, but I’ll figure it out at the end.  (I hope, heh).

I chose the hank of Sweet Surrender Spark Sock Yarn from my stash.  I think I’d got it during one of the Robyn’s Nest sock  clubs.  The colorway is “Flower Power”, which is a variegated yarn, with repeating 6-7″ lengths of orange, blue, green, yellow and magenta.

Kinda like this.  They don’t repeat around, but they repeat in the way the skein was dyed.  So I decided to try and keep this pattern in both the warp and the weave.  I tried to make the warp around about 70″ long which went right from the middle of the blue, down 2 repeats or so, and ended at the middle of the pink.  So the blue and pink would overlay in the same spots, but the orange, yellow and green would make solid areas.

Kinda like this.

It was awkward to find a place to warp, because the boys were downstairs so I was trying to do it upstairs where they wouldn’t get all tangled up in it, and I forgot to anchor the loom with a book or something heavy so it kept inching backwards.  Most of it is properly wound, but occasionally I hit a tighter or looser strand where my colors wouldn’t line up.  The tension evened out when I wound it, but my color blocking isn’t as perfect as I’d like.  Oh well.

The yarn surprised me by being divided into 2 hanks.  I wound them each into their individual cakes, and used about 6/8ths of one half for the warping.  The amount of yarn left over feels like at least enough to knit a short row heel or toe, so the leftovers will probably wind up as socks for me.

Once enough warp threads had been placed with 2 threads in every slot I wound it up and sat down to place all the hole strands.  Here it is, ready for weaving (after I throw a bit of waste yarn in there to even out the spacing).

And finally, this shows how I plan to weave it.  I picked the width of the scarf hoping to match up the length of each color, and my goal is to get each row to be its own color, by starting at the proper spot and making sure to keep it going every time finish a shuttle.

Unfortunately that’s all the crafting, weaving or otherwise, I can get done for now.  On New Year’s Day Yannick and I will be swapping houses with my inlaws as per the usual ‘weekend-before-exam” custom, and I need to get 36 Word pages of questions and answers from our school stuff organized and arranged into manageable bits to print out and tape onto index cards so we have flash cards to run through together.  The previous 2 years’ exams were easier, in a sense, because they were mostly math-based.  So while it was frustrating to learn all the formulas, once you knew how they worked, the exam was only as hard as the time spent working them out.  This year we’re learning all the biology and anatomy and physiology of the eye, and our exam will test us on the muscles, nerves, bones, parts of the eye, which nerve brings blood to which muscles, which muscles control which movements, which diseases cause which ocular symptoms…blargh.


all’s well that ends loom

Yesterday Maaike picked me up and we drove down to meet Yannick at Colette’s studio.  I was giddy and excited and Maaike poked me in the arm and said “You feel like someone who’s getting a loom today!”

But then there was a bit of a mixup with schedules and for a short period of time it looked like I might not be getting a loom.

(This is the face of someone who doesn’t think she’s getting a loom)

Luckily things worked out, and after a quick lunch at apparently the ONLY restaurant/cafe/place that sells food you can eat in the entire area, we met back up at Colette’s and…


…what does this face tell you?

This is half of the face of someone who got a loom!
(The other half looked like it didn’t even belong to me, was blurry, and I think there was a crazy eye).


I got an Ashford Knitter’s Loom and it’s awesome!  Set-up was non-existent, it was 99% ready right out of the box.  I asked Yannick to help me set it up since it was a gift from him (the accessories were a gift from me) and I wanted to remember that he had set it up for me.  Well “set-up” meant putting the 3 plastic ties through each of the 2 flat boards for either side, and then attaching them to the loom.  About 45 seconds, and done!

I then went to Maaike’s house so she could show me how to warp it.  I’d taken an “Intro to Weaving” class with Maaike and Deb at Colette’s last winter (by the way, when did seasons no longer require capitals?) and so I remembered how to do the basic plain weave, move the heddle, knew a bit of terms like “shed” and “shuttle”, “warp” and “weft”.  But the looms that we’d used were already warped when we got there.

Oh- and those looms were Crickets.  And I was so, so tempted to get a Cricket.  They’re tiny and cute and a bit cheaper and while you can’t upgrade to a double heddle later, you can still do umpteen types of weaves with it.  Yes, I said umpteen.  The only thing, literally the ONLY thing that ruled out the Cricket for me was the width.  You can’t weave wider than 10″ on it, and while I expect to seam larger projects like blankets, I wanted to at least be able to make placemats or kitchen towels without having to seam.  I don’t need 8 million scarves.

Once the Cricket was out, and I knew I wanted a smaller, more portable loom that I could use sitting on the couch, that left me looking at the AKL and the Glimakra Emilia.  I was really taken by the ratcheting system of the Emilia, as well as the extra width (13″ vs 12″ of the AKL).  But in the end the AKL itself, and its accessories were more affordable, it had better finishing (the Emilia isn’t varnished or even fully sanded), and Yannick can always change the plastic ratcheting system of the AKL to metal one day, if I really want it.

So Maaike taught me how to warp, and it was much faster, easier, and more zen-like than I’d expected.  It really wasn’t bad at all, and before long (maybe 1 hour, with chatting, to warp for an 8″ wide, 5.5′ long scarf plus 5″ fringe per end) I was weaving!

I’ve got the scarf-in-progress hidden in these pics ‘cus I told my mom my first project would be for her as she babysits so very often so I can attend guild, workshops, and this particular loom-purchasing trip, and while she knows she’s getting the scarf, I want the finished project to be somewhat of a surprise.

I’m using the size 12 heddle (12 dent?  12 DPI?  Still learning the lingo) which means there are 12 strands to the inch, and it is warped (the strands that run the length of the scarf) with 100% wool, black fingering weight that I bought on a cone (along with another one in white) from Colette.  I figure I have tons of fingering sock yarn in assorted colors, but while I have some black that is marked for projects, I don’t have white and these 1 lb cones will last a long time.

This pic is from overhead and shows the loom on my couch with a white sheet of paper covering the scarf, and a tissue box resting in front of the heddle for scale.  This loom is small!  Maybe 14-16″ wide total, and about 2′ long or so.  Plus it folds even with the weaving project on it, and fits easily into one of my tote bags.  It’s awesome!

Side view.  (The loom is in weaving position, and lies completely flat for warping).

Back view.

Front view.

And this is my mom’s jacket, that I’m making the scarf to match.  (The green one on the right).

In about 2 hours at Maaike’s last night I managed to warp the loom and weave 5″ before coming home.  This morning I sat on the couch while the boys played and in about an hour got up to 20″ out of the total 66″.  I’d have more to show tonight but I need to get some work done for my actual day job that has a deadline so I can’t put it off.  That said, I plan on weaving more tomorrow…