Year Of Projects: week 31

And we have lift off! My Second Squall is finally done: knitting finished, endse sewn in, bath taken, and the wearer absolutely loves it, which is the most important thing of course!

Finishing this sweater did take all of my crafting time this week, the finishing does take time too of course, and weaving in those ends, but I did manage to finish it, and the recipient was almost suprised, he had truly given up – no wonder, since I had started it in April last year 😱 and it typically takes me 6 weeks to knit a cabled sweater. Well, we can blame weaving! Indeed, now that this is off the hooks, I am free to obsess on weaving, again 😜

Have a lovely crafty week!

This is a year of projects (YOP) update. YOP is a Ravelry Group, and an idea – make a plan for the year ahead for all your fibre activities, then update your blog every week if you manage. The objective is to keep track of progress on any fiber crafts with maximum flexibility: post, don’t post, follow your list, change it – so really it is just an opportunity to get to know of more blogs and activities of those who share a passion for anything fibre crafts.

Year Of Projects: week 30

Apart from discovering that I cannot count (the last two YoP posts should have been weeks 28 and 29, not 26 and 27 as I had incorrectly written – now fixed), this week has been an exercise in will power in getting the sleeves on my Second Squall done, but alas I am not there yet, though I am determined to post the finished sweater next week. I am inching my way to the armhole shaping, and it should be all downhill to the finishing line from there.

Sleeve island progress…

The problem is that my mind wanders continuously to weaving – I spent quite a bit of time drafting a sample where flat areas alternate with double layered ones, with the idea of stuffing the woven layers. I will have to see what comes out in the sample, but if it works, it could make for baby mats for toddlers to play on, or seat cushions, we’ll have to see.

To create the two layers, you have to decouple some of the threads – this make it possible to play around with colours, and I am playing around with two ideas. One is to show the pattern clearly: so the warp (i.e. vertical) threads are arranged so that the double layered area pulls up the threads of one colour, which should come up 3D because of the stuffing, as in this picture:

The second idea instead is to pull up a smaller scale version of the same pattern – this should be more of a trick to the eye, though not quite an optical illusion: but while on the flat part the pattern repeat will be larger (4 vertical and 4 horizontal threads), the stuffed part will be pulling up smaller pattern repeats (2 vertical and 2 horizontal threads). So the draft below is entirely identical to the previous one, apart from changing the yarn colours.

I am curious to see what comes out from this experiment! And I don’t have pink in my cotton stash, so it will have to be in different colour combinations, I am looking at some strong contrast involving purples and oranges…

Finally I thought I’d mention a really interesting free series of (short) videos on Kimonos by the Victoria and Albert Museum. So I learned that the seven pieces of fabric needed for each kimono were first cut and assembled and then decorated (through paint and embroidery). Additional pictures can be seen here, and there is a ticketed full day online event on Friday 12th February.

Wishing everyone a very crafty week ahead!

This is a year of projects (YOP) update. YOP is a Ravelry Group, and an idea – make a plan for the year ahead for all your fibre activities, then update your blog every week if you manage. The objective is to keep track of progress on any fiber crafts with maximum flexibility: post, don’t post, follow your list, change it – so really it is just an opportunity to get to know of more blogs and activities of those who share a passion for anything fibre crafts.

Year Of Projects: week 29

This week has been a bit of an all rounder: I managed to knit, spin and weave!

On knitting, I’ve done some more progress on the sleeves of my second version of Michele Wang’s Squall, though not enough to warrant an update on the pictures posted in a previous update – and it struck me that I started knitting this sweater in April last year! This is unconscionable! It generally takes me 6 weeks to knit a cabled sweater, so you see what weaving does to you!

Talking of which, I took the twill Gamp from Janet Phillips‘ ” Designing Woven Fabric” off the loom – it will go in the wash today, and then it will be a matter of studying it! I ended up with 3.15m/3’4″ of sample, 46cm/18″ wide, though no doubt dimensions will change after washing, and I am contemplating using it as a light “comfort blanket” when working from home, so that in idle times my eye can wander over the 500 patterns!

Twill gamp off the loom – before wet finishing and pressing

Indeed, I will have to inspect them very closely, as I have now yarn for yardage for a summer dress! The current plan is for a cotton warp and a linen singles weft. The yarn will be very fine (the 16/2 cotton, which is about cobweb weight yarn, it has 1,300m per 100g weight, and similarly the linen), and I hope to turn it into a flowing dress, though it will be quite a while before I’ll be able to travel to somewhere where I can wear it, but hey, we could always get a scorching summer in Scotland! These are the beauties, beautifully packaged and arrived quickly from My Fine Weaving Yarn, aka my favourite yarn pusher!

16/2 organic mercerised cotton by Garnhuset I Kinna and and 16/1 linen by Växbo Lin

The yarns are really lovely, both by Swedish companies – and they are quite a bit cheaper than knitting yarns, so something for lovers of fine yarn to consider.

I’ve also progressed with my spinning – here is the first single off the spindle and ready to ply, and the spindle filling up again:

From my absolute beginner position, I have found the two videos by Anita Osterhaug (former Handwoven Magazine editor), Drop Spinning 101 and Drop Spinning 102 really very very good, I’ve watched both three times already, and I think I am not finished yet! I am sure there are other excellent resources out there, but these come with an “all access subscription” to Handwoven magazine, which I have. Incidentally, Handwoven offers a free trial month (you have to start a subscription and then cancel it I think), and they have countless videos on weaving, spinning, dying.

One final point to note: I want to warmly recommend the free series of Handweavers’s Guild of America interviews to fibre artists, taking place every Tuesday that I mentioned last week – really interesting. If you can’t get into the live event on Zoom, you can follow from Facebook (and do not need a Facebook account).

Hope you have a very crafty week!

This is a year of projects (YOP) update. YOP is a Ravelry Group, and an idea – make a plan for the year ahead for all your fibre activities, then update your blog every week if you manage. The objective is to keep track of progress on any fiber crafts with maximum flexibility: post, don’t post, follow your list, change it – so really it is just an opportunity to get to know of more blogs and activities of those who share a passion for anything fibre crafts.

Year Of Projects: week 9

Very little to report this week I am afraid – I was on sleeve island, and while I did manage to keep knitting more or less consistently every day, it is slow progress – I judge I am about 30% into the sleeves, which I am knitting at the same time. Having to alternate skeins means I have four balls of yarn to juggle, so I have to have the correct setup to avoid tangles – this is where I got:

Sleeve island – Squall in The Fibre Co Cumbria

I am getting back to my table loom tonight, and will have to press on, also as from mid september I will be joining a “Echo and Iris” workshop led by Marian Stubenistky (the author of “Weaving with Echo and Iris”, “The Stubenistky code” and “Double with a twist”) run by the Online Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, which is an incredibly exciting prospect!

Existing entirely online, it is one of the guilds of the UK Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. I always thought the membership fee was pretty steep (about £90 per year for the UK this is incorrect! I was adding up the annual fees four times over, the 2020 annual fee varies between £18 and £31, depending at what time in the year you join. Thank you @chrismac56 for your correction in the comments); however I joined for free when they made this Covid related offer (this offer does not include copies of the Journal, which is fair enough), and I have to say with such initiatives (here the complete programme for 2020), the membership fee is actually good value for money.

You see, I did manage to stick some weaving into this post nonetheless!😜

This is a year of projects (YOP) update. YOP is a Ravelry Group, and an idea – make a plan for the year ahead for all your fibre activities, then update your blog every week if you manage. The objective is to keep track of progress on any fiber crafts with maximum flexibility: post, don’t post, follow your list, change it – so really it is just an opportunity to get to know of more blogs and activities of those who share a passion for anything fibre crafts.

Year Of Projects: week 5

oh dear, not even 10% into year 10, and I am already skipping a beat! I did not post a week 4 update as really I had no progress to report, apart a few rows of knitting. But this last week I have managed to make some progress, as well of course register some new weaving setback.

The good news first: I have completed the body of my second Squall sweater, including neckband. Here is a not-too-pretty picture:

I have also started the sleeves, which means managing 4 balls of yarn, as because this is kettle died, you want to alternate skeins – by the way, though I do not need this for the sleeves, but I needed it for the body, here is a super neat way of alternating skeins absolutely invisibly (that is without a “column” of stitches at the change), this is now my customary method of alternating skeins in the round (if you are impatient, skip to minute 2:00):

Now for the setback. I finished threading the heddles, and using my new “magic wand” I sleyed the reed and it looked like all was well and I could just tie my warp to the front beam and start weaving:

and then I discovered this:

shock horror!!!

Shock horror, forget about tension in this warp 😱

Well, not much to do here, the only way out is to unbeam, i.e. roll out the warp from the back beam through the heddles and to the front. It is a long warp, so anything that could go wrong is going wrong as expected: weights at the front to keep the bouts in tension do not work, as all the threads in a bout are of a different length, so the weight does not pull evenly. Then the heddles work as a comb at the back, and the yarn is bunching against them, forming a tangle at each turn of the back beam. And at the front, due to differential length, all sorts of loops are forming. The warp is cotton, the threads do have a tendency to stick together:

Good thing that I am patient…

It looks like the coming week will be devoted to sorting out this mess – hope one week is enough!

This is a year of projects (YOP) update. YOP is a Ravelry Group, and an idea – make a plan for the year ahead for all your fibre activities, then update your blog every week if you manage. The objective is to keep track of progress on any fiber crafts with maximum flexibility: post, don’t post, follow your list, change it – so really it is just an opportunity to get to know of more blogs and activities of those who share a passion for anything fibre crafts. My YOP graphics “nicked” with thanks from Backstageknits!

Year of Projects: week 3

My weaving this week has been cut short by having to travel down south, and the Table loom is not that portable, or at least not for my travelling style!

I was tantalisingly close to finish threading, but alas I still have 48 threads to go: once I get back I think with one more evening of work I should have my warp ready to actually start weaving. Here is where I got to, 624 warp ends threaded:

almost there!

However this meant I had to go back to my knitting, my previous addiction before weaving totally and utterly stole me away. So I did some little progress on my second version of Michelle Wang‘s Squall, a really flattering sweater design for men.

Mr lovestoswatch so much liked version 1that he ordered a second version. I am using once more The Fibre Co Cumbria, the worsted weight version. Beautiful “woolly wool”, very easy to felt join, this is a favourite of mine, both in the fingering and worsted versions. It has gorgeous stitch definition, and for version number 2 I am using a shade called St Bees Beach (version #1 was in Windermere colourway, which is a bluish teal, if any such thing exists).

The cabling for this sweater is very easy, so it is mindless knitting, though with enough interest to make it not boring – and I think it does look beautiful. This is where I’ve got to:

Now that I am past the armhole and with no distractions, I guess progress should go faster. Though I seem to be slow at all my crafting, possibly enjoying the process too much!

This is a year of projects (YOP) update. YOP is a Ravelry Group, and an idea – make a plan for the year ahead for all your fibre activities, then update your blog every week if you manage. The objective is to keep track of progress on any fiber crafts with maximum flexibility: post, don’t post, follow your list, change it – so really it is just an opportunity to get to know of more blogs and activities of those who share a passion for anything fibre crafts. My YOP graphics “nicked” with thanks from Backstageknits!

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