wool

I decided I need to try spinning some different types of fibers and different preparations to see what I like and what I don’t like.  The combed merino top I had was lovely, but I also think rather difficult to spin.  It required a lot of pre-drafting to make sure I didn’t end up with something chunky.

I went to etsy and browsed around for some different fiber types, and found this listing for a sampler pack of different colors of Romney roving. In the picture there, I’ve spun the top right and bottom left colors. I still have the other two left to do.

Here they are!

Each skein is an ounce and has about 125 yards. They’re approximately fingering weight. I spun one ball of singles, then plied from a center pull ball. It worked perfectly on the first skein, but I had a couple snarls near the end on the second one. I should let the singles sit for at least a full 24 hours before plying next time.

And here’s a closeup. You can definitely see how the fiber has a halo to it. The yarn is soft, but not like the merino. I think I’ll use this yarn as a weft for some weaving.

This is my first “real” handspun. I have messed around with spinning before, but without really knowing what I was doing. Then I got a copy of Start Spinning by Maggie Casey. I took it slowly and did it all on my spindle. I’m a lot more comfortable after spinning these 4 oz of fiber.

And here’s a detail shot. You can tell I’m not terribly consistent yet, but I’m getting better. I think it was best for me to just get through this fiber rather than trying to fret over it and make it perfect.

The gray scarf is done! Here are some hastily taken photos in the waning light of my hotel room.

I was taking a small break after the napkin marathon to participate in the knitting Olympics. I spent the 17 days of the Olympic games working on a sweater. It was a simple top down raglan style with a lace pattern, based on Elizabeth Zimmerman’s baby jacket from her Knitter’s Almanac.

And here it is:

I might go back and make the sleeves longer at some point. I haven’t decided.

Toward the end of the Olympics, I was contacted by a friend of my sister. She was wanting some hats and scarves made. One of her requests was for a scarf in either charcoal gray, or shades of black, navy and gray. I had quite a bit of Zephyr in black and white. I also had some tencel in Navy and gray. Then I realized I could use some un-knitted cashmere in charcoal gray as a weft to pull a multicolor warp together. I thank Bonnie for the idea of the cashmere. While I was off in Minneapolis last week, I did the unknitting. This weekend I pulled together all the various yarns.

The balls in front are the gloriously soft cashmere. I ended up with over 4 oz from one sweater!

I then wound my warp on Friday night while watching Manor House on DVD. It was supposed to be “girls night” out, but I had a terrible cold and didn’t want to pass it along to everyone. I’m feeling much better now, thankfully.

Saturday I was quite busy helping Robin with wedding preparations,but I did manage to get the reed sleyed:

And this morning I threaded the heddles and wound the warp on. Despite the various fibers it wound on quite nicely as I listened to Frankenstein on Craftlit. I’m working my way through all the old episodes now, and gosh, they’re a lot of fun.

Then I wound my first lovely cashmere bobbin and got to weaving! Here’s the first six inches:

And here’s a closeup shot:

The straight twill structure lets some of the weft color shine through, but the overall effect is definitely of gray. You can’t imagine how soft this is too! I’m accustomed to weaving things that feel a bit rough until they’re wet finished, but this cashmere is extremely soft already.

I have enough warp on here for two scarves–one for my sister’s friend and one for ? I think everyone I know will want it as soon as they touch it.

I over-fulled a baby blanket I just finished weaving. I needed to full it aggressively to get it down to size. I started at 44″ x 55″ and needed to get it around 30″ x 40″. I measured every minute, but apparently the edges fulled less than the middles. It’s now 28″ x 36″. If I can get over this I might be able to crochet a border or something.

*cry*

This weekend I took a class through the Saint Louis Weavers’ Guild with Bonnie Tarses. The topic was Color Horoscope weaving. Bonnie has come up with an amazing method of translating a horoscope chart into a color weaving draft.

She started working with us weeks before the workshop by asking us our birth date and time so she could do our charts and drafts. I didn’t have my birth time, so mine’s based just on date. She sent us the drafts and some helpful instructions for selecting yarn and winding our warps.

I knew I was going to be using my Kromski Harp Rigid Heddle loom, so I was looking for some fairly heavy weight yarn. I also needed something that I could get 12 colors of the color wheel in. I decided that Knitpicks Palette was a good option. I put together my color wheel and ordered the yarn.

Then I wound the warp verrry carefully and very slowly, pretty much one thread at a time!

I wound three chains as I needed to weave the shawl in three panels.

I documented my process for dressing the loom since people might be interested, but that’s coming in a separate post.

Here’s the second warp on the loom with the first off the loom next to it. I ended up loving the look of a burnt orange weft with the colorful warp.

And here’s the rest of the workshop working at their looms:

I finished the weaving on Tuesday afternoon, then did the joining of the panels Tuesday night, and today I twisted the fringe and wet finished it.

And here’s the finished shawl, serving as a kitty tent. I’ll have to get a good outdoor picture and some closeups when Brent’s back in town to be my photographer (and when it’s light outside!)

I’ve been weaving along on the Afghans for Afghans shawls. I’m nearly out of green yarn for the weft, and I’m not sure I’m going to have sufficient length for 2 shawls, let alone 3. I may have to substitute another color. I have some brown I think that might work OK.

I’m working with approximately 20/2 wool in the warp. This is the finest warp yarn I’ve used. For the first 10 inches or so I had a broken warp yarn every few minutes. It was very trying on my patience!

I did some research online and saw someone mentioning that for fine yarn, they beat with an open shed. But more interestingly, they would beat twice–once on the current open shed and once on the next.

It took me a while to get the rhythm of beat-change shed-beat-throw, but after I got it, wow what a difference. From that point on, I only had 2 broken warp threads! It also really evened out my beat, I think.

Yay for new things learned.