Back in February (I think) I took a Tablet weaving workshop sponsored by my guild.  One of our members, John Mullarkey taught the class. I had a great time and immediately warped my inkle loom at home so I could play with “Egyptian Diagonals” and doublefaced weaving. I had checked out Peter Collingwood’s Book on Tablet Weaving from the guild library, so I used a font in it to practice the double-faced weaving. I very shortly learned how to unweave. Yikes. That can be a huge pain if you’re not paying attention to what you’re doing.

I had to return that book, so my warp sat for a while, just waiting for me to pick it back up. In the meantime, I ordered Linda Hendrickson’s book, Please Weave a Message. I finished the practice band last week.

It’s a band with no real purpose other than to entertain a cat and its owners.  It says “hi my name is roland  i am orange and stripey  meow!

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.

First off, Bety from Deep end of the Loom nominated me for a creative blogger award.  It was so very nice of her to think of me!  Unfortunately she also caught me right at the conversion of my blogger blog into wordpress, so I’m late with the thanks and haven’t the energy to pass along much more.

Well, I’m here now.  Brent converted the blog for me (yay Brent!) but I didn’t have the time to sit down and figure out how to update now that everything was new.  I haven’t changed the template or updated links or anything, but at least there are signs of life in this little old blog.  I’m bummed that blogger ended support for FTP publishing, but it seems like wordpress has a lot of options so I might be alright here.

In weaving news, I finished the second cashmere scarf but still need to take photos.  I also finished some tablet weaving that turned out just adorable!  I will have to make an effort to take some photos and get them up here :)

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.

At the request of my friend Erika, I’ve been making a set of 8 napkins. Her request was for some every-day napkins that would wash easily and of a color that would disguise any potential curry stains. I had some dark red 8/2 cotton that was just the right color. She picked out some patterns that appealed to her, and I did a sample with 6 versions so she could feel the fabric and pick out what she wanted.

We settled on Davison’s Shadow Twill draft, tromp as writ. Note that the sample of Treadling 1 in her book does a really interesting diagonal netting pattern with a lot of draw in. I think it would be very interesting to alternate in stripes with a plain weave pattern for a seersucker effect.

Anyway, the weaving part of my napkin endeavor had to wait until this weekend because last weekend I was in a 2-day workshop on Tablet Weaving with John Mullarkey. Wow, was that eye opening. I had a vague idea of how cards could be used, but I hadn’t ever gotten around to trying it. We did threaded-in color patterns, and double-faced weave, and egyptian diagonals. I have many plans for projects with those techniques. My step-mom has requested a keychain with her name on it already :) The kittehs may need custom made collars. The ideas are endless. I will take pictures of some of my samples one of these days. The light is terrible today, as you will see from the napkins.

And back to the napkins. I used some spools of 100% cotton Gutermann thread for the hems. Wow, did it work out well! The hems aren’t bulky at all, and the color was a great match. My only complaint is the price of the thread. I’ll have to watch for sales at Joanns and Hancocks when I’m in need of thread. I put the thread spools directly on my shuttle in the place of a bobbin, so I saved a ton of time by not having to wind bobbins with sewing thread. Yay for that!

I cut the napkins off this morning while Brent was at church:

Then while they were in the wash, Brent and I went to lunch. After lunch I put on a Craftlit Podcast (an old one as I am working my way through the archives), and I did the pressing and hemming. My iron was on super-steam settings so I had to put the napkins over the railing to dry a bit after I finished the pressing.

Look at that amazingly similar row of napkins. I’m quite impressed with my ability to make 8 things alike. I’ve never done that before :) I usually end up switching something part way through, but since these were for a friend, I pushed onward and measured carefully and they came out wonderfully.

On another topic, I got the distressing news that blogger will no longer support publishing via FTP as of the end of March. That means I won’t be able to use them anymore. Brent has installed wordpress for me so I can play around with it and hopefully get that going.

I’m also participating in this year’s knitting olympics with a sweater project for myself–the February Lady Sweater available on ravelry. Fun! I should go take a shower and get to knitting.

Happy Valentines Day!

I finished the crackle towels, and the two pillows from the crackle towel fabric. What fun! I even was able to add buttons and buttonholes to the pillow sham. Yay for the new sewing machine’s buttonhole function :)

Today I’m starting to wind a warp for some napkins for Erika. I also need to wind off some 10/2 cotton for next weekend’s workshop on tablet weaving.

The Teal/Turquoise towels are off to their new owner. Well, 4 of them are. I’m left with two that I’ve listed on Etsy:

And after a terrible struggle with a very weak warp yarn, I finished weaving a bunch of crackle towels. I ended up using nearly a can of hairspray to try to keep the warp threads from breaking. I also used a paper clip temple to help minimize draw in. It all worked quite well and after a disastrous first towel, I ended up with just a few broken ends here and there.

I’ve just washed them and they’re waiting for pressing and ironing right now, but here’s a preview:

I’ve been complaining about the lack of sun, and you’ll note that picture was taken with a flash. Of course today, we get sun but I’ve had too much work to be able to take a break for pressing and hemming, so no pictures yet. Boo!

That does remind me, though, that I should go use the sun to take a picture of the socks I just finished knitting :)

After Christmas I had a few days at home to work on my weaving, so I finished the teal/turquoise swiss twill warp. Mimi decided she needed more attention so she snuck in and took a seat.

Here’s the big pile just off the loom. I’ve wet finished now, but need to press and hem them still.

And finally, I got a new warp on the loom. This is a mystery cotton warp that’s not particularly strong. Fortunately, it wound on like a dream, but now that I’m weaving, I’m getting a lot of broken ends on my selvedges. I have it threaded in a crackle pattern and love it! I didn’t get a picture of any of the weaving though, so here’s just a picture of the warp, ready to go on.

Oh, also, I got an inkle loom for Christmas and have made several bands out of carpet warp. It’s so much fun! They make awesome hair bands and cat toys.

I spent the weekend winding a warp and dressing the loom for some 8/2 cotton towels. I’m making these from some mill ends I got from WEBS. The warp is a dark turquoise/almost teal color that’s darker than it appears in these pics. I have enough warp for 6 or 7 towels, depending on how much I sample, so I can use several different color and treadling combinations.

Here’s the loom:

And here’s a closeup. Note the long warp floats in part of it–I know I know, not good :) I was just messing around with my treadlings and that one didn’t work out. Also, it’s crazy how two yarns labeled 8/2 can have such varying grists. The tan right before the blue is so much thinner than the blue and the turquoise both.