Monday, September 28, 2009

Today is a sore heart day.

My mother-in-law lost her battle with cancer and passed away early this morning. A year and three months from diagnosis.

I don't know what to say. It's not fair.

Everyone hug someone you love today.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Dear metastatized melanoma cancer cells that today were declared untreatable and are killing my mother in law:

You suck.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

OK, so I've not been in a blogging mood recently. Obviously. I even missed my own 5th blogiversary back on the 18th. It's been a stressful little while here, what with the severe reduction in my hours at work, and Shaun's nine-month University contract schedule which means that he doesn't start getting paid again until Oct. 1. Next week can't come fast enough.

Anyway, the whole taking pictures and downloading them and resizing them and posting them and composing the text of a post has seemed like an ordeal, one that I didn't have enough energy to contemplate, even though I have several projects I'd like to share. I actually finally got to it this afternoon, though, and would like to show you this:

Regular sock yarn, pretty, soft, 75% superwash merino, 25% nylon, blah blah blah. Looks like regular sock yarn skeins. Pretty but seen everywhere across the interwebs.

However, this sock yarn looked like this before it grew up into pretty twisted skeins:

I- me personally- MADE this sock yarn. This is the Fiber Optic pencil roving (colorway Superstition) that I purchased and started spinning at Sock Summit. I spun these skeins on a SPINDLE!

To say that I am proud of this yarn would be an understatement.

It looks like regular 3-ply sock yarn. It is squooshy and soft and has a nice bouncy firm twist. I made it on a SPINDLE!

Each skein is 56 grams. One skein measured at 220 yards, and the other at 230 yards, which in my book is an acceptable variation, given the inaccuracy of measuring yardage on a niddy-noddy. The singles were spun on my Spindlewood square mini, and I chain-plied it on my wheel.

I preserved the color sequence of the roving between the two skeins, since the pencil roving was dyed with two strands held together. I spun each starting from the same end, and since each half of the roving took two spindlefuls, when I transferred the cops to the storage bobbin, I rewound them twice to maintain the proper directionality. I hope to get similar striping patterns when I knit the socks.

I don't know if I'll be able to bear to walk in the socks, though!

Monday, September 14, 2009

I seem to be on a weaving kick right now. I just finished up a batch of bookmarks:

This was a fun and easy project, and quite gratifying. I did this entire project yesterday, all the way from measuring the warp to ironing the finished bookmarks. The warp is 20/2 silk, and the wefts are various. Left to right, they are:
The purple and blue were plied to match the size of the warp yarn. I just did up little bits on a spindle, about 15 yards or so for each. A bookmark doesn't take much! I didn't even wet the yarns to reactivate the singles twist and balance the yarn after plying. I didn't want to wait for them to dry, so I just used them with active twist and the curling bookmark flattened out like magic when I wet-finished it.

The gold bookmark was originally to be green weft and white warp, but when I tested a piece of the linen yarn, it started losing dye (thank goodness I tested!). So I cut it off before wet-finishing the rest. The other four I finished normally (warm soapy water, moderate agitation, warm rinse, blot in a towel, iron firmly) and they came out great. I love the way wet-finishing really completes a piece of weaving. Especially silk- ironing really brings out the shine.

For the green one, though, I decided that if it wanted to bleed, well then let it bleed. I soaked it in a jar of hot water with a drop of dish soap, and shook it vigorously and repeatedly. When the soak water stopped getting darker, I added some citric acid, shook it up again, and microwaved it for three rounds of three minutes, waiting about five minutes in between. I was hoping that the silk warp would absorb the excess dye from the weft.

It worked! After the bookmark was cool, I rinsed it in hot water and no dye came out. Yay! I actually like the overdyed version better than the original white and green. The silk warp turned greeny-gold, and the linen weft turned antique bronze. It actually looks metallic, with the shine from the silk.

These are all from one 2-yard warp, with the same threading, tie-up, and warp sett (34 epi). The white and purple even have the same treadling; the difference in the look of the pattern comes from the density of the weft packing. The white one is very dense, to the point of being stiff (14 pattern repeats), while the purple one is a bit more drapey (6 pattern repeats). The other three each have a different treadling.

The draft is one I made up. The first treadling (white and purple bookmarks) was the one that I came up with at the computer while planning the project, and the other three I made up at the loom as I was weaving. Both ends of each bookmark are hemstitched.

I like them all, but I have to admit that I'm partial to the white one. It's weighty and substantial, and the white-on-white is so elegant.

Because these are made with fine yarns, they are all nice and flat and thin- one of my prime requirements for a bookmark, so that it doesn't damage the spine of the book. I enjoyed doing this so much that I immediately put another bookmark warp on the loom. Eight yards! Look for bookmarks in my Etsy shop...