Sunday, March 21, 2010

Still making progress on the doily, though I took a few days off. Here it is with 35 rounds completed, and 14.75 hours elapsed.

Sunburst Pineapple doily

I have five rounds left. Then each point is worked separately, followed by three rounds of single crochet worked around the entire thing. It's going to take a while.

I do like how the zigzags look, though!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A silly cat moment for you...

It was nice of Naia to apologize to Coco and let her know that they're still friends!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

So. Weaving.

wool and bamboo scarf

The more I weave, the more I like it. When I started weaving as an adult in 2002 (not considering for now the potholders I made as a child, and the set of placemats in high school art class), I didn't like warping. For many years I didn't like warping. Measuring the warp, then sleying the reed and threading the heddles and winding it on, and making sure to get the tension tight and even.

Too fiddly. Too time consuming. Too tedious. Just let me get to the weaving part, already! Throwing the shuttle is fun, using the beater is fun, watching the pattern build is fun. I came to weaving from a background of hand needlework (cross stitch, hardanger), so I liked hemstitching and finishing the woven fabric. But if I could have had someone do all my loom preparation for me, I would have been ecstatic.

wool and bamboo scarf

Over the past couple years or so, though, things have subtly shifted. Somewhere along the line, I no longer found sleying the reed to be irksome. Then a few months later, I realized that threading the heddles was OK, too. Time consuming, yes, but not in a grit-your-teeth-and-just-get-through-it way. And I don't have problems achieving even tension while winding on to the back beam, or tying the warp to the cloth beam. I am enjoying the whole process, not just actual shuttle-throwing part.

I still find measuring warps to be the least enjoyable part. But I have high hopes that this is changing too. I didn't think twice about throwing a warp on the loom for Emma, right after cutting this one off.

wool and bamboo scarf

Anyway, as you may have guessed, I've been showing pictures of the scarf I started Friday and finished on Saturday. I twisted the fringe on Sunday, using my standard method of pinning the hemstitching to a line, then separately twisting two bundles of warp threads a certain number of turns with the fringe twister (in this case, 70 turns), making an overhand knot and pinning it to a second line and snugging the knot to that length. When I take the pin out, the two warp bundles ply themselves into a nice round firm fringe. By using this pinning method, all the fringes end up the same length.

wool and bamboo scarf

I wet finished it by agitating for 75 seconds in the washing machine, checking on it at 30, 45, 60, and 75 seconds. I know from experience that this yarn fulls/felts well and very quickly. For this project, 75 seconds was exactly the right amount of time to get a scrumptiously soft and plush fabric that is still drapey and just delicious.

wool and bamboo scarf

The yarn is Jaggerspun 2/18 Superfine Merino, with seven accent stripes of Jo-Ann Sensations "Bamboo," which is a boucle yarn made of bamboo rayon with a nylon binder. It's a bit Muppety if used by itself, but looks fabulous as an accent. This is a great way to use small amounts of novelty yarn.

The weave structure is a simple 4x4 straight twill, with doubled floating selvedges. I love how the boucle loops poke out and stand up from the fabric. They were smooshed into the weave a bit on the loom, but the wet finishing brought them out beautifully. The sett was 24 epi in an 8 dent reed, with no special accommodations made for the boucle.

in the reed: 10" x 68"
off the loom: 9.5" x 63"
after finishing: 8" x 58" plus 5" fringe on each end

The scarf weighs 2.9 oz (84g).

wool and bamboo scarf

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I wove a scarf yesterday, and it came out great, but that show and tell post is going to have to wait, because my heart is bursting with pride. Emma wove all by herself on the floor loom yesterday.

(Please don't mind the fuzzy hat-hair braids. She was playing outside all day. I really do brush my daughter's hair!)

She was watching me weave, and was incredibly intent and focused. When I was hemstitching the end of the scarf, she asked if she could do some weaving too.

Of course I said yes, and immediately after finishing and cutting my scarf off the loom, I measured a warp for her and put it on the loom. It's dark green 3/2 perle cotton, sleyed at 8 epi, and I told her she could use whatever weft she wanted, because it's her weaving.

I found her a shorter chair so she could reach the treadles and off she went. The first two wefts were a scratchy rust nylon and a scratchy purple wool. She had lots of fun with those, but asked me for a softer yarn because she didn't want her scarf to be scratchy. So we decided on a white superwash merino. There's an object lesson in fiber choice for you.

She's doing beautifully, and has about 6 inches of the white woven now. Her attention span is about half an hour (pretty good for six year old, I think), and her selvedges are great!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A quickie post, to show the Aerangis citrata in full bloom.

Aerangis citrata

So pretty!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Moving right along on the doily, with a break over the weekend for some contract spinning.

3-8-10 (2)

This is 30 rounds completed, and 11 hours elapsed. I like how the pattern is working up. The zigzags are pretty, and complement the pineapples nicely.

In OrchidWatch news, the Aerangis citrata has opened! All the full-plant shots I took this afternoon came out blurry, so I'll leave you with this closeup from Sunday, when the first two flowers opened.

Aerangis citrata

I'll definitely have to get a good picture tomorrow, because all the flowers are open now, and it's so pretty!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Speeding right along with the sewing thread doily. Here it is with 25 rounds complete, and 7.5 hours elapsed.

Sunburst Pineapple doily

I like crocheting pineapples. They're pretty, easy to figure out what comes next, and nice and orderly. They can verge on too frou-frou when done in excess, though. I think what hooked me with this pattern is the layers of bold zigzaggy lines between the rings of pineapples. Sort of a more modern look than just lots of frilly pineapples.

The second orchid bud opened! Yay! Aren't they pretty?

and then there were two!

And here's a shot of the amaryllis from yesterday. Each flower is fully 8" in diameter.

"Red Lion" amaryllis

I can't wait to see if the first two flowers will last long enough for all five to be open at once! I'm not holding my breath, though. The fifth bud (you can see it there in the middle) is pretty immature still. Four might be possible, though!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Pretty! Remember a couple weeks ago I posted about the floral happenings around my house? Well, the first Phalaenopsis 'Golden Light' flower has opened, and the second bud looks ready to pop!


And the Aerangis citrata is sooooo close to opening...

Aerangis citrata

Two of the five amaryllis buds opened today, but somehow I neglected to take a picture of them. I'll get those tomorrow.

In crocheting news, the doily is growing. Here it is Saturday night, with 15 rounds complete, and 3 hours elapsed time. Approximately 2 inches in diameter.

Sunburst Pineapple doily

And here it is last night, with 20 rounds complete, 4.5 hours elapsed time, and approximately 3 inches in diameter.

Sunburst Pineapple doily

I find tiny thread crochet oddly satisfying, in spite of the exorbitantly high hours-to-size ratio of these pieces.