F-r-u-s-t-r-a-t-i-o-n

How do you spell “frustration”? Two runners up: half-baked iPhone blogging software and craptastic (Future) Internet connections.

But, the real winner for frustration — being 5,000 miles away from the next ball of yarn for the knitting project which is on a Christmas delivery deadline πŸ™

Almost FO!

I need to sew in the ends, cut off the test strip, wet finish this thing and take better pictures. But I can’t resist sharing a preview! My first weaving project, off the loom. It is very much a first project, with all the expected mistakes and shortcomings. But, it was fun! And, I think I’m hooked… πŸ™‚

Sampler

And, weaving fun was had, for sure! 

So, the first thing off the loom is not “a piece” or really even an “FO”.  It’s just a sampler, warp that I filled with weft as I was playing around to get to know what this weaving thing is all about.  I won’t even begin to discuss the challenge that is “selvages”. 

Without further ado, here it is:

Finished sampler

Perhaps worth noting — from this perspective, I began at the right and worked my way to the left, so that the final 2 sections of plain weave were what I did to fill up the warp as much as possible (to figure out how much waste I can expect with this loom).  Not particularly visible in this photo, the selvages were becoming somewhat credible towards the end.

Per the instructions for the exercise, I put on a 2 yard (72″) warp.    Less 7 1/2″ waste (fringe, below) at the front, and 14″ waste at the back, that gave me room to weave 45″ on this warp.  (The other ~5″ were presumably lost to take up, as the warp and weft threads crossed).  Post-wash, the worked length was 43″.  I had set it for 10″ wide (120 ends, 12 dent reed).  It ranged between 8 1/4″ and 9 1/2″ wide before washing, and shrank to 8″ – 9 1/4″ after washing.  (The variations in width have to do with the different weave patterns (plain or twill), as well as the density of packing, through heavier beating).

Total time spent weaving… probably not more than a few hours.  And, it was a lot of fun — very rhythmic, when it got going.  It was easy enough with a simple treadling pattern to follow (1-2-3-4, or 1&3-2&4, for eg), but I really don’t know how I’ll do when it comes to more complex treadling.  I envision having to learn the fine art of figuring out where I’ve gotten to and having to backtrack to work out mistakes :-/  The weaving equivalent of learning how to fall, I guess.

step down

Above, from left to right — brown tightly packed (weft-dominant) 2x twill, white loose (warp-dominant) 2x twill, and some basic 2×2 twill making a herring bone pattern, followed by plain weave in various degrees of packedness (mostly intentionally πŸ™‚ ).

beating

Closeup of plain weave — tightly packed at the right, loosely packed in the middle and left (white & brown weft, respectively).

So — there you have it:  first thing off the loom!  Next step — planning a project with a result I’ll want to keep…

Shafted!

Oooh, lookey!  Another weekend!  More Quality Time with the Baby Wolf.   I managed to thread the heddles on the shafts, in the appropriate order, and get the warp threads actually attached to the front and back beams. 

top down

treadled

And — treadled! 

Don’t look now, but this warp is ready to be woven!

You Sley Me!

On the weekend, I finally had the opportunity to spend some Quality Time with the Baby Wolf.  I measured 120 warp threads (in 2 colours), and got as far as getting the reed sleyed.

sleyed

Still a ways to go — have to thread the heddles on the shafts, in the appropriate order, and get the warp threads actually attached to the front and back beams. 

sleyed wolf

I’m following the excellent, detailed instructions in Deborah Chandler’s “Learning to Weave”.  While it’s slow going, it’s making sense so far, and seems like the sort of thing that will get faster as you learn what you’re doing.

Of course, actual weaving may be an entirely different matter!

Happy 2010!

Best wishes, from Grand Manan.

And, by request — socks in the window:

socks window

Those are, in fact, new socks (old feet).  There’ve been a few end-of-year Finished Objects here at KnitBot central, and they are duly posted up on in the KnitBot Yarn Gallery.

And, for fun — here is the year in review (all objects finished in 2009 — some were certainly started earlier).

Knitbot’s 2009 FOs Blackberry Shawl Summer Diamonds Top
Blue Diamond Socks Petra of Many Colours Blue Crochet Stole
Rainbow Baby Blanket Blue Melody Socks Grey Mouse Scarf
Black Jacket Triple L Tweed Sweater Very Pink Socks

In that, you can see that there were 7 travel projects (i.e., projects that could be worked on while in transit and/or in meetings).  That’s not too surprising, given the type of year it was…  It’s a little surprising to me that I managed to finish 4 non-travel projects in the year — the sweaters/top.  Three of them were pretty easy knits — the diamond modular top, the diagonal (Petra) sweater, and the black jacket.  The Triple L Tweed sweater was the really big project for the year — in December 2008, I was swatching with the yarn to get some ideas.  The rest of the year was about working out a plan for the whole sweater, and then constructing the various bits of it.  I might go as far as to say I think it’s my most successful sweater design yet (not that there have been many…). 

And, it’s a new year.  Not that I’m formulating any formal resolutions here, but let’s just say it would be good to see as many projects, fewer of them travel projects, this time next year.

Not Crying… Wolf!

Baby wolf

So, what would make you, the day after a 12 hour flight home from Japan, turn this:

Before

Into this?:

After

I’d like to say something clever, like “reverse jetlag”,  or “desperately delayed burst of house pride”, but that’s hardly the case.  Rather, it took a wolf’s influence… the arrival of the Schacht Baby Wolf I’d ordered in the middle of the night from a hotel room in London, on the last day of September…

TaDa

It’s a folding loom, with 26″weaving width. 

whatsinthebox?!

Being the sort of person I am, I blew straight past the 4-shaft phase, and straight to an 8 shaft (10 treadle) loom.  My expectation is that this will be not only my first, but my only loom.  Not everyone in the house is quite so sanguine, as our basement slowly gets devoured by my fibre-consuming toys…

partly deployed

Of course, having 8 shafts, it also came with 800 heddles to install on those glaringly empty shafts.  It occurred to me that playing with 800 fiddly, loose metal bits was not something to attempt while jetlagged and/or tired.  From experience, I can say that was the right expectation.    Sigh.  They pick up easily.

800 pieces of joy

I still don’t have the final pieces in place, not even the cords to attach the treadles to the shafts — but here’s a quick view of what it looks like with one shaft raised (which will form a shed through which one shoots the shuttle with a bobbin, once it’s all warped up and set to go).  You can see — the shaft is pushed up by the “jacks” underneath.

one shaft up

Well, lots more to learn and fiddle with.  It’ll be fun.  And take a while.

And, why, yes, that is a complete Atari 1040st system in boxes in the background above.  Complete with black and white AND colour monitors!  And a 30Mbyte hard drive.  Any takers? πŸ™‚

Travel Knitting

Every now and then, the question comes up on knitting message boards — “can I take my knitting project on the plane?”.  There is no uniform answer across the globe.  Generally speaking, knitting needles are allowed through airport security in Canada and the US, but not allowed in a number of European airports.  And, there are plenty of stories of sad knitters who have had to throw out their expensive Addi Turbos at the security checkpoint, leaving their knitting project in a tenuous state of unattached stitches.  I’ve even heard of some airports requiring people to cut the cable on their circular needle, for fear it would be used as a garrote:  safer for the knitting project than abandoning the needle, but end of useful life of the circular needle.

For myself, I really like the Denise plastic modular needle set:  the modularity is convenient.  The plastic pieces are innocuous, and may not even show up on security scans.  Sure, they are not Addi Turbos, but they are still pretty usable needles. 

Apart from that — I keep a small project (like, a sock project on 5″ wooden needles, such as Grafton Fibers’ Darn Pretty Needles, which are sturdy and sharp) just for travel.

When traveling to or through Europe, I don’t bring knitting projects on the plane — but I have a travel crochet project I bring just for the plane rides.  The theory is simple — it’s a crochet hook, not a needle.  And, if they ever give me grief and cause me to surrender the hook at security, at least I’ve just got the one loop to secure, and the project will not unravel until I have a new hook.   Yeah, I like knitting much more than crochet, but I like crochet considerably more than being BORED MINDLESS on a plane, watching movies I never wanted to see, on half-failed entertainment system (should I change airlines? πŸ™‚ ).   Knock on wood — it’s worked so far.

Of course, if you have travel knitting (or crochet, as here) — you should take it out and show it a good time, while traveling:

Crochet Stole, Eiffel Tower

This crochet stole is now finished — I’ll provide more details, gallerize it and declare it an FO when I’ve gotten it home and properly blocked (along with another lace project, finished up last month).  It’s no particular pattern — just a stitch pattern I thought looked pretty, that I did for four feet of stole, and threw an edge around πŸ™‚

See — the knitting (and crochet) continue, even if I don’t blog about it every five minutes!

One more shot of the stole — where you can see some of the detail in the patterning.

Crochet stole

Learning…

Perhaps — just perhaps — I
am learning.

I have previously
observed
, on more
than one occasion
, that I really should swatch for colours and
pattern realities before I embark on a project.

I’m now playing with some ideas for a multicolour, textured sweater in
Rowan Cocoon (chunky merino/kid mohair).  I bought the yarn with
an eye to colours that played nicely together, but realized I should
get some sense of what the best combinations are (for hue as well as
value) before I
get too far along in the design process.

colour and texture

colour

This was just playing around — I haven’t really thought about what
motifs I want to use (for colour or texture), but it’s quite clear that
the maroon and dark brown are pretty “subtle” together.  “Subtle”
would be a code word for “bad idea” πŸ™‚  But, the maroon would go
well with the base colour, and might even play off the teal
nicely.  We’ll see what happens…