Monday, July 3, 2017

Weaving revival

IMG_6037Having almost finished my set of cotton dish towels before leaving on vacation, I found that weaving was on my mind. Then I visited Halcyon Yarn in Bath, Maine, and got an inspirational boost. If you’re ever in the area, you must go! It is heaven for knitters, spinners, and weavers. When you walk in the front door, you are greeted by a display of samples:IMG_6034 Of course, I zoomed in on the dishtowel right away:IMG_6035

Pretty pretty pretty. I picked up some nice things at Halcyon, including some yarn for knitting a gift scarf (I didn’t have anything appropriate in stash). I also got two skeins of yarn for weaving a scarf. I was so intrigued by the Noro Taiyo, which is a funky gradient made of 40% cotton, 30% silk, 15% wool, and 15% polyamid. After consulting with the shop employee, I decided to use it as weft and pair it with Cascade 200 Superwash for warp:IMG_6338

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I also got a magazine at Halcyon, which I proceeded to read cover to cover over the next few days. As you can see, I had lots of thoughts and ideas while reading it! IMG_6400

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I got home and immediately warped the loom for the scarf. I used my 8-dent reed and the direct warping method. I think the direct warp allowed me to keep the threads very organized, and everything wound on smoothly:IMG_6349

Dealing with the weft is a little tricky with a gradient yarn. If you wind some yarn off the ball onto the stick shuttle and weave it, then when you do the next section they will not match up. You have to rewind the yarn backwards. This is totally a pain, but also totally worth it. I also (thanks to a tip by my weaving teacher in May) took the time to wind my Noro into a center pull ball before doing anything else – this allowed me to know that there was a KNOT in the skein that interrupts the gradient! Fortunately, it was very near one end of the ball, so I could just ignore that bit:IMG_6350

Once I got this on the loom, it wove really quickly. I actually warped and did all the weaving in one day. The next day, I just had to hemstitch the end and make the fringe. I used my new, nifty fringe winder to do this:

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Just for fun, I alternated between fringes that were 2x2x2 and 1x1x1. Then I threw it in the washing machine with some towels to wet finish it. Right after that, I started cleaning up, and I noticed that the Noro ball band says NOT to wash this yarn! I flew down to the basement and fished my scarf out. It got some wet finishing, but not the full treatment. Here is the finished scarf:IMG_6382

The Noro color changes are so beguiling. IMG_6398

And the fringes are cute! IMG_6399

After two days at home, we had to get in the car again to deliver Boy 1 to camp. I pulled out my cotton towels to finish the hems, as I had acquired the 8/2 cotton in WHITE that I decided I needed for this. I hemmed the second edge of the first towel, and then compared it to my first hem. I worked a regular old whip stitch in green for the first hem (top of photo), and what I guess is called “slip stitch” (according to this blog post) in white on the second hem (bottom of photo). I never knew what that was called… it was just something my mom taught me years ago. Slip stitch in white totally wins, so I ripped out the green and redid that one. Now I have 3 towels ready to go, even if they’re smaller than I would like. IMG_6388

And for the next set of towels, I will use white weft in the hem area now that I have the skinnier yarn (hem in 8/2, main area in 8/4).

I would like to warp the loom again before the holiday weekend is over. I know the next project will be towels again… I just have to decide whether to tackle another set similar to the ones I just did, or to try the Color-and-Weave Towels by Liz Gibson (I have yarn and pattern ready to go).

The urge to spin is battling the urge to weave. There was a new issue of PLY Magazine waiting for me when I got home, and I’m reading it now. Even though the entire issue is devoted to bobbin-led wheels and my wheel is NOT bobbin-led, it still makes me want to spin!

I’m also thinking about using handspun in my weaving……….

I could retire today and be plenty busy!

1 comment:

Steven said...

Yes, you could retire! And a fringe spinner? How cool is that!

All those towels are so pretty. Make all the towels.