Some holiday knitting… and weaving

I had a pretty low-key holiday this year, but did manage to bang out a few handmade gifts.

First, a headband for my sister-in-law. The pattern is Chunky Turban Headband by Lorna Watt, and the yarn is Sheep Shop 2.

Chunky Turban Headband

The headband thing was inspired by my mom, who wanted one of those flowered ear warmers. So I made her one. The pattern is Knit Earwarmer with Crochet Flower by Ashlee Prisbrey, and the yarn is Manos del Uruguay Wool Clasica.

Knit Earwarmer with Crochet Flower

And then there are the nieces. I bought some Mini Mochi years ago to make them some striped gauntlets, but never got around to it. So this year I wove them striped scarves instead. These are based on the knit Noro Striped Scarf by Jared Flood, but of course woven. I used Valley Yarns 8/2 tencel doubled for the warp and alternating skeins of Mini Mochi for the weft.

Mochi Striped Scarf Mochi Striped Scarf

And lastly, I participated in a Top-Secret Santa gift exchange at work this year. I know this will reveal my secret identity as this person’s gift-giver, but I’ll share anyway. It’s a beanie using the Case of the Mondays pattern by Haramis Designs. The yarn is Three Irish Girls Galenas Chunky.

Case of the Mondays beanie

That’s it! Amazing what one can do when they stop being so lazy!

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Thing-a-Week #52

Last March, I pledged to try to do one fiber-related thing each week for a year. And here I am, one year later, having mostly fulfilled that commitment. Sure, I took a whole quarter off, and this week’s Thing is fully a week late, but who’s counting?

For my final Thing, I wove another pooling scarf. This is something I promised to a friend at Stitches West, using some yarn she bought at the show.

Thing a Week #52: Woven Scarf

The warp is Western Sky Knits Magnolia Sock (superwash merino, cashmere, & nylon) in “Fall Sky,” and the weft is Valley Yarns 10/2 Bamboo in “Silver Grey.” Seems a fitting end to this project, don’t you think?

Thing a Week #52: Woven Scarf

Thanks, everyone, for following along. I’ll no doubt be posting more of my fibery adventures, just not on this cadence. Next, I think I’ll be lazy for a little bit then start looking at some longer-term projects. Stay tuned!

Thing-a-Week #49

This week’s Thing is actually three things, the products of the classes I took at Stitches West.

Thing a Week #49: Stitches West classes

At bottom right are the samples from the Embroider Your Knitting class on Friday. Up top is the bag from the Color and Weave Mini Tote Bag class, and all that fiber and the little tiny ball of yarn is from Spinning for Knitting.

My favorite, and the most proper completed Thing, is the tote bag. I haven’t been doing much with color patterns (or much besides scarves!), so it was nice to do something different.

Color & Weave Bag

This class used a basic 2×2 alternating color warp with three different weft patterns. The top of the bag is one pattern (2×2), the middle is another (4×4) and the bottom is yet another (1×1). It’s pretty neat to see the different effects you get by just varying the weft.

Color & Weave Bag

Overall, the classes were great and I learned a lot. Looking foward to next year!

Stitches West 2012

I had the best of intentions. Honest. I was going to post daily accounts of my time at Stitches West, like I did last year, but the days were so packed that I didn’t have the time. So, here’s a recap!

Stitches West began on Thursday. I went to the opening session by Betsy Hershberg, author of Betsy Beads. XRX, who runs the show, is promoting the book. I’d gone in not really interested in it, and by the end of the speech, I wanted to purchase the book (and did!). Funny how that works. Nice job, XRX.

Opening session

After the session was lunch, where the teachers came around to our tables at five-minute intervals. It was a great chance to see what was being offered at Stitches. While there were classes Thursday afternoon, I didn’t sign up for any, choosing instead to hang out and wait for the market preview to open.

Marketplace entrance

I did take three classes at Stitches.

My first was a three-hour class on Friday: Embroider Your Knitting with Anna Zilboorg. Amazing lady, beautiful work. I sincerely hope she comes out with a book on the techniques in the class.

Embroidering class

My second class ran all of Saturday: Color and Weave Mini Tote Bag with Deborah Zarchow. I’d taken her introductory class last year, which led to all of those scarves I wove since then. I wanted to try something different, hence the bag. (I’ll show that off with my thing-a-week, next.)

Weaving class

Finally, I had a class on Sunday morning: Spinning for Knitting with Merikke Saarnit. I already spin, but this class was worthwhile to gain a better understanding of different fibers and techniques.

Spinning class

I purposely didn’t fill my schedule with classes. I’m fortunate to have fallen in with a group of great folk from Northern California and enjoyed spending time hanging out and knitting with them. I also met with relatives for dinner on Saturday and spent an afternoon with a high-school friend on Sunday before my flight home. Oh, and my roomie Sherry bestowed upon me a beautiful skein of yarn that she spun and a knit cowl. What great friends I have!

Prezzies

The rest of my time was spent at the marketplace, which was pretty awesome, as usual. Nearly 200 vendors, thousands and thousands of yarns and books and other goodies. It’s a wonderland. I didn’t get that much, considering how much there was to buy.

Market haul

That’s pretty much it. It’s all a blur, and I didn’t get much sleep, but it was great. Definitely want to go again next year!

Thing-a-Week #48

Alright. Back to weaving now. Another pooling scarf.

Thing a Week #48: Woven Scarf

This is using Blue Moon Socks that Rock superwash wool in the “Tricoter / LYS Tour 2009” colorway for the warp, and Navy Valley Yarns tencel for the weft. I like this pooling stuff.

Oh, and I’m off to Stitches West this week. Maybe I’ll cheat and make one of my class projects this week’s thing. Easy, right?

Thing-a-Week #43

This is late. I made another woven scarf. That WIP is still on my table loom, so I hopped on the rigid heddle to make this.

Thing a Week #43: Woven Scarf

The warp is Creatively Dyed Yarns Steele in colorway “Corus,” and the weft is Valley Yarns 10/2 Bamboo in black. I was going for a pooled color effect, in which I carefully plan the length of the warp to make the colors match up to make broad stripes. The fine bamboo lets the warp show through rather nicely.

Thing a Week #43: Woven Scarf

“Elle,” you say, “don’t you make anything but scarves?” Yes, I could, but I just find scarves a great way to explore different colors and textures quickly while at the same time producing something I’ll actually use. I’ve been mostly exploring color, but maybe I should try something with texture.

Thing-a-Week #42

Back in March, I stated that my only rule for doing Thing-a-Week would be that I would have to start and finish my item in one week. This week, I broke that rule. I bit off more than I could chew, and didn’t get anywhere near complete on this week’s Thing.

I was going to start in on a sampler from the book I was using for last week’s Thing, but when I looked more closely at it, I realized it’d take literally miles of yarn to do the whole thing, which I didn’t have. So instead I dipped into some of my new Tencel yarn to make yet another scarf (8/2 Tencel in “Gold” and “Shale”). What I didn’t count on was the amount of time it takes to weave such a long item with such fine yarn at my learner’s pace. It’s still on the loom:

Thing a Week #42: WIP

It is pretty, but it’s only about a foot-and-a-half of what I intended to be a 6-foot skinny scarf. I threaded the loom for what’s called a Rosepath, and treadled a reverse twill repeating pattern to make the little diamonds (with a straight twill at intervals to make the zigzag, when I got bored).

Thing a Week #42: WIP

I’m actually pleasantly surprised with how it’s turning out. My beating and selvages are a little wonky here and there, but I figure this will give me a lot of practice. I know there’s more I can do with different treadling with Rosepath, too, but I sort of wanted a consistent look for the scarf. We’ll see if I change my mind as I work on it some more.

Thing-a-Week #41

As I noted last week, I broke down and bought an old but never-used Rasmussen table loom. I still have plans for my rigid heddle, but I’m intrigued by the possibilities of this 4-shaft loom. I haven’t done much with it yet, but I did manage to make a quick sampler on it.

First, I wound the warp, using some cotton carpet warp that was included with the table loom. My rigid heddle, a Kromski Harp, came with pegs to turn the bottom of it into a warping board, so that’s what I used. I actually rewound this after I took the picture to make a shorter warp, though.

Preparing the warp

After warping the loom, I began to weave. I just threaded a simple twill, to get a feel for it. (My husband even made me a raddle to spread the warp. I keep saying he’s a keeper!) At first I just did a plain weave, but then started in on a sampler in one of the books that came with the loom. (The books are very 70s. One of them even goes into macrame!)

Weaving

The sampler in the book (Weaving by Shirley Held) turned out to be pretty good, and after trying it for a while, I saw that I really could be doing a sampler with varied threading, so I’m going to start over. I cut off the sampler I was working on, and here it is!

Thing a Week #41: Sampler

Not too bad for a first try. I can see that I need to work on my selvage, but the patterns don’t look half bad. I’m on my way!

Thing-a-Week #40

I said I was trying to use up my stash yarns, and I wasn’t lying. Behold, another woven scarf!

Thing a Week #40: Another Woven Scarf

I went with a sport-weight yarn this time for the warp: Three Irish Girls Kells Sport Merino, colorway “Sedona.” The purples in this yarn just begged for another deep purple for the weft, so I used Valley Yarns 8/2 Tencel in “Amethyst.”

Thing a Week #40: Another Woven Scarf

This time I practiced my weft spacing, shooting for 12 epi, which I think turned out well. However, the merino was super-duper stretchy, making it difficult to control warp tension and resulting in a slight waviness. Almost looks intentional, though, so I’m not going to complain.

In other news, I picked up a new Rasmussen 4-shaft table loom last night. I still love my rigid heddle, but this loom will give me a chance to practice some interesting patterns.

Rasmussen table loom

Beauty, eh?

Thing-a-Week #39

Switching gears, I hopped back on my loom and wove me a new scarf.

Thing a Week #39: Woven Scarf

The warp is Arucania Ranco Multy, a wool/nylon blend, hand-dyed in rich browns. The weft is Valley Yarns 8/2 Tencel in “Spice,” a nice deep red. The scarf measures 7 in. wide by around 6 ft. long. I also decided to twist the fringe (including strands of the tencel with the warp yarn), which I’m rather pleased with.

Thing a Week #39: Woven Scarf

If I had to do it over again, I’d not pack my weft in as much. I’m not thrilled at how much the red overpowers the brown, and the weft is a little uneven. Still, it turned out pretty well.

I’m off for a couple of weeks, so I hope to use up some of my stash yarns just practicing my weaving. Wish me luck!