Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Linen Table Runner

Ok, so I've got a new loom and I need something for a first project to break it in and get familiar with the loom. I find some linen yarn in my stash that I bought a long time ago when the Lone Star Loom Room closed it's storefront. Now I've never woven with linen for the warp and weft, but I do know that it is pretty unruly unless it's damp. No problem. I have my trusty spray bottle to keep it damp. But I had no idea how stiff it is when dry, and that it has absolutely no stretch. One thing to be mindful of is to not pull it off the top of the cone when winding the warp! It adds twist FAST and will quickly become unmanageable. Thankfully, I'm fairly consistent in winding the warp, so when I beam it on, it's nice and even. I used Jane Stafford's warping method that we learned at weaving boot camp and it was fine. I sett it at 20 epi, which in retrospect I would make a little tighter at 24.

Here it is as I'm starting to weave...

And here's a closeup of the fabric after it's off the loom.

My biggest issue is that it's really stiff! Like plastic! So I get online and see what I can learn about wet finishing. Everyone talks about needing to use a "mangle". I saw one of these when I was at the Guild House for a workshop. It's REALLY heavy! But wow does it make a difference! The fabric is now more supple and has a beautiful sheen. Here's me doing the mangle thing.

It took me a while to decide on how I wanted to finish the edges. I settled on a simple hemmed edge with a knotted fringe. I've put one on my Etsy shop for sale, and have saved the other for me.

My Etsy Shop has Gone Live!

After accumulating a lot of weaving, and mustering up even more courage, I've opened my Etsy shop, GrammaKnits. I have to admit that it does take a leap of faith to put your work out there and hope that others appreciate it as much as you do. When you make things by hand, you invest so much more than just your time. Sure there are MANY hours spent planning a project, then executing it. It's your design, you chose the colors and materials, and you spent many more hours spinning, weaving, or knitting. Being so intimately involved in a project, a part of you is always connected with it. I suppose there are people who can just churn things out with the only goal being to sell them, but I think that visibly shows in the final product. Or maybe I'm just sentimentally attached to the things I make. And it is even harder to put a price on your work! I can spend an entire day just planning a woven dishtowel; tinkering with the design, choosing a yarn, playing with the colors, then doing the calculations to fit the design into the towel in a balanced and pleasing manner. Then add in another day or two to wind the warp and dress the loom, depending on the complexity of the pattern. I'm now 3 days in and just getting ready to weave! Then after weaving, there's another day for the finishing process. Selling them is like selling part of your life. I think that's why I just gave things away for so many years. But now that I've retired and materials are getting so expensive, I'm going to try and have my hobby pay for itself. I can still enjoy that creative process, and now I can share it with even more people.

Right now my shop is stocked with a lot of extra items that I've made this year. I need to get busy and make some baskets since I've had some special requests. Plus, Easter will be here before you know it and there's something about a handwoven basket that makes that candy taste extra good!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Lace Christmas Ornament

I had a request on Ravelry for a pattern I wrote back in 2002 that was on my old website. Since that doesn't exist anymore, I thought I'd just add it here so it would be available again. And it's free, from me to you. The pattern is for a Lace Ornament Cover that I adapted from an old kit pattern. It's really easy and a great use of little bits of glitzy yarn.

Monday, June 23, 2014

New Addition!

Wow! I can't believe it's been since January that I last blogged! And I thought you had more time after you retired! Well, a lot has been going on but I'm not going to try and catch up on everything in order. I'm going to jump in and give you the fun stuff first. I have a new floor loom, as in brand new! Back in April Roddie and I made a quick road trip up to Yarnorama so that she could look at looms (she's finally come over to the dark side). Susan has several there, and Roddie had been looking at the Baby Wolf online. The moment we saw it, we immediately knew that it was going to be too short. But there sitting next to it was the new 8-shaft Louet David. The weaving height is a bit taller and Roddie could sit at it comfortably. So after she decided that it was the one, I sat down to play with it a little. I swear it had sparkles all around it. Louet has brilliantly re-engineered this loom to fix all the things I don't like about my other looms. Long story short, I ordered one too! I told myself that I would sell the Ashford table loom and the Tools of the Trade loom to make room and partially fund this new one. It would take about 6 weeks to get here, so I had plenty of time. Sure! Eight weeks have now come and gone, and I still have all the looms (along with the spinning wheels). I still have the two up for sale, but so far no takers. And I'm not going to just give them away.

The 95lb box arrived on June 13th, but I had to drive up to Longview for the weekend, so I didn't get to unpack it until late Sunday afternoon. It comes partially assembled, but it still took about 5 hours to get it up and running and that included time watching their video. Since I already had a project picked out, I went ahead and tied up the treadles while putting the loom together. As you can see from the photos below, there is not a lot of room left. The great room that seemed so cavernous when we moved in 15 years ago is now overrun with fiber tools!

and by June 19th I was weaving! Woo-hoo!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Rosepath Baby Wrap

After much gnashing of teeth, it's finally off the loom and finished. It was not a difficult project, but I had some major issues during the weaving. Once I got the cut thread problem sorted out, I was weaving along splendidly. You know how it is when you're on autopilot and everything is good. Then I realized that the loom didn't sound the same when I beat each pick in. Nah, it's just my imagination. So I go a little further. Then I notice that the fell line is crooked! Ack! What's going on here? That little thump I vaguely remember was apparently one of the braces that came loose causing the thread to advance crooked. Kind of hard to explain, so here's a picture.

You can see how the horizontal stripes are wider on one side than the other. Unfortunately, it would have been a nightmare to try and unweave that much, so I very carefully cut out the mistake, fixed the bracket, and soldiered on. Now that the weaving is off the loom, I'm going to take that bracket off and turn it the other direction so that it can't fall out of place. Apparently when someone put the loom together, they put them on backwards. Just look at how much I'm learning though!

Once that was taken care of, things finished very smoothly. Got the fabric off the loom, clipped all the little ends, washed and dried, and it's ready for cutting!

Since we live in such a warm climate I decided to make a sling wrap for our niece, instead of 6yds of fabric to wind around her body. I bought two sets of rings since I hadn't done this before and wasn't sure of what size I needed. It was a good thing. Turns out that this fabric is a bit on the heavy side for a sling wrap. It looks beautiful, but is hard to adjust. I may have to make her another one in something lighter. If you're interested in making your own wrap, I found some great instructions on Jan Andrea's site. I bought the rings online at Sling Rings. Here I am modeling with my teddy bear in the sling.

I still have about 3 yards of fabric left and it's going to go to reupholster my sewing rocker. Someone heavy sat it in and that old fabric finally gave way. This should be pretty AND durable! One of my patients gave me the name of a man that they use, so hopefully it won't be too expensive. I miss having my rocker to spin in.