sock porn for knitting voyeurs.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

yvonne shawl from cocoknits

It feels like no time has passed at all even though it had been too long. Same breath but it feels like ages, but really nothing's changed. Now it's only the distance without a foil.

My son started school and it's been a blur-- I didn't even realize I hadn't written until taking these pictures today.

Yvonne Shawl by Cocoknits
Handspun 3-ply from scoured, combed corriedale lamb (Tour de Fleece spinning)
Started & finished: after the TdF? srsly it's a blur :)
US 6 40" Addi Natura

I wouldn't have even taken pics today except for the fact I need to weave in one end and send this and the remainder of the skein to Schacht... I was thrilled to learn yesterday that my 2 handspun skeins as well as the tablet woven band made on my Flip were chosen as finalists for the 40th anniversary contest Schacht Spindle held. The actual entries are due in CO next week, and as distorted as I've been I need to get them out the door before I forget :)

I say one end to weave in because the whole shawl took under 2 skeins... two giant skeins. This is the big one I entered...

5.5oz, ~925 yds

That's my hand! That came out of one bobbin!


The skeins really did get this wonderful texture after I really aggressively fulled and shocked them-- hot water, cold water, hot water, cold water, agitateagitate, moremoredontstop... SMACK! against the walls. Too fun... and knit up into a beautiful, felted-tweed type cohesive fabric.


Looking closely you can see the hopeful shots of grey in the brown in the occasional one of three plies. The welt pattern gives this simple shawl a really interesting depth as well.

It really is a simple shawl, but so lovely. I know, I should have modelled pics :) but I really do like it on me even if I hate looking at myself. I'm ox-wide across but the exact same shawl looked just as great on Adrienne when she tried it on at the Workshop. On both of us there remained movement when worn, a hint of ruffle or grace at the edge echoing the staggered increases. A ridiculously simple and effective pattern.

I keep thinking that this would be a great beginner project, so much better than a scarf-- just knit and purl, with LOTS of practice. The first rounds would be closer to the body and hidden, the cast off edge is the display side and after so many stitches any new knitter would have to have improved :) Not to say more experienced knitters wouldn't enjoy it-- it replaced my walkaround socks/mindless knitting project for those times when my hands just couldn't be still and needed something to touch.


The real joy was the yarn though-- working with my handspun and in so visible a project, I can SEE how consistent my spinning was with every bit pf progress and it thrills me because that's just what I was trying for. A definite lesson learned that I am applying to my current fleece-to-sweater project...


I've finally picked it up again, my gorgeous, painfully true black sweater from trueblack fleece. Marble Peaks Ranch breeds for true black corriedale and corrie x rambouillet sheep (they show and win ribbons for both sheep and fleece, an anomaly among shepherds)... and I just love the black fleece I won at last year's auction. (The same one I used in the English combs combing post.) I didn't allow myself to buy another black fleece at Monterey this year since I needed to finish this sweater, but bet you me it'll be done soon cos I want another Marble Peaks fleece!!

The reason I stopped knitting on this was partly because I started spinning for the Tour, but also because the skein I'm knitting with is visibly lighter than the previous ones. I'd say "shaping!" and "design detail!" but it's 11" in from the bottom and at a weird spot on the bust... you can see I just crumpled the poor wip up in exasperation. I think I'll just set the lighter skein aside and start spinning again-- all of the yarn I need to complete the sweater. Even, consistent yarn... the lesson taken away from the Tour for me :)

Missed you!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Two new ways to use your Schacht Flip rigid heddle loom

Schacht Spindle Co. recently celebrated their 40th anniversary with a contest, both for spinning and weaving novices and experts. One option was to upload videos to youtube of Schacht products or weaving/spinning contest entries on the Schacht tools... so of COURSE I had to go that route :)

I've been thinking about the contest for a while and tho I didn't feel I had any chance against true expert spinners (I entered my tour de fleece skein and my mohair/silk I just wrote about in the spinning +2 years/expert category), I did think I should use the weaving contest portion as an opportunity to look at my Flip in a different way. You may remember I love using the Textures and Patterns for the Rigid Heddle book as inspiration... hopefully these vids will inspire someone else :)

First, I used the Flip as a frame for tablet/card weaving, and wove a beautiful strap for a bag I wove. Originally I was going to enter the bag into the contest (handspun wensleydale warp and handspun supercoil weft, both dyed by Black Bunny Fibers, but I think the strap was more interesting to talk about in a video.


You may notice this looks nothing like "regular" tablet woven bands-- instead of using several colored warp threads and a pattern, I warped the Flip as if I were plain weaving using the direct warping method and let the pattern emerge from the beautiful yarn. If you look closely you can see the undulating wave pattern from when I turn the cards forward and back, it's even more striking in person.


Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock lightweight in Sunstone, if you MUST know :) I used about 1/2 of the skein for the band? I haven't weighed the leftovers yet, but it's enough for something.

I've always been tangentially interested in tablet weaving, but for reals... I am LAZY. I don't want to measure and wind warps (I know I'll get emails and I'll try it someday, promise!)-- but direct warping and relying on yarn for patterning made for a FAST project that was easyeasy. I love it, I think I'll make a camera strap for my Lumix later... and Kristine will have to make one for her new camera (i know you have some "sample sale" yarns to use up ;))

Speaking of easy... you may know I have a kid who is the apple of my eye :) We work on silly projects together like painting and drawing and those types of creating endeavors-- not really fiber. I always want to get him knitting and spinning and weaving, but his lack of any attention span coupled with his hardheaded nature (who knows where that came from!) means it's mainly been a short adventure. I have been thinking a lot about resist dyeing with wax for ikat-style patterned warp and decided I could modify the idea into something my son and I could work on together-- so I direct warped the loom with heavy sportweight non-mercerized white cotton and pulled out our textile paints. He painted the warp directly on the loom and then I wove it.


I used the same weft as warp-- I thought about dyeing the entire fabric with fiber reactive dyes via low immersion dyeing for even more interest, but haven't decided yet. The fabric will end up eventually as a bag for him, it's stiff but I think once the paints have been heatset they'll be a bit more pliable. I'll wash it in finishing and think the cotton will pull in quite a bit, if not I'll make a bag liner (yay for my sewing 101 class and Kira K! :))

The painting went well...


...we used 7 different colors, but with the "metallic" addins of the Jacquard Lumiere its a bit hard to differentiate metallic purple from metallic pewter in pictures.

I really love it. It was easy enough to do with the boy-- the paintable area of warp in front of the heddle was perfect for a short attention span that returned once I had dried and woven over the painted portion, and he loved being able to pick and choose his own colors and "designs." I'll definitely be thinking about direct warp painting as a "grownup" project-- eventually I want to use some soy wax and tjanting tools to paint soy wax onto the warp and cold water dye the resulting fabric, and use thickened fiber reactive dyes for a more wearable/less stiffened (read: scarves, etc.) fabric. Maybe even break out my vintage wood type ampersand collection and stamp a fine warp.

It was nice doing this as a jumping off point for more possibilities of direct warp painting, especially since my baby started KINDERGARTEN and I'm so ... oh, you know :) Everything! This was our last project before he started school, so even more special.

The videos:

Tablet weaving on the Schacht Flip rigid heddle loom:

Direct warp painting on the Schacht Flip rigid heddle loom:

(unfortunately the white warp is doing some weird psychadelic dancing because of the HD video being condensed down to nothing :( )

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