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I seem to have multiple WIPs happening at the moment.

There’s an Aeolian Shawl, in Handmaiden Sea Silk, on which I’m only 24 (long!) rows from the end. I’m really enjoying the pattern; it’s well-written, intuitive, and it looks stunning. I’m doing the version with the narrower border, as I’m not sure whether I’ll have enough yarn. I’ve stil got just under 50% of the yarn left, but the edging does consume a heap of yarn, so I’m keeping m fingers crossed (and I’ve order another skein, just in case – because who can have too much sea silk??)
Pattern: Aeolian shawl. Bead detail.
(The colour is actually not quite as bright, and there’s a bit more purple overall than in this little sample).

I’m enjoying the Aeolian so much, that I cast on a second one, so I could knit the shorter easier first section rows when I don’t have time or concentration for the first Aeolian’s long, beaded rows. I chose a KnitPicks alpaca and silk fine lace yarn from the stash, in beautiful turquoise colours. I’ve ordered beads for it, and they should be here tomorrow.
Pattern: Aeolian Shawl Yarn" Knitpicks Shimmer Alpaca/silk

The Harris Tweed socks are 70% done – just have to turn the heel and knit the foot of the second one. No updated photo of those, but there should be a FO post soon.

I also cast on two other pairs of socks yesterday, as part of the Ravelry Sock Knitters Anonymous October Challenge – which includes socks designed for men. Since the menfolk in my family could do with some more hand-knitted socks, I started the two pairs before the challenge deadline of October 31. Now I just need to finish them before November 30!

The weaving has been slowly progressing. Because the warp has been on the loom for so long, and it’s very fine, I’m having a few broken warp threads. Here’s the view of the back of the loom:
Replacement warp threads

Yes, that’s 6 film cannisters tensioning replacement threads – and there were two more earlier on that I’ve already woven back in. I’m running out of film cannisters to use!

Yesterday, I bought a small camping hotplate on special at Big W – and today I used it to dye some yarns. I didn’t get quite the colours I was aiming for; partly because of my very un-scientific approach to dyeing, and partly because I simply didn’t have the dye colours I wanted. But I’m still happy with the outcome:
Dyed skeins

The little stove worked very well. The gas cannisters were on special for $5 for 4, and I only used 1 and a half for close on three hours of ‘cooking’ – so I’ll be dyeing more regularly. But I’ll need to order some more dyes in the colours I want!

You know that black warp that’s been on my loom for, oh, almost two years?? The one that I finally finished threading back in March?

Well, I couldn’t decide what to do with it. I tried a few colours, didn’t like them. I hmmed and ha’d about whether I was going to weave some trim for a jacket, whether the warp was too narrow, whether I had enough warp on for enough trim and a scarf…. and the warp sat idle for months, gathering dust. Things gathered around the loom… mostly stash that overflowed from the stash cupboard.

A couple of weekends ago, I did some major clearing out of the yarn/fibre/stuff stash cupboard, turfing out old fleeces that I’ll never spin, rearranging some things, putting the overflowing yarn into plastic boxes. It’s nowhere near perfect, but it’s better than it was. Last weekend, able to get to the loom again, I made my decision about the warp: weave two metres of plain black for trim for the jacket, then weave a scarf. If I have warp left over, I can weave a little more plain black.

So, I sat down at the loom last Sunday, and wove, off and on, for a couple of hours. I’ve woven some more during the week. This morning I sat down again, and by lunchtime had finished 2.2 metres of plain black – it’s sett at 28epi, and I’m probably weaving it slightly closer than that, so there’s a lo of shuttle throwing and beating in 2.2 metres!

Then it was time to decide on the scarf pattern. The warp is threaded in an advancing twill pattern, but I decided, after some experimentation, to weave it as overshot, with a plainweave black pick in between each pattern shot. I recently bought on eBay some 2/28 throwsters silk in a natural ecru colour, and after trying it on the warp, I decided I liked it. So, here’s the progress so far – including the mending of a broken warp thread!

Overshot wool/silk scarf

Overshot wool/silk scarf

And here’s a detail of the pattern:

Pattern Detail

Pattern Detail

I’m hoping to get this finished in time to take it to the Spinners and Weavers meeting next Saturday – so I can show them that I haven’t entirely forgotten how to weave!

IĀ  finished this Shetland Triangle yesterday:

Pattern: Shetland Triangle Yarn: Bendigo Colonial 5 ply

Pattern: Shetland Triangle Yarn: Bendigo Colonial 5 ply

I used yarn that’s been in my stash for ages – a cone of Bendigo Woollen Mills 5ply Colonial that was left over from a weaving workshop a few years back. Some of the cone had been used, and as I didn’t have an empty plastic cone, I couldn’t determine the exact weight of what was left, although I guessed it was around 150 grams. As it turned out, it wasn’t quite enough –Ā  I got as far as the end of row 13 of the 15-row edging, and had to cast off there – which I achieved, with only 2 metres of yarn to spare!

I beaded the last three pattern repeats, and the edging, with size 5.0 silver-lined beads:

Shetland Triangle - bead detail

Shetland Triangle - bead detail

I’m quite happy with the finished result, although the yarn is not quite as soft as I’d hoped after washing. This may be a Christmas gift.

As for other wips, I’m currently working on two pairs of socks – one is daylight-only knitting, the other I can knit at night. The daylight socks are the ones I’ve been working on for a while – just a very basic pair of stocking stitch socks in a dark blue-green Zitron Trekking yarn. I’m turning the heel on the second sock, so they won’t take too much longer to finish.

The other pair I started last night – a pair of Harris Tweed socks, in Bendigo Luxury 4ply in their ‘cork brown’ colour. The yarn s lovely to knit with, and the pattern suitable for knitting-while-writing – ie, relatively mindless, and easy to put down the moment the words strike! I bought three balls of the Luxury 4ply a few months back, and since each ball will make two pairs of socks, I’ll be knitting more socks frm this yarn!

Pattern: Harris Tweed. Yarn: Bendigo Luxury 4ply

Pattern: Harris Tweed. Yarn: Bendigo Luxury 4ply

I confess – I’ve also bought some yarn recently. Knitpicks was having a sale of lace yarn, and a few skeins found their way to me. Okay, quite a few skeins. Enough for seven shawls. Because I needed more stash to add to the stash I already have. Really.

Knitpicks Shimmer in Shallows

Knitpicks Shimmer in Shallows

Knitpicks Shimmer - Galaxy

Knitpicks Shimmer - Galaxy

And talking about stash, I also bought some weaving yarns from Webs. Even with the postage from the US (gulp – it was higher than the website quote), it still worked out to be a reasonable deal, compared to what the same amount of yarn would cost me to buy here – assuming I could find it amongst the few weaving yarn suppliers. So, I have some mercerised 10/2 cottons, some unmercerised 8/2 cottons, and some tencel to play with.

And yes – amazing though it may seem – I have actually been weaving. The black warp that has been on the loom for ages has finally progressed. After being totally indecisive for ages about what I was going to do with it, I made up my Libran mind. The first couple of metres are just plain black plain weave – trim for a jacket that I will make form some other handwoven fabric. The last couple of metres will be a scarf. I haven’t definitely decided which colour and yarn what I will put across the black warp, but it’s threaded in an advancing twill pattern and I will weave it in an overshot style. No photos yet, but there will be some soon.

So, back in June, I thought I’d make some progress on the warp that had been draped over the loom for six months at that stage. That first day, I blogged that I’d gotten this far:

Thrading fine black wool warp on loom

Threading fine black wool warp on loom

The next day, I trheaded 3 more inches – 5 of the total 8. And then, it sat. And sat. (Yes, and gathered some dust…)

On Thursday, I finished threading, sleying, tying it up, and got weaving…

However, I’m still not quite sure what I want to do! I’ve only done a few inches, sampling at this stage. The warp is 5 metres, and its threaded in a twill/advancing twill pattern. The original plan was to weave about half in plain weave, to have a contrasting fabric for collars/bands on a jacket made of fabric I wove years ago, and to weave the other half with a contrasting yarn in the pattern as a scarf.

This is the cloth I wove some years ago, with the jacket pattern I’m using for inspiration – however, I plan to a) make the bands and collar a bit narrower, and b) make the jacket a bit longer, and without the bottom band. The checked fabric will be the body of the jacket; what I’m weaving now will be the bands. I think.

Handwoven cloth

Handwoven cloth

Advancing twill on fine black wool warp

Advancing twill on fine black wool warp

The jacket fabric – on the right – has the fine black wool, intersected with a slightly thicker mauve yarn, which creates a gorgeous texture. The current weaving – on the left – has a sample of the twill pattern using the same mauve yarn, plain weave with the black yarn, and the advancing twill pattern, black on black (hardly visible). I think the twill pattern in the mauve will be too much – because the mauve is thicker yarn than the black, it overpowers it. I could try weaving it as overshot – with a black tabby thread between each mauve pick, which would ‘black’ it up a bit more, but I think it would still be too much. (The sample is only one pattern repeat; it would be repeated up the band).

So, I’m leaning towards the plain black as the contrast. Any thoughts?

I was in Canberra for a few days over Christmas, and visited Lincraft on Boxing Day, where they were having a 30% off sale. I mentioned in a previous post that it’s hard getting a good range of colours in 4ply cottons for inkle weaving – well, Lincraft had a good range! I chose the less expensive yarn, and, with 30% off, was able to splurge a little on 12 different shades:

Cotton 4ply yarns

Cotton 4ply yarns

Other than that, I was restrained at the Lincraft sale – the only other purchase was a ball of plain dark brown Sullivan’s sock yarn.

However, since my wrist is still quite painful, I am doing very little knitting at the moment. Having it x-rayed tomorrow, so I hope to find out what’s wrong – and what the treatment is!

I’m doing some weaving šŸ™‚

I’ve been suffering from a lot of pain in my left wrist and arm lately, which has been getting worse instead of better. I don’t think it’s knitting that’s caused it, but I decided to take a break from the needles for a few days and see if that helps. However, I do like to have some fibre/yarn work to keep my fingers busy!

I’ve been thinking about making some more bookmarks for a little while, and the Sept/Oct issue of Handwoven had some inkle bands in it, in rich colour combinations, that I liked. Yesterday, a series of thunderstorms overhead had me turning off the computer and keeping the frightened dogs company in the living room for a while – a perfect opportunity to get out my inkle loom, my bag of cotton yarns, and the Handwoven article. Unfortunately, it’s a challenge getting a good range of colours here in 4ply cotton, so there was no way I could replicate any of the colour schemes in the article, even if I’d wanted to. But it did give me some inspiration, and the motivation to be more adventurous in colour combinations and patterns than I’ve been in the past. I’m quite happy with the results:

Inkle bookmarks in progress

Inkle bookmarks in progress

These weave up quickly, and I’ll be finished this warp this afternoon. Then it will ‘just’ be a matter of cutting them apart, and twisting the fringes – and possibly adding beads, if I can find ones that work.

Some of my blog readers know that, in between knitting, I write books. I’m giving away a copy of my recently published romantic suspense novel, As Darkness Falls, over on my writing blog.

So, if you like romantic suspense (set on the edge of the Australian outback), and want to enter for a chance to win, pop on over there, download the free chapter 1, answer 3 super easy questions, and maybe it will be your name that will be drawn out on October 13th!

(And I said this post wasn’t about knitting or weaving, but I’m thinking maybe I could weave some inkle bookmarks – one to go with the book prize, and maybe a couple of consolation prizes… Hmmm… will have to see what I have in the fine cotton yarn stash… no promises, but maybe šŸ™‚ )

Retro Rib socks

Retro Rib socks

Pattern: Retro Rib by Evelyn A Clark, from Favorite Socks: 25 Timeless Designs from Interweave. Yarn: The Knittery 4ply merino/cashmere; shade – waterlilies.

I love this yarn; it’s so warm and cosy. Although it’s officially spring today, we’ll still have plenty of cool days to wear these.

And speaking of yarn, this was the other lot of yarn I bought in San Francisco:

Ginko bamboo/silk yarn

Ginko bamboo/silk yarn

It’s from ArtFibers, and is 87% bamboo, and 13% silk. I’m not sure exactly what it’s going to be yet, but I think I might weave it, maybe in a point twill or similar, with a plain contrast silk.

There hasn’t been much in the way of weaving around here for a long time. The last thing to actually come off the floor loom was my rainbow scarf, in February 2007. Since around October last year, I’ve had two warps draped on looms – a blue one on my baby table loom for some plain weave fabric for trimming a jacket I’m intending to make from some handwoven overshot I wove years ago, and a black one on the 4-shaft floor loom for both a scarf, and also some plain trimming for another planned jacket. Both warps got wound onto the back beams of the respective loom, and then progress… stopped.

Today, I decided to take advantage of the sun pouring into the sunroom (its winter here and chilly) and spend a couple of hours and get the loom threaded. After all, I only had to find my spare set of lease sticks, thread 224 ends, sley the reed, tie on and then I’d be weaving, right?

First step: find spare lease sticks (because my usual set are on the baby loom, where I’ve done over half the threading, but it’s a very awkward height to thread and if I wait until I’ve finished with them, I’ll never get the other warp done.)

Nope, spare lease sticks I was sure I had don’t seem to exist. But I have a pair of suitable sticks, so all I need to do is drill hole in the end, right?

Battery of cordless drill is dead. Found DH. Found his power drill. Talked DH into driling holes, because his drill is too heavy for my hand. Sticks are ready….

Nope, sticks need sanding. Rummaged in laundry cupboard for sanding paper, and finally found it. Sanded sticks in carport, while freezing my fingers off. Sticks now ready to put into warp cross…

Hmm… better dust the loom first. Fine black wool warp plus accumulated dust are not a good combination. Dust loom. Insert lease sticks. Set things up to start threading…

Where’s the pattern?? I was sure I had a suitable draft printed around here somewhere. Okay, I can quickly draw up a basic twill/advancing twill combo on the computer…

No I can’t, because I’ve changed from a PC to a Macintosh since I last did a weaving draft, and my weaving software doesn’t work for Macs, and I can’t find a suitable up-to-date basic software…

Finally found a previously printed out draft I could easily adapt without resorting to graph paper and pencil (phew!!). Sat down at loom, started threading…..

By this time, it was after 3pm, and the sun was getting low, and the room cold. I’ve threaded two inches of the eight, but the rest will have to wait until tomorrow.

However, at least I have made some progress! And here’s the evidence:
20080614loom

  • I now have $8 in the exer-stash fund. That’s 8km since yesterday morning (5 miles in US-speak).
  • There are now only 2769 people ahead of me in the Ravelry queue. I guess my invite will arrive sometime while I’m in Sydney
  • I threaded 56 ends through the heddles today on the plain weave warp on my baby loom that I’ve not worked on for a while (another 5 x 28 ends to go). When it’s warped, I can move the lease sticks over to the other warp draped and waiting on my small floor loom, which will be a) easier to thread, since I can do it sitting down, and b) potentially a more interesting weave (fine black wool warp, twill pattern in various coloured wefts).
  • I’ve knitted the heel flap on the lairy-coloured jaywalker sock, but I think I want to do the heel in a plain colour – I’ll just have to search my stash to find one that works.
  • Last night, I finished the sleeves for the Fisherman’s Gansey. There’s now just the front to knit.

I didn’t get a heap achieved, textile-wise, in 2007, but I’m happy with what I did in a busy year. In 2008 I’ll be giving my writing and PhD a priority, but since I won’t be working a full-time job other than those, I expect to squeeze in some relaxation time for textiles, in between editing a book, finishing another book, starting the third book, and launching and promoting the first book in September!

Some of the things I’m hoping to make in 2008 include:

  • sewing two jackets from the 2 lots of yardage I wove a few years ago – the current two warps include plain-weave sections for contrast fabrics for collars etc
  • Bianca’s jacket from the Fall 2006 IK. There’s photos here of another Bron’s completed version of this jacket. Because of my shape, I plan to make it longer, and a little fuller in the body over the hips. (Of course, if I ‘earn’ enough funds in the exer-stash to make this in silk mix rather than wool, I’ll probably have walked a fair amount off my hips šŸ™‚ )
  • more socks – I’d like to do some different patterns, try out some different techniques. Plus my Dad likes his handknitted socks, and my sister who can only wear natural fibres probably needs some more
  • a couple more jackets/pullovers, as my existing hand-knitted ones are getting old and good only for around-the-house wear.
  • silk – weaving it, spinning it, knitting it. I think I’m suffering from silk deprivation!

That all should keep my busy and out of mischief!

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