Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Storm Clouds

Yesterday, despite the weather, I received the book "Beautiful Beaded Ropes" by Jill Wiseman and was inspired to pull out the beads.  Originally I was going to make a spiral bead rope for this focal bead using the semi-precious stones that I had selected, and I really liked the colors that I selected and the look of the spiral beaded rope, but I also discovered that with a focal bead of this weight, you need more than beading thread to support it and make everything hang right, so I defaulted to the old faithful string some gemstones and call it good.  I added the silver bangle on a whim, but am not sure that I am going to keep it.

Lamp work beads by Larry Scott

Fresh Ink Pullover - Done!

I finished this on Saturday, but was waiting for it to dry, and the weather to clear a little so I could get a decent photo of it.  We survived the storm just fine, rain, some wind, but no power loss.

Pattern:  Top-down raglan from Sweater Wizard
Yarn:  Zen Yarn Garden Serenity DK in Fresh Ink (Quasi Yarn Club February 2012 color)
Needles:  US 4 & 5 (3.5 & 3.75 mm)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Twills in Silk

I decided to warp my small loom today.  This is Margaret, my 24-harness table loom that I bought from Woolhouse Tools.  The warp is only 2.5 yards long so I was a bit lazy in my winding.  I did each color section separately, then grabbed the cross in my left hand and draped the warp around my neck, no ties.  Then I sleyed that section of the warp and threaded the heddles.  I threaded the heddles in bouts and flipped the rest of the warp (when there was more than one bout) back over the top of the reed to keep it out of my way.  I also pre-positioned the heddles for that bout in the order that I needed to thread them, and marked the bouts on the threading diagram.

This project is a silk scarf, a kit that I bought from Yarn Barn in Kansas, which is where I purchased my floor loom.  I'll be warping my floor loom soon as well, and weaving some twill scarves out of Rayon.  I feel a need to weave, knitting and crochet just aren't calling to me right now.  The only other craft that is calling to me is beading, but I am waiting for some size 15 delicas for beading bezels. 

And here is the warp, all ready for beaming, but I will wait and do that tomorrow.  This is my process loom, the loom that I take my time with.
Project:  Twills in Silk
Sett:  15 ends per inch
Materials:  1 - 3.5 ounce skein Gemstone 2/12 silk in #103 red, 1 mini-cone Gemstone 2/12 silk each #116 rose, #105 Copenhagen, #106 gold

Friday, October 26, 2012

Golden Dolphin Earrings

I got these cool pieces from Unfinished Creations in Yellow Springs, Ohio some time ago.  I've been wanting to turn them into earrings since I got them but needed a better way to bead around them.  Modified Right Angle Weave to the rescue!  This technique is brilliant. I started out with a band of the modified right angle weave, transitioned to peyote and then embellished with some angled picots.  I finished both earrings this afternoon.

Triffid Shawl - Finished!

I actually finished this last Saturday, October 20th, but didn't feel like blogging about it until it had come off of the blocking mats and I could get some beauty shots of it.  It was a fun and easy pattern, especially after I substituted a knitted cast on for the long tail that the pattern called for.  The yarn is Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20 in Moon Purple and Bumblebee.  You start out from the bottom of the shawl and then shape the shawl with short rows (purple section).  I did shadow wraps for my short rows, a technique I just love, especially for short row shaping in garments.  I knit the largest size and the resulting shawl is generous and warm, perfect for wrapping around yourself on a cool fall day.
Pattern:  Triffid by Meghan Jackson (first Zen Butterfly Mystery Knit Along)
Yarn:  Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20
Needles:  US 3, 4 & 7 (3.25, 3.5 & 4.5 mm)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fresh Ink Pullover - Body Done (Mostly)

I still need to do the neckband, but I didn't bring my shorter cable with me.  The fit is good and the pullover will be warm and comfy.  I am writing this post from the Owl's Nest in the Arthur Morgan House Bed & Breakfast in Yellow Springs, Ohio.  Every room here is named for a bird.  Across the hall is the Hawk's Nest.  The room is not large, but is very comfortable.  Here is a shot of the bed, with Bruce napping.
We are up on the third floor, which is why we have the sloping ceiling.  We have a private bath, although it is rather narrow.  You've heard of galley kitchens?  Well, this is a galley bathroom.  I would not recommend this particular room for large people, but for Bruce and I it works just fine.
I really love the built in drawers.
The location is incredibly convenient.  We haven't had to drive since we got here, which is a good thing, because neither one of us has wanted to drive anywhere.  We are only a short block away from my parents' house, and a short walk into the heart of town.  It has been a very relaxing visit.  The innkeeper, Susanne is charming, and we feel very welcome here.  So much nicer than staying at a big chain motel.  And the breakfasts are very yummy.  We will definitely stay here again when we come to visit.

Pattern:  Top Down Raglan from Sweater Wizard
Yarn:  Zen Yarn Garden Serenity DK in Fresh Ink
Needles:  US 5 (3.75 mm) and US 4 (3.5 mm)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Choosing Colors for a Beading Project

I have had  the stone in my stash for several years now.  I  bought it at a store in Yellow Springs, Ohio called Unfinished Creations.  I have been wanting to make something with it, but creating a beaded bezel around a stone of this shape is not trivial and I really didn't want to get into metal work.  I also did not want to mount the stone on fabric and bead around it.  Kate McKinnon has been doing cool things with right angle weave and peyote stitch and it occurred to me that I may be able to adapt the Modified Right Angle Weave to create a beaded bezel around stones that are not circular or oval, the traditional shape for cabochons used for beading.  I started playing with some beads last night, but they were not the right colors and I also realized that I needed some precision cylinder beads to really get the structure to work right.  Fortunately I happened to have some in my stash.

Toho Beads usually has a reception at the Bead & Button show, and they used to give out some amazing gift bags.  When they introduced their Aiko beads (named for the wife of Mr. Toho), they gave us a nice sample box in our gift bag.  Recently I had gone through all of the samples that I had gotten and taken them out of their cool little plastic containers and put them all in zip-lock bags and labeled and sorted them.  This made it easy for me to go through them this morning and pull out a nice color palette.

Let me just say a few words about bead packaging.  I know that lots of places sell the beads in cool plastic containers, but I prefer small zip-lock bags.  Plastic containers can easily get crushed, their tops pop open, and they spill.  Plus, regardless of the amount of beads you have in them, they take up the same amount of space.  Plastic bags, on the other hand do not get crushed, their tops do not pop open, they will not flop over and spill your precious beads, and they only take up as much space as the beads inside them.  They are however, vulnerable to being stolen by acquisitive kitties.  Mine routinely will walk through my work area, pick up a bag of beads and walk off with it.  I always have extra zip-lock baggies on hand to replace the ones that have been punctured by sharp kitty teeth.  Besides, if I didn't store my beads in baggies, I would not be able to put them in these cool drawer organizers.
There is actually a plastic tray under all of those bags of beads with molded cubbies and my little bags of beads fit perfectly into them.  The cabinets and the plastic trays are from the Best Craft Organizer.
And yes, those cabinets are filled with beads.  You should have seen my cat Jasmine when I was sorting the beads to put them in the organizer.  I was sitting on the floor surrounded by piles of beads and she kept making passes through my piles stealing beads.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Shadow Weave Scarf - Done? Done!

Sometimes less is more.  I have been pondering finishing techniques and embellishments for this scarf all night and this morning I experimented with a couple of techniques and in the end I decided to do...nothing.  The more I played with the scarf the less I wanted to do anything to it.  Yeah, the edges aren't great, but they aren't too bad, and there are a couple of places where the warp threads didn't drop, or my beat wasn't consistent, but overall it is a lovely piece and I am going to leave it just as it is and where it with pride.  Here is a shot of the obverse side of the weaving.
I will probably do another one, and add in all of the finishing details that were not included in this one, but I will do it in another fiber.  The JaggerSpun Zephyr is a bit clingy, and not as soft against the skin as I like.

Pattern:  Me and My Shadows - shadow-weave scarf by June Rogovin from Handwoven May/June 2004
Yarn:  JaggerSpun Zephyr 18/2 wool/silk in plum and lilax
Reed:  12 dent
Warp:  24 epi
Weft:  24 ppi

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Shadow-Weave Scarf

I finished up the weaving this morning.  I was happily weaving along when suddenly I couldn't advance the warp anymore, I had reached the limits of the ties between the warp beam and the rod.  When I had first assembled the loom I had put pretty short ties between the two.  I will definitely change them out for Texsolv and increase the length.  I had more warp wastage than I should have.  I am really pleased with how it came out.  My beating was pretty even, especially after I figured out that I needed a rug under the loom.  The peg legs of the stand on the hardwood floor was allowing the loom to move every time I beat.

When I opened my project notebook to put in the weaving completion date I burst out laughing.  I started this project on my birthday in 2007.  All I have left now is the finishing.  The selvedges are not that pretty.  The original pattern was for a lined pocket scarf, so there was no floating warp thread.  I am trying to decide if I just want to hem all the edges, bind them with ribbon, or line the shawl.  I don't think that I want to line the shawl, as I really love both sides of shadow weave structures.  So it will either be a hem or ribbon binding.  And beads.  I think I will embellish with beads and do beaded fringe.

I am amazed at how excited I am about finishing the weaving on this shawl, and how eager I am to start another project.  This is the same kind of exultation that I felt when I first started weaving 5 years ago, and it is nice to know that it hasn't diminished.  It has only been sleeping.

Pattern:  Me and My Shadows - shadow-weave scarf by June Rogovin from Handwoven May/June 2004
Yarn:  JaggerSpun Zephyr 18/2 wool/silk in plum and lilax
Reed:  12 dent
Warp:  24 epi
Weft:  24 ppi

Friday, October 19, 2012

Half a century

Today I turned 50.  Strange, but turning 50 isn't so bad.  Not like turning 40.  I was depressed for a couple of months after I turned 40.  I bought "All About Eve" and watched it just to see the scene in which Bette Davis admits to turning 40.  It may be that personally and professionally I am in a much better place than I was 10 years ago.  Ten years ago I hadn't met Bruce.  Ain't love grand.  We always try to stay home on our birthdays.  Although two years ago I got to have my birthday in Jordan, which was absolutely amazing.  We haven't taken another big trip since, although we have talked about it, but neither one of us wants to be on a plane for that long, or go through airport security, plus it is hard on our kitty when we leave her alone for that long, even with someone taking care of her while we are gone.  She is always very happy to see me when we first get back, but then she remembers how mad she is at me and bites me.

I spent the morning weaving on my small 24 harness loom.  I haven't done much weaving for a couple of years now, having gotten wrapped up in lace knitting, but I've been wanting to get back to it and have been reading my Handwoven magazines.  I bought this loom after making it through breast cancer, a present to myself for surviving, and I started the project back in 2007.
 I bought this loom so I could do more complex projects, but then was frustrated by how slow it is to weave on compared to my floor loom downstairs in my studio.  On the floor loom you can get a real rhythm going and the cloth just appears like magic under your fingers.  But this morning when I started weaving on this loom again I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.  I liked the slow pace, the greater contact I had with the fiber.  I don't know, maybe a couple of years of lace knitting has taught me the value of going slow, and taking your time.

This week I also finally picked up my Triffid shawl again.  It has been sitting on my project/coffee table for the past couple of months.  I stayed home from work on Wednesday, feeling a little under the weather, and made a lot of progress on the shawl, watching the X-Files on Netflix, and worked some more on it this afternoon while we watched a couple of episodes of Smallville.
The yarn is Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20 in Bumblebee and Moon Purple, and may I just say that this yarn is an absolute dream to knit with.  It just glides through the fingers so sweetly.  Absolutely one of my favorite yarns.  The pattern is Triffid by Meghan Jackson and was the first Zen-Butterfly mystery knit along.  Hopefully it will not be the last.

I am hoping to get both projects done this weekend.

It was nice while it lasted ;-)

Before I blocked my Japanese Maple pullover, the collar stood up nicely, but predictably, after I blocked it, the collar laid itself down.
Regardless, I am very happy with the results, and will use this pattern again.  Bruce tried to get a good picture of me wearing the pullover, but they all came out a little fuzzy.  This is the best of the bunch.

Pattern:  my own
Yarn:  Zen Yarn Garden Serenity Worsted in Japanese Red Maple (800 yards)
Needle:  US 7 (4.5 mm)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Knitterati Mystery 5 - Clue 1

I received the club yarn this past week, but the patterns didn't come out until yesterday.  Of course I immediately found the perfect yarn in my stash for the mystery shawl and cast on.  The yarn is Zen Yarn Garden Squooshy in the Horne Creek Fall colorway, which was the September offering of the Art Walk Club.  I have actually knit this clue twice, as there was a mistake in the directions, they indicated that the wrong side rows should be knit rather than purled.  I kind of like the effect of the garter stitch (see photo below), but went ahead and reknit according to the corrected directions.
I still haven't completed the socks from the previous shipment, and I need to get back to them and complete them before I start the socks from this shipment.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Draped Vest - take 2 - Back Done

I've been working on a couple of different projects, making progress but not finishing anything, but today I did finish up the back of the Draped Vest, for the second time.  The yarn is Karabella Aurora 8 in purple.  Blocking was a little tricky because it was easy to stretch it out too much and lose the texture.  It does not help that the pattern does not have a schematic, so I don't really know the finished dimensions, and the gauge was given in stockingette stitch, not the pattern stitch, so I can't even calculate what the dimensions should be.  I just pulled the edges out  and then mushed things around a bit until it looked okay.

Pattern:  Draped Vest by Naturally
Yarn:  Karabella Aurora 8
Needle:  US 7 (4.5 mm)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Japanese Maple - Finished!

This week has been another crazy one from a work perspective, but I did manage to finish up my pullover this morning (even though I did go into work for a little while).  It fits pretty well, too, coming down exactly to the top of my hip bones, which is where I wanted it.  And the sleeves come down just past my elbows.  I did a little garter stitch edging to keep the curling under control (two purl rows, two knit rows, two purl rows) and a little body shaping, to give it a nicer silhouette.  I did have to switch to a US 8 (5 mm) needle for the sleeves, I knit tighter when knitting in the round on 12 inch circulars

I also spotted another wolf spider in the house on Thursday night.  I haven't seen him again.  He was moving fast and ran behind furniture before I could capture him.  I am steeling myself for the possibility of being crawled on by him at some future date.  I am hoping that if I mentally prepare myself for the event it will either: a) not happen, because I have prepared for it, or b) I will not freak out when it does happen.

Pattern:  my own
Yarn:  Zen Yarn Garden Serenity Worsted, in Japanese Red Maple, 800 yards
Needles:  US 7 (4.5 mm), US 8 (5 mm)