I recently finished a little rug punched piece from loom waste. Instead of turning it into yet another mug rug, I plan to use these instructions to make it into a little bag. Because we all can use another bag, right?
This isn't exactly a solution for the piles and piles of trash we're accumulating on this planet. But it's super nifty.
More interesting tech - weaving meets 3D printing.
This video from the BBC archives is fascinating - how flax was processed into linen in the 1950s. It's an interesting look - there's plenty of mechanization, but plenty of traditional hands-on work happening too.
Wool prices are going up. Yes, that means our yarn is about to get more expensive, but this post shares why that's not entirely a bad thing.
Dryers aren't so great for your clothes. The short answer is abrasion weakens fibers. The longer (and really interesting) answer is here.
The last time I blogged about this, it was still yarn. Now it's cloth, and I couldn't be happier with the outcome.
Unlike some of my other projects, warping this piece was relatively easy - after two days of warping, and a little bit of sampling, it was ready to weave. As I often do, I threaded the loom for a twill pattern, just to keep my eyes from glazing over while I was threading the heddles. A plain weave structure is typically warped on shafts 1-2-3-4, and then that sequence is repeated until the end of time. For twills, there are endless variations of patterns, but the one I chose was 1-2-3-4-3-2-1-4-3-2-1-2-3-4. The upshot is that there are more pattern possibilities with that complexity, including plain weave.
I sampled several twill treadlings, but didn't like them on the cloth. I often find that with a gradient warp like this one (and also this), plain weave just shows off the gradient in a wonderful way.
Originally, I had wanted to use a handspun weft in a dark brown. But I wanted to get the fabric woven more than I wanted to wait while I spun more yarn. Instead, I ended up using an olive green wool/alpaca blend that I bought as mill ends. It's 24/2 (laceweight for you knitters), and I bought a 4 pound cone of it that seems like it will never end. Even with about 5 yards of weaving on the loom, I barely made a dent in it.
I originally set the warp at 12 ends per inch, but it seemed too sticky. I re-sleyed the warp at 10 ends per inch in my 8 dent reed (the 10 dent is rusty), double-sleying every fourth slot. It turned out that the yarn was probably a bit too thick for a 12 dent reed, and I probably could have gotten away with 12 ends per inch if I'd started off in the bigger reed. After re-sleying the warp into a different reed, though, I was not in the mood to re-sley yet again.
Once I got weaving, there was no stopping me. It took a few days, weaving in one or two hour chunks, and then the warp was ready to take off the loom.
I wet-finished it in the washing machine. I was a little hesitant to do so, since even though I have a top-loading washer, it locks as soon as the cycle begins and it's just about impossible to pause the cycle to check on the progress. I set the washer to cool water on the gentle cycle, and selected the "deep water wash" option so there would be plenty of room in the water for the fabric to move around. It still needed a little more fulling once it came out, so I tossed it in the dryer for about 20 minutes, checking on it every five minutes or so.
The results look like this:
Because the weft is so much thinner than the warp, but I wove it as a "balanced" weave (10 ends per inch in both the warp and weft), the fabric is fairly thin and lightweight with a really nice drape.
I'd been intending to make a Wiksten Kimono Jacket from this, and started to gather fabric for a muslin when I realized how much of a yardage eater it is. My mom (an expert sewer) suggested the Fit for Art Tabula Rasa Jacket instead. I'm currently waiting on the pattern (and most of the extensions) to arrive in the mail. Then I'll make a muslin and hopefully be ready to dive in to actually do something with this fabric!
I'd only be exaggerating a little if I said this mug rug hooked itself! It was a fun and easy afternoon project, and it's the sample for an upcoming class I'm teaching at Black Sheep Handworx Studio this October.
The design is the Grand Mesa, the world's largest flat-topped mountain. It dominates the landscape here in Grand Junction. The design also includes a river, as our rivers here (the Gunnison and Colorado) play a huge part in our ability to live here. It is a desert, after all!
This mug rug is 4" square, and is part of a kit that will be included in the class. It includes everything you need to get started with rug hooking!
Call or email to sign up! Contact information can be found here.
We're already a week into September, and the weather here is finally starting to cool off! The zucchini is still going wild in my garden and some of the other veggies are finally starting to grow again - I think the extreme heat sent us all into dormancy for almost all of July and August. Cooler weather means wool is bearable again too - not just to wear but also to work with.
In September, I've already got a lot on the schedule - check it out here - plus, I get to go home for a week and see family. Better think up a travel knitting project!
What are you working on this month?
In July, during Tour de Fleece, I had a blast playing with making mud on purpose. That sparked an idea for a bigger project - blending together a lot of leftover and stash fibers to make one big gradient. I balked at using hand cards for the whole project, and instead used my blending board.
I love the effect I get on the blending board - a little nubbly, a few random pops of color, and an overall heathery feel. Plus, I've learned that I really love spinning from a rolag, which is really easy to make on the blending board.
For this project, I used a variety of wool braids, an alpaca/wool blend leftover from this project, sari silk cloud, and some alpaca. If I had to guess, I'd say each skein is about 80% wool, and 20% alpaca/silk.
Once I'd done all the fiber prep, the spinning more or less took care of itself - an hour or so each day, and then the plying. I'm 100% a plying procrastinator, so that's rarely something I want to do. But ALL my storage bobbins are currently full, so when I wanted to spin some more, I HAD to ply. That's one way to make sure it gets done, I guess!
I'd initially envisioned using this yarn for a sweater, but I think of sweater designs faster than I can knit them, so I think this yarn is going to be destined for my loom. There's about 20 ounces, and I've got an average of 12 WPI, so I'm guessing there's around 1300-1500 yards there. This yarn will be all warp, and I'm hoping to spin up some weft too...but that will depend on sampling once it's on the loom!
What are you working on these days?
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