Are you getting into the madness? My bracket was shot from pretty early on. Last year I won the office pool and used my winnings to buy a lovely swift. Not what most people would spend their winnings on, but it was one of the best investments I've ever made.
I'm getting into a different kind of madness.
At the beginning of the year I saw a plan to try a new craft every month. It sounded like fun but also ... overwhelming. Since I use craft as my primary means of relaxation, it didn't seem to be the best idea to build overwhelm into my year on purpose.
Still, I'm interested in building skills and always, always, always learning new things. So I signed up for two concurrent weaving classes this month. (Plus the weekly agility classes I do with the dog.) Hence the madness.
In the first class, I'm weaving yardage to make a summer blouse. It's going to be the widest I've ever woven (but not the whole width of my loom), and it's my first multi-color warp. The warp has 8 different types of yarn in it, and thank goodness I had help winding on the warp - otherwise I probably would have given up.
Even so, warping hasn't been the easiest thing ever. At the suggestion of my teacher, I designed the warp in the reed, then we wound the warp onto the back beam. then we moved the reed to the back, and as I thread the heddles I take each end out of the reed. Once that's done I had to re-sley the reed.
Only when I started threading the heddles I forgot my teacher's advice and did the exact opposite of what I was supposed to do. I didn't take the ends out of the reed, and I only realized my mistake because I ran out of heddles a quarter of the way through. Whoops.
The way the reed was tied to the loom, I had to carefully take everything apart and gently move the reed...hoping the ends didn't all fall out.
Luckily it worked with a minimum of angst, and I figured out a better way to sit when I'm threading the heddles - if I remove the beater, I can sit on the treadles and be in the perfect position to thread heddles all day without hunching over. Which is a good thing when there are 700 ends to deal with.
Then at the next class, we tied on the warp by lashing it to the cloth beam - also a new technique for me, and definitely a great way to make sure I'll end up with an even tension on the warp.
Now it's time to start weaving, only the warp doesn't want to rest on the shuttle race. According to the loom manufacturer, this is because there's too much tension on the warp ... I do like to weave with a fair bit of tension. Currently, I'm trying out some fishing weights to add weight to the harnesses to see if that will fix the problem.
And all of that is just the first class.
The second class is all about weave structures. We started with summer and winter and profile drafts, and my mind was blown.
I've just about got the homework warp on my second loom, and then I'll actually weave it. But I've got to scurry because it's due tomorrow...
After weeks of stubbornly refusing to do the finishing touches on my #bangoutasweater, I’m proud to say that it’s finished!
The problem for me was how to deal with the steeks. I knitted on a band and was trying to sew down live stitches to the wrong side of the fabric, like a steek taco instead of a steek sandwich. But that meant I had to sew the live stitch down to exactly the right corresponding stitch – on black yarn. It was tedious work –difficult to see and difficult to get right because … black yarn.
Once I finally got my act together, I knew what I had to do – unpick what I’d already sewn down, knit another row or two, and bind off. Now I had flaps, and just pinned them down so they encased the steek edges. The beauty of knitting is that it’s pretty forgiving, so this time I didn’t have to go stitch by stitch to get it perfectly right – I could just whipstitch the bands into place, and this time it looked much more even.
Then it went for a wash and just needed a zipper. Last time I used this tutorial, but this time I found Purl Soho’s gave me exactly what I wanted with a minimum of fuss. I find that the simpler something a technique is, the more likely I am to actually do it. Purl Soho's tutorial fit the bill.
And then I got to wear it. I love, love, love the zipper, and the neckline behaves just the way I wanted to – pulling away from my neck without flopping against it in the way that drives me crazy.
One of the things that has kept me from knitting a sweater at this gauge is a concern about it being too warm – but it’s not. This yarn is so lightweight that the sweater weighs practically nothing and is as light and airy and just as warm as I want it to be without being too hot.
Much has been made about whether or not Lopi yarn is itchy. This wool isn’t soft like Merino, but it’s not really itchy either. Most of the itch in the unwashed yarn seemed to come from vegetable matter that was easy to pick out while I was knitting it. After I washed it, it softened up quite a bit. Some people like to use hair conditioner to soften it even more, but I just used Eucalan.
I found that there was a bit of a prickle when I first but the sweater on, but that soon disappeared into a light cloud of warmth. Now I’m drooling over all the different colors of lopi yarn and planning half a dozen sweaters from this yarn. Don’t worry, I’m doing everything I can to hold myself back. Besides, I’ve still got the Anna vest to knit.
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