Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Weaving First Steps

Knitter's loom.jpg

I've joined the San Diego Creative Weaver's Guild last week just so I can rent a Rigid Heddle Loom - the Ashford Knitter's Loom. While paging through an old Spin-off Magazine (Winter 2002) I came across a scarf that I HAD to make. I've no idea how this scarf possessed me; it's nothing super special but after being haunted by it all weekend I surrendered. We had several weaving demonstrations in my Spinning Class that never mad me want to ever try Weaving so this insistent urge was a real surprise to me.

Monday I contacted my Spinning Teacher, Margaret Tyler, for some guidance in beginning weaving books and boy, she ran with just the hint I was interested in weaving. Seventeen days letter I'd joined the Weavers' Guild, arranged to rent the Knitter's Loom and Margaret invited me to her house to teach me how to warp the loom and the rudiments of weaving. Two hours later I walked out with a project that was very similar to the scarf in the magazine. (True it was woven on a 4 harness loom but as close as you can get with a Rigid Heddle.)

First Woven Scarf.jpg

This is the scarf. Gray is Cascade 220 Heather color 9491. The Black is a 1/2 inch nylon ribbon yarn with no tag I bought in the $3 basket at 2 Sisters and Ewe, where I work. It's rough and very homespun but I'm so proud of it. Between work and errands I finished Sunday morning and had the loom warped again (with help from daughter #2) by dinner time.

Gray Scarf Close-up.jpg
A close-up of my weaving and a true image of the colors .

The second scarf that's now on the loom uses homespun (Merino, Alpaca & silk) that was overspun so I thought it would make a good strong warp yarn. And the weft is (75% acrylic/ 25% wool) Plymouth Encore ColorSpun #7172. I'm such an ignorant weaver that I have no idea how this fiber combination will work together but I think the combination is really cool. The bright oranges of the warp seems to change the marled look of the brownish/oranges of the Encore.

Orange Weaving.jpg

When I wash what will happen? Haven't a clue but it's fun to see how the colors combine - this combination really surprised me.

Fair Warning: if this post looks different or the pictures don't post of whatever, I'm trying out making an entry by email rather than on Blogger directly.
Fingers Crossed when I hit send!

And the answer, YES, I will be getting a loom of my own!!

Edited to add: email posting was 50/50. Words came through find - no pictures just HTML. Had to go back and post them same as usual on Blogger.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Store That Time Forgot

My friend Phyllis and I were out yesterday to delivery her quilt to the Quilted Rose, a quick walk through Rosie's Calico Cupboard and lunch. We finished earlier than we'd planned so Phyllis suggested we stop at Ortwine's Hardware Store - little did I know I was stepping into a Time Machine.

This was the local hardware store when she was a child, before there was a Home Depot or Lowes. Seems that much of the stuff that was in that store in her childhood is still there. Not similar stuff - the exact same things!!!

At the front of the store was the usual key making machine with keys on revolving racks that are so rusty and dusty it appears the row of keys was welded into one single fat key. There were tools - no power tools that I saw but that wasn't the side I was interested in.

What I saw were the knitting patterns where all the models had huge shoulder pads and matching big hair. They had DMC embroidery floss that had been there so long some had no color on the ends of the window drawers. Two turn-table racks full of Susan Bates metal straight knitting needles. Circular needles that were in paper envelopes but the needle and cord were metal. There was a large variety of Aunt Lydia's Rug Yarn - I haven't seen that in decades. A whole rack of Aunt Martha's Yellow Iron on Embroidery Patterns.

The small knitting accessories were what attracted me along with the unbelieveable prices. Not only have they merchandise nearly as old as I am but they still had the same prices from when they originally were put out for sale! I found the good old barrel stitch counters for $1 and place marker rings for 75 cents!!
Knitting supplies 1970s

I had no idea if the barrel markers would even turn but I knew if they still worked they'd be the wonderful old kind that turn so easily. (I have a few that hurt my fingers they're so difficult to twist.) As soon as I was in the car I opened one and it turned so smoothly, no finger dents or pain - with two of these I'm a Happy Camper.

BTW the package opened easily by hand; no scissors, knives or pliers required like modern packaging.
Easy open packaging
(I understand the need for secure packaging for food and drugs that someone can poison but why do things like scissors get packaged so securely that you have to already own another pair of scissors or you have no hope of ever freeing your new purchase?)

Oh, and when I took my purchases up to the register they wrote up a recipt by hand and added it in their head plus figuring the tax, only then did they punch the total into the regisiter buttons. (Remember the rows of push buttons on the front of the huge register?)

I've been to Amish stores in Ohio and Indiana that were more up to date than Ortwine's. I came out of that store with my small bag of treasured finds, dusty and throughly entertained!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Repurposing Kureyon

I mentioned I bought 8 skeins of Noro Kureyon 213 to make the Sandy Cardigan, well...
There's this pattern that's been calling to me for awhile now, the Side-to-Side Vest from Creative Knitting, Nov 2007.
Vest side-to-side pattern
The amount of Kureyon I'd bought for the Cardigan is exactly the right amount for this Vest. And in a moment of weakness I grabbed the bag of Kureyon from the Stash and cast-on and haven't looked back.
Kureyon side-to-side vest
The colors look very washed out in this picture. Below is a badly framed shot that has truer colors.
Kureyon 213 true colors
The only difficult part is trying to make the colors go in the opposite direction from the center back. Noro doesn't wind their yarn the same direction skein to skein even with them all from the same dye lot. I'd like the fronts to at least suggest they match but I think that's going to be harder than I originally thought.

I finished the Midwest Moonlight Scarf from Scarf Style.
Midwest Moonlight Scarf
This was an enjoyable project; the stitch pattern was easy to memorize and from then on it was mindless knitting. This is for a Christmas Gift - that's one done.
Ravelry listing here. Used 5 skeins of Noro Silk Garden 284 with all the orange removed for 27 pattern repeats; probably could have squeeked by with 4 skeins.

Here's a look at my own pattern for a cabled sock. I've pulled it out twice so far. Cherry Tree Hill, no idea what the name of the color is - I've had it several years.
Byself sock pattern

This weekend I finished spinning the Roving from Creatively Dyed
Handspun from Creatively Dyed RovingCreatively Dyed Handspun Yarn close-up
I tried to split the roving lengthwise into four equal pieces. Funny how one skein is so much bluer than the other. Here's what the original fiber looked like.
Creatively Dyed Roving
This is 8 ounces of 70% superwash Merino 30% Seacell fiber.

On several foodie blogs there has been talk about Mark Bittman's Tomato Jam recipe. I had everything in the house
Tomato Jam Ingredients
so I made a batch yesterday.
Tomato Jam
The whole house smelled like an Indian Restaurant while it was cooking. After all the chopping, measuring and stirring I barely had 2 cups but it was worth it. This stuff is fabulous. We were eating it warm on crackers with goat cheese. I'll have more tomatoes than I know what to do with so I'll be making more. I wonder what it would be like made from yellow tomatoes?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Intermittent Connection

The Internet has been playing "now you see me, now you don't." When I hit SEND I can't depend that my upload will really go so I've been knitting instead. There's no pictures because I can't get the files to Flickr. The Cable Guy is coming this evening to figure out what's the deal. Oh, we also have cable phone service so we can't use our phone either... thank goodness we both have cell phones.

I finished the Moonlight Scarf. I'm working on a cabled sock design of my very own. This sock has probably been invented before but I just wanted to try my hand at doing it myself. "Byself" as my Sister use to say when she was little.

I've met some new people on Ravelry during the past week. 14 months is how long I've been on Ravelry but I already couldn't dream of knitting life without it. I've been trying to remember to connect to Amazon.com through them so they get the referral commission. Every few cents adds up.

September maybe the official end of summer for most of the Country, and it may seem today like a Fall day and the leaves are beginning to change but I'm not buying it. Here in Southern California our record hottest days have all been in September. I'll take the lovely mild mid-70's days but I'm not putting away my summer clothes yet.

I'm going to hit the "Publish Post" button, I will hold by breath until I get the page that says it uploaded successfully.