Trying Something New

Ok I warped the Inkle Loom again.

New warp for Monk's Belt

New warp for Monk’s Belt

This time I strayed from the Baltic pages of the Inkle Pattern Directory and wandered over to the Monk’s Belt pages. Alas and alack, I started learning a bit from the get go. Though it looks like a pick up pattern again the warping of the loom was very different from anything I have done yet.

Do you see the difference?

Do you see the difference?

If you look closely at the above picture, you will that there are three heddled warps together with one unheddled after. The burgundy here are a basic plain weave threading. each are every other one heddled and unheddled. But… and this is a big but. The green warps are all heddled. So this all means that three are heddled together. Hmmm… this was enough different to give me some antziness over how this was going to go.

So here we go.

First try at Monk's Belt

First try at Monk’s Belt

Yikes! not going well at all. just have to remind myself that when I started with Baltic those didn’t go well at first either. But all the same. This isn’t looking good at all. There is plain weave between parts that are suppose to be a flower. Hmmm… No flowers at all here. So what is wrong? Decided that the tension was a bit wonky so if we did something with that maybe there could be help. So I unwarped what you see and then cut sections and retied them on tighter and more even. So lets try this again.

Second try at Monk's Belt

Second try at Monk’s Belt

So with our new better tension and deciding to go with something simpler than the flower, we went to the first sample and started working. Ok I can see the pattern this time. I still don’t like it though. It does recommend that the pattern threads be quite a bit larger than the plain weave threads. Not sure that would really help. At least with my liking it.

So the question is now will I finish this band? Not sure. I think I may just try different patterns down it and see how they look. Not as homogenous as all the previous bands but will not be wasting this warp. I had already discussed (with myself) throwing this warp away. Alas I love the colors. I hate wasting it all. So hence it still resides on the loom.

I see a Baltic pattern in these colors in the very near future.

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The Baltic Journey Continues

I have now finished another of the Baltic patterns in the Weaver’s Pattern Directory. And this time the book let me know it was indeed from Interweave Press. I find it so hard to understand in our day and time how a book can go to press with mistakes in it. It seems that with all the paraphernalia that goes along with the business that between people and machine that a book could make it to press without mistakes. At least I would be so incredibly embarrassed to work on a book and send it out to the big wide world with problems.

Enough of the side trip, back to the band. I really liked what happened with this one. First I picked out some colors from my meager bag that I have with me. A thinner thread and a thicker pattern thread.

Some of my favorite colors

Some of my favorite colors

I love these colors and probably why I have so much in this realm of the color wheel. So on went another Baltic pattern that has 13 pattern picks. Being that there were thirteen again, this band took much longer than the last one. One reason is because there are more threads to pick up and drop down but also it was a more detailed pattern. I did not memorize it so always needed the book at hand for each new row. But diligence paid off, and I made it to the end – and I even think it has pretty wonderful selvedges.

The finished band before taking off the loom.

The finished band before taking off the loom.

The front and back sides of this pattern are both very detailed and interesting. Though I must say I like the front best but who could really pick one over the other. In the picture the bottom row is the back up and the 3rd row is the front facing up and so forth to the second and first rows here.

Alas back to my disappointment with the book.

The pattern in the book.

The pattern in the book.

You can see on my first pass through the pattern I immediately found a problem with the X. I must admit that I was rather proud of myself in that I figured there was a problem in the draft before I even wove this pick. So figured out the two missed pick ups. Alas I didn’t mark it at that time. So next round I am merrily going along and wove right past it and then had to take it out and do it again. I then quickly found a pen and got the book marked properly.

Alas that wasn’t the end of it. Right near the end of the weaving, I suddenly realized that the draft and the pictured band have one pick up different. If you see the middle of the diamonds there are small lines. In the draft the area is checker boarded completely with them and the sample leaves the center one empty. Hmmm… Upon studying the result on my band with it full compared to the sample band, I think I like it as the draft has it better. Now one reason may be that my band is not so compact as the sample is. The sample may loose itself to looking just like another diamond if it had that one pick in it where mine gets the checker board effect nicely.

So I am happy with the band and do think that as I have progressed through these I have improved my weaving greatly. It probably helps that it is the only loom I have so I am not weaving one every once in a great while but can practice and improve as I move along without forgetting what I’m learning.

And per the errata of the book? I did go look for one as I have two other books from them with extensive errata that I marked through them. I found one and there were only three pages with errata on them. And guess what? This page wasn’t one of the three. They didn’t even get the errata right. Sometimes somethings just have to make one wonder about our modern world and whether or not all our mechanization and technology really is so wonderful.

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Baltic 5: Thin and Fast

I have now done another inkle band and it was also a Baltic pattern. Now this time around I did figure out what the number stands for. It is the number of pattern threads in the warp. Seems simple enough but took me quite awhile to sort that on my own, and it did make this ole brain befuddled for a short bit.

Beginning my second Baltic pattern

Beginning my second Baltic pattern

But back at the ranch, I looked through the patterns and picked a simpler one than the last one and picked black and green threads. I really like the pattern and the colors. One great thing here is that the pattern was easy to see what one was to do next, so I didn’t need to keep the book out and could just work away at it. There was only one line that I tended to mess up, but it didn’t take but one more row to catch it. So easy to go back and fix.

Original homemade shuttle and new one

Original homemade shuttle and new one

I did decide during this that the original homemade shuttle needed to be retired as the points were getting torn and catching easily on the warp threads. So got another box from the trash and made a new one. It actually is thicker, but i don’t think it will last as long. Will have to see. I think the next one will be out of plastic, if I remember to save some next time some comes in here. Actually, can’t wait to have my own wood shuttles again. Lots of things I can’t wait till again, but the Lord is saying wait some more, so wait some more and making do, we are.

Finished band

Finished band

Amazing how fast this one was to do compared to the last one. Now, only dealing with 5 pattern threads does make a difference and a simpler pattern helps. It does seem so much longer than the other, but I know that has to do with how thin it is.

The two bands lying together

The two bands lying together

So here are the two bands together. I do love how it looks if I were to sew them together. I am contemplating several bands sewn together for a larger piece. If I go with this I need to do another of this one. Alas I did learn something laying them out – despite thinking my beating was consistent, it very much wasn’t. This part looks better than some. but the waves do not line up perfectly across from each other.

Always something else to work on. Does anyone ever become a total master of their craft?

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Baltic Style Inkle Finished!

Finished and still on the loom

Finished and still on the loom

Ok, I did finish the inkle weaving I wrote about last. I must first thank Barb and Diane for giving advice after my last post. It went much better, and I think I got fairly consistent with my selvedges. I actually wove more of the warp than I ever have tried on the loom. Only about 3 inches not woven.

Close up of pattern and weaving

Close up of pattern and weaving

Several things are seen in the above photo. One is that rough beginning I wrote about before. Hopefully you can tell it did get better in the lower runs. And you can see in the top right corner one problem I had near the end. Yes, one warp thread for some reason, unknown even now, came quite loose. It didn’t untie from its other end but must have come loose enough anyway. That did make that last bit of weaving a bit of a chore. I was always having to pull it straight and fiddle it to make it lay right but we did manage it just so we could get as far as we did. Sometimes I just get something in my head and so continue when really one should quite and call it good. But despite probably pushing it too far, I was quite pleased that after the rough start my pattern and the book’s looks very much alike. Yippy!

The completed band

The completed band

So here is the completed band. And though at one moment I was done with Baltic weaving – Guess what? Yes, I already want to try another one in the book and maybe weave several to sew together and make a larger piece. I do like to dream big so will see how it goes.

I must say one thing this picture does for me is show improvement and for that I am thankful. So will the next one be perfect? Hardly I doubt, but hopefully will make this look sad in comparison.

Oh and the colors here are better than the other post. These are how it really looks.

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Baltic Style Inkle

I started this awhile ago and got discouraged as it just didn’t come out right. So then I just did it straight with the spotty look but boy were my selvedges ugly. Well, tonight I got back at it finally and studied the pattern once more and the ways of Baltic Style inkle weaving and tried again. Now I have one repeat of one really nice pattern. Alas the selvedges are still a bit on the uneven side but the pattern looks good. So now to remember how it works and continue on.

One repeat without a single mistake in it

One repeat without a single mistake in it

I needed to be successful at something right now and this is feeling good. Alas it is past bedtime so I better head that way instead of continuing though I might come back to it once I get ready. Once you’re on a roll it is hard to stop.

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Ball of Yarn

Ply magazine Worsted

Ply magazine Worsted

My big accomplishment here of late is a ball of yarn. So not something big and grandiose to remind myself of later as I read this, but I did try something new and achieved an end result. I had bought some grey Jacob wool and have spun one ball of it. But then I I bought the Ply magazine on worsted spinning. Interesting and one can learn a lot in there, but the article that caught my eye for the moment was one about a plying ball when using a spindle. Hey, that I can use right now. I had done one ball by andian plying, but if there is an easier way that would help plying on the spindle? I am all for it.

So I spun two spindles of wool and read again the article on The Plying Ball and set about to create one with my wool that was desiring a better home than what it had been reduced to. This was accomplished outside. I had taken the Wildlife out to enjoy the sunny day. Yes, we are still in the condo looking for a place and so Mattie doesn’t get to spend all the time laying outside in the sun as she loves to do. So a special treat for her this afternoon.

Winding my ply ball

Winding my ply ball

This took quite a bit of time to get accomplished and Sam, who doesn’t particularly like to lay out in the sun. Quite the inside boy he is. Decided it was time to bug mom to take him inside.

Mom, it is way past time for going back inside!

Mom, it is way past time for going back inside!

Now I know that Amelia is a great spindler, but she never touched on a problem I had as I neared the end of winding. You see my two spindle fulls were not the same length. I checked but no, as far as the article is concerned they come out the same so it was up to me to decide if I was going to just cut the longer one off and let it be or go ahead and try to match them up.

Yikes, why couldn't you have come out perfect?

Yikes, why couldn’t you have come out perfect?

Well I decided to wind the leftover around my hand and then join the two ends and continue and so I drove myself crazy and did it and managed to have one complete plying ball completed.

One finished ply ball

One finished ply ball

Now it was completed, and Sam could be happy as I packed things up (books, magazines, spindle, yarn, wool, and chair) and got us all together to go back up to the room. Mattie alas wasn’t so happy with me, but que sera we all headed inside. I then started spinning my ball. It went well at first and even practiced starting the spindle with my foot – all going well. Quite happy. But then I learned one lesson with this method. Better to spin half spindle fulls and then ply to one spindle. There was way too much yarn by the end, and I didn’t want to stop it. But this was on my homemade spindle I made since being here in the condo and having my spindles in storage in Dallas, so on we tramped. Before we do this again though, I do need to find a way to cut a notch in the shaft. A half hitch just couldn’t hold on as the spindle got quite full and heavy. I ended up finishing by pretending it was a support spindle and managing through a few mishaps to finally spin it all onto the spindle.

One very full spindle

One very full spindle

Alas Mark got home from work toward the end of this, and I hadn’t seen a clock in a few hours so had to stop at this point and get some supper on and spend some time together. Then as he took the Wildlife for a walk (Mattie is not a happy girl at night until she gets a walk with her daddy), I got back to working on my yarn. Now I wound it into a ball on my homemade nostie. Ok, so not so much homemade as home found. A toilet roll tube serves the purpose quite well and so a ball of plyed wool is completed today.

A complete plyed ball of wool

A complete plyed ball of wool

Now I am wanting to make something with this but it really needs to go into a project that … yes, … is in storage in Dallas. The theme of my life right now. So it will wait till then and join a bunch of other handspun into my Zoom Loom project that is pretty awesome in my head.

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The Condo Shawl

Well right after the new year I went with a friend to Yarnorama in Paige to check out the new year sale. I found some yarn that I liked. It was called Silky Wool and was 45% wool, 35% silk, and 20% nylon. It was on the clearance shelf (always a plus when you find something you like) and was 20% off. So I bought four, each a different color that went together well. They were 50g each.

Ok, enough of the dry stuff. I then had a time finding a project to use it. I did get a crochet magazine for half price the same day but I just wasn’t getting with the projects in it. I actually really bought it for the article on crochet hooks and the differences in them and why. That was a big help as I have always wondered why all the differences. I did learn one bit that I like for my hooks so now if I buy more I know what I will look for.

My really good ball.

My really good ball.

Now this is the project I did mention in my last post. It did not start well at all. But in getting it going, I decided to do each group of rows in a different pattern. Now the yarn was in skeins, as it turned out. Oh the joys of making balls, not! But by the fourth one I had saved a toilet roll and rolled it up like a nostspindle and it actually went pretty well, and I was proud of it. You can see in the back the other colors and the shawl in process waiting for this lavender color to join it.

As I progressed with this “simple pattern” about half through it I figured out one of the things I wasn’t getting and also that you couldn’t just use the graph to do it as you were suppose to be going down in crochet hook size after each group. Well, I did start doing it the new way but still think if I had done it correctly, then it would have gotten too small quickly. I had made it wider than the pattern said as it just didn’t seem big enough and am glad I did do that.

The back of the shawl

The back of the shawl

One thing I learned this morning is that light makes a big difference in how the colors look. This dimmer incandescent light is how I like the colors best the dark row has a deep burgundy look. I really absolutely love the look of it above and if you look close at it, you can see in the valleys where I figured out what I was suppose to be doing though I still don’t think I did it quite the way they wanted it done but it was closer than the lower rows. You were suppose to end up with decreases in each row and a nice little neck opening by the time you got to the top. Alas and alack. I was making this so not quite there.

From the front

From the front

This is more what it looks like in sunlight. The colors all wash out and my burgundy becomes a dark purple. Now the front was to have buttons down it. Alas and alack again. I ran out of my favorite color (guess which one?) and so one placket was grey and one row of the whatever color it is. The other side is lavender on the outsides and grey inside. I did decide though that it needed a way to close to stay on so looking at the leftovers. I decided to crochet a long string with all four colors. There was just a couple scraps of the burgundy one so that determined the length of the two ties. It actually looks nice, I think, and works well.

The end of the project

The end of the project

So we made it to the end of the project and this was all the yarn leftover. Also see what the poor shawl was suppose to look somewhat like. Guess I had just way too thin of yarn to really duplicate it as the picture. I am happy with how it did turn out, just need to remember not to let people know what it was supposed to be.

Oops!

 

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A Dreary January

So I am still sitting here in the condo on a 32 degree day hating to have to walk two dogs which means out the door, down the way, down the stairs, and out to the grassy yard at the end. If all is great then they get a long walk around, if not, then it is short and back mama runs in whether they want to or not. I know all three of us will be happy when they can be just turned loose in a yard with no leashes and can stay as long as they want.

But that aside, sitting here I have some reading and fibery things to do. Alas the reading is going better than the fibery arts. Mostly.

So the colors are great but the pattern .... Hopefully by the end it will get itself worked out and look great.

So the colors are great. But the pattern …. Hopefully by the end it will get itself worked out and look great.

First I did start another inkle pattern. My eyes got big and I picked a detailed pattern from The Weaver’s Inkle Pattern Directory. There is this beautiful pattern on page 77 called Baltic-Style 13. So I started it and it just doesn’t look well and is a devil for me to figure out each row. So it sits. I never think it looks right, though I think as it grows the previous rows will look better though the immediate ones need more around them to look ok. I did see a mistake in it though it does look ok and could be right if you didn’t know what the pattern was suppose to be. Alas and Alack. I need to get back to it.

The suppose to be easy shawl

The suppose to be easy shawl

Next I did go to Yarnorama during their end of the year sale and got some pretty yarn. So I found an easy crochet pattern and went to work. Now I really can do basic crochet. I have done lots within the whole scope of my life, but for a pattern that looks so easy I am making this very hard. I have frogged two rows and it is sitting once again at a trouble spot. No matter how careful I am I still don’t get the right number of stitches where they need to be. Can I scream?

Funny when I picked this pattern it reminded me of watching my mom and aunt back in the 70s crocheting afghans that were this basic pattern. Now if they can do it, why can’t I? This is a bit fancier with every fourth row being a puffy stitch but all the same….

Jacob wool and homemade spindle

Jacob wool and homemade spindle

So also while at Yarnorama I succumbed to a weakness and bought a bag of Jacob wool. Alas did I have a spindle in this neck of the woods with me? Of course not. They are all in storage. Why I didn’t keep one out is beyond me, but alas I hadn’t spun for awhile at home so didn’t consider it suddenly being necessary. So I had to come up with something.

I bought a dowel rod (actually a package of this length) and got some Filo clay and brought it home. Having never used the clay before, I didn’t know what I was in for but set about playing with it and boy does it take a bit to warm it up and get to mold. But I persevered and created a disk. Now was the tricky part as it just says to bake it and looking online was not much help beyond low heat and 15 minutes to an hour. How was one to know? Anyway, I made it, was happy with the results, and have a spindle.

My homemade spindle

My homemade spindle

I remembered how to do a half hitch at the top so with no more ado, it actually works. Crazy but all I have to remember is to have a bit longer leader at the top than I would on my other spindles and keep the hitch near the top and it spins nicely, and I have yarn. Hopefully I will get quite a bit plyed and then will use it in my handspun weaving project when it and I are in the same place again.

So this is where I sit at this time. I will now return to spinning and hopefully back to the other two and can report a completion of something before to many days past.

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The End of 2015

Today is the last day of 2014. It is cold out and dreary. Actually looks winter. For today I want to post here what I posted elsewhere earlier so that I have it here as well and it will go into my book when I next print from the blog. I wrote this a week or more ago and I still have to remind myself of its truths as i still sit here waiting on God to move in our lives.

——-

Christmas this year is very different than any other has ever been before. Oh yes, there was the exciting coming home from college and being in a colossal wreck that no one involved will ever forget. And the fun times at grandparents with cousins and all. The trips to places like Bisbee. But this year is very different.

We are in the process of a move. So we have sold our house and after living a week in a low end motel were able to move into a small condo. Not home at all in feel though we have laughed that the use of the word “home” seems to be where ever the suitcase is sitting at that point in time. But with most all my things in storage in Dallas I feel rather destitute. Though…..

I read a booklet that came in the mail this week from the group that we help support two girls in Africa with. It was all about the Christians in Iraq. With tears as I read, what do I have to complain about. I may be essentially homeless, no place that is mine. But I have immeasurably more than any of those I read about. My husband has a job. There is lots of food in the kitchen. Despite the chilling cold and wind outside I am warm inside.

One part of the story really hit me as one father was telling that the verse that the family clung to was where Jesus tells us that we will have persecution if we follow Him. Boy my verse for this time for just some peace seems so simplistic to what they are holding onto.

Last night I walked the Wildlife out across the small plaza area outside the condo over to where they could take care of business. It was a cold wind cutting into me out there. But I looked up at the small bit of sky one can see there and it was clear. Clear and only one thing to be seen. Orion was still out on his hunt after so many millennia of marching across the skies.

Orion. My favorite constellation. He would march across our driveway at night when growing up in Illinois. Watched him cross over from east to west how often. He was a close friend. When I went off to college and was lonely in a massive crowd and would rather be home, I would look up at night and there Orion was just as always. Keeping watch over me. God still with me wherever I was. A sign. And often the same thing happened again and again over the years.

Last night once again Orion was there. Right above me. The only lights in the sky visible. God is with us wherever we are. Part of Christmas. Immanuel God with Us. Where would I be in my easy distress or the Christian in Iraq or Syria who doesn’t know what tomorrow holds. We each have one truth – Immanuel God with Us. Because two thousand years ago Christ became the GodMan and crossed the divide between God and Man and made a way of salvation.
Immanuel God with Us. Merry Christmas one and all. May you know the peace of Immanuel.

So I end this year the same place I was when I wrote this. But yes, I joy in the knowledge that God cares very much about this journey and is watching and has a plan that will be awesome and just for us.

We have hauled this Christmas Cactus around with us and it has not disappointed. Despite being one sided over its trials it is beautiful with blooms.

We have hauled this Christmas Cactus around with us and it has not disappointed. Despite being one sided over its trials it is beautiful with blooms.

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Christmas Cards 2014

I didn’t plan for sending cards in my mad life right now. But then I realized I could use the Inkle band I wove in the hotel last week for cards. So bought some plain cards, stickers, and markers and set about it this week.

Variations on a theme

Variations on a theme

I was just going to write on them and use the stickers on the envelopes, but who was I kidding. I do not have a good hand and realized the stickers would look better than anything I could write. Alas some did get my handwriting when the stickers ran out.

So they are in the mail. Hopefully everyone will like them. Not very fancy but they will know I thought of them at this time of year. There is still a bit of band left if I discover I missed someone I shouldn’t have. Not much though. Guess I better start weaving again.

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