Thursday, May 7, 2015

Is it a scarf or a shawl?

Actually, it's both.  I was introduced to the Bateaux Mouches pattern by someone at knit night.  I love that the scarf is lightweight and can be scrunched up and kept in a handbag to take out when it gets chilly.

It can be worn as a scarf and it's also large enough to wear as a shawl.  Knitting the pattern was ridiculously easy.  Cast on a certain number of stitches and then knit with a one stitch increase at the beginning of every row.  It's a great project for knit night since it's just rows and rows of garter stitch.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


I've been slow to get on the colorwork train, but I'm glad I finally got on.  I took a colorwork class at Stitches West a few months ago with the goal to knit a Lopapeysa--I'm thinking Riddari or Strokkur.

Before diving into knitting a sweater, I thought I'd start a little more slowly with a hat.

The original pattern calls for the cute crabs to be blue, but here on the West Coast, our delicious Dungeness crabs are red.

There's some puckering even though I've been knitting inside out so the floats are longer.  I'm trying not to worry though as I'm keeping my fingers crossed that all will be fine with blocking.  (I'm doing a KAL with Maggie--she finished weeks ago!--and she assures me the puckering blocks out.)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

At last...

One of my weaving teachers told me that her favorite part about weaving is warping the loom.  My goal is to someday feel the same way.

For now, the process of warping the loom is tedious and backbreaking for me.  Each thread (484 threads for this small project) must be hooked through the slots of the reed and then through the eye of each heddle, all the while making sure that the pattern is followed and there are no crossed threads.

There are also idiosyncrasies with certain types of fiber.  I found out that hemp is just as 'sticky' as silk.  I was constantly having to run my fingers through the threads to separate them.  I bet there's a combing tool out there that I have yet to discover.

In the end though, all the hours spent warping the loom are well worth it when I can finally start the actual weaving and watch the cloth magically appear before my eyes.

It's a bit more challenging weaving with hemp versus other fibers like wool, but I'm enjoying the weaving process.  There's so much texture with the combination of the hemp fiber and the diamond twill pattern I'm using.  

I finished listening to Girl on a Train which was better than I expected.  I've now moved on to Paying Guests by Sarah Waters.  Let's just say I'm waiting for the tempo to pick up...

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

What is hemp?

Hemp is a variety of cannibis grown for it's fiber and seeds.  A little online research reveals that it "looks like linen, feels like flannel, and wears two to three times longer than other fabrics."  Although it's related to that other cannibis, the variety used for its fiber does not contain enough of the active ingredient THC to be used for medicinal purposes. :-)

The process of dressing the loom is long and tedious for me.  In this particular project/piece, there are 484 hemp threads that need to be placed through the slots of the reed and then threaded individually through the eyes of each heddle.  My goal is to someday enjoy this part of the weaving process.

In the meantime, I've got audiobooks to keep me company.  I'm currently listening to Girl on a Train.  There are lots of comparisons to this book and Gone Girl.  I didn't much like Gone Girl, but I'm listening to Girl on a Train anyway.  Why?  Am I a glutton for punishment?  More like I feel a need to find out what the fuss is all about.

I'm halfway through dressing the loom.  I can't wait to start weaving.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Hemp Warp

How many times can I re-start my blog?  It's been almost two years since my last post.  I'm going to give it yet another try though as it seems like a good way to document project progress and the creative process.

I don't consider myself a writer so blogging is not easy for me.  I much prefer to use Twitter and Instagram.  Less time consuming.  A few short lines and add a photo.  Previously on the blog I would get too hung up on content and the layout, sometimes taking hours for me to complete one post.

I'll see how it goes with letting go and not getting too obsessed with all the details.

I'm so happy to be back at the loom.  On this new project I'm using mostly undyed hemp from Lunatic Fringe with a few strands of black colored hemp.  I am inspired by the elegant simplicity of the handwoven cloth from Voices of Industry.  I'm keeping the colors natural and using a simple twill weave to let the beauty of the material speak.

The hemp now resembles what I imagine witches' hair would be like from fairy tales, textured, rough and scratchy.  Once woven and washed, the cloth will soften.