Resources for beginning weavers

Monday, May 23, 2011

Necessity is a muthah

I leave for the Island in a few days.  In the midst of packing up all the personal gear we'll need for 9 weeks and our science equipment; answering questions from 8 excited young researchers; making a bulk run to BJs; cleaning our house; and taking the dog to her summer home, I'm trying to pack up my weaving.  Who's coming?  Jane -- this is actually why I bought her.  And a bin of items I've carefully inventoried -- shuttles, reading glasses, measuring tape, etc.

Finishing the bamboo scarf for my friend Nancy.
And projects.

I'm going to Vavstuga in late June, so I know I'll come back with some materials then, and I'll be wanting to do some Swedish weaving.  And I return to Maine in July for a week to run a lab for a teacher workshop (human genetics, anyone?)  I'm sure I can rustle up some more projects then.  So I'm trying to be realistic about what I need to take.  I want to wind warps at home, although I got some warping pegs to take along.  This has been fun and I'm in such a hurry I only have time to use my stash -- which is great.  I have a tendency to see yarn and then want to weave with it, but then I ignore the remnants.  Also to buy more than I need when I get to a big yarn shop.  Being forced to work out of my stash has made me work from yarn to project, rather than from project to yarn.  In this case, necessity has been the mother of invention for me.

Three warps are ready:

A leaf-green and white bamboo, for a shadow-weave scarf from Vav.

A somber slate grey and light green tencel, which will be a houndstooth scarf.

And I think my favorite -- this is Madeleine Tosh Prairie and variegated tencel mixed.  This has a wonderful depth of texture and color.  I'm planning on just putting this on and plowing through it with tabby for a quick start to the season.  If the weaving is as easy and fun as making this warp, I'll be loving it.  I'm a little concerned about using the Tosh as warp but we'll see what happens!

FERRY UPDATE:  The ferry that ran aground is going to dry dock.  This leaves the little black ferry to run; it was actually decommissioned in fall in anticipation of the arrival of the newest ferry, planned in July.  So they are pulling her out of mothballs and using her.  This means there will be a long wait to cross to the island; we are going to bring tents just in case we have to camp out on the mainland and wait.  Getting to the island will be a relief, and I'm looking forward to setting up my things and getting to work.

Friday, May 20, 2011

A tale of two shuttles

I am busy this week working on a bamboo pinwheel scarf for a friend leaving for graduate school.  She has that wonderful Irish coloring and red hair, so this should complement her very well:

Working this pattern is really fun.  It's wound with 8 ends of one color, 8 of the other; and the weft is the same.  I'm catching the non-working weft along the right selvedge as I go, which slows things down just a little.  Using Jane, rather than a loom that is not direct tie, means I have to flip multiple levers as I go.  I keep track by using high-quality scientific tape (used to label tubes and samples) that leaves no residue and is very, very sticky. 

I have 2 small shuttles from Schacht for this project.  They look very similar, don't they:

But in reality, one has no bottom and the other does:

And one is an 1/8th of an inch wider than the other:

So the dark shuttle really flies and the light one struggles to make it through Jane's smaller shed.  The nice thing about this pattern is that there are distinct reminders to advance the shed -- every 3 pattern repeats, which equals an inch.  This helps me have even weft and keeps my shed regular.

Beyond weaving, I like everyone else here in New England am wondering when the rain will stop.  I'm thinking of building an Ark and gathering the animals two by two.  It makes for gray days:

Low tide at Wolfe's Neck State Park in Freeport, ME.
But also makes everything wonderfully green!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Ferry is Hard Aground!

My DH and I went out to Grand Manan on Monday and Tuesday so he could go to a meeting in anticipation of the upcoming field season.  The ferry crossing over was the vomit comet, with 40 knot winds.  We came off on the 3:30 ferry yesterday.
This is an old house on the "Airline Road", rt 9 to Canada.  Must be lonely out there.
This morning we learned the ferry ran aground coming into Black's Harbor on the 7:30am trip.  No injuries, but that must have been scary!  We missed this by 15 hours!  We had actually planned to stay over on Grand Manan one more day and if we had we'd have been on that ferry.  Now the question is how are we going to get our students out there?  This could be interesting!

I am scrambling to wind warps before we go.  This one is for a leaf-green double weave scarf in 16/2 bamboo from Halcyon.  I love the spring colors!

 I'm also finishing up a pinwheel scarf in bamboo from Webs.  This is for a friend leaving our college this spring.  Autumnal, huh?  Can I get it done in time?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Getting ready for the island

On Memorial Day I leave for Kent Island in the Bay of Fundy.

My husband runs the biological field station on the island, and we work with undergraduates and people from other colleges on seabird and marine biology projects.

I do a lot of cooking.

And a lot of field work.

And a lot of reflecting.

This year I'll be weaving too.  That's why I bought my Jane.  I'm starting to pack up my things and better not forget anything.

I'm also doing a week at Vavstuga in June!  Paid for by teaching a human genetics lab for teachers in July.

I'll post on my weaving there -- a little different from home . . . .

Monday, May 9, 2011

Getting started on finishing

A few years ago, before I wove, I got a book on finishing sweaters.  This was particularly funny to my husband, as I have quite a few half knit projects in the studio, and he thought the book was literally about finishing (as in getting it done, goldangit) not finishing (as in sewing seams, blocking etc).

Hemstitching in Colerain Lace and Alpaca Silk.  I think this will become a Kindle Case.
As I haven't finished much weaving lately, given my running/work hiatus, this is perhaps again an ironic topic for me.  Here are some great resources for finishing handwoven items:

General Finishing with Studio Tupla

Machine stitching with Thrums
Hemstitching and More with Thrums

Thrums:  I love this tutorial! And this will inspire you.
Some creative problem solving from Dust Bunnies
A discussion on Weavolution

Thrums:  here and here
Dust Bunnies also will impress you with her beads

Wet finishing
The definitive guide:  Laura Fry's Magic in the Water
Also from Laura Fry:  CD Weaver (here's a sample)
Jane Stafford's instructions for fulling
And some beautiful examples here and here
Sweet Georgia gives some advice
Weaving today has some ideas
and of course, Thrums.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Guilty as charged . . .

Right, I know.  I stopped posting for a long time.

In my defense, I did teach a new course this semester (anyone interested in the genetics of the little things that live on your eyelashes?) and run a marathon.

That's me, yes # 1106, which may not impress real runners but I was pleased as punch.  For anyone who didn't know, I started seriously running last year, and with the help of running and Weight Watchers, took off 35 pounds.  I couldn't run a 1/4 mile when I started, but kept it up.  I ran a half marathon last year.  While I was standing at the starting line, I took a look at all the people with the blue numbers (the marathoners) and thought, why not me?

No reason, it turns out.  A ton of training was done, with smelly laundry and nasty shoes and a very runny nose on icy Maine roads.  Many warm baths.  Many anxious nights thinking about the impending event.

We had a perfect day last weekend; 55 degrees F and sunny.  A nice cool breeze (NOT a roaring wind like on the 2 other races I did this year).  We lined up at the start and I have to admit, I was almost in tears with excitement and little fear.  What if I couldn't do it?  My last long race (20 miles) I'd run with a stomach bug and could barely finish.  I wanted that finisher's medal!  The gun sounded and we were off.  Well, the real racers at the front were off.  People in my bin had to wait more than 2 minutes to cross the starting line (they factor that into your time).  But we finally surged forward and left the music and excitement behind.

Everything was GREAT, pre-mile 23.  Great volunteers, terrific fans cheering us on, and lovely people to run with and have a chat.  I was in love with running, in love with Providence, in love with everyone I saw.  Huge smiles in all the event pictures (yes I'll buy some but can't post them).  Then I got a little tired at mile 20 and slowed down a little -- no problem, still on a 5 hour pace.

Then, Mile 23.  There was no matter to put mind over.  No grindstone to put the nose to.  I had hit The Wall.  I'd heard about this, and I can tell you I never want to be there again.  I literally had trouble with my vision and was dizzy.  I stopped at an aid station where a very nice man got me a ton of gatoraide and had me sit down for a minute.  Or ten.  I'm sure he was thinking "this one's ready for the sag wagon."  Then, I felt fine.  I thought I could walk, and I was right.  Walked to mile 24.5, then ran.  And ran.  And passed people.  Nearing the finish I could hear the music and crowds and I picked it up and made sure to skip across the finish line.   Time:  5 hours, 33 minutes, 58 seconds. 

Today is the first day I feel good afterwards -- no leg weakness or shoulder soreness -- and I'm planning on a short run.  Nothing too much.

I really, actually do have a weaving post that's about ready, on finishing.  Now that I've finished that race, it's appropriate!