Saturday, March 18, 2017

Sample, sample, sample

I know people are probably getting sick of me talking about it but I'm still loving the patterns in the Torchon Workbook. I'm on the 9th chapter, Decorations in half stitch. 

I've just finished a group she has labeled Escalator. The name comes from a section made up of a row of half stitches that are worked uphill. 
 
In this example, you work the section above the line all the way to the end and then use the pair at the base of the line to work half stitch to the point at the top of the line. Now you're ready to work the section below the line. And you get this one in the middle. 
 
Each of these samples uses this escalator technique, although in different ways. 

My absolute favorite of this trio is the edging at the right. It has some of my favorite techniques like the spider ground and the Scotch broom trails. I would have carried on with it but I'm anxious to get moving on. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Two experiments

My sample warp is finally finished, off the loom, and washed. My main objective was to get a feel for the materials (the tencel yarn) but it ended up becoming a wider learning experience. 
  1. I learned how to beat the weft to give the balanced look I'm going to want when I make my tartan-patterned scarf. I tested how an ultra light beat made it look messy. Maybe if I had fewer ends per inch (I warped at 24 epi) the lighter beat would have seemed more airy but not so much with this. I knew I didn't want a weft-faced fabric (which would have happened with a heavy beat. So a light squished of the beater seemed to produce the best way forward.    
  2. I learned that I may want a slightly less dense fabric so I'll warp to 20 epi instead of 24. I think that will make a nicer scarf fabric.  
  3. I am working on a table loom which means you don't have to go far until you have to advance the warp. The mistake I was making was advancing it too far so that I got weird wiggly bits in my fabric. Once I figured that out and started leaving a couple of inches in front of the front beam, hey, presto, I got a much more even fabric.   
  4. I learned that it all feels different after a good wash. I guess that's why teachers are always talking about washing your samples. Good call, teach! 
  5. I learned that using a spare variegated skein of hand spun works fabulously with the base color of the warp.  
I'm going to use some of this strip to make a coin purse and part of it is going to be used to make phone holders. Here's the type I mean. 
   
 
I was given a similar holder that has microfiber on the bottom to clean the screen. In trying to work it out, I tried all sorts of gyrations. That is until I realized that a simple tube of fabric seamed on one end and the closed at the other end in the opposite direction would do the same thing. 
 
 
Now I'm experimenting with filler so that it has enough weight to be steady without going nuts. I'm thinking that it could double as a pin cushion depending on the filler used. 

Again with the pin cushions?!?

 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Appearances can be deceiving

I started a new sample this week. There was a section that even the text said was tricky so I worked to that point and left it that night. I decided I needed to wait until I was rested to attempt it. I had already worked the whole left side and then the right side. Then I completely undid the right side because I'd made a mistake at the beginning then I'd worked the whole right side again. 
 

The "complicated" section involved working a pair half-stitch through six other pair. Not so bad except that it had to go backwards through the pairs before heading into the 8-leg spider. 

When I sat for a minute to look at it the next morning, the light bulb went on and I worked it with no problems at all. 

You can never tell. 

Last night I got involved in watching a couple of fascinating shows on YouTube and actually finished the whole dang thing. 
 
I never realized working in whole stitch was so fiddly to keep the tension right. 

Everyone should see these films. I couldn't stop watching. 

Edwardians in Colour (First of 4 episodes)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Weaving on

I have been working on a little side weaving project. Since take #HopewellWeaving's warping class, I've been inspired to tackle a project I've had in the back of my mind for a while now. 

Several years ago, I bought these cones of tencel yarn but I hadn't done anything with them yet because I wanted to make sure I could handle them properly. 

 

Lovely, shiny, softee yarn. Thread. Whatever. 

I've decided on a simple Bruce tartan pattern from the book, Tartans - Their Art and History. It uses two main colors with the third color making the occasional thin stripe. I'm going to use the purple and tan as the main colors with the green as the accent. 

Before I dove in head first with it, I wanted to make sure I understood how to handle the materials and be clear on the sett. So I wound a small warp with the green (since I knew I wouldn't need as much of that for the final piece) and I've been playing. 

 

I'm using a 2/2 twill, since that's what you use for the tartan (over 2 threads/under 2 threads). Here I've done a 2/2 twill and then a reverse 2/2 twill to give the herringbone sort of pattern. 

I'm so glad I did this for a couple of reasons. First of all, I understand better now how to handle the warp with this thread. Second of all, I've got all sorts of ideas about what I want to make from this 5 inch or so strip. Coin purse, glasses case, etc. 
 
I'm also playing with how the colors play. Here it is with the green warp and tan weft. 
 

You don't see it here but in person it has more of a pinkish hue. (Is there a pinkish hue? - George Constanza)

Scotch Brooming

Sometimes you like something okay but you just don't LOVE it. It's all very nice and you wouldn't mind having a coffee every once in a while but it's never going to be a grand romance. 

That's what this edging does for me. It was kind of fun to work and went along very easily but I'm done with it. I still have thread on the bobbins so I may work until I start to run out of thread but it's not one I'm going to make yards of. 

 

The thing it did do is make much more sense out of the Scotch Broom stitch. There's a definite rhythm to it and once you get that logic, it's no trouble at all. 

A few more inches and then, I think, it will be time to move along. 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Too much of a good thing

I've been trying my whole life to learn that details matter and that if a little is good, it doesn't necessarily mean that more is better. 

The lastest project from the Ulrike Torchon Workbook is a case in point. 
 I really love it and think it's pretty. I also think I almost have a handle on the Scotch Broom stitch (the part that forms the diamonds). But you'll notice that it's quite a long piece for a sample. The reason?

Instead of pinning up the 2 pieces of the pattern like this…
 
Like it was supposed to be, I pinned it up like this…
 
It make a minor difference not only to the length but to how long it takes to work it. 

I kept peeking under my cover cloth thinking, "Is this some sort of magically growing pattern?"  Come to find out, no. It's me being a silly beggar and not paying attention to what I was doing. 

So, while I ended up with a lovely piece, I shall be paying much more attention from now on. Really, I will. Really. 

Too much of a good thing

I've been trying my whole life to learn that details matter and that if a little is good, it doesn't necessarily mean that more is better. 

The lastest project from the Ulrike Torchon Workbook is a case in point. 
 I really love it and think it's pretty. I also think I almost have a handle on the Scotch Broom stitch (the part that forms the diamonds). But you'll notice that it's quite a long piece for a sample. The reason?

Instead of pinning up the 2 pieces of the pattern like this…
 
Like it was supposed to be, I pinned it up like this…
 
It make a minor difference not only to the length but to how long it takes to work it. 

I kept peeking under my cover cloth thinking, "Is this some sort of magically growing pattern?"  Come to find out, no. It's me being a silly beggar and not paying attention to what I was doing. 

So, while I ended up with a lovely piece, I shall be paying much more attention from now on. Really, I will. Really.