eklectikfish by kateepie

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

A new year and some new projects

I can't believe its been a whole year (and a bit!) since I last blogged.  Well, I have an excuse, and he's currently fast asleep on the floor ;-)


So I haven't had much time for craft activity - a bit of knitting, like this cute jumper I made for him


The pattern is a simple raglan I took from Erica Knight's Baby Bloom book, her version is plain with embroidered flowers, but I couldn't resist the colours in this self-patterning merino wool.  I've also taken up my patchwork again.  You can see a small cot quilt that H is lying on at the top, which is my first machined quilt - boy was that stressful doing the actual quilting!  I'm still working on my double, handpieced quilt (and  will be for a few years still, I suspect), but guess that I will need to hand it over to someone else to do the quilting as a small one was enough of a challenge for my old machine, and it did eat its way through a few needles too!

My exciting project is on the loom right now!  Here is the warp - my first end-on-end, bi-colour warp...


 Its a nice fine 10/2 cotton from Lunatic fringe, in red and yellow - it looks quite orange from a distance.

The plan is to weave two scarves from this, each to be elasticated double cloth.  I'm feeling a bit ambitious - I was always quite scared of the idea of a double cloth as it seemed so complicated - the idea is you have two separate blocks, so that you weave two intermeshed cloths simultaneously, so bits of one warp come through the other to make windows.  So it looks different on the top to the bottom.  Here is the first pattern repeat for the first scarf - its woven in lambswool, cotton and viscose covered elastic, so once it is finished and steamed it should go nicely crinkly.



 And underneath:
 Here you can see the two warps - one red and one yellow.


I'm really excited as to how the colours have worked together, you never quite know until you bring them all together on the loom.  The pattern is one from Margo Selby's new book Contemporary Weaving Patterns and I'm looking forward to trying out some more, or making up my own (gasp!) for the second scarf.

Katie x

Monday, 28 February 2011

Magic

I love my new loom and I love weaving - its so magical to turn miles and miles of (potentially) tangly yarn into, well, fabric.  Especially when it comes off the loom so stiff and unyielding and becomes like proper cloth when its washed and dried.

This warp has created nearly 4 metres of cloth!  This is destined to become 5 cushions (1 or 2 of which will be belated Christmas presents), and three iphone holders.  I chose a charcoal grey cotton since this colour worked well with my colour choices on Margo's course, and I'm really pleased with the richness of some of the colours.

Next time, I will take (more) care to avoid threading errors - correcting errors is all very well if you happen to have a spare heddle in the right place - I had to create two new heddles from thread, which meant that two threads were permanently a little higher than the rest and sometimes got missed.  Oh well, its a learning curve...

Here is a section on the loom, a nice zigzag in recycled silk, cotton and viscose:


Here is the bundle that came off the loom, a jumble of different colours and textures





This one shows three pieces - the green twill and the multi-coloured bands are going to be iphone cosies; the trellis you can just see in the back top left corner is the end of a cushion.



I can't wait to get these sewn up and in my folksy shop - my first two sold this weekend, so I'm dead chuffed.

Now, what to weave next....

Kxx

Monday, 24 January 2011

exciting news! (and a plea for help)

I had a quick look at my folksy hit count earlier this morning, and couldn't quite believe my eyes as one of my items (my tweedy phone holder) had jumped considerably.  I scratched my head, and had a look at the folksy featured items section (just in case) and there it was!  I'm so excited as to me it means my business has finally taken off and achieved some 'recognition' if that makes any sense.



The only problemo I have is that I have run out of the tweed and the place it came from no longer sells it - can anybody help?  Its a lightweight wool tweed with a very narrow pattern repeat, and has little yellow and orange flecks in it.  I'm obviously very keen to get my hands on some more so I can start making them again, so if you know of any, or can sell me some, I would be soooo very grateful!

Katie x

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

weaving projects

Since going on my weaving course I have been busy experimenting with my small four-shaft table loom (with varying degrees of success).  Almost as soon as I got back,  I got my first warp properly wound and beamed on - a white herdwick wool and started playing with some luxury yarns - bamboo, recycled silk, and tweedy wool.

My first warp (3.5m) produced enough to make 2 or 3 cushions and an iphone holder (which has now sold, woo hoo!) though it took some nerve to actually cut it up to make something out of it!




Here is one of my cushions - currently for sale over at folksy




My next warp, I wanted to be charcoal grey, and to be used to make Christmas presents.  I struggled to find a yarn that was strong enough, so had the bright idea of using sock wool, which has nylon in it to make it more durable.  £20 later, I had some that looked the business.... wound it and attempted to get it onto the loom.

BIG mistake...

The wool was IMPOSSIBLE - after spending hours getting it into the raddle etc, beaming it on turned into a complete nightmare - the yarn had a lot of static in it, and worse still, the fibres rubbing together as they ran through the cross sticks made them stick together in big clumps.  After the second attempt I abandoned it, and turned my attention to another project.  I will go back to my original idea, but will probably use a mercerised cotton for the warp instead.

My latest project was to make a scarf using the tencel I bought earlier last year.  I got it all warped up - it moves through the cross sticks really easily - but again I had problems.  This time I had got one section of the warp tighter than the other, so the pattern took more easily in that section - but I got a 'sticky shed' (where the shed doesn't clear properly as the threads aren't tight enough).  I quickly abandoned my first twill pattern as this was happening underneath:


This is a mixed twill of 2/2, 1/3 and 3/1 and it was having difficulty with the 3/1 twill. 

So I decided to go for a broken 2/2 twill instead and got this pattern, which I rather like




This was fine, apart from the fact that the threads in the tightest part of the warp then began to snap... one by one.  Argh!

So, I decided to cut these two bits off and keep them as samples, and I am hoping that I can keep the warp on the loom, but just rewind it so that it has an even tension all the way across.  

I wet finished the samples and the cloth feels lovely - drapey and soft - so all being well I will one day be able to weave a lovely scarf out of it :-)



They both got a bit creased in my bag, but you get the general idea!

Next step is to get myself a better loom - I have my eye on an Ashford 8 shaft table loom, so I think I will wait until I get that to do my next warp.  Here's hoping!

Katie x

Monday, 1 November 2010

weaving workshop

This weekend I took the plunge and did something I have been wanting to do for ages and went on a weaving course with the lovely Margo Selby in her very posh studios in Bloomsbury, London.  I really enjoyed the course and learnt an awful lot about weaving and what works well together in terms of colour and texture.  It was also really nice to see what everyone else was creating - no two were alike :-)

The first day we experimented with different weave structures, on point threaded (wool) and straight threaded (bi-colour cotton) warps.


I started off on the wool warp and had a great time trying out different patterns and types of yarn for the weft


Here you can see lots of different structures - extra weft circles, a chequerboard formed by using a satin next to a twill, goose eye, rib, etc.  I fell in love with the colours!

In the afternoon it was time to switch to the much brighter cotton warp, in my case a yellow and red mix.  I found this really challenging as the first few stripes blended in too much with the warp colours.


You can just about see that the blue strip is a herringbone design... so, in theory are the two below it!

But I persevered and managed to weave a sample which I'm relatively happy with.  I much prefer the wool colour palette though.  In real life this is much more garish!



Day 2 was our chance to weave an item, and I decided to try and weave enough for a cushion, using the structures I had best liked from Day 1.  I chose a palette of blues, greens, reds, oranges and pinks in a mixture of wool, feltable wool and silk.

This is part way through

I didn't get much chance to take photos on day 2 as I was frantically trying to get my 14 inches woven by 4pm ;-) but here is my piece coming off the loom


And here is the finished piece!

The next part of the process was the scary bit - I needed to wet finish it and felt the long woollen floats of the circles so that they don't catch.  I made the cushion cover first to help stabilise the shape, then washed it with mild detergent in hot water, rubbing the woolly bits to help them felt.

And this is the finished result, which I am very happy with... now to get my own loom(s) set up... gulp!


Katie xx

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