Learning the Clasp Weft Technique

Finally … a use for this yarn purchase … bought for National Crochet Month 2014, with thoughts of making something special with it.

But after several starts and stops in both crochet and knit, it wasn’t working up the way I liked, so I put it away.

Now that I have this loom, I now know what to do with all that yarn that I bought and couldn’t find the right project for … warp the loom with it!  So I excitedly warped the loom with a SWTC soysilk in similar colours (reddish-orange and black), left over from the Hawaiian Lace shawl.  I thought that it was a nice coincidence that these colours were so similar … or was it a coincidence?  My eyes are naturally drawn to the same or similar shades, so maybe it was not a coincidence … hmmm … must research this further.   Anyway …

After warping the loom, my brain had a momentary lapse … Instead of learning the lacy patterns, like Brooks Bouquet, or working with pick-up sticks as I had planned when I started warping the loom, what came to mind instead was … clasp weft.  And that’s what I started to do.

And it was coming along nicely, then I noticed that the right side was starting to slant up … which meant that the tension was off, and at some time, the group of ties on the right had somehow loosened.  But I was not going to unravel this and start over, so I went on.

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I tried to adjust the tension and not beating so hard, making sure to leave about a quarter inch apart between the rows.  It didn’t always work …

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I don’t know if it’s because the yarn is thin and slippery, or I was not being consistent throughout.  By this time, I just want to finish working with the yarn, so I kept on going.  I was enjoying learning the new technique, but not with this yarn.

Hopefully, the gaps will even out after it’s been wet-finished.  And if not, then it’s time well-spent learning the clasp weft …. My mind is already planning the next project with the clasp weft and three to four colours …

Changing Yarn Tastes

I’ve noticed for a while now that my yarn tastes might be changing …

When I seriously started amassing a stash many moons ago, I didn’t know any better about the different types of wool fibers, weights, 2-3-4-ply, etc.  I was on a high marveling at the many things that I could create with a piece of string and a hook.  And so it started with one skein, and I would use up every inch to make the most use of it, before buying another skein.  Pretty soon, I realized that for some projects, I would need more than one skein, and so I bought two.

And then it started … the many colours … the ideas running through my mind … the pattern accumulation … and pretty soon I had amassed a good bit.  And I was happy with it.

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As the years went by and my knitting and crocheting skills improved, I started to branch out of the comfort zone and try new patterns, projects, all the while still looking for the good deals and sales to add yarn to the stash for that day when I would find the perfect pattern to go with it.  I developed a love-hate relationship with Craftsy and Etsy, trying out a skein or two of the higher-end yarns.

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Koigu PPPM mini-balls

But over the past couple of years, I’ve noticed another change coming on. There’s times when I’ve actually gone into a crafts store and walked through the yarn aisles, and walked out with none.  None!! Imagine that?  Either none of the colours called to me, or I already had that type of yarn and colour, or I didn’t like what was out there … Was that possible?  Perhaps I’m getting older and looking into finances for retirement are now more in the forefront than before, or maybe I am now yarn and wool-savvy enough.  But I’ve noticed that I am now more picky about what type of yarn to work with and for which projects, and what I buy and don’t buy.  I had come to the realization years before that I would have to change the type of yarn that I usually work with (worsted weight and aran) to make those accessories that would drape and sit well (DK or fingering).  But since they cost a bit more, I didn’t look into those too much.  And these days, there are more choices in the market for comparable yarn weights, at a lesser cost, so I didn’t mind too much about buying the more-costly yarn.  But I’m noticing the difference more and more now …

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Plymouth Yarn Miyushihi and Universal Bamboo

I don’t often buy yarn with a project in mind, but when I went on the last day of the Wool Walk, that was my purpose … to look for yarn for the pattern testing that I signed up for.  And that’s all I got, plus sparkly Cascade yarn that was on sale.  Of course by the time I started working on the test pattern, I changed my mind and used the Cascade Sun Seekers instead, and the Madeleine Tosh Light is still in the bag.  But that was ok too.

It wasn’t a yarn-buying frenzy any more, looking for the sales to stock up for the times when I may not have time or finances for the yarn therapy, or looking to add to the stash.  It was a purchase with a purpose.

So it seems that a new chapter in my yarn adventures is about to start … One where yarn purchases are now based on what I want to make, rather than just to add to the stash … It also means that my eyes are now drawn to the higher-end yarns … *sigh*  So much for my yarn budgets …

Star Designs

Flipping through some old notes, I came across this while I sat through meetings last year and doodled to stay awake … 

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Since I’m on a mandala-drawing phase right now, I should enlarge this too.  Then I think that maybe I should translate this into a crochet pattern … maybe an afghan, a blanket … Is there anything like this out there already? Maybe somebody else has already designed this (Frank O’Randle and his ‘change’ series and the Cathedral Window patterns are also similar), and there’s dozens of completed projects in this pattern. Anyway, I’m still going to try and see what I can do with this.

In the lobby of a building some weeks later, I looked down at the floor and saw this.  

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Now I have another idea for an afghan pattern.

*Ssigh* I need more hours in a day …

Hawaiian Lace

I made the deadline!!

Cutting it close, but I knew that I would be staying up late during the weekend and would get a lot done.  Anyways … here’s the finished shawl … blocked and cleaned up, and modeled by Charisse!

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I used a portable steamer to block this.  The yarn, SWTC Pure, was 100% soysilk, and I didn’t want to risk soaking it, and then squeezing or accidentally wringing too hard and pull it out of shape.  I laid it out on the bed on top of two beach towels (those were the only ones big enough for this).  I held the steamer about an inch off the top, and gently pulled and flattened it into shape while steaming.  After a last pull to even out, I left it drying for a couple of hours.

It’s a nice and easy pattern, good for beginners, and even though the middle – mesh – part seemed to take ages to finish, it looks good.  Even Tin says the mesh part looks complicated, so you know it looks good.  It’s light and airy, and big enough to wrap around you, without it feeling heavy, even if you throw the ends over your shoulders for a tighter wrap,.

The pattern is available on Ravelry – Hawaiian Lace.  Go and check it out.

And since that’s my pattern obsession for now, I’m going to continue and finish this other one I started at the same time as the red one … remember this?  I’ll probably take my time doing this .. This one is a bit fiddly to work with …

Progress on the Test Pattern

This is my progress after several froggings and re-starts …

One set done, and the start of the next set.  I guess it’s not looking bad.  At least it looks like something now, and the piece is laying flat and you can actually see a pattern.

And because I was such an expert in starting the first set, I had a brilliant idea and started another … *sigh*  That’s why I have so many WIPs, with this impulsive starting of new projects because of many ideas.

I need to finish this though, by the time the test period is over.  There’s a couple in the group that have already finished their piece!  Have to catch up … hopefully this weekend …

Moo.com

This is a long over-due post.  I started it before the cards came in, then when I got the cards I forgot I had this post.  So here it is, and the 10% discount is still good!

Thanks to What I’m Up To Today, I finally got some business cards/gift tags ordered from Moo.com … plus a 10% discount!  yaaayy!!

These are for the charity/cause groups that I manage and coordinate.

Beware … they have other products that are too cute – like stickers!  I didn’t even think of that. I refrained from ordering those, but on hindsight, maybe I should have, since I won’t get a 10% discount if I do decide to get those later.  The discount is only available on your first purchase.  And for every person who clicks on the discount link here, and orders from them, I get some points to use towards the next purchase.  And when you order from them, you’ll get your own discount link to share with your friends and followers, and when they order, you’ll get your points … and so on.

So go over and have a look at their products … you’ll like them.

Testing Yarns

When scrolling on the forums I would sometimes see posts calling for testers for a new pattern, and after looking at it for two seconds, I would scroll on.  Until a couple of weeks ago, when I seriously considered signing up as a tester for the designer Frank O’Randle.  He’s the one with the ‘Rings of Change’ series.  After reading through his tester requirements, I filed it in the back of my mind.  I didn’t think that I would be able to dedicate any amount of time and work on what he designs, however much I would like to be a tester for his designs, which are all beautifully intricate, which is what I like.

And then came a call to test a shawl pattern … and just for the heck of it, I wrote in and ‘auditioned’ … and got accepted!  What??  I hadn’t done much crocheting recently, but I guess from what they saw on my previous projects were enough for them?  Hmmm ….

So, that of course set off a frenzy to look for the right yarn … fingering weight.  *sigh*  That means that it’ll take me a while to finish this, although crocheting with fingering weight isn’t so bad as knitting with fingering weight for me. And as luck would have it, the NJ Wool Walk was going on last weekend.  More trouble …

I had some free time over the weekend, but I purposely didn’t go to any of the LYS on the Wool Walk.  I’m trying to stick to the budget, see, and going to the yarn stores is not going to help me stick to the budget, right?  But, since I know I didn’t have 1,100 yards of fingering weight yarn in my stash, I had to go and get some, right?  *sigh* good thing Sunday was the last day, and I could only visit two LYS’s …

So, here’s what’s been added to the stash …

At Patricia’s Yarns, I came across Madeleine Tosh Light – fast becoming my new favourite yarn to work with. I thought I could use these for the test pattern shawl. Love that deep blue (Stargazer) …

At Yarndezvous, I came across sparkling yarn … This green I knew right away that I wanted to make a scarf/wrap with it … And maybe I already have the pattern for it …

These are other colours that caught my eye, and will probably end up as accessories as well … Although now that I see them laid out, they all link to each other nicely.  Subconsciously, my brain had already matched them up.  So … now … maybe I can use these for the test pattern … hmmm … 

And these?  Well, I just had to get these … they looked so yummy and creamy and fresh and springy … I have no idea what to make with these, but I’m sure I’ll come up with something …

  

And there goes my budget …