Purple Waves

After deciding on these colours to work with next, and keeping spring IMG_1669in mind, I excitedly warped the loom with the Noro Nobori.

The Noro Nobori is a chunky yarn, and is a cotton-wool-silk mix.  I say mix, and not blend, because the wool and silk is wrapped around the cotton strip, which is about a quarter inch wide.  I wanted to see what effect the variegated or self-striping yarn would have as the warp, and a solid colour as the weft.  It also ran thick and thin, so I thought that would add some more texture to the piece.

Then … this happened …. **gasp**

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First one thread snapped as I pulled … then another …  oh my …

The only good thing I can say to that is thankfully, it happened at the beginning, and I was only about an inch into weaving.

So I took it apart and off the loom, and this time used the purple Cascade Superwash as the warp.  The Noro will have to be used as the weft.  Yes, all those lengths of yarn were wound separately onto the shuttle, and woven in.  Yes, I had a million ends sticking out in the back *sigh*

But I was liking the effect of the white cotton showing up in between the wool and silk around it.  And one advantage of working with lengths of yarn?  I could choose the sequence of the colour changes and switch it around.  I did try to match the colours at the beginning and ends of the lengths, but after a while, I didn’t know what the original colour sequence was, so I just picked up one length when I was done and continued on with it, keeping as close as I could to a gradual change in colours.

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And the finished piece … it was a good size, about 7-ft long, and 10 inches wide.  I wanted it wider, but I didn’t have enough yarn to warp a full 15 inches.

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But the effect of the white cotton showing up intermittently through the colours is nice.  Plus, it covers up the spots where the tension went off, and the lines started to get wavy … the white pulls it all together as part of the pattern. Wasn’t that smart of the yarn?

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Next up is to learn how to hem-stitch the edge for the finishing.  Or I’m going to end up with fringes on all the scarves and runners and whatever else I work on.  I was going to do it here, but forgot in the excitement of finishing the weave.  I think you’re supposed to hemstitch while it’s still on the loom, not after you’ve taken it off, right?

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I haven’t wet-finished it yet, I’ll do that later.  Do we have to wet-finish all the pieces?  or only those that we think might need a little ‘fix’?   I don’t know if the Noro will fluff out.  The thick-thin texture didn’t really show up – maybe I was beating it too close together.  I should remember to leave about a quarter inch space in between the weft threads for the next time.  And if it doesn’t drape well to use as a scarf or wrap, then I’ll use it as a table runner.

The other ball of Noro Nobori is waiting for me.  I didn’t use it on this, because even though the tags said it was the same lot and colour number, there were more pinks to it than purples.  So that will be another piece – a scarf or wrap again, maybe wider, and a little more looser.  That’s okay … these are all experiments and practice … and practice makes perfect!

Pulling Towards Spring

What to make next?

When I am close to finishing off a piece on the loom, my thoughts turn to the next weaving project, and what new technique or colours I want to work with.  There were too many things I wanted to work on – and those knit and crochet WIPs were still in the back of my mind – you know, if I sat down to it like I’m doing with this weaving, it would probably have been done already, right?  But I was still on this weaving momentum …

These two purple balls of yarn had been sitting in the stash for some time now.  My sister wanted a purple cowl/wrap last year, but when I started to work on it, the colours and the patterns weren’t working for me.  (Yes, she did get her cowl, in a dark amethyst yarn instead).  So these were frogged and were waiting for a project to suit it.  I recently got the darker plum-looking balls beside it, thinking that I could combine the two.  Then there was this Noro Nobori hanks that were also sitting there.  Hmmm …

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Fresh off the red houndstooth scarf, I wanted to work on the pattern again, but this time with more than two colours.  It can be done, right?  And these are the colours that I came up with, and I was thinking that it would make a nice gradient scarf or wrap, if I had enough to make it wider, and if I can get the pattern right.  The last time I tried to make a gradient colours scarf, it didn’t work.  It still came out nice, but not what I was aiming for.  Then I came across one ball of Jojoland’s Rhythm, which would tie in all those colours, right?  Hmmmm …. that could work …

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In the end, I went with the purples, looking forward to the spring.  The other palette was more of autumn/fall, which I will still work on, because I like autumn colours, but these colours were pulling me toward spring.

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So purples it is …

2015 Special Olympics Scarf Project: Three to Go !

We’re on the last leg of the 2015 Scarf Project, with only three more states to meet deadlines.

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SO Washington – deadline is next week, 16 February

SO South Dakota – deadline is 9 March

SO Alaska – deadline is 10 March

I’m so happy that we met most of the goals this year, a complete turnaround from last year, when we met only five of the states’ goals.  This year, there were only three states that didn’t meet their desired numbers.  So yes, this year has been successful.

You still have time to make a scarf or two for this year’s three remaining states.  Info and details can be found here, and you’re welcome to join the Facebook and Ravelry groups too.

And if you can’t make it this year, don’t worry … the 2016 Scarf Project has started !!

See you there!

Red Houndstooth

I was itching to try a different pattern now.  Plain weaving is still fascinating to me, as I watch the colours take shape and the patterns emerge.  But I wanted to try something different, and the houndstooth pattern is always something that I’m trying to recreate in knitting and crochet. By the way, knitting and crocheting have taken a back seat for now – can you believe that?  It’s been all weaving for the last month!  Anyway …

So I warped the loom with Red Heart Soft in black and red.

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It started out great!  The pattern was showing up nicely, and I was really enjoying the weaving.  And then … something happened to the tension … again … and the pattern kind of got flattened or stretched out …

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*sigh* I need to work more on how to get this tension even throughout the piece.  Maybe it’s in the way I’m winding the yarn?  The boys liked it – they were more concerned with the ends that needed to be cleaned up, and didn’t see anything wrong with the pattern – that’s good, right?

I like my first try with this pattern.  This didn’t shrink too much, and even though it’s six inches wide, I’m finding it a bit skinny, so I’ll make it wider next time.

Already planning the next colors …

Textured Purples and Greens

From the bag of donated yarn for my charity/cause, I came across this one big skein of beautiful colours.  No brand name on the tag, just that it was !00% wool.  It had nice texture – wavy and thick and thin.  It dawned on me that maybe this would look better woven than knitted or crocheted.  Excitedly, I warped the loom.

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There was another ball purple cashmere-mixed yarn in the bag, and thought it would do well as the weft.  As I wove, I asked the boys how it looked.  Nice, they said, but it was kind of looking dark. Hmmm… so I went back digging into the bag and came up with a Cascade Superwash, in a lime green color and added that to the weft. And here’s the finished product.  It’s about six feet long and nine inches wide.

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No particular pattern on the weft.  I just wound yarn onto the shuttle until I thought it was enough.  2015/02/img_9155.jpgThe self-striping colors on the wool made up its own pattern – random stripes and random widths of colors.  I was enjoying weaving with this yarn.

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For the most part, the selvages stayed straight.  But  I think that because I was using two different weights of yarn on the weft, the tension was a little uneven, and there are sections that pulled down.  There’s mistakes along the way – a missed warp thread here and there, uneven tension here and there … Certainly more practice needed but I’m happy with it.

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On to the next project!

Happy Scarf Part 2

As I looked at the Happy Scarf, I was thinking that I should make another one, but this time wider and longer.  And since there was no pressure to finish the scarf within the allotted class time, I could take my time to practise weaving.

So I took out all the colours, and added in the others that I didn’t use before, and started to warp the loom.  I yarndidn’t really have a pattern in mind, just to warp randomly with a vague idea on the colour repetitions and checkered boxes.  Soon after I started, I realized that if I wanted to use all colours, I would need to use only a few repetitions of the same colour, or I would run out of space.  Satisfied with my final warp, I continued on and tied the ends to the apron rods.  I used the same yarn and colours for the weft, and the same SWTC Bamboo yarn in between.

About a foot in, the first two and the last two warps started to get too tight.  And the left third of the warp started to sag.  I tried to fix it and wind up the tension.  It didn’t work.  I unraveled the warping rod, and tried to fix the tension from that end and wound it up again.  It didn’t work.  So I unraveled the whole thing and started again.  *sigh*

Starting everything over and finished with warping, I started weaving again.  About a foot in, it happened again.  The same ends, the same left third.  I unraveled again, and started over again.

It was about the fourth time of starting over, and finally the weaving and the tension were working well. Since the yarn was stretched thin, I purposely didn’t pack it tight, because then it would take forever to finish the piece.  I had miscalculated again – as usual – and had ended up with a 12-foot warp.  That was okay, considering that I had to restart four times, and lost yarn at the ends.

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Then guess what?  As I worked on, the tension was off again.  The weave was coming up wavy, as I loosened and tightened the brakes.  *sigh* I was not unraveling this to start over.  What I did was to tighten from the top, instead of the bottom.  So it would pull up, instead of down.  For the most part, it worked well enough.  10-ft scarf

And the result?  a 10-ft scarf, about 10 inches wide.  lol  I soaked it for about a half-hour, (in hair conditioner; I didn’t have liquid fabric softener, so I thought that hair conditioner would work well enough.  Plus, it smells good!)  I thought that the yarn would fluff up a bit, and that there would be some shrinkage.10-ft scarf 2

So, did the yarn behave?  Nope.  It’s still 10 feet long, and not enough fluffiness.

ok … back to the drawing board …

My Colour Wheel

This is a post that had been brewing for some time now, revisited after I started weaving, and now with two recent posts I read over the week – an anecdote about co-workers who didn’t know the primary and secondary colors on a color wheel, and an article about how to choose colors for a project.

Some time ago, I was asked how I came up with my color combinations, since they had difficulties or were challenged when choosing colors for their projects.  That got me to thinking about how I’ve used color in my projects.  I had taken art classes through the school years, and fiddled around with painting and drawing after – maybe that is why I don’t think much about color theories, it just sort of comes naturally when going through the stash or walking down the yarn aisle in a store.  Of course there’s a lot of the natural preferences that come with it – there are some color combinations which are not pleasing to my eye (blue and brown comes to mind). And then of course, the title of this blog is what I would like to be doing with the yarn.

For my projects, the color progression wasn’t so much as the choice of color combinations, but more of solids to ombre to variegated.  For a while, I was only working with solid colors – primary colors mixed up with secondary colors.  I would then make the pattern stand out a little more by using combinations different from those suggested in the pattern.  Why?  Because that’s what I had in my stash, and I didn’t want to go out and buy more yarn – yes, I know, that was the perfect excuse to add to the stash lol – but I had to follow my budget.  Here’s my earlier projects – a granny ripple and scrap blanket turned tapestry blanket, using solid colors.

While I still buy and use solid colors, more and more I find myself leaning towards the variegated and self-striping – the yarn companies have gotten so much better, coming out with bright, vibrant beautiful color mixes.  They’re also less work for me – less fastening off and reattaching – and beautiful patterns come out of the self-striping yarn.  And I think the variegated yarn works better with my brain – although the project is beautiful when done, working with solid colors bores me after a while, and I start looking for something else to do – probably another reason why I have several WIPs lying around, and about half of them are solid color projects.

For those times when I need to come up with color combinations, here’s what I’ve devised – my own DIY color wheel.  Not in the traditional sense, and I’m sure there’s something like this already out there put out by the yarn companies.  My boys worked on this – whenever we were at one of the home improvement stores, we would stop by the paint department, and go to the wall of sample paint cards and take one each of the color cards. (shsshhh)  These ones were perfect – individual color cards, with a hole punched in already.  They then sorted it according to the codes, and grouped it together.  It’s not quite in the order of the color wheel, but that doesn’t bother me.  It’s also missing a few shades, but we can always fill that in later.

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And when I’m looking for a color combination, this is what I do – just pull out the color cards and place them next to each other.  I now have a visual of what I’m thinking of.  And even though there may not be this exact shade available in yarn, there is enough of a selection out there these days that I can come pretty close to what I have in mind.

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Hmmm .. I like this combination … wonder if there’s anything in the stash like this?

How do you decide on your colors?