Friday, April 22, 2005

Weaving Inkle Bands for Purses

This past week I have woven a couple bands on my inkle loom for purses. It doesn't sound that interesting but I really enjoy it and love using all sorts of yarns, especially ones that I have just small amounts of. I started out the week trying some tablet woven pebble weave of cats. Between how slow it is, reading the pattern chart and having the weaving get out of control and narrowing, I just gave up after 5 cats. It just was not enjoyable weaving and I wasted over a full day on it. The next 2 bands are woven of handspun wools, some variegated or blended in various ways, silk, some shiny variegated viscose rayon, and dragon tales variegated cotton...all in various blues. Despite the seeming hodge podge of yarns, the colors blend beautifully and come in and out of the weaving because of all the variegated yarns. I need one more narrower band for a purse and it should be gorgeous after I embellish it with some beads and maybe a little embroidery. For some reason, I don't use blue that much in my work so I wanted the challenge of using it in something. I don't dislike the color, in fact, I'm enjoying using it very much so it has been just an unexpected pleasure weaving this week, after the cats, of course.

Last week was beautiful and part of spring is washing fleece. Since I'm trying to use up the huge stash that I had rather than buying anything new, I went through some fleeces and a few were washed several years ago and got sticky waiting around to be used. I probably didn't wash them well enough the first time. So I washed them better this time and laid them out on a sheet in the back yard. Those dried nicely so instead of repacking them up, I decided to card them so they would be ready to spin and then I could dye the colors I wanted after spinning. These were a couple corriedale fleeces from when we had sheep over 6 years ago so they were special to me, and for some reason the fleece spins much easier before dyeing than after. But it was more fleece than I realized and took a long time this week to drumcard but I do have a mountain of batts to work on now when I need it.

Last Saturday, we finally were able to hike in the mountains and it was a gorgeous day. We didn't see any other wildlife besides zillions of Painted Lady butterflies even though the sign at the trailhead warned of moose near the trail. The butterflies were swarming all over and even landing on us. On Monday, it snowed 11" and was cold all week but getting spring like again this weekend so we can go hiking again. Might be snow in the mountains but it will be warm. It is so good to be able to get out every weekend again. I wonder where the butterflies go in the snow.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Photos of the Scarves

This is the scarf that had the mohair and glitz novelty yarn with handspun. It was impossible to get the sparkle effect even with the sunshine, to show up in the photo. Too bad because there is actual metallic in the yarn so there are lots of glittery bits of light in the weave.

The novelty yarn in this scarf was ribbon-like. It really gave a rich appearance with the handspun. For these scarves, I am using corriedale handspun and so they are really soft and don't even feel like wool.


Since the beginning of the year, I've been learning sign language. My deaf friend from church helped figure out a sign name for me. It is too slow to fingerspell Kathy all the time so a sign name is quicker. Darlene knew I liked spinning and weaving so she used the sign for yarn and if you do it with K fingers, then that is my name. It is fun to have a name that is so meaningful to me.


If you have visited here before, you will notice that it looks a lot different. Jess, my daughter, did a lot of work to make it look really nice and to match the website too. I love how she did the graphic at the top to reflect the weaving and mountains. Be sure to look at the website, also, because it is totally online now and you can see all my work there. The kids really did a fantastic job with the whole thing and it still surprises me every time I look at it because it is so wonderful.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Tale of Two Scarves

Finally, after all that spinning last week, I ended up with enough yarn to warp the loom for 2 scarves. I put on a little bit longer warp so that I could use the leftover end as a dummy warp for some more scarves. The warp is a singles spun from some dyed corriedale that I had and the handspun part of the weft is the same thing. I had several close shades of a mossy green so I interspersed them throughout the warp. It is sett at 8 epi and I wove them in plain weave at 8 ppi.

The novelty yarn in the first scarf is 2 strands together but not plied. One is a khaki green mohair that has occasional variegations and the other strand is lots of bright colors, pink, yellows, turquoise, orange, purple and a good bit of gold metallic. It is meant to be a knitting yarn and I was wondering how it would knit up as I was weaving with it. I alternated a handspun and novelty every other pick and that turned out really pretty. There is a slight halo from the mohair and the bright colors pop out but yet are subtued by the green and the metallic added some nice shimmer.

The other yarn is more like a ribbon but it has a structure where it is more solid and then less solid so it collapses more here and there and also, one side has a wool flocked zigzag going through it. Very unusual stuff. It is bright greens and dark greens, true red, and purple with deeper purples. It reminds me of eggplants and tomatoes in a garden. This one I wove 2 picks of deep green handspun, one of the ribbon, 3 picks handspun, one of the ribbon and so on. It has a totally different look and feel from the first one. This novelty was softer so it was more influenced by the energetic singles that the other one was. Both turned out well and I am pleased with them.

I rarely buy yarn anymore but this was a good experience because I learned something from each of these different yarns. Things about color and also about texture. I have another ball of novelty yarn to play with next. I carded up some blue corriedale this morning to see how that will go with it. I also think that some of the fibers I dyed up a few weeks ago will work with the colors in this one.

One of the yarns that I spun up last week was a variegated yarn that I thought would go with one of these novelties but didn't. It was still a nice yarn though, so I spun another bobbin so that I could weave a whole scarf just of this yarn. That will probably be next week's project but I also have to weave on those bands for some purses.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Spinning in Circles

My plan was to weave 4 scarves using the beautiful novelty yarns I bought a couple weeks ago and handspun yarn. One of the novelties I thought would look great with a variegated yarn but when I spun that up earlier in the week, it didn't look good together. The handspun yarn was really pretty but just not right with the other yarn. So I decided it looked good with some pink fiber I had carded up but that darkened as it was spun and so when it was finished, it didn't look right with the novelty either. Now I am spinning some khaki green that I also had carded up and I know this will work because some of the yarn is already done. So I did a lot of spinning this week and still have no warp yarn done. If I do another bobbin of the variegated yarn, it will make a great scarf and so now I have 5 scarves planned. Hopefully, this weekend I can finish the green and wind warp on Monday or Tuesday.

I am also starting a series of purses made with handspun wool woven bands. I would like to weave 10 or so in this series but if we find a house to buy and move, those plans might change or get sidetracked. Anyway, I have started weaving the first bag in purples and rose. I have the next 2-3 planned and then will work from there.

For a month or more, we had planned for this Saturday to be our first hike of the season in the mountains, but it snowed so much this past week, that probably won't happen. Maybe next Saturday.