Weaving small

leverage in the gaps

In a consultation, yesterday, I was asked, “How is your energy now?” We were over the hour, and the answer was in effect that I had already “opened up my schedule.” Which is to say, you reduce one thing a smidge to juggle in the other.

A domestic short hair tuxedo cat is curled on a cream chair cushion tucked under a round kitchen table.  The open door of a dog crate is behind him and through the bars is a Canadian Production Wheel in the background.
Mel cat sees what I did there

This has been my plan in 2022: watch for space; create the gaps; work then. A careful overhaul, and I am starting to see good results.

A Midori notebook with two stickers sits on a mahogany desk.  The notebook is a bullet journal with a rainbow brain sticker by Laura Bundesen and a human rights sticker by Little Truths Studio.  A mug by Richard Fisher in indigo with a brown dragonfly motif sits on a handspun wool and cotton mug rug woven by irieknit.
Two months into a bullet journal

This Midori A5 codex journal is a huge help in that key step – observing without navel-gazing. It was kicked-off when Natalie Warner shared about the Knitsonik Bullet Journaling course in her social media. Her handle is @natalieinstitches, and she has my thanks!

The course is by Felicity Ford via Teachable. My first 2 goes at planning to weave in the single notebook have gone well. I used Felix’s washi tape method, and get an I Can’t Believe That I Wove face each time I glimpse the blue on the book. That alone is a win!

Pinning down the crafts in habit trackers has neat insights like:

  • no knitting yet this month huh (how about those mittens, Lara); and
  • 8 days of spinning cotton so far & only 3 last month this time.
A rosewood mid-whorl spindle by the Sasak people in Lombok, Indonesia with irieknit's handspun cotton with the puni supply and a Judy Kavanagh maple support spindle bowl are on a natural brown cotton plainweave cloth from Guatemala.
Spinning cotton is for tough winters

Now is a good time to share these Felix-helped-me-to-weave again 2 short but very nice bursts of happy. You never know when those energy levels are going to get you!

early February

Let’s lead with the result. Finished object of handspun softness!

Irieknit wears her new handwoven cowl of natural and 2 shades indigo dyed handspun Shetland wool over a black jacket and with handknit blue hat in commercial worsted yarn with handspun lighter blue trim.  Irieknit has mid-length wavy brown hair with grey that falls over her shoulders in the selfie.
Indigo gradient handspun cowl

When this project began on February 5th, I had natural & 2 shades of indigo dyed 3-ply Shetland yarn, and not very much of it. The roving sold as ‘Penelope’ by Lone Sequoia Ranch as “Waste Not Wool” last summer.

Three cones of irieknit's handspun 3-ply Shetland wool in undyed light brown and 2 shades of natural dyed indigo stand upright behind a 2-end Leclerc electric bobbin winder on a crowded desk with a yarn-to-yards balance to the far right of the cones.
Three tool advances in weaving: 2-end electric bobbin winder; cone adapter; yarn to yards balance

My newest weaving tool here is the nifty Yarn-to-Yards balance that gave around 600 yards per pound for my yarn. That was close enough to a 3-ply rug wool that I had an easy sett point of 8 ends per inch.

Length of cloth in loom state is laid across irieknit's loom bench and is a 3-colour plain weave check with undyed handspun Shetland wool and 2 shades of natural indigo.  A boat shuttle with the dark shade of indigo is on the loom bench and so is a pair of scissors.
Literally the following day we had cloth!

Each square of the check is 4 ends in the lightest to darkest value order. One day to weave! This truly was a project with the Easy Does It slogan in mind.

Washed plain weave handwoven check cloth of Shetland handspun wool is folded on a chair with fringe half twisted and a Leclerc 4-clip fringe twister on top of the monochrome natural indigo check design.
Colour softening in the wash (i.e. indigo crocking)

Starting with a 54″ long warp, I wove 38.5″ in the plain weave check before the sticks were knocking on the back shafts of my Mighty Wolf loom. Washed the cloth measured 10″w x 32″l. There was enough for a twist and sewing of the ends together.

Not only is the cowl wonderful to wear but I love the softening of the monochrome check that happened in wet finishing.

mid-February

After this unlikely win, I hit a rough patch. Let’s just call that our winter with a side of why does my fridge hate me, freezing edition. Even cotton spinning lost its appeal (the habit tracker does not lie). With no thought of a plan, I just wanted to tie some thrums.

Do you save thrums? I have used twisted thrum ties in different ways. They hold unused heddles back & are very useful in different steps during warping the looms. This is my first project using tied thrums as weft.

Partially sleyed reed with Monte Cristo cotton threads on a Schacht Mighty Wolf loom.
Even less planning was involved this time – leftovers no more

The desire to tidy, mindfully re-use loom waste has been building over time. This is a year where I need to use the studio to recharge away from the din of the household.

It feels good to use the remnants, clear space. The (same length as last time) warp is a Monte Christo cotton cone remnant from the baby blanket that I wove for my girlfriend back home.

Weaving washcloths

Weft threads are both tied thrums from that project: Monte Christo & 8/4 cotton. The pattern is a scaled-down Gist Yarn freebie called the “Dropdrall Towel” designed by Arianna E. Funk. Washcloths are useful & as low-sew as that cowl I made.

going forward

These short projects are helping me to gather steam into more silk scarf giving to friends/ family. A longtime friend asked, and I followed-up with her. Wearing white is perfect for this person, and I am looking forward to time with these cones.

2 cones of 20/2 silk for scarves

As we adjust, hopefully are able to finally visit family & friends soon, I am building in capacity. There is no lack of inspiration, and so far words have not failed. I hope that you are all well.

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Lara is a spinner, knitter, natural dyer, parent abandoning a certain fear of weaving. Jamaican-Canadian; she/her in the Greater Toronto Area; we have a Jellicle cat, Melvin & a Double Doodle, Spark. A spindle is usually close to hand!

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