The Knit Knack's Blog

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March handweaving – Two scarves from a Zephyr warp

This is the great use of our March break that I hinted at in past posts – all finished, and one scarf is in happy use.  It is based on a pre-wound pair of warp chains of Fantastic Knitting Zephyr (merino/silk, 5,040 YPP) 6 yards long.

Therein lies a story.

Entering zephyr warp threads on Schacht Mighty Wolf loom by irieknit

Warp sees light of day!

In the last weeks of T’s first school term, mid-June 2017, I was so stressed that I thought weaving scarves would be just the thing.  There I had the most beautiful 2 balls of knitting lace yarn in a colour that a (former) friend thought would be great on me.  She was correct but I just had not wanted to knit that much Suede in lace at all.

Well, I both did and ignored the math.  This led to the correct length, and here is the true quote from my weaving book when winding:

OH CRAP.

This is how I learned that stress weaving is not yet my thing.  I was short by half of the bouts I wanted for comfortable twill scarves.  It needed re-working but my mind was not to be trusted with anything but knitting needles at that point.  Clearly.

There is a literal inked-in note of the yardage requirement for my first idea:  1,728 yards of Zephyr.  The rub?  I had 1,260 yards, and ignored the shortfall at my peril.  But wait.  It ends well!  No to twill!

Handspun camel/silk weft on zephyr warp handweaving by irieknit

So many breakthroughs in one picture – handspun camel/silk on zephyr

What captured my imagination was Erica de Ruiter’s 1 block M’s & O’s in her new “Weaving on 3 Shafts” book, p. 30.  The chapter starts,

This weave, found more or less by accident, was the direct cause for my three-shaft passion.

Passion is understating Erica de Ruiter’s work in this area but I digress.

This effect proved wonderful for showing-off my handspun camel/silk that is 3,560 YPP and only 2 ounces from Schafenfreude Fibres.  It was spun as long ago as July, 2013.

Handspun camel/silk yarn by irieknit dyed by Schafenfreude Fibers

Shopped the stash – camel/silk handspun

Another breakthrough was weaving with my new Bluster Bay end-feed shuttle (Honex tension) in black cherry.  Now that was a splurge worth making!  I wound the pirn using my Leclerc electric winder.

Weaving with end feed shuttle by Bluster Bay on Schacht Mighty Wolf loom 3-shaft Ms and Os

New Bluster Bay EFS in action!

The weft now showing is Aura Lace (35% alpaca; 55% tencel; 10% nylon; 4 oz = 568 yards).  It is sold by Sheepytime Knits, and the colourway is “Elven Cloak” from their now discontinued & glorious Hobbit Club.  The second scarf is a gift for a friend.

Details are that I sleyed the zephyr 20 ends per inch for 9.3″ width in the 12-dent reed (1-2-2 sley).  The handspun scarf’s finished width is 7.75″ x 73″ long; 4″ fringes.  The Aura Lace scarf measures a cool 8.75″ x 6.25″ with the same fringe length.  It has an extra plain weave repeat, and I think this held it more open.

Soaking handwoven scarves for finishing by irieknit

Wet finishing my zephyr blend scarves

Weaving time for me was 7 days (nights, really!) from March 10 – 17, 2018.  The for-me scarf is lovely, and with our late spring I have been able to wear it several times.

Wearing freshly finished handwoven zephyr and handspun scarf by irieknit

New scarf happy!

The differences between the 2 scarves after finishing are striking.  Not only by measurements but also by looks.  The “Elven Cloak” was more grey-green in the skein, and lightens the gift scarf considerably.

Two scarves from one zephyr warp side comparison by irieknit

Side-by-side – weft made such a difference!

There are more detail pictures that I will move to my (irieknit) Weaving album on Flickr, and the Ravelry weaving project is already up.

Finished handwoven zephyr scarf with handspun camel/silk weft yarn 3-shaft Ms and Os by irieknit

Full scarf – first woven with handspun weft

Although my floor loom is empty again, I am weaving a Tattersall check in 5/2 cotton on my table loom now.  We have guests visiting next month, and a lot going-on in the school time before then.

It’s not just a time crunch but things like windstorms and new after-school activities that we have on the go.

Finished handwoven scarf handpainted Aura Lace yarn in Elven Cloak on zephyr warp in 3-shaft Ms and Os by irieknit

Elven Cloak weft on Zephyr for a gift scarf!


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The absorbing Colour of Water, part 2: from the drawing board

In my last post, I told you about the technical slip & fall of my first attempt in weaving for the Art Gallery of Burlington All Guilds Show.  The show is on through May 24, 2015.

Handwoven original design scarf with handspun yarns by irieknit in crackle weave

The first iteration representing the waters’ confluence at Frenchman’s Cove, Jamaica

It was a fully-formed piece, and I would like to share how the ideas developed.  They are what really motivated me to tie-on for a renewed attempt.

Some are clear rookie mistakes.  I will never forget how it felt to realize where my 3″ of width on the loom had disappeared.  A bolt of understanding, and I checked the reed chart.  Yes!  Right sley (2-2-2-3); wrong reed!  At 15 and not 12 to the inch, I was in maximum twill sett territory.  With heavier wefts it makes for a slightly harsh fabric.

First River by the Sea Scarf crackle weave with handspun yarn

From sandy bank to deeper waters

This first section cued the do-over as soon as I cut the scarf from the loom.  It brought Susan Wilson’s words to life.  In “Weave Classic Crackle & More” she says:

Ground weft color order can make a big difference in the appearance of your design…

The “soft sand” ground weft leaps forward against the other yarns that are darker in colour.  It moves differently in the crackle structure, and the softly spun character also makes it stand out.  It is 50% silk, and the remaining down fibres have a soft halo – 25% buffalo; 25% white cashmere.

River by the Sea Scarf crackle weave with handspun yarnsWith one shore popping from the water, and the other subsumed, I wanted another shot at this representation.  The dye step already gave me the matching sand.  With a better understanding of my colours in the structure, I also set out to shift the grounds to blend the transition areas better.

The up-sides were that my treadle, shuttle & new temple dance was also finally down pat after the 72″ of weaving!

Handspun yarns by irieknit used in the River by the Sea Scarf crackle weave design

Handspun yarns to tell a colour story

The “soft sand” yarn on the right was out, replaced by the skein yarn in front for the 2nd and last attempt.  This now means that all handspun threads were made using spindles.

Even with later challenges, I am happy that I persevered to modify for the design that I wanted.

Our Guild’s Colour of Water Section

In his statement for this show, Chief Curator, Denis Longchamps, says in part:

… the members of the Burlington Handweavers and Spinners explore the multi-faceted aspect of water colour – at first what seems to be transparent and translucent – becomes the turquoise of the Caribbean seas, the muddy brown of some rivers, dark with golden and red reflections at the sunset… while blue seems to be a natural choice for artists…

2015 BHS Colour of Water Juried show crackle weave scarf submission by irieknit

In the exhibit! River by the Sea Scarf – Colours at Frenchman’s Cove

TKK apologies – published prematurely, and have reverted to draft status!

Handwoven and felted pieces in Burlington Handweavers & Spinners Guild 2015 Juried Show The Colour of Water

(l-r) Susan Stasiuk: “Frozen Shores” & “Lagoon”; “Diane Woods: “Harbour Lights;” Saira Jan: “Reflections into the Deep”

Sue’s beaded jacket, “Frozen Shores” is breath-taking.  This was the first grouping that I saw at the show’s opening event, and I am still amazed by the beauty of her piece.  Her two awards by the Juror were well-deserved!

Handwoven scarf installation by Jennifer Earle and woven scarf by Victoria Lynch 2015 All Guilds Show Art Gallery of Burlington

Jennifer Earle: “Mother Ganges”; Victoria Lynch: “Caribbean Sea”

This ceiling-to-floor installation by Jennifer Earle won the Best in Show award.  It represents the river’s flow from source to sea.

Needle felted installation by Jim Thomas in 2015 Art Gallery of Burlington All Guilds Show

Jim Thomas: “Falling Water”, needle felting

The installation of a new “Falling Water” is at the entrance to our guild’s section of the show.  Jim’s placement of colour and sheer exuberance for his work made me smile on the spot.

Still Water handwoven scarf by Marsha Stewart-Walters in 2015 Art Gallery of Burlington All Guilds Show

Show neighbours – Marsha Stewart-Walters: “Still Water.”

Representing the struggle for water sustainability, and her experiences in Africa, Marsha’s scarf has a beautiful mix of fibres, including linen.  She’s my next-door neighbour on this gallery wall with handwoven scarves!

Handwoven pieces in 2015 Burlington Art Gallery All Guilds Show

Handweaving’s range on display (l-r) – Eleanor Roberts: “Childhood Memories – Lake Couchiching; Sparrow Lake”; Margaret Burns: “Duck”; “Fish”; Margaret-Jane Wallace: “Grassy Reef”

That our space in the gallery includes diverse works ranging from functional objects, fibre art to those that use repetition of familiar forms all with reference to the colour of water is fitting with other guilds’ participation.  Although I missed the meeting with its show tour, I’m sure that the feedback has been positive!

The show runs until next Sunday the 24th.  Local friends, I hope that some of you can get out to the AGB for a visit!


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The absorbing Colour of Water – a show opens

An all-guild show curated by the Art Gallery of Burlington is currently on in the Lee-Chin Gallery until May 24, 2015.  The theme is, “The Colour of Water,” and our guild has a juried section in the show.

River by the Sea Scarf by irieknit in classic crackle on the loom

Weaving water over sand at Frenchman’s Cove, Jamaica

The piece that I have submitted is a handwoven scarf inspired by the confluence of the river as it meets Frenchman’s Cove in Portland, Jamaica.  It is a 4-shaft Crackle or Jämtlandsväv structure woven as drawn in with 4 pattern blocks.

First weaving for the Colour of Water curated guild show irieknit handspun in classic crackle weave

The first attempt was a prototype

Planning for this scarf took more thought, materials and calculations than anything I have woven up to now.  The colour-blending ability of this classic crackle structure was new to me.  In presenting a draw-down for our curator, Denis Longchamps, I was also learning structure myself.  It took a full first scarf.  To speak cricket, there was a long run up to the crease!

The impetus was a copy of Susan Wilson’s book, “Weave Classic Crackle and More” that a weaving friend de-stashed this winter.  Her clear explanations & beautiful projects met the blank slate that is my novice brain.

Water’s fluidity carried me forward.  Nothing was more fun this wretched winter than getting lost in the memory of this place where we swam as children.  The warm Caribbean sea mixes, ebbs and flows with the cool river.  It is also a place where I have partied as an adult.

Nearly finished River by the Sea Scarf by irieknit in handspun yarns

Getting to submission state!

 

After the trial run (totally wearable), I sleyed, and tied-on for a 13″ wide scarf in the reed.  The mystery main warp balanced at 4,075 YPP.  In the final piece it is sleyed at 27 ends per inch.  Calculations were all for this yarn as 0.8 of the maximum twill sett.

Detail of handspun blending in classic crackle irieknit River by the Sea woven scarf

From the beach to waters’ confluence

 

The first run helped me learn the sequence for weaving three shuttles at a time, and to get comfortable with my new Glimakra temple.  Getting the river’s colour shift from sand to bank was very important.  This also improved with my comfort at changing for pattern yarns as well as grounds.

Each of the 6 handspun elements in the scarf is from batts made by favourite fibre artists, and spun on spindles by me.  The batts are from Enting Fibercraft, Abby Franquemont & Sericin Silkworks.  I over-dyed with tea and black walnut to better represent the sand, and river bank.  The alternations were planned, and the shifts are not symmetrical although each is woven in the same classic crackle format for 4 blocks.

What humbled me the most was how the warp behaved in its second sett.  There was far more length shrinkage, and this drove me far closer to the tied ends than anticipated.  This has been a wonderful stretch into working with colour, and meeting the technical weaving criteria of our guild.

No rejection news is good news?  The take-in was this past Monday.  This “River by the Sea Scarf – colours at Frenchman’s Cove” measures 11.75″ x 59″ with fringe lightly beaded with Toho 8/10 Japanese seed beads.


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Wednesday finishing and nearly so!

Life and writing have not connected in a long time.  For many reasons but the best one is how many projects I have been successfully getting out of inertia.  This post is about giving the finished ones a warm Wednesday welcome!

At the top of last month, I had a lovely time over lunch with my friend, Sasha.  Her first Skein-a-Day April Sheepspot event was here on my needles. 

Knit shawl in progress with Sheepspot sustainable merino fingering yarn

I love this yarn!

The short dye repeats worked beautifully for Susan Santos’ Magical Side to Side Scarf design.  There was no flashing either in the fancy stitch bands or as the scarf sections changed dimension.

Handknit Magical Side to Side Scarf in Sheepspot sustainable Merino fingering yarn blocking

Pattern stripes in nice relief, blocking

Blocking really helped to shape the scarf, and organise the drop-stitch fringe.  It is 69″ x 9″ in this yarn.  I knit with 3.5mm needles.

Finished handknit Magical Side to Side Scarf in sustainable Merino yarn by Sheepspot

Not the intended recipient…

This one is going to a good friend, so I let the stuffed polar bear model it for you.

Detail of stitch pattern in knit Magical Side to Side Scarf using Sheepspot sustainable merino yarn

Love the yarn tones for this pattern!

The pattern stitch was simple to work, and easy to remember. This project took me longer because I ran out of yarn, frogged and needed to come back to reknit the end section.

Tabachek cedar drop spindle with Sheepspot organic dyed Polwarth fibre

A spindle deserves organic Polwarth wool!

Last month, Sasha introduced her dyed organic wool top.  It was such a nice surprise, and I wasted no time in starting a spin.  This is my Tabachek cedar compact deluxe spindle (22.5g).  Couldn’t be happier about this material + tool combination!

State of the socks

Finished handknit socks adapted from Cadence pattern in String Theory yarn

New pair as of this weekend

It’s a real sock début!  I gave these zero air time but they were started at the end of February this year.  The yarn is gorgeous String Theory Caper Sock in vert.

They are knit with 2.5 mm needles and using the Cadence Socks (part) pattern. It’s a good pattern –  I just needed to go mindless this winter, and changed to the 6 x 2 ribbing.

Handknit sock in Hummingbird pattern by Sandi Rosner and Araucania Ranco yarn

After months of neglect, a first sock

This next start date goes back an entire year to February 2013. The disgraceful pace is simply because I pushed through with 2.0 mm needles to get gauge with my Araucania yarn of choice.

Handknit Hummingbird sock leg in Araucania Ranco fingering yarn

Perfect pattern for variegated yarn

The pattern is Hummingbird by Sandi Rosner, and I am hoping to make a second sock soon.  Wanting a pair of socks in this colour has not exactly left the building.

handknit RPM socks by Irieknit in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn

Loved but largely untold: the Revving socks

The first post for these RPM socks was last November, shortly before I finished the first sock.

Handknit RPM socks by Irieknit in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock

Twisted stitch on the soles of these socks

Sometimes work just falls through the cracks.  There is nothing like a tough winter to precipitate the gaps as it were.

Finishing these helped me get my sock knitting mojo back in order.  The old pairs are wearing out, and I promised N that I will work on a new pair of stranded socks for him!

Kettle dyed Colinette Iona yarn skein in stash

New fodder for the needles: a baby gift in yarn form

This year has brought more babies to knit for than I have been able to share.  The youngest cousin (that we know of) is due in January.  WIP clearance has let me cast-on for this now (yay!).

It’s been ages since I have seen any Colinette yarns locally but this is luxury for me.  I also have accent yarn from another Iona colourway, and loved the first night’s work this week.

Saving the weaving news for a later post, and wishing everyone well!


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A happy handspun shawl

We are now at extreme cold weather alert the 10th of this winter.  It has been a full 29 days under -15C.  This week just added to the stats.  It is no mistake that I was working with my brightest, happiest handspun yarn.

handspun knit shawl blocking to shape and cat

Melvin observes House Rules about wet wool

The shawl pattern is by Susan Ashcroft, TGV (tricot grande vitesse – High Speed Knitting).  The projects on Ravelry are very close to 2,000 strong.  Of those, 68 projects record the use of handspun yarn.

closeup handspun knit shawl blocking

Sunshine in a knit. Seriously

I worked this shawl with 3.75 mm needles for the garter body, and 3.5mm needles for the long rows of ribbing.  This gave an open gauge with my chain-plied yarn, and it has tons of drape.

It is an easy design to knit-up.  The later rows are very long, and that slows progress a bit for me at least.

handspun yarn leftover from shawl knit project

Good to the last drop: yarn overage

That would be the yarn leftovers.  I used up the 408.46 yards of handspun.  It was planned too (I swear!)  How?  By casting-off, raveling, and weighing how much that took.  It was 4g just to cast-off that long, long edge. I wanted all the orange; as simple as that.

Such a joy in the wearing

wearing handspun TGV knit shawl

A crescent scarf is what it is

At the deepest point my TGV is just 11″ edge-to-edge.  It wraps best for me with the deep edge to the front.  Much more scarf-like than shawl-like in the wearing!

TGV handspun knitted shawl wearing closeup

The ribbing detail

In an effort to avoid the Rocks of Boredom for yonder ribbing section, I turned it into a Baby Cable Rib.  The recipe is in Barbara G. Walker’s A Treasury of Knitting Patterns.

The variation is subtle in the FO but it improved the knitting up for me.  I knit socks.  So I know that 2×2 ribbing is great just in moderation.

knit handspun shawl in citrus colours

Sure, this shawl is bringing the bright back.  It’s not just about Handspun! and Accent for the Drab! though.  It’s also keeping turtleneck shirts at bay.  And that dear readers, is a really good thing.

In sum:  easy to wear; bright; not a turtleneck shirt. Yay!

How long did that take?

Let me walk you through the timeline.  We will wake the TKK archives up a bit too.  In April 2012, I won the awesome braid from Nicole at Stringtopia’s doorprize party.

Superwash BFL handdyed top wool fibre

Musewings’ Stringtopia 2012 doorprize

It sat on my fibre shelf until I wanted a new project for the 2013 Stringtopia event.  Thus, it snuck into that April’s Making Progress post like this.

Hand-dyed BFL fibre and Bosworth Purpleheart spindle

The seedling of the shawl: April 2013

As I reported, a lot did get spun at the Golden Lamb, 2013 String Thing.  That closely followed with a full spindle in May, 2013.

Bosworth Purpleheart mini spindle with BFL handdyed yarn

I was so stoked

The second ply was spun by early July 2013, and I had yarn to show for it during the Tour de Fleece.  It positively loves the camera.

Handspun spindle BFL yarn

Shawl-in-waiting: July 2013

The only stage of this journey that didn’t get blogged on was  when I whipped it out on January 9, 2014 and started to knit.  Here is how she looked on the needles!

knitting handspun shawl

TGV shawl when she was in progress.

The knitting time was on & off between January & last Sunday, February 23, 2014.

Nicole, you have my deepest thanks for such an epic doorprize.  I love it so much!


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Love in the air

Cupid came early this year to Cuz!  Congrats on her engagement!  My girl was packing for a weekend trip down to Jamaica when she stumbled upon a box in with her jewelry.  So in the space of 2 sleeps she gets the ring, hops on a plane, soaks up some rays & family loving, and is back by her fiancé’s side… sweet!

Lately my knitting feels like it’s headed for a bunch of UFOs.  The new baby gift has jumped the line & is giving trouble.  I’m getting a little posh with the design & the shower is in 3 weeks….  Please send me your good vibez!  I wanted a change from baby clothes, so am going with a classic blankie.  It’s white with green accents in superwash wool.  I will admit to buying some hand-wash at first but realized the error of my ways v. quickly.  White + baby!

Since cables & twisted stitches are involved, I have a worry about blocking.  Which is to say that my conscience is vocal.  I should stop knitting & swatch this yarn.  Since I’m almost through the first ball, now would be the time!

Did I mention that the shower is in 3 weeks? It’s not the worst deadline ever but blankets are not small things.  Plus DK-weight blankets with cables just gobble-up those stitches.

While I sweat the small stuff, 2 projects are on hold (not UFOs yet!).  First there’s the teal sweater.  The one I was rather hopefully referring to as the January Lady Sweater.  Yeah – that needs a name change.  It’s almost done… just ignore my heavy sighs, okay?

Second is DH’s merino Baktus-style scarf.  I never did match my (woefully short) stash yarn.  What I did find was this solid red sister up at Main Street Yarns.  I know the line’s been discontinued, so I went for it.  You should have seen Carolyn & me tearing through her bin hunting down those reds!  Carolyn is the v. friendly LYSO of Main Street Yarns fame.

Plays hard to get

As you can see, it wasn’t cheap but double the yardage = double the fun.  Re-imagined it’s a 9″ wide scarf with 2 row carries.  The first push after frogging:

A full week later it’s really not much longer.  Mind you, DH has another hand-knit scarf that works just fine.  The difference here shows how much I did  at Pub Night with a Corona last week:

Not much!

So, no extra knitting but I am still spinning.  The merino finger roving is all done!  The last bit was almost intact & yielded enough for another 3-ply skein.  Here it is sitting on the Tsunami:

Marcus Garvey J$20 coin shows scale

I’m also back to the Romney & the BFL commercial-prep combed top.  It’s a nice way to break up the careful knitting.

It may be in the air but I bet’cha Adam Giambrone isn’t feeling the love this Valentines Day…


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Progress 2 ways and Kindness

This might look like I’m at a standstill but really this is a spanking new January Lady Sweater:

Version 1.o was sadly deluded.  It was kidding itself into thinking that it could ever fit me.  So, to mix metaphors, I bit the bullet & frogged.

Not pointing fingers or calling names but sometimes garter stitch knitting can go to one’s head.  Version 2.0 is not only knit according to the yarn’s gauge but also up a size to the 37½ bust.  It also boasts a slip-stitch edge and neater buttonholes.  Now for the yards of EZ’s gull lace pattern…

I also made good on the promise to sample the fruits of my hand-spinning.  Thanks to Amelia Ask the Bellweather‘s post for Beginning Spinners like me, I found 2 free & easy spinner’s control cards:  from a guild; & on flicker.

Armed thusly, I backed out the grey Romney/ mystery wool 2-ply for a test drive.  A mere slip of a thing at 46′ & 20 wraps per inch (wpi).  Meaning that it is a scrap of fingering weight.  Perfect for sampling.  On my US 2/ 2.75mm needles it became something:

From that wee swatch I am relieved to see that my counter-clockwise hand-spun (z twist) didn’t want to split much on knitting & has no bias.  Of course, it’s a wee thing, so we shall see.  I’ll be paying closer attention to swatching from here on in.  Really.

Why do I have z-twist yarn?  Yah.  I spin sitting down like a market woman – inner left thigh rolling to be exact.  [Mother did shudder]

As for kindness… a week ago First Susan from the Wool Bin’s knitting group gave me her super-bulky alpaca scarf.  It’s fantasically warm:

Second Susan originally bought this Misty Alpaca yarn, hated the colourway & destashed it over to First Susan.  At the meet-up I was alone in loving the FO’s bright colours.  That very week, First Susan presented it to me!  Here I am that day in my coat, hat & new scarfy:

How did I ever go this many years without a long, thick scarf of my own?  Duh!

This scarf isn’t only warm though.  It’s a splash against dreary winter days like this:

Thanks again to the 2 Susans!