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Friday, May 8, 2009

A little of this and that

Where does the week go? Is universal time becoming faster these days? I think it is. At the beginning of the week I noticed that my blog had just celebrated its one year "blog-aversary." There was no fanfare, there were no party hats, and sadly, there was no cake. Sigh. There was only a casual nod to the passing of internet time and some reflection on the way blogs capture little segments of our lives and cast them into the larger sea of thoughts and commentary that form this web community. By making my life - or at least a little bit of it, publicly viewable, I have stepped into the current and become part of the online din that whizzes past our eyes and ears every day. I can only hope I have contributed to the stream in a some small, positive way.

Now on to the rest of the week. With the monthly meeting of our local spinning and knitting group, I returned to my patient, and sometimes lonely, Kromski Sonata spinning wheel to tackle a new wool and mohair roving dyed a delicious melange of pink and yellow. After much groaning and struggle, I had finally dispatched the sticky and persnickety blue wool that looked so pretty but spun with such difficulty. Oh it was not all the beauty it pretended to be! The fibers were long but stuck together with some sort of super bond that tested my patience. However, after heavily drafting it, I did spin it down to the end. The result was one bobbin of embarrassingly overspun and kinked yarn that I wound into a center-pull ball for plying.

Let me tell you that plying an overspun yarn this way - taking yarn from the inside and outside of a center-pull ball at the same time, was an exercise in frustration for me. Only later, after having stopped plying and removing the offending yarn from the wheel forever, did I learn (at my spinning group), that there is a trick to plying this way which involves some clever manipulation of the ball and the yarns within the non-plying hand. ( Actually, the description sounded like a third hand might be needed!) As I was itching to spin something new, I followed my weaving teacher's advice and unwound the remaining single yarn in the ball and wrapped it on my warping board, after which I gently hung the hank on a peg with a small weight to release some of the overspun twist. At some point, I will use this as a weft yarn on my Ashford Knitter's Loom, combining it with some 5/2 perle cotton in blue that I have hanging around, to make a scarf.

In contrast, this latest roving is a dream to spin and the color is a yummy fuchsia-lemon blend that is a nice change from the blues and browns I have been spinning. It's almost a pencil roving and it needs very little pre-drafting before spinning. (Hooray!) I purchased this 50-50 wool and mohair blend from Friend's Folly Farm of Monmouth, ME, while I was at a fiber fair weekend months ago. The mohair lends a fuzzier effect to the finished yarn, so it will be interesting to see how this looks once plied and washed. I am already envisioning it woven into something soft and comforting to wear. I just need to find a coordinating warp yarn, probably in yellow.

It's coming along nicely, don't you think?

So why not use this yummy yarn for knitting, you ask? Well, it is a possibility of course. But there's that weaving business that seems to have taken over my brain and woven itself into the fiber of my thoughts. (Sorry for the puns!) I am starting to dream in warp and weft rather than knit and purl. The advantage of weaving is the ability to make cloth a lot faster than I can by knitting. Plus my hands don't go numb when weaving like they do while knitting. Of course, the loom set-up time is considerable, and my back curses me after leaning over the loom for hours while putting on and threading the yarns. But like people say of childbirth, you forget all that once you are throwing the shuttle and watching your fledgling fabric grow by the minute. The magic of actually weaving overshadows the preparation time.

Now that my weaving class has come to and end for summer vacation, I am working on two weaving projects at home. First, I have twill cotton dishcloths in pale blue and white on my Leclerc floor loom. I would have made more progress on these by now if not for the mistakes I made while sleying the reed: in two places I put four rather than two yarns per dent. I had already woven 32 rows before I decided that this error was going to be noticeable (at least to me), and that I needed to correct these areas. It really didn't take long to fix (just like the weaving teacher predicted), but I feared the effort and thus, put it off too long. Procrastination, you are my middle name.

Second, I have a scarf on my Ashford rigid heddle Knitter's Loom that was working up fairly quickly until I had to take a break to take care of some jewelry business and also to plant some vegetable seeds in the garden while the timing of the moon was right. (I am attempting to follow the Gardening by the Moon method posted on the Farmer's Almanac site.) The scarf has a warp of deep blue 5/2 perle cotton, a free yarn from the Weaver's Guild stash, and a weft of a white and blue synthetic chenille of unknown fiber content, which was received through Freecycle. I am tempted to throw in a narrow stripe here and there of a multi-colored ribbon yarn, just for a bit of color, but I have not made that executive decision just yet. I can see how scarves to weavers can become like socks to knitters; they are both addictive little projects which can be completed relatively quickly and with small amounts of materials.

7" done so far

Add a stripe or not, what is your vote?

Then there are the lovely polymer flowers from ZudaGay waiting on my crafting table to be made into necklaces and bracelets. But here I am writing a blog post rather than working on jewelry and it is already 10 pm. Will someone please slow down the universe so I can catch up??

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Blogger ZudaGay said...

Happy Blog-aversary, Liv!!! Ooo, the pink/yellow yarn is turning out just lovely! I can't wait to see what you do with it. I love the scarf you are working on. hummm, I think I vote for a little stripe. It looks so soft. I jumped when I got to the end of your post and there was one of my flowers looking at me. hehehe... I think it is going to have to wait, you really need to finish that scarf.

May 8, 2009 at 10:38 PM  
Blogger Chauncey said...

Great post, Liv. I can't slow time but I can wish you a Happy blogiversary and agree with Zuda... a little stripe would be extra sweet.

May 8, 2009 at 11:18 PM  
Blogger Sixsisters said...

Happy Anniversary Liv ! I love the colors of your wool.
Just beautiful. It must be so gratifying to see the final
product after all of your hard work.

May 9, 2009 at 7:55 AM  
Blogger Rose said...

Great day! The weaving is beautiful and I think the stripe would be an added plus. I have a loom too but it's never been set up. Maybe someday.

May 9, 2009 at 4:02 PM  

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