Saturday, June 26, 2010

Tablet Weaving

Those that know me well, know that when I try something I usually try all of something, and usually all at once (sorry Brian, I know this can be hard to live with sometimes). For example the newest fun craft in my house is weaving. It started with the little rigid heddle loom that made a couple of scarves on, then I picked up a cheapo kids toy square 'loop' loom or a potholder loom that comes with those little nylon rings for making utterly useless potholders. I used it to make 4 squares that I then turned into a teddy bear (sorry, no pics, gave it a way as soon as it was off of the loom). Then I got my floor loom and I currently have a project going on that as well as another scarf on the rigid heddle. Then I came across this website called the Society of Primitive Technology and they have a cool page on how to do Tablet or Card weaving. It's pretty simple and utterly complex at the same time. So for a while I also had 6 feet of string and whatnot strung across the dining room.
Basically you make square cards (though the don't have to be - there are many patterns that call for triangles or octagons or...well, you get the idea) and punch holes in the corners and then label them. Then you measure your warp, string it through the holes, tie knots in each end, tie one end to something (I used a dining room chair) tie the other end to your belt (or another chair, whatever gets you tension)
 and start weaving your weft back and forth through the shed that is made by the space between holes on the cards:
The pattern is born when you rotate the cards towards or away from you in accompaniment with the warping pattern. I basically used 4 turns away and then 4 turns towards myself and got this pattern:
The back of the strap creates another pattern:
After it was deemed long enough I hemmed the ends (trial and error will be a big part of my learning curve on this one...this strap is pretty thick and so that means the hems are too....I will eventually figure out how to remedy this) and sewed in a couple of D rings and made a belt for Abby.

Jacob is begging for one and I have already picked up the 'more manly' shades of blues and will be making new cards shortly (the ones I made from card stock barely made it through this project  - need thicker ones that don't have bendy corners). I have already got the wooden squares and sanded them, now I need to drill the holes and label them then I can start. Oh, and finish those projects that are ongoing on the looms too...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Birthday To Me! (a month ago - finally catching up)

So I had my (cough)30th(cough) birthday on May 5th and I had a GREAT day. Well actually I had a great couple of days. My mom came down for a visit and brought my big birthday present....a 4 harness Leclerc floor loom! I am giddy.
The only bummer was that I didn't get to warp it right that instant. That was on Monday night. Tuesday we went shopping and I only bought one thing - some cups and domed lids like you get when you have a smoothie - I am going to sell some fiber in them.
Wednesday morning bright and early we got up and got ourselves out the door to head to Orcas Island. On our way we stopped for breakfast and then the used bookstore (actually two used bookstores) I bought at least a half a dozen books on either dyeing or weaving. Next we headed to a yarn shop where I bought two skeins of sock yarn and 4oz of fiber to spin...wwwweeeeee!
While on Orcas I visited Maria at Warm Valley Orchard in the studio where we talked about the upcomiing sheep to shawl and I bought some more fiber and yarn with my birthday money. As I was leaving I told her about my newly aquired loom and she out of the blue just gave me a couple of cones to practice with. After I got home I realized that the fiber I had bought was identical to fiber I already had...I guess I was drawn to it for a reason. I may sell it I may spin it and sell it, who knows at this point. 
I got a couple of  wonderful Mother's Day cards from my kids and husband and all in all had a fabulous weekend.
On the way home we stopped at the Weaving Works in Seattle and OMG was I in HEAVEN! I'll be making the drive for that place again for sure! I have more stuff than I know what to do with at the moment but I know where to go if I need anything for spinning, weaving, knitting, basketmaking, etc. While there I bought some bamboo yarn to weave into a shawl/stole and some BFL fiber in a natural off white color for a scarf I have in mind. Mom bought me a boat shuttle as another birthday gift (like the loom wasn't enough....sheesh. I love my mom. She spoils me when she can).
Since then I have been doing a bunch of spinning and weaving. The first thing I put on my loom was some cotton carpet warp that I used to weave some mats for the kitchen, using scraps of fabric as the weft. I love how they came out but they slide all over and are more hazard than help for now. I will be getting some spray on rubber at some point to coat the backs in to hopefully solve the problem.
Currently on the loom I have some cotton that was intended to be 12 placemats that were to be 11 inches tall and 18 inches wide. That did not work out. I didn't know how to figure the 'sett' of a given yarn and it didn't really occur to me to do something with it. Live and learn. After a bunch of trial and error I have finally got it strung and tied on and have begun to weave. It will much to narrow to be any sort of placemat but since I have tons of yardage on the warp I will have more than enough for a table runner (and we have a nice long table). I was bummed at first that the pattern I had strung for a plaid was not coming out.
I realize it is because it is still set to wide to give me a balanced weave but as I stood up to stop weaving and decide to continue on, try something else, or use what I had as a sample a different pattern caught my eye. It shows up pretty well in the photo but in person you can only see it at the right angle. I am still unsure of what to do - to keep going as is, or to scrap it. I'll probably just keep going.
I planted some pot peas that will bush out instead of climb and I am very excited to see them growing. The peas only took about a week to germinate and almost all of them have come up. I think only 2 or 3 did not. Looking forward to making a fresh pea salad in a couple of months!
The same day I planted the peas, Brian was in the mood to cook so we headed out to Tacoma Boys and picked up some things for dinner...We ended up making some sirloin steaks in a red wine, shallot and currant reduction sauce and served that with some oven roasted potatos and steamed green beans. For some reason ALL of my photos are washed out and have this weird greyish tint to them so when you see the pic know that the sauce was a deep purple and the the beans a bright fresh green, not the sickly color that they are appearing (try to adjust the color in all of these photos to be brighter and less grey if you can do that on your imaginary color adjuster thingy). Needless to say dinner was superb, especially with the glass of wine and because we got to eat it out on the back patio.
This Thursday I plyed the yarn I have had on the wheel for about a month and I am very pleased with it. The colors are wonderful and they shift into eachother so wonderfully, I don't know if I will sell this one or keep it for myself but I am smitten with the colors and thier progression. Again try to imagine all of the colors brighter.
Well, that is all for now (yes I am finally done). Off to put the kiddies to bed...

Friday, June 11, 2010

1 Thing About Me

No that is not a typo. It is NOT in fact meant to be a '100 things about me' meme. So here it is:

1 thing about me:
I hate meme's. I wont do them. If you would like to know something about me, please by all means ask.

That is all. carry on.