Monthly Archives: November 2014

No snow

While the U.S. is buried under a huge pile of snow, it is still unseasonably warm here. We eat breakfast in the conservatory and it’s not uncomfortable to leave the doors open so the dogs can charge wander in and out while we scoff our porridge.
I feel kind of cheated, I mean, we live as far North as it’s possible to get on the British mainland and even when we’ve had snow, it’s been far worse farther South. How does that happen?!? (Actually that was a rhetorical question, technically I have a little understanding why it is, something to do with the Gulf Stream and living on the coast but emotionally it makes me want to stamp my feet).
Snow maintains a magical quality, probably something to do with years of conditioning in response to clever marketing of perfect Christmases and crackling log fires and very little to do with the misery I imagine many are living with somewhere on the other side of the Atlantic right now.
When we lived in a city, snow was especially beautiful as it threw a clean (well initially) blanket over all the grime and tatters; here it adds to the view, making everything picture perfect.
It’s the perfect weather for us knitters, spinners and weavers too. We can snuggle down and knit/spin/weave away to our hearts’ content and when we have to leave the comforts of central heating, don the scarves, hats, sweaters and gloves that we have been dying to show off all year (unless like me, you just can’t wait so end up sweltering in a fair isle in July muttering about how wool is supposed to be temperature regulating).
So until the mythical Arctic Freeze arrives I shall content myself with a photo from some time back.

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Happy hooking

I’ve been enjoying a little bit of hooking recently. My knitting got cast aside after I realised, several months of knitting in, that the jumper in progress will fit both me and Mr Weaving Heart at the same time! I’m not really sure what happened that I hadn’t realised this before really. So it has been relegated to The Cupboard where it will remain until I forget that it’s HUGE and denial has set back in.
Until then, I thought I would make another crocheted blanket.
This is the previous one;

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and I love it, it’s bright, cheerful and being largely made from the ‘A’ word it can withstand lots of washing and tumble drying. I have commenced upon a similar one; the yarn is Stylecraft and is cheap as chips, the pattern is from the lovely Lucy of Attic 24 (Google her, I’m simply too lazy to sort out a link, sorry) and is fabulous mindless evening crafty indulgence.

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The weaving studio is nearly nearly finished and we’re just awaiting the reappearance of the electrician to wire up the fuse box for things like light and heat, nothing important then. I will say no more, just know that my silence speaks volumes.

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I must be warped

Well, the wicked witch of the warping weaver (how’s that for alliteration?!?) has paid me a visit today. Sad face.
I’ve been waiting for a sectional warping beam to arrive and then waiting for the right opportunity to get it all set up and learn how to use it.
I finished a warp at the weekend and the next one planned was for a scarf commission for 5/2 bamboo in stripes (it’s a pinwheel draft so that means a stripy warp with a stripy weft to make cute little windmills) so not too fine and fairly straightforward.
Ha! You think so…?
Ok, first I had to work out how much yarn to wind onto the bobbins, the yarn winds straight from these onto the beam and you need one bobbin for every thread in the warp.

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For the beam on my loom, I can wind it in 2cm (all metric, I’ll have to learn not to think in inches) sections so for this I needed 16 bobbins for each one. Well to be honest I kind of winged it; the instructions suggest weighing the bobbins and then winding on the weight of yarn needed and subtracting the bobbin weight from the final weight to work out how much yarn you have wound on….eh?!? What a performance. Firstly, I don’t think in terms of yarn weight anyway, well maybe for knitting but definitely not for weaving; so I simply couldn’t be doing with trying to get my head around that. Secondly, it seemed like a real faff; winding a bit, taking the bobbin off the winder to weigh it, winding a bit more…you get my drift?
So I simply kind of looked at it. And then wound on a bit more, just to be sure and to abate the weaving Goddess.
Then the bobbins go onto the bobbin rack, a la the photo. Easy. Well, until I knocked it and all the spindles fell out and the bobbins all slid off and the ends got tangled up. Much swearing occurred at this point.
Next came the threading of each end through the tension device (the scary looking thing with the big cog attached to the loom).
Each end. Through the tension device.
I’ll say no more about this part.
Once I’d managed to attach these to the beam, I could start to wind the section onto the loom, bent double while holding up the friction break. This bit hurt.
That’s it, no harder than this, except to repeat this step a further 19 times.
And this was a relatively narrow warp (39cm). Once on the loom (several days later) it looked like this.

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Lots of neatly lined up threads, all smoothly sitting on the warping beam. Not. As you can see, some are all a bit wobbly and wibbley and some threads had kind of hopped over into the next section while I wasn’t looking too, the little monkeys. I foresaw horrendous tension issues later on.
I managed to sort these out as best that I could and get it all threaded and tied on. It was lovely to be doing something familiar and comfortable, I was looking forward to the actual weaving, my favourite part.
I wound some pirns (the bit that holds the yarn in the shuttle), sat in front of the loom and pressed down the first treadle. Yikes!! What was that?!? Half of the threads went all scarily loose. I tightened the warp and tried again. Heavens, there it was again. Then I looked around the back of the loom, ready to glare threateningly at the sectional beam and saw this.

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I’d neglected to take the warp over the back beam. Horrors!
At this point Mr Weaving Heart happened to walk passed and caught me with my head in my hands, muttering softly to myself, possibly drooling a little too. He came to my rescue with a strong cup of tea, several chocolate biscuits and A PLAN. What a star!
He managed to take off the back beam, slid it under the warp without disturbing the threads and get it like this.

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All good and proper like. Hurrah!
Anyway, no tension issues later (how this happened I know not but I am oh sooo grateful), it looks a bit like this.

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