Friday, November 30, 2012

Weaving is my friend again

I am telling you: this business of making stuff for everybody on my Christmas list is so much not as nice as making stuff for just a few people and buying perfectly nice things for everybody else.  Plus, the few things for those few people are starting to come out a bit better since I gave up my original plan.

Here is a terrible photograph of the scarf I've been weaving for approximately forever:

What does show up well is the short bursts of colour - it's almost like a Santa Fe print or woodgrain, don't you think? - which would have been super strangely pooled had I just done a plain knit with this yarn. 

Another positive is what I learned about how to keep the weave tighter.  Here is an up-close shot of the fabric I made, complete with a noticeable patch where the black Malabrigo yarn folded itself sideways and kind of squashed as it crossed the warp:

See how the colour part is sort of vertical?  That's because I used a very fine heddle to match the pretty fine warping yarn.  Each of those colour strands is a rectangle because they're too close together for the black yarn to get pushed down enough for squares.

With the current scarf, I switched to a heddle with fewer openings placed a bit further apart:

This time, even though the warping yarn is finer still, I'm getting horizontal rectangles.  It's a more rustic look and one that reminds me a lot of the runner I love on my dresser at the cottage.

(again, sorry for the awful pictures: we're back into grey skies again here.)

I don't know whether this scarf is going to come out looking the way I hoped, but I do know that the one I took off the loom to make way for it almost does.  It's got the denser weave I was going for after the disaster of the very loosely woven black and blue scarf, and I like the way the colours have blended, and the sides are mostly even - enough to pass muster, anyway.  The only problem:

Yeah.  That happened just a few passes before I ran out of black yarn and tied off the scarf, but I didn't notice it till I was tying the fringe.  Couldn't you just cry?  Here it is on the reverse:

To me, in the midst of no other mistakes, it's glaringly obvious.  However, I do have a fix.  It's so close to the end and the side, it's a logical place to stitch a 'label' that covers up the error.  And after a day of trying to think of the nearest source of black twill tape for the purpose, I remembered I have a drawerful of black felted wool sweater scraps I could easily cut into a cool-looking rectangle.  No need to serge the ends, either.  Go me!

Now that's what I call making a mistake a design feature.

Mini book review

I wanted to mention that the current scarf is going pretty fast because I've been entertaining myself with an audiobook of The Night Circus while I work on it.

There seems to be a fair bit of buzz on this book, mainly for its highly magical, imaginative writing.  I could spend a month with a cereal box whose copy was beautifully written - I don't care about plot if the writer's voice is only strong and compelling enough - but I did hesitate over reviews that said it had no plot to speak of and/or nothing happens in it.  Then I thought: if I'm weaving, I don't care what happens as long as the words are good and the narrator is not terrible.

Guess what?  The narrator is fantastic, and something is always happening.  It's not big adventure every minute, but it's always something, and the somethings are building, and I'm enjoying the story very much.  Highly recommended if you find yourself in need of such a distraction.

And now, go on and have a fabulous weekend.  I will be here weaving and maybe even finishing a pair of socks I'm not giving away, thanks to the miracle of not trying to make something for every single person I like.  I hope you get to go easy on yourself too!


Anonymous said...

Hey Mary-

I love reading your blog and your weaving is beautiful! I love your socks too (of course)! I always have socks on my dpns. What size needles do you use? I use 1 or 2's.

thanks again for a great blog and patterns.
Jan HP

Mary Keenan said...

Thanks Jan! I use 1s for fingering-weight socks too. I knit so many socks now that when I move up to bigger needles they feel so weird!