Monday, December 16, 2013

Weaving to the (gift knitting) finish line

Hello! I hope you had a great weekend full of crafty victories, because mine was.  Check this out:

That's pretty much the end of the scarf I've been weaving since October, and I cannot tell you how glad I was to see the end of it.  It was easily the roughest project I took on this year.

You know what - even though having and using a loom is a very practical solution to a lot of problems, there is just so much about weaving I don't love.  To finish this thing I had to make myself think about all the objections and how to correct them, in spite of the fact that moaning over it all is so much more satisfying.

Bottom line?  I always get a sore back doing it.  So I put a cushion onto the back of the chair I use and voila!

So much easier to finish a project when you're not in pain.

(your eyes are not deceiving you, no.  the sides of this scarf are very wobbly.  this is probably another thing I don't love about weaving that can only be fixed by spending even more time on it: I'm not good at it yet.)

Another brilliant innovation that might help you some day was to play a lot of Christmas music while I worked - that kept me from getting too bored while reminding me why I was sitting in that chair in the first place, though I suppose that would have only seasonal effectiveness.  I mean, if I try to weave some scarves in January to cut down next December's pressure, my brain would probably notice the trick.  Of course, if I'm really tired, I might still get away with it.

As you're finishing off a marathon project like this your thoughts are guarantee to turn to what's next, 'what's next' hopefully involving some sort of delightful form of procrastination.  In my desperate state however, it was all about finishing off the next gift knit.

So after I'd finished tying off the first set of ends and got the second set off the roller...

I took a break to check on a gift knit I'd set out to dry a couple of days before.  I wanted to be sure it was right, because my next job was to knit a second gift just like it except for the colour.

:: Cue the doom music ::

and it was awful

scratchy and, frankly, smelly

definitely not giftable


Being Resourceful

Obviously, I was going to have to reknit Gift A in new yarn, and I was also going to have to come up with a new idea for Gift B.  A stash-yarn investigation proved that I am pretty much out of bulky yarn that knits up fast, and there wasn't any time to get to a yarn store either.  I was going to have to improvise.

Accepting Reality

I came sadly back upstairs and looked at the scarf I'd just pushed my way through, and I tied off all the ends, and I picked it up and draped it over my shoulders and looked in the mirror.  The sides are absolutely not straight, but it still looked awesome.

So awesome that there was very obviously only one solution to my problem.

yep, I had to start a whole new scarf.

But that's also a whole new story - so drop by again tomorrow and I'll tell you how it came out!


Joan said...

OMG! I can't believe you started a new weaving after all the complaints about the first scarf/shawl...which is lovely, BTW. I attempted weaving ONCE...that was enough for me. Making any gift when in's too short...I'd have walked thru a blizzard to the LYS to get the bulky yarn. You're a very brave woman.

Leslie said...

I'm not an expert weaver, but I do have some experience...I think maybe your selvedges are a little tight. Are you "throwing" so that the "shot" come out an an angle? Or is it close to the cloth? I ask because the thread needs a little give, and the angle allows that to happen. I usually try to pick up the shuttle near the beater so that the thread looks like about a 30 degree angle. Just some thoughts...the scarves are beautiful! And no one is going to notice the edges when it's wrapped around neck and face...

Leslie said...

oh, and Laura has some really good tips about keeping your body happen when weaving. Google Weaving a Life.

Mary Keenan said...

Leslie, my selvedges are WAY too tight! They used to be too loose, which I think is even worse cosmetically speaking. I do the angle thing as you describe it, I just tug too hard at first to keep from leaving loose edges and then later to keep it all consistent at least. I think I need to weave something small and just fuss with selvedges and all the other stuff I keep messing up :^)

Mary Keenan said...

Joan, you are sweet but I suspect it's more about 'crazy' than 'brave' ;^) The story does have a happy ending though and it's not just that the loom's folded away for the rest of the season!

Leslie said...

I've been thinking a little more about your selvedges...I know...I have nothing better to do when I'm sleeping...anyway, how is your tension? I ask because when I was learning to weave and my selvedges got out of whack my teacher would come over and crank up the tension on my loom. Beyond what I thought was reasonable and ok for the yarn. And yet, things would sturdy up right away and the selvedges would behave themselves. They tend NOT to pull in on the edges and you don't have to fuss over them. I do find it difficult to get proper tension on my rigid heddle (I have a Cricket, but you have something I don't know how to explain to you how to tighten a few "notches" beyond what your initial assessment of tight enough is.) Just a thought :)

Mary Keenan said...

Leslie, I keep the tension pretty tight but it's your mention of 'beyond what I thought was reasonable...' - I'll try turning that crank a little farther and see what happens next time, thanks!

Leslie said...

Good luck and let me know if that helps...of course your loom is put away now...:(