Monday, October 11, 2004


This week has all been about planning. Planning the size and style to make my scrap yarn vest. Planning my next few weaving project. Planning and looking for the perfect aran sweater patterns to make a set of sweaters for himself and me. And finally planning on what to buy next.

Weaving: I am half done weaving my poncho so it is time to start working on the next project. It’s a Thank You scarf all out of hand spun. It will be an easy project that I will plan as I go. The hardest part is that I have been spinning for 3 years for this scarf and I will probably only use one evening worth of that yarn. Why 3 years and a pound and half of yarn for a scarf that will only take four to eight ounces. Well I asked her what colors she likes and the answer was turquoise green. Well I thought I had every color already in my stash but it turns out I had none of that color. Not one baggie. That leads to a year of picking up every blue green I come across for a year. Then I had to spin all of that and while it was waiting it’s turn on the loom I found more shades of blue greens and green blues. Now all but the last two ounces are spun and it’s turn on the loom is next but what to do with the rest? It might become a Thank You Hat and Thank You Hand Sweaters to go with the Thank You Scarf. Or it may become yardage to hopefully become a fall jacket.

That’s right. It’s time to make some clothing out of my weaving. I have started going to weaving conferences and I must have garments. It is easer to walk around nonchalantly in woven art wear and wait for the complements to come to you that to keep a kitchen towel in your purse. The only way I can think to show that off nonchalantly is to pull it out at the cafeteria and comment on how you just can’t stand to harm the environment using paper napkins. So far I am planning on a cashmere dress and a wool fall jacket. The cashmere is a commercial yarn that has been waiting too long for it’s turn. The jacket is still undecided. Should it be my tartan- I bought that yarn years ago or possibly using up that blue green handspun. Angora possibly? I have a tone of that spun up too. But first I have to by the pattern so I can plan on how wide the pieces have to be on my loom.

Knitting is going well. I am half done with my scrap yarn vest for the second time. It seems that I was lying to myself about the gauge the first time and that vest was going to be much too big. Some new math and some new plans and I hope it is coming out all right now. While it can’t be my next knitting project I have started planning the aran sweaters. I have heathered yarn in teal, navy, and periwinkle. Last summer I bought all three colors on sale after himself mentioned that he would like a sweater. I have now picked out four aran patterns that I would like to knit. Once I buy the patterns and look them over to make sure they are practical he will get to choose the color and pattern for his first sweater. I will then choose from the two colors and three patterns that are left to make a sweater for me. Once they are done I just may make us pose for those Christmas card with the family photo. Something that has never appealed to me before but how else will everybody get to see our complementary sweaters? Maybe I will make one for Joey and the whole family can get in on it.

Spinning has stalled out. We haven’t bought new movies in a few weeks. That any I have been knitting like crazy to make up the lost ground. Maybe this week will be better. Spinning is always about planning. Planning and dreaming. How thin do I want to spin this silk? What can I make with two ounces of white baby alpaca? How long will I be interested in spinning plain white cotton? Should I wash this wool or spin it in the grease? It is the possibilities in spinning that attract me so much. Right now I am still working on the black angora needed to finish my gray alpaca and silk poncho and the other wheel still has the cotton linen blend that was supposed to become my first hand spun hand woven garment. It looks like a wool jacket just might beat it.
All of this planning came out of my desire to use from my stash before buying any new yarn. Well now I can make these projects from my stash but that doesn’t mean I’m home free. I need knitting patterns for the sweaters. I need sewing patterns for the dress and jacket, buttons, zippers, and most importantly; planning to find the time to take a class so I can learn to operate that crazy machine or figuring out a plan to twist the arm of some one that already sews to do it for me.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Knitting a Vest and Time

I finished my knitted tam using all the scrap yarns that we tied together at the last guild meeting. I did have to start over at the halfway point because of a typo in the pattern. More proof that it’s better to do the math myself instead of trusting a bought pattern.

I liked the look of the tam fabric so much that I am using the same ball of scraps to knit a matching vest. I dug through my stash to find a complementary yarn to use as ribbing. While knitting the Tam I knew of the perfect yarn. I have some periwinkle tweed in my stash that I thought would go well with the periwinkle handspun scraps. However, once I dug it out the tweed was much too warm to go with the cool colors in my vest. I kept looking and I had some oatmeal wool that I had bought to make a sweater that is perfect. I hope my sweater to be won’t miss a hank because I am now happily knitting on my vest.

All other knitting projects are put away for now. I suppose I should start caring the Christmas socks to work with me again but I’m so frustrated with the idea of ripping out the other foot that I’m not keen on finishing the foot I’m working on.

I finished warping the loom this morning. All that’s left is tying on and the weaving. I think the warp is long enough for the poncho and some yardage too. I hope so. I want the poncho to be solid pink but I found a great peach and gray variegated yarn while digging in my stash that would look great with that pink.

Right now using up that stash is the name of the game. I will not buy more yarn until I have used up a suitable amount of what I already own! My loom room is already so crowded that it’s not as pleasant working in there as it should be. My goal is to use enough that I can buy pounds of natural colored cotton that the Yarn Barn has offered on their mill ends list. The problem is that the mill ends are only available while supplies last and I don’t know how long that will be. However, a suitable amount isn’t set in stone either, soon as I feel like I have woven enough new yarn is fair game. But once again I have a stipulation of alternating a mill spun and a hand spun project on my loom. Sometimes I get a real chuckle at the stipulations I put on myself.

Spinning is still the black angora. I’m having to card it first to even out the fibers. I didn’t like the variegated quality the yarn had just spinning from the bag. Now the yarn is coming out nicely heathered instead. The knitted poncho is alpaca plyed with silk. I’m thinking of plying the angora with silk too. I no longer have any of that dye lot left. I do have some charcoal gray silk that matches the angora. I will just have to spin and knit up some samples before deciding.

I have had people ask how I get so much done. Really I’m pretty lazy and don’t think I do all that much. So I’ll tell of a typical day this week. From when I wake up until 9 am is my weaving time. This can be 2 hours or it can be 15 minutes. On Saturday no weaving since I work in the mornings but I make up for it by being able to weave until noon on Sunday if I want. At 9:00 I get 20 minutes to clean house before going to work. At work I knit on my lunch break. After work I am just available for my family or friends. I take care of my rabbits and go with my husband on a two-mile walk. However, if we sit down to watch a movie I spend the two hours spinning. On the weeks that I have to be at work at 7 am I don’t weave as much but I get more spinning done at night. It all evens out and gives me plenty of time for other things too.