Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Small projects and Big surprises

The mittens are done! Why does the second of a pair take a gazillion times longer than the first one does? I swear that first mitten took only 3 days of intermittent knitting while the second mitt took until last night at 7:30 when I was sewing in the last tail!

After making a variety of wool scarves and the tencel experience , I decided to wind off a cotton tea towel warp. I hunted through my limited stash and there wasn't enough of any one particular colour to work with. There were lots of partial tubes that I'd picked up along the way and several that I'd purchased but didn't like the results. Nothing really "went" together in a traditional colour sense. So I tossed a bunch in a basket, used the two full tubes as background and randomly wound a third colour, changing whenever I felt like it. Four towels which should be about 36 x 20 before wet finishing.

I hated the warp halfway through winding it! I perservered... Threading the loom - 534 threads took a while because there was this holiday stuff happening in between, but I had planned it so I'd be weaving on Boxing day - as it's usually quiet. Nope.. I was still winding that darned thing on. Without a paddle, I separated the strands while winding with my fingers. Obviously I didn't do a very good job as it twisted around itself horribly.
It was a slow winding job and needed frustration breaks! I thought I'd broken tons of threads while winding, but it was only 5 :) More than I like but at least the warp is on, tensioned and I.... Can... NOW.... WEAVE.........YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Guess what? after grumbling the whole way through about not liking the colours and worried that I'd hate weaving it... I don't! It's maybe not an elegant or pretty project, but it's interesting to weave, with all those colours. I'm glad that I didn't give up and cut it off. Not only does wasting that much thread go against the grain, but I learned much in patience, problem solving and that sometimes the project gets much better as it goes on. Ask me as I'm approaching half way through the last towel though. That is always the fatigue point for me, wanting to get on to a new project! hehehe

You know, none of my weaving books or magazines had a draft and tie up for waffle weave. This project would have been perfect to try it out with! Right now it's a plain twill. With all those colours, I didn't want to get too fussy with a pattern.

Sometimes people surprise you in amazing ways. Without my knowledge and totally nothing that I'd asked for Christmas, my hubby '' tricked" out my Kromski Minstrel spinning wheel! The Distaff is functional. There are extra bobbins! Who doesn't want extra bobbins so you can switch out projects or do a 3 ply wool? There is a very pretty upright lazy kate. Which I might add, I didn't need because he made me one which is plain but works perfectly. His reasoning was that the new one was "pretty". It is, I'm not complaining. And.. he added in something I'd have never in a million years thought about getting myself.... A Jumbo Flyer...... It's huge for making fat or novelty yarns (says she who loves to spin fine and smooth yarn) but also for plying larger amounts. The bobbins are enormous. I say bobbins because it comes with one and he added a second one as well! It's ratios are much slower and will take a while to get used to. It required a 3 second adjustment to the wheel - and a trip to town to get the required drill bit. I plied with it. I filled a regular bobbin overly full- so full that I couldn't actually get my fingers in to change the hooks. I used the jumbo flyer! I only filled the bobbin halfway! I have the biggest skein I've made yet!
For weaving, I can see that larger bobbins mean less waste from not quite long enough ends and less knots. This is a very, very good thing..
For spinning, I can see fatter yarns and more ease in plying. With a shawl project upcoming, which is designed to be woven with fatter yarns, this will make the project so much easier.


Anonymous said...

LUCKY LADY!!! Give that hubby a BIG hug and kiss for the surprise Christmas gift! Some husbands "get it"; others never will. My hubby certainly didn't "bust the bank" when ALL I got from him this Christmas was a little stuffed toy lamb...

Nina said...

Thanks.. It was very cute when he told me how he'd called the store to have them help him get the pieces right and how he just "Knew" that I'd love it. He's a pretty sweet guy.