July 27, 2022

A Day at the Beach

 It was a warm and windy day.   We took a day trip to the beach.    This beach is usually not nearly as busy as most of the area beaches because it's got black sand, which can get super hot on the feet and isn't protected by any coves, points or land features.    We try to do this once a year.   We're not very good about sitting on a beach in the sun, but one of the  beaches is on a sandbar and is great fun to wade and float about in.   The waters are shallow and warm, unlike this beach.  However this one is fun to wade in.   Did I say it was windy that day?   It was creating crazy waves.  We only got our feet wet that day.
I don't think anyone who went in the water on this beach got clean at all.   The waves were churning up so much sand they were brown.  Here we're standing on the water's edge.  
There were a few kids in life jackets bobbing in the waves.  None of the adults were brave enough though.  We certainly weren't.

Five minutes away, the sandbar beach was still and calm.   We ate a picnic on a bench on the pier.  We probably should have gone in the water here, but instead we went for ice cream.  It was so hot, the ice cream was melting rapidly, making me happy I'd gotten mine in a dish, not a cone.   Next time I'll get a kiddy sized one because the single scoop was sooo big!


July 20, 2022

Painted Cotton Warps.

 I painted a cotton warp the other day.  Mainly because I had this idea for funky tea towels, but the timing was so I could use it as an example for the guild's upcoming cotton dye day.  I meant to take photos, but I got involved in the process and didn't have a spare set of gloves, so I missed the photos of the actual painting process.  

 It's been crazy warm here.  Not as warm as in Europe but still really warm for us, so I was able to batch process outside.  I wrapped the warp in plastic cling film, set it in my black enamel dye pot and set that in my black wheel barrow, because I could tilt it slightly to catch the sun.   The warp bundles got really warm, and uncomfortably hot to touch.    They rinsed out quickly and I was happy!

These are 5 warp chains drying, with 42 threads each.   They will create colour bands between 6 similar sized vertical stripes of navy blue.    I'm looking forward to seeing this project on the loom.

I used Procion MX dyes and sodium carbonate (Soda Ash) as a fixative.   I put them to set in the sun and left them for 24 hours.   It did get quite cool at night, but the next day they had heated back up so that they were hot to the touch.    The dyes were mixed at 1%  and I just diluted them in a secondary container as I worked.

July 15, 2022

Serendipitous Plaids

 There are all sorts of multi coloured and varigated yarns available these days.   The selection that is available is a far cry from the brightly coloured or baby pastel short runs of colours which gave you colour pooling no matter what.   Lately, I've found all sorts of wonderful gradients and self-striping yarns which give large blocks of colours which can be incredibly beautiful.  However the yarns which give serendipitous plaids seem to be more difficult to find in our area.  At least affordable yarns at any rate.   

I picked up two skeins of this yarn on trip to the yarn store a few months ago.   It wasn't really the colours that I would usually be attracted to, but they were pretty and I thought they'd make a pretty scarf.    I loved weaving this scarf off as the  plaid patterning came up quite quickly.   It really felt like a bonus with this yarn.  It's soft and has a nice drape as well.

The yarn was really nice to work with too.    When weaving with a striping yarn like this, you wind the warp and dress the loom as you would normally.   For the weft though, in order to keep the colours in order and striping without any abrupt changes, it's best to wind a bobbin or shuttle length of weft off.   I wind a small cake of yarn on my ball winder.    I've also wound a ball by hand or put it onto a stick shuttle.   When you wind the weft straight off the skein, or cone, the beginning of the yarn becomes the end of that weft yarn.   If you wind it into a ball, and then re-wind onto your shuttle or bobbin, the start of the yarn is again at the start of your weaving.   Do this for every bobbin or shuttle and the yarn will stay in the

same order as it is in the skein.  This gives you even transitions - no abrupt colour changes, and keeps the patterning in order.  Effectively, you double wind your bobbins/shuttles.  It takes a little extra time, but not much, however it gives beautiful results.

Off the loom, with a finished length of 77 inches and width of 11 inches.  I twisted the fringes at a meeting in the park.  It really did turn out to be very pretty.



July 06, 2022

Matching socks!

I think I did it!  When putting these two socks, exactly side by side, it looks like the stripes match up exactly.   I think I even got it matched to the number of final rows in the toe decrease.  I couldn't find a way to photograph  them with the stripes perfect though.  Maybe if I had sock blockers.   However I don't really want to spend the money to purchase sock blockers, so I may just soak these and then pin them to shape on a rubber mat, like one would do with other pieces of knitting.  Not quite as simple and effective as a sock blocker, but I don't have to buy anything either.

The sock yarn was nice to knit with.  It wasn't splitty and didn't tangle.   Once I figured out where the repeat was, it was easy to find my starting point and I had a minimal amount of waste, which was also nice.  I managed to toss the ball band out by accident though, so I have no idea what the sock yarn that I used was called!  Despite the matching and constant checking to make sure my tension was the same, it was a fairly fun knit.

The solid socks which are a grey/brown colour haven't been quite
as much fun.    A lot of it has been my fault because I knit the first sock and then knit the blue striped pair before I did the second sock.   I also didn't think to write down the details as I was going, which did make it more difficult.   It's not a difficult pattern, but I started off the second sock with making the cables the wrong size and had to rip back half the top part, back to the ribbing.   Then I dropped a stitch in a cable and had to rip back to where I could pick it up because it was too difficult to try to hook it back over several cables.  Then I started turning the heel before I did the heel flap!  Argh, that was such a careless error because I had counted out the heel, meant to knit the heel flap, told myself to do it and then got distracted by something DH was watching on the telly.  Thankfully I found my mistake before I'd turned the whole heel.  To top it off, this yarn is splitty.   It doesn't seem to have much stretch or forgiveness to it, so it's not quite so much fun to knit with.   I wish now I'd gone for a more complicated pattern.  At least that would make the end result more worthwhile for all this fussing over a single sock that I've been doing.

My hip has been cranky lately and weaving on my Fanny floor loom has been difficult.  However there is a little Artisat loom in the guild room.   It's smaller than the Fanny loom, and has a smaller width to the treadle setup, which means less lateral movement for my cranky hip.   I was able to weave pain free on that little baby.   

This was a leftover warp from a tea towel class.   I just did a straight twill treadling and wove off this towel in about 2 hours, with little to no effort or pain.   I'd love to purchase a loom like this so that I could get back to weaving.   Not happening though because we need to replace our furnace!   That's been priced out so far to $7200 because we don't have a fuel tank, so are switching from oil to propane.  That's without a/c too!   It's not available right now due to back orders and increased demand.   We haven't had central heating for a decade or more, so it will be a change.   We'll still use the woodstoves, but it means we don't have to get up in the middle of the night to load the stoves and can be away from home for more than 3 hours if we so choose.  That will be an interesting change.