Weaving Tales

Weaving was always something I wanted to learn but I thought I’d put it on the backburner until I was fully retired and had the time to devote to another craft. Things changed when the stars aligned and I managed to pick up a new Schacht Inkle Loom and then my dear friend Rona offered to show me how to use it. The warping was lengthy and boring at times, however, once I started pushing that weft through the warps these amazing patterns emerged and I was captivated and hooked!

Brown reddish 01-tileAt our January spinning camp, another friend of mine, Catherine, offered to show me how to use the Ashford SampleIt loom which I jumped at enthusiastically. Again, the warping seemed to take forever but once I sat down and started weaving I was immediately drawn to the pattern that emerged.

Uh oh! This wasn’t supposed to happen until a couple of years down the track!! Needless to say, I started looking into the Ashford Knitters’ loom and absorbing myself into all things weaving! I particularly liked the idea that it was a rigid heddle loom and yet it could be folded in half even if you still have a project on it. So it was a quick email to Lindy, who’s an Ashford agent and also a member of my spinning group. At our next meeting I was the proud owner of a new 50cm Ashford Knitters’ loom, the stand and carry bag.

Meanwhile while on one of my many visits to Facebook I found someone who was selling a 30cm Ashford Knitters’ loom plus four reeds for a bargain price that included postage so I quickly snapped it up. This loom will be so easy to take to Knit and Knatter if I so desire.

30cm Knitters Loom 01 The very first project I wove at camp was this scarf made with Ashford Tekapo 8ply.

Weaving Melanie 03Once I had my 50cm loom I wove this project. It’s made from some very old wool that I had dyed with Queen food colours as a first dyeing experiment.

Queen dyed old wool 16I’m so pleased with the end result! I can’t wear it as a shawl as it’s a bit scratchy but I’m sure I can use it as a table runner.

Queen dyed old wool 18My sister gave me a stack of acrylic to make some beanies for charity and I found these three colours which I rather liked so they became more practise on the 30cm loom.

DSC08946Very pretty don’t you think?

DSC08948I was on a roll! My next project was made from my huge stash of sock yarn left overs.

Sock Yarn Left Overs 03In hindsight I shouldn’t have used all cream as the weft as it’s washed out the colours a bit but on the positive side, it is incredibly soft!

Sock Yarn Left Overs 04My final project was woven on the 50cm loom using some early handspun of mine: the grey is alpaca plied with rayon and the purple/blue is merino plied with rayon. The black is Patons Embrace 2ply. The warping was ‘lots of fun’ as I have limited space in my  home.

Grey Purple Black Warping 01Grey Purple Black Warping 08The end result was so worth it!

Grey Purple Black 03This time I used three weft colours which has made it so much more interesting to look at. It was a bit tedious at times as I was using one 50cm shuttle and two 30cm shuttles on a 50cm loom. Need to invest in a couple more 50cm shuttles methinks.

Grey Purple Black 04I had to quickly work out how to add a new warp as the alpaca from one of the warps simply wore off the rayon. As I mentioned, it’s my earlier handspun when I was still learning and it probably didn’t have enough twist in it. I have since heard that if you use hair mousse on the alpaca warp it helps to prevent the ‘fluffing’ tendency and then once it’s washed the alpaca blooms nicely.

Grey Purple Black 05 I really love the colours and am so pleased I’ve been able to use this handspun. My only fear is that I don’t snag it on anything as it’s so delicate.

Grey Purple Black 06Grey Purple Black 07 Grey Purple Black 08I also used my Ashford Fringe Twister. It’s so easy and a saves all that finger twisting.

Fringe twisterMy next projects will probably be using the same grey alpaca with the black Patons Embrace on the 30cm loom to make a long narrow scarf and then maybe the same with the purple/blue too. I’ve stacks of this handspun and this is the ideal way to use it up.

I am still going to attend the two day beginner/advanced weaving workshops in mid April so that I can pick up some more useful tips and techniques 🙂

More sheep joined my flock in the last couple of weeks. I found this huge sheep in my local Woolies (thanks Lindy for the heads up). You can see the size by simply comparing her to the chair and surrounds. The little sheep next to her used to be my largest sheep!

Huge sheep 01And when I was grocery shopping in Coles yesterday, I found these sheep in the Easter section. I succumbed but I only bought one of them!

Coles sheepUntil next time…

Melanie

Advertisements

The Easiest Scarf Pattern Ever!!

I’ve made a few scarves over the last few years and I love it when I find really easy patterns as I tend to make quite a few from the pattern (remember the Minnie and the Croc-a-tail?).

Well I have now found a really simple knit and what is even better is that the scarf is actually symmetrical. It’s called the Melissa Scarf and I’ve made six already!!

The first two scarves are both made using two balls each of Moda Vera Garofano which is a 50% acrylic / 40% wool / 10% silk yarn and so very soft.

Melissa cream 012Melissa Orange 02MV Garofano CreamMV Garofano OrangeThe next two scarves were made using two balls each of Moda Vera Roloutte which is a 100% cotton.

Melissa Scarf Pink 01Melissa Scarf Khaki 01MV Roulotte Pink 02MV Roulotte Mocha 02This Melissa Scarf was made using two balls of Passioknit Outback Langley which is a 50% wool / 50% acrylic yarn. Love these interesting shades of blue and red.

Melissa Scarf Blue-Red 03Passioknit Outback Langley Rosella 02And lastly, this is the one I am most proud of as it’s knitted in my own handspun alpaca. A while ago one of my spinning group members gave me a bag of this very dirty alpaca that had quite a bit of vegetable matter (VM) in it. I wanted to experiment with combing wool so I managed to pick up these wool combs recently.

Wool Combs 03They weren’t the best combs to use as the tines were too far apart and a lot of the alpaca and VM just slipped through. But I persevered as it was a great learning exercise.

From all that dirty alpaca I managed to make these three skeins. My very first handspun effort.

Alpaca practise 03It’s very thick and thin which makes quite interesting to look at. After many washes it resulted in the most incredibly soft alpaca. Here is the rather long scarf I made…

Melissa Alpaca 03I am so pleased with the outcome! The main reason why this scarf is so easy to make is because it’s all done in garter stitch.

Melissa Alpaca 06Except for the first and the BO row, every row is the same. If you look at all the project notes in Ravelry you’ll find that some people cast on 6 or 7 stitches as opposed to the 5 in the pattern. This will make your scarf grow wider faster and I have used the 5, 6 and 7 cast on at the beginning of each row to give all the my scarves a slightly different look. But they are all symmetrical.

This pattern is perfect if you need to make a few gifts and don’t want to have to be looking at the pattern all the time. You will memorise it in minutes. It’s perfect for knitting and chatting. I have a small basket filled with yarn that I want to use for this pattern so I can simply finish one scarf and start the next. You won’t be disappointed!

Until next time…

Melanie