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I’ve just delivered a commission to Syne Mitchell — 15 sets of warp and weft yarns, dyed in vivid colors for her rigid-heddle weaving class at John C. Campbell Folk School.   Here are the weft yarns

and here are the warp yarns.

Yes, they are vivid!  Especially the two at the lower left.  I think of them as parrots.  Syne cleverly has her students warp the looms so that the colors flow in a pleasing way.  The coordinating weft yarns will tone down the wildness, and the students will end up with a lovely scarf.

I delivered  the skeins to Syne at her new high-tech job, and we went out to lunch to discuss future projects for each of us.

One is Sock Summit:  Syne will be teaching, I’ll be a vendor, and we’ll be rooming together. Plus we talked about dyeing, weaving, knitting.  As Syne said, definitely a high-fiber lunch!

I’ll be putting together more of these sets of skeins for warp and weft.  It’s 300 yards for the warp, 250 for the weft, dyed on Louet’s Gems fingering weight yarn.  Drop me a note if you’re interested.  They will be for sale at Sock Summit, but I may not post them on the Etsy site unless requested.

I just cut a woven project off the loom — hurray!  There’s hasn’t been too much weaving around here lately, what with dyeing yarn and knitting, so it feels good to have gotten some weaving done.

This is 30 mug rugs, which my weaving guild will be giving to the organizers of the 2011 ANWG Conference,  Exploring Fiber Horizons,  to put into attendees’ goodie bags. We’ve committed to giving 100, and may exceed that.  Yay us!  I’ll take them to our next meeting and they’ll get distributed to other members who will hem them.  The final product will look something like this.

It’s been fun to have an easy project like this for non-weaving members of our group to try their hand at.  We’re happy to put new weavers on the slippery slope of new skills!

The fabulous Syne Mitchell of WeaveZine asked me if I was interested in dyeing some yarn for her upcoming rigid-heddle weaving classes. “You betcha!” I said, and sent her off some yarn to weave a sample with to see if it worked for her purposes. Unfortunately, it proved a wee bit challenging for new weavers to deal with (a bit too fine for a 12-dent reed, worms a bit when woven and washed, also very stretchy), but in the hands of a master like Syne, well . . .

It’s a soft, warm, smooth fabric with an ikat-look effect due to the yarn being handpainted in a regular pattern.  Syne cleverly arranges the warp to make the colors line up in interesting ways.

What’s always fascinating is how yarn changes when crossed with another color.  The warp skein was navy blue, bright green, and yellow, which you can see in the fringe.  The weft, or crossing yarn, was a pale lavender that I thought would play well with the paler parts of the navy.  The final look is cool, spring-like, and just wonderful!  Syne sent it back to me to show off to my customers, but they have to get it off my neck first.  Thank you, Syne!

And a better yarn for her classes is on order.

A looming baby shower drove me back to the loom.  I’ve been wanting to get my weaving mojo back for some time, and this was the perfect opportunity to make a simple project that could be done quickly, and re-boot my weaving skills at the same time.  Fantasies of handpainted sock yarn as warp were discarded (great idea, but it would just take too long) and I reached into the stash shelf and pulled out of two hanks of  Inca Cotton in the color Oz, a pale beigy green.  These had been ageing nicely for a few years and were  just the thing.  The cotton is organically grown in Peru, and naturally colored, no dyes involved.  The soft color will gently darken over time, getting a subtly deeper tone each time it’s washed. 

A white pearl cotton warp would set off the color nicely, so I did the math and wound off a three yard warp of 360 ends.   Sleyed at 10epi, this made for a 35″ weaving width, so it had to go on the Big Loom, a 60″ LeClerc Colonial.  Warping this baby is not for the infirm or unagile!  I hoisted, clambered, reached, disassembled, reassembled . . . it’s not just warping but a workout.

But the weaving went quickly and I was able to wash it, trim it and deliver it yesterday.

The slubby nature of the weft yarn makes it look more complex, but it’s just plain weave.

Being cotton, it can  be used as a towel or summer blanket.  I decided to trim the beginning and end edges with blanket binding, which would work for either use. I had fun seeing how different colors made it look — a sage green was very elegant, like something you’d see at a high-end spa, white was very crisp, but pale yellow was just right for a baby.

The finished blanket is soft, cuddly, and was received with appropriate oohs and ahhs. And now I’m checking out the wool stash and letting the next weaving project marinate in my brain.

I’ve been working on a small shawl, to demonstrate that my Sterling Sheep yarn doesn’t  have to be used for socks, and also that you can get a nice sized  shawl from one skein.

Finished!

Finished!

Here it is, done at last. It’s the Flower Basket Shawl by Evelyn Clark, which I’ve done before.  A lovely design, well written pattern, adaptable to many yarn weights. I did an extra row of the border lace to make it as big as possible . . .

Last scrap

Last scrap

and ended up with this much yarn left over.  About five and half feet. I’d say that’s an efficient use of one skein!

Splish splash, I was taking a bath

Splish splash, I was taking a bath

Of course, a piece of knitted lace isn’t really done until it’s washed

Pinned!

Pinned!

and blocked

shawl 009 small

And an arty picture taken of it.

On the weaving front, it is only weaving in the most generous sense of the word — there is warp, three strands,  and weft, six strands.

No blocking required

No blocking required

I hacked back some bamboo and trimmed the leaves off the canes.  Then I pulled out the old bamboo X that the hops vines were climbing up and used the trimmed bamboo to make this woven trellis. I also yanked out the dead Cape honeysuckle that the hops were tangled up in, but that’s growing back from the roots, even though the very woody old growth got killed off this past winter.