Saturday, June 21, 2008

First woven sample

First woven sample
Originally uploaded by OriginalTwistedSpinster
Finished weaving! Well, this sample, at least. The warp and weft are each woven from one continuous thread (!! I can't believe I actually made that happen with handspun!), on a backstrap loom. The width was 5.75" at the start, finished at 5". Length is 16.75". It took me longer to weave than I thought it would, but I did set it aside for awhile.

This still has the cornstarch sizing in it, and it really would have been a nightmare without it. I expect that once I wash it out, the fabric will collapse on itself, be much smaller and quite stretchy.

Coming back after washing it... Interestingly enough, the sample is now 15" long, and 4.25-5" wide. Looking at it, it makes sense that the length shrunk more, because the warps were closer than the weft. To be fair, I intended this to be 6" wide, but the the lashing technique wasn't stable on the warp beams. It unzipped nicely, though... (snickering at myself here)

I'll have to think about why it didn't collapse... Neither did the knitted sample, but I chalked that up to the smaller gauge needles. I'm pretty surprised. The yarn is stable, not softly spun. Freshly spun, it has lots of twist, and wants to double up. Not radically, but still enough that I thought it would affect the knitted and woven samples much more.

Several years back, I took a weaving class with Eileen Hallman, of New World Textiles, where we wove with commercially spun cotton, but some were specifically overspun for collapse weaving. We experimented with different setts and how that affected the amount of collapse. I really expected my handspun to behave similarly.

Do you suppose it was because I didn't scour the cotton? It still has all the waxes that raw cotton has. hmmm. I think tomorrow morning's experiment will be to boil these samples! No wait, I'm due to go to a knit get-together at Mary G's house, and since that's in Long Beach, I'm adding in side trips to Marukai and Penzey's spices.

I'll keep you posted...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Another idea, wherein...

You know, sometimes I get the beginnings of a great idea, and I can see where I want to go, but it's like that commercial for the new movie Hancock. You know the one I mean... Will Smith is Superman, but like he grew up in the worst 'hoods of Metropolis instead of Smallville. He's standing in front of a speeding locomotive, and the locomotive shreds into flying shrapnel.

Only for me, it's like my locomotive of an idea runs into the giant Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man out of Ghostbusters. A nicer version than the Ghostbusters one. The locomotive just smooshes into the marshmallow and sits there wondering how it got there in the first place.

(and once again, I show my talent for mangling metaphors way past rhyme and reason.)

I want to do a version of this sweater by Norah Gaughan. Available from Woodlands Woolworks. I oughta just order the thing and use the directions verbatim, but I have a hunch I'll have to size it up and retool for my yarn and gauge. I almost have the thing figured out, and then I run into the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man again.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

An idea that excites me, but I'll never get around to Doing

I've been surfing blogs quite a bit, coming on some really cool blogs and ideas...

Meggiecat blogged about Gallalith plastic, which is basically made with milk and vinegar. You are probably as astonished as I am right now.

Being possessed of an overactive imagination (as if you didn't already know), my mind immediately says "How can I use this with knitting??" (cue the vintage Frankenstein movie music here) Milk... casein... knitting needles, but of course!

Ah, but in reading through the links and comments to the instructables, I'm not the first to have this idea. (yeah, as if I ever have a truly original idea, instead of a weird, totally out of left field riff of someone else's idea.)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Blogging without guilt

I was reading through blogs, and there was a reference to blogging without guilt. I don't recall who, and I googled a bit for it without much luck. It was about Blogging, not apologizing for non-blogging.

So, I'm back, not doing the guilt. Nope. Have I mentioned how Anita Luvera Mayer's "I Don't Do Guilt Anymore" changed my life? It's not a big book, more of a booklet, but it rescued me from feeling like HRH's midlife hormonal lobotomy was *my* fault.

So, you're wondering if I ever resolved that "what now" re-evaluation. Well, kinda. I've been able to drop the obsessive cotton fixation. But everything else just makes me go - ehhh.

I haven't written about going to Anacortes again - here's the link to the Anacortes Yacht Charter and the boat we're chartering, the Haiku. This is the same outfit we used last year, but last year's boat was the Princess Ruby.

This is the our biggest adventure last year on the Princess Ruby, with the Flickr pictures starting here.

Hopefully, we won't have a repeat this year!!

We're leaving next week Thursday, and we'll be on the water for two weeks. It's going to be So. Much. FUN. (obviously, we booked and paid for it before the gas prices skyrocketed, and the Roketman's year-end bonus will pretty much be eaten up.)

But, as you know I would, I've been focused on the fiber stuff to take.

There's the RocketGansey-Dottir, of course. My goal is to have the saddle shoulder sewn in and be knitting on the sleeves before we get on the plane.

And... I am taking the Spin-Tech! And enough carded punis to fill a small plastic tote (big enough for 8 1/2 x 11 manila files). There is a deck on the back where I can sit and spin. Heaven... hope it lives up to the fantasy.

There's a cashmere sweater I've had on hold since last year. It's navy blue. And we have 5 cats and 2 big white shaggy dogs, all heavy shedders. So, it's a good vacation project.

The backstrap looms? I spent all day Sunday lashing on one warp. I figured the first warp was slow and I'd get faster, but no. So I'm rethinking the whole backstrap loom thing. I can do the same thing with my table loom. Or more precisely, I can produce the kind of fabric I want with the table loom.

The whole cotton obsession is because I'm going to SOAR in October (am I the luckiest person on earth or what? btw, I have gotten the real confirmation now.) and I want to wear something out of my own cotton. I have a kinda-sorta woven shirt planned, based on a pattern in Pattern Magic. (link to a picture of the cover)

The other option is to weave miles of narrow 8" strips, and make a diagonal skirt, with a knitted sweater, maybe of the Habu variety like this.

Wow, once I started blogging tonight, I really got my ramble on, didn't I?