Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A New Year, A New Project

As part of my ongoing towel production, I thought I should make kitchen towels for my son.  I've made them for my daughter, for my boat and for me.  Why should my poor son be left out?  His taste runs to something between Baroque and Steampunk.  Favorite colors are black and gold.  I was going to make him waffle weave towels like the others I've done recently, but hey.  How Steampunk can waffle weave be??

So I remembered a beautiful complex twill in Carol Strickler's A Weaver's Book Of 8-Shaft Patterns.  The draft is a 7-shaft reduction of a 16-shaft twill called Bethlehem Star.  I thought it would be beautiful in black and gold.  After working it out in my weaving software, I realized I didn't have enough of either color to warp the project.  So I made upset muttering noises and proceeded to ask my friend if she had any 8/2 unmercerized cotton in her stash.  She had over 2 pounds of black, but older black from a different maker.  I took it anyway and warped it on.  Let me tell you, black is not the easiest color to warp when your eyes aren't the best and when there's no good natural light in the weaving room!  Anyway, I got it on and proceeded to weave...

And wound up with 16 broken warp threads in the first repeat.  But it IS beautiful!
Joseph's Towels
I don't know if the thread is too weak to use in the warp or if I'm having abrasion problems.  I cut off the first repeat and decided to re-tie and try again.  I used a lighter tension and got through a couple of repeats without a broken thread and then, bam!  I'm up to six broken threads again.  However, I have noticed that the upper and lower shaft bars are hitting the warp, so I may need to re-tie the shafts.  Not my favorite task, but I really don't want to have to re-thread this project.

I Still Knit

Squirrel Slippers
Did everyone think that I've stopped knitting?  I do still knit.  I finished these adorable tree-squirrel-heart slippers from Laura Farson's Knitting Scandinavian Slippers and Socks.  These have had their share of problems as well.  I started them in Queensland Kathmandu Aran.  We had it on clearance at the shop and I do love Donegal-style wools.  1) I didn't have enough natural and we didn't have more, 2) the Donegal characteristics obscure the pattern and 3) the second slipper was MUCH bigger than the first.  I must have been uber-tense with the first one.  I ripped out the second slipper and made more of those upset muttering noises.

But I did really want those slippers, so I started over using colors in the Ella Rae Classic Heather we carry at the shop.  They turned out beautifully!  They're not as warm as my felted slippers, so I tend to put them on when I'm working at my desk or have my feet up on the glider or am weaving.  But they're wonderful!  I have a second set on the needles in a icy, heathery blue and natural.  They're done with snowflakes.  At least I won't have so many ends to work back in!!

January White Sale
January is my time to work on the house.  I've driven everyone crazy with reorganization, but I'm liking it.  I changed out the bedding.  I needed a lighter down coverlet on my bed and while finally getting that taken care of, I noticed that Restoration Hardware had real linen sheets on sale.  I splurged and got myself a set.  Now that's luxury!!  I've replaced missing pieces of my stoneware, flatware and my grandmother's silverplate.  I'll replace the single broken piece of my grandmother's china.  I moved the flatware from here to there in the kitchen and bought plain cotton napkins to use instead of paper towels.  I LOVE this time of year!!

In fact, I think I'll go move other things around!