Warp board

Jun. 6th, 2010 04:20 pm
houseelf: A line drawing of Dobby the house elf holding a skein of yarn and knitting needles. (Default)
The easiest way to warp a rigid heddle loom is to warp it directly, which is where you put the yarn on the loom as you measure it. However, direct warping assumes a few things. That you have a house or apartment where you can set a loom and a peg several yards apart on tables, for example. Direct warping was not designed for the college student.

Enter the warping board. A warping board is a rectangular frame with a bunch of pegs around the perimeter. You use the warping board to measure your yarn, and then you transfer the yarn to your loom. At first I resisted getting one because of the price, but if you, say, have a father who is handy with woodworking and has a well-stocked workshop, you can get one for the price of a few wingnuts. I have a good dad.

This is a warping board, with the warp for another Noro scarf on it:

my warp board

You wrap the yarn from peg to peg, using whichever combination of pegs gets you to the right length. (And then if you are thinking, you take a picture so that you won't have to experiment again in the future.) If you look at the right side of the photo, you'll see that the yarn crosses over itself between two pegs. That's to make it easier to thread the heddle later on - even if the rest of the warp gets jumbled, if you always take the thread that's on top of the cross, the warp will go onto the loom in the right order.

The warp is on the loom now, and I'm about half done with the weaving. I'd be further along, but this week had the Blackhawks lose two games in a row in the NHL finals, and I ended up having to rip out nine inches of weaving when I realized that my selvedges were a whole lot tighter than they had been earlier in the scarf. It looks much better on the second try. I'll take photos once it's finished.
houseelf: A line drawing of Dobby the house elf holding a skein of yarn and knitting needles. (Default)
I have scarf photos! This is the scarf I mentioned awhile ago - the one that was my second weaving project.

Scarf 1 - whole thing

Two more under the cut )

Warp: Noro Kureyon Sock
Weft: same
Heddle: 10 dent
Draft: plain weave, with the occasional unintentional weft float
Rav link: here

I used every bit of one skein for this, running out of yarn for weft just a few inches before I would have had to stop weaving anyway. The fringe is twisted and knotted, and after one project I'm already convinced that a fringe twister was worth the investment. After doing the fringe, I washed the scarf on hot by itself. The yarn has enough nylon in it that the hot water was enough to firm up the fabric without actually felting it.

Overall, I'm pleased with the way the scarf turned out, even if it's not quite good enough to put into the pile of "things to sell on Etsy one day". The fringe is a little uneven (I have learned that lesson, and next time I'll use a rotary cutter instead of scissors), and there are some weft floats that I didn't catch until it was too late. That said, it's a lot better than the placemat was. I'm definitely improving.


In other weaving news, I finished weaving the coasters last night. The next step is to figure out how to thread my sewing machine so that I can zigzag the raw edges at each end of the strip, and then I can toss them in the washing machine to felt them. After that, I'll probably be giving them away for the price of shipping, if anyone's interested. I'll post photos once they're completely finished.

I am so excited to have a sewing machine, btw. I found it in a resale shop near school a few weeks ago. It's a very basic machine, but my sewing skills are also very basic so it's plenty advanced for me. I'm just very happy not to have to hem everything by hand.
houseelf: A line drawing of Dobby the house elf holding a skein of yarn and knitting needles. (Default)
The weaving project I've been working on lately is a set of coasters. Or rather, several sets, since they're 4.5" wide and I warped the loom with enough yarn for a long scarf. I wanted to be able to practice keeping my selvedges and beating even, as well as having an opportunity to experiment with the way stripes in the warp and weft interact. Coasters seemed like more fun than a sampler.

To begin with, the loom was warped with alternating stripes of green and purple (Cascade 220, from stash), each stripe 2 ends wide. After I got tired of that, I cut what I'd done off the loom and rethreaded it so that the stripes were just one thread wide. There's a weaving draft (pattern) called log cabin where both the warp and the weft are made up of stripes that are one thread wide. In plain weave, which is what I'm doing, you get a result that looks like the first photo on this page, with alternating blocks of horizontal and vertical stripes. It looks way harder to do than it actually is. Furthermore -- and this is what inspired me to post -- if you turn the fabric over, the directions of the stripes are reversed so that what were vertical stripes on the front are horizontal stripes on the back.

It reminds me of when I learned how to do ribbing when I was just learning to knit. I like being at a stage where everything is new and interesting.
houseelf: A line drawing of Dobby the house elf holding a skein of yarn and knitting needles. (Default)
This post should've been made two weeks ago. Alas, the tab where I started to compose the entry got buried amongst other tabs, and I forgot about it until I unearthed it today. It's possible that I should go through my open tags more frequently.

Anyway! My first weaving project ended up being a placemat for my snack tray/dinner table. Overall, it's not bad, but my suspicions were proved correct: beginning weaving projects and beginning knitting projects have a lot in common.

First placemat: finished

Details and two more photos under the cut )

Project #2 was a scarf made from Noro Kureyon sock yarn that I had in my stash. More on that once it's actually finished. Right now, it's off the loom, but I'm waiting for a fringe twister to arrive so that I can do that before I wash it. I'm afraid it'll felt to itself if I don't.
houseelf: A line drawing of Dobby the house elf holding a skein of yarn and knitting needles. (Default)
I tried to put a warp on my loom tonight. It did not go well, more due to equipment failure than anything else.

In order to use the direct warping method (the one that doesn't require extra equipment), you clamp the loom to a table and then clamp a peg to some other furniture. The distance between the peg and a certain beam on the loom determines how long each of the warp threads will be. The problem I had was that the most convenient setup for me involved clamping the peg to my tv stand, which has a beveled edge. It was okay at first, but when I was about half finished, the tension on the threads running between the loom and the peg was enough to yank it off, tangling all the yarn. I put the peg back and untangled the ends once, but when it happened a second time, I decided to cut the yarn off the loom (it was from a $3 ball of dishcloth cotton - no great loss) and pack it in for the night.

I'll try again tomorrow. I really want to have a project going before my parents come to visit next weekend. It looks like I should be able to clamp the peg more firmly if I use my computer table, which has a squared-off edge, so warping it should just be a matter of dragging an end table into place to hold the loom and then going to it.
houseelf: A line drawing of Dobby the house elf holding a skein of yarn and knitting needles. (Default)
This afternoon, I finally had time to sit down with the loom and assemble it. Putting it all together was actually pretty simple - it comes nearly finished. All you have to do is attach a few dowel rods using the included ties.

Next up is figuring out how to warp it. (Warping = setting up the yarn that runs vertically, that you weave other yarn in and out of.) There are two ways of warping this sort of loom. The way that doesn't require any extra equipment is, unfortunately, also the method that's going to require me to clean off my coffee table until I reach a flat surface, so I don't think that's going to happen tonight. I also need to track down a few heavy paper bags, which is going to require some brainstorming. Every store I can think of uses plastic.
houseelf: A line drawing of Dobby the house elf holding a skein of yarn and knitting needles. (Default)
I sometimes have problems because my two main hobbies - knitting, and assorted things computery - both cause RSI problems. In my experience, they tend to cause identical issues. If my wrists hurt, I am suddenly out of hobbies. Not fun.

A friend of the family has a floor loom that I've always found interesting in a vague, cannot afford that way. During the Ravelympics this year, I saw a lot of weaving projects show up in the parade of finished objects. I clicked on some of them out of curiosity, and discovered rigid heddle looms. They're small enough to be used in a very small apartment, and they're inexpensive enough that between birthday money and work, they're within my price range. More importantly, googling turned up a bunch of anecdata about knitters with RSI problems who, nevertheless, can still weave.

So! Last weekend, I ordered a 20" Schacht Flip. It comes with a 10-dent heddle, and I ordered an 8-dent heddle as well. I'm assuming that first weaving projects have a lot in common with first knitting projects when it comes to the quality of the results, and I have a lot of cheap dishcloth cotton that will work well (I think) with the 8 dent heddle.

UPS tells me that I will be getting the loom on Tuesday (or rather, my landlord will get it Monday and then will close for the day before I get home from class). I'm excited, and I'm pondering what to do first after I've stopped mangling the cheap cotton. Dishcloths? A scarf? Cloth for my as-yet-uncovered other throw pillow? The choices are endless, and yet very, very rectangular.
houseelf: A line drawing of Dobby the house elf holding a skein of yarn and knitting needles. (Default)
The sock blankie currently stands at 7.6% complete, with 76/956 squares knitted and 4/38 edge triangles. I love spreadsheets. All of this is assuming, of course, that I don't change my mind again about the finished dimensions. After all, my original plan would only have required 823 squares. We shall see. At this point, all four of the edge triangles I've done are on the right edge. I think I'm going to hold off as long as possible on doing a left triangle, since it's at that point that the final width will be determined.

In any case, I'll take a picture as soon as I weave in ends again. I was doing well with forcing myself to stop and weave them in every twenty squares, but I was without a tapestry needle when I hit 60 so it looks pretty shaggy right now.

Apart from that, I'm supposed to be working on the March/April selection for [community profile] dwsockclub - Monkey socks. In theory, I would be almost done with one sock by now. In practice, I forgot to bring the yarn home over spring break. Oops. I think that I'm going to make time to get these started later this week, and then toss them in my backpack to work on at school.
houseelf: A line drawing of Dobby the house elf holding a skein of yarn and knitting needles. (Default)
Last week at this time, the Ravelympics were just winding up. I ended up finishing three of my four projects.

Project #1: Frogging )

Project #2: Time Lord Socks )

Project #3: Throw pillow )

Project #4 would have been to finish weaving in ends and crocheting the border of a throw blanket. New goal: get it done before the blanket's second birthday in August. Two years is too long for a WIP.
houseelf: A line drawing of Dobby the house elf holding a skein of yarn and knitting needles. (Default)
Brazil is walking into the stadium on tv, and I've already finished the easiest part of my Ravelympics entries. They have an event this time around for frogging, and my perpetually-unfinished scarf is no more. Not even short rows make garter stitch interesting enough for me to knit an entire scarf, and the yarn (Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted) was too expensive for me to just throw it out.

For the frogging itself, I used my ballwinder. The as-yet-unknit yarn was in a center pull ball. I used the winder to rewind it so that the outsize was now on the inside, and then pulled the needle out of the scarf and kept going. A little yanking was necessary to take care of places where stitches had fuzzed together, but all in all I only lost about six inches of yarn. No way was I unpicking a Russian join.

I don't count this event as finished just yet. Frogging it was the easy part. Now (well, not now, but next) I have to unkink it.
houseelf: A line drawing of Dobby the house elf holding a skein of yarn and knitting needles. (Default)
I was in the mood for some instant gratification, so this week I've been working on a pair of Fuzzy Feet. Mine aren't going to be terribly fuzzy - I'm using Knitpicks Shamrock, which doesn't have the mohair of the recommended yarn - but they should be nice and warm.

I'm enjoying them so far. They're really just overgrown ankle socks that you felt down into slippers. As basic sock patterns go, it's a well-written one. And they definitely qualify as near-instant gratification knits. The first one is done already...

Fuzzy Feet
Ravelry project

...and I'm hoping that between work tomorrow morning and Friday afternoon, I'll be able to finish the second one. I'll felt them over the weekend when I wash towels, and I'll cross my fingers that the Shamrock yarn behaves as expected. Tip for the future: buy enough yarn to swatch with.


Last week I finished up a Wizardly Incognito Cap in movie!Ravenclaw colors as a swap gift for someone. Fun pattern, although I should have remembered before I started it that I find ribbing to be tedious after awhile. This picture is in its incognito form. Your other choice is to wear it with the brim not folded up. If you give the crown a tug, the decreases are positioned such that it goes all pointy and wizard-hat shaped.

Wizardly Incognito Hat - folded
Ravelry project
houseelf: A line drawing of Dobby the house elf holding a skein of yarn and knitting needles. (Default)
I'm trying to decide what I want to do for Ravelympics this year. I had originally planned to make badly-needed new slipcovers for the throw pillows on my couch. I was planning on winging it with some sort of cable pattern, under the theory that one shouldn't have to have a pattern in order to knit four 16" squares. I even had yarn purchased - Cascade 220 in a nice medium green.

Then, I bought a quilt. Specifically, I bought a blue and bronzy-brown quilt (go Ravenclaw!) with the intention of using it when I'm on the same couch that needs throw pillows. It only occurred to me when I actually saw it in the room that when you put it with the blue carpet, brown couch, and blue recliner, things in this room are actually starting to match... or at least to center on a color palette. I didn't pick the carpet and the furniture is from two different sources so this is more a happy coincidence than an intentional decoration scheme, but I'll take what I can get.

What would you make with 1,320 yards of worsted weight green wool?
houseelf: A line drawing of Dobby the house elf holding a skein of yarn and knitting needles. (Default)
It's probably inevitable that I've decided to make a sock blankie. Blankets are my very favorite kind of knitting project. I like sock yarn - both the feel of knitting that gauge, and the colors. I like instant gratification, but I also like the predictability of having a project that's always ready to be worked on. I have questionable decorating taste. Given all that, the sock blankie is the perfect long-term project for me.

Problem is, I don't knit socks quickly. Working only with my own scraps, I'm pretty sure I'd never accumulate enough to make a whole blanket. This? Is why I love the internet. (And also why I love having a steady job.) A purchase of Koigu mill ends from someone on Ravelry, a purchase of skeinlets from someone on Etsy, and I'm off.

The blankie is two days old and three squares big:

Sock Blankie, day 2

(click to embiggen)

It'd be bigger, but I spent most of yesterday's knitting time swatching and most of today's knitting time winding off skeinlets of the Koigu for a swap. I don't have any idea how long this project will take, but since I intend to use it more as a backup/inbetween project instead of the main thing I work on, I expect it'll take awhile.

Vital Information:
Needles: US 2 (2.75mm)
Square size: 31 stitches
Ravelry project link
houseelf: A line drawing of Dobby the house elf holding a skein of yarn and knitting needles. (Default)
At some point, I have photos to post of a knitting bag I finished last month. This is not that post.

Knitpicks has a blog post from around a year ago listing their yarn recommendations for Harry Potter-themed projects. They've included yarn in all of the weights they sell, and they cover all four houses, including both book Ravenclaw and movie Ravenclaw.

I'd already decided that the sock blocker keychains I got earlier this year would become christmas ornaments, but now that I have definite suggestions for Palette yarn, I'm thinking house colors instead of making them all red and green. Maybe one Ravenclaw, one Gryffindor, and one traditional holiday?
houseelf: A line drawing of Dobby the house elf holding a skein of yarn and knitting needles. (Default)
My sister is a gamer, and over the summer she asked me to make her a new dice bag. The yarn she picked, Knitpicks Essential Kettle Dyed, is a sock yarn. I, not in possession of circs in an appropriate size and not a fan of casting onto DPNs, decided to come up with something that would avoid the issue entirely.

Mitered squares are fun because they look so much more complicated than they really are. Little mitered squares are great, because it takes you no time at all to finish one. And a bag is an excellent thing to make out of mitered squares, because you can knot and trim the ends rather than weaving them in. I really like this pattern.

Pictures! )

The Ravelry page for this project is here.
houseelf: A line drawing of Dobby the house elf holding a skein of yarn and knitting needles. (Default)
State of the projects:

Booga Bag: done except for a third of the icord bindoff (this afternoon's project) and six feet of icord for handles. And except for the felting, of course. Part of me is sorely tempted to go to Goodwill and find a purse with handles I can salvage so that I can skip the icord step, but I have the yarn for it so I feel as though I should use it.

Multidirectional scarf: approximately two rows further along than it was last week, mainly due to my forgetting to bring it to work. Oops. It's getting chilly enough that I probably should make an effort to get it and a hat done in the next couple weeks.


I placed an order with Knitpicks late last week, and it arrived yesterday. No yarn, just some assorted supplies that I've been wanting - circs in sock yarn sizes, locking stitch markers, 60" cables for my Options needles, some extra 24" cables, and some sock blocker keychains. Those are going to end up in presents this Christmas, although I haven't yet decided if I want to knit them up myself or send them as-is to crafty friends.

The only thing I forgot to put in the order was, naturally, the one thing I needed immediately - 6.5mm dpns to do the icord handles for my bag. Cue one trip to the yarn store this afternoon, thus proving that no matter how great online retailers are, a good local store is a blessing.
houseelf: A line drawing of Dobby the house elf holding a skein of yarn and knitting needles. (Default)
This semester, my job includes a lot of sit and do nothing time, so I've been knitting more than I have in a long while. Given that I'm, shall we say, highly distractible, this means that I've been knitting a lot of different things.

Active WIPS:
• Felted bag - Bigger Booga Bag pattern, in Cascade 220 and mystery handpainted wool. I'm nearly done with the bag itself, but I haven't started the i-cord for the straps yet.
• Scarf for myself - Multidirectional Scarf pattern, in Lorna's Laces Shepard Worsted. I'm probably around 40% done with this.
• Leafy lace wrap - my own pattern, in Cascade Heritage. I've forgotten where I am on this one.
• Garterfish - my ongoing afghan project, from the A Recipe For Fish pattern. Yarn is scraps of Cascade 220. Hasn't seen much action lately due to a lack of appropriate scraps.

Next Batch of Projects:
• Hat for myself - same yarn as the scarf. Haven't decided on a pattern yet.
• Christmas ornament - a kit I got at Stitches Midwest. I left it at my parents' house rather than trying to bring a glass ornament home via Amtrak, so this one has to wait for Halloween or Thanksgiving.
• I also have enough yarn for two short-sleeved tops. Short-sleeved top weather ended yesterday, though, so I may ignore this until it gets closer to spring.
houseelf: A line drawing of Dobby the house elf holding a skein of yarn and knitting needles. (Default)
Two years ago, Yarn Harlot came up with the idea for the Knitting Olympics. Knitters were challenged start and complete a challenging project during the 16 days of the 2006 Winter Olympics.

I made myself a lap blanket which was dubbed the Parakeet Blanket when, at the yarn store, my mother spotted some lovely silk yarn in a muted, variegated colorway that looked like a palette of watercolors all swirled together. The rainbow Plymouth Encore, on the other hand, looks rather like someone put a parrot in a blender.

This pattern is also available as a free Ravelry download.

Parakeet Afghan

Parakeet Blanket )
houseelf: A line drawing of Dobby the house elf holding a skein of yarn and knitting needles. (Default)
My sister has a winter birthday. This year, she asked for a hat and scarf set for her birthday and Christmas. She wanted stripes, a tassel on the hat and fringe on the scarf, and for it to be red and purple to match her red coat.

I was able to make the hat and the scarf out of two skeins of black yarn and one each of the red and purple. There's a little black left unused (perhaps a fifth of the skein) and very little red or purple.

Striped Hat
Gauge: 4.75 spi
Needles: Bamboo dpns, US #6 (4mm)
Yarn: Cascade 220
Pattern: basic hat pattern from Ann Budd's The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns, more or less.

The stripes at the brim were made by doing a longtail caston with two strands that put black on the bottom and purple on the needle, and then knitting a round of black, a round of red, and another round of black. I like the effect, but weaving in the ends neatly later was unpleasant. The tie for the tassel was made by braiding together one strand of each of the three colors.

Hat Pics! )

Striped Scarf
Gauge: uncertain - didn't measure after blocking
Needles: Denise, US #9 (5.5mm)
Yarn: Cascade 220
Pattern: CO 60 sts, join round, knit until nearly out of yarn.

I used larger needles for the scarf than for the hat so that the scarf would be nice and limp. Because it's a tube, I wasn't worried about the individual layers being wind resistant. The end result is heavy, but she lives in Boston. A heavy, warm scarf isn't a bad thing.

Blocking is a lovely thing. When I realized I was nearly out of yarn, the scarf was about five and a half feet long, or possibly a little less. Hoping I wouldn't have to start new skeins of anything, I soaked the scarf in some tepid water, squeezed out as much as I could, and then laid it out on garbage bags to dry. I was able to stretch it quite a bit at first, and it grew a little longer each time I flipped it. When it was nearly dry, I took it off the floor and hung it over the shower rod to get a little more length out of it (and also to get it out of my only hallway.) End result after almost 48 hours of drying time: a seven foot long scarf, which is what my sister requested.

Closed tubes are lovely things too, when you're doing stripes. Rather than weave in a kazillion ends, I tied each pair of ends into a very secure knot, trimmed them down a little, and left them. This had the pleasant side effect of mostly fixing the jogs between the stripes as the last stitch of one stripe and the first stitch of the next were pulled tight together. It's visible in the photos, but it's not noticeable unless you're looking for it.

One thing I forgot to take photos of is the side "seams". There's a trick I read about in an Elizabeth Zimmerman book (possibly Knitter's Almanac) for stabilizing knit tubes by faking some seams on the sides. She had sweaters in mind, but it worked amazingly well here. Right at the end, knit until you reach the stitch you want to turn into a seam. Drop it aaaall the way down to the bottom. Then, with a crochet hook, start to pick it up. Instead of picking up each ladder to make a stitch as you would if you dropped the stitch accidentally, you pick up one ladder, then two ladders, then one, then two, and so on. What was three stitches becomes two. This makes a column of stitches that looks the same to the casual observer and that is ridged in a way that makes the fabric want to fold there. Voila! Scarf knit in the round that actually wants to lay flat rather than twisting.

Scarf Pics! )
houseelf: A line drawing of Dobby the house elf holding a skein of yarn and knitting needles. (Default)
A non-knitting friend asked me to make a scarf that looks like crime scene tape as a Christmas present for her sister.

Yarn: Caron Simply Soft in Black and Lemonade. I am not fond of this yarn, but it's surprisingly hard to find bright yellow in my usual choices.
Needles: Addi Turbo #7 (4.5mm)
Gauge: 5 sts/inch
Pattern: http://robotclothes.com/projects_policetape.html, the more finished version, with alterations

How I altered it, with photos )

Crime Scene Scarf 1

And here's a closeup of the finished scarf. Being acrylic, there wasn't much point in blocking it, so I didn't bother. Overall, I'm pleased with the way it turned out, and I'm shocked that the colorwork and the scarf itself lay as flat as they do.