My yarn came in!

Well, most of it... Some of it is on back order. Sigh... :(

These are the yarns that I ordered for the 5 exercises at the end of the chapter on "Plain Weave Variations" in the Chandler book. You can see that I'm still sticking pretty closely to thicker wools - the thought of moving to thinner cottons and silks makes me nervous. But the yellow is thinner than anything I've woven with to date! Baby steps... ;)

The exercises have me practicing a plain weave, rib weave, basket weave and twill while changing sett, in a plaid, and using yarns of different weights and textures. I'll also be trying a log-cabin pattern. That looks really cool in the pictures!

I'll try to get the loom warped for the first exercise in the evenings after work this week. I'd love to be ready to go next weekend! What are you working on this week?

Carrying an Umbrella to Prevent the Rain

Well, people in central Florida have me to thank for the end of the "cold" spell and the return of our typically temperate February weather.
"How did she do it?" you may be wondering. Well, it was simple, really. I just finished the toasty warm scarf that I was making for David! ;)

It went amazingly quickly. I purchased the yarn last Saturday and finished weaving after work on Monday. As advertised, the wool was very forgiving with my far-from-perfect tension and settled itself into nice parallel stripes after being washed.

I had been wondering what the term "felting" means for a while, and I learned the hard way - by putting the scarf in my washing machine. I did select the most gentle cycle, but there was definitely felting along the fringe. Lesson learned - it's hand washing for me from now on. ;)

I was worried about the weft tails from each color change. I tied overhand knots, but many of them came out - in the washing machine... So, I used my sewing machine to stitch along each long edge. And I took that opportunity to put in my label.

Eventually I hope to get a photo of David modeling the scarf, but a friend at work offered to be the "stand in" for now:

The yarn for my next series of samplers in the Chandler book is due to arrive early next week. Unfortunately, I've got a trip this week and through the weekend, so it's going to be a little while before I can get back on the loom... :(
Oh, I'll be working with something other than wool - kind of like going without a safety net! ;)
Wish me luck! :)

Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men...

Oh yes, I'm going to continue doing the exercises in the Chandler book and postpone any "real" projects until I've finished all those samplers... Right... Was anyone taking bets as to how long that would last? ;)

If so, the results are in: less than one week. But, wait, I have a rationalization. Oops, I mean, an excuse. Er, rather, a good reason.

You see, I decided to order the yarn for the next set of exercises via the internet. And it will take about a week to arrive in the mail. So, what was I to do in the meantime?

Clearly, I had to do a project. There was simply no alternative. ;)

Actually, it was a miscommunication that spawned the project. I wanted to show my first sampler to two Hispanic friends of mine, Ana and David. They don't speak English and my Spanish is pretty minimal. In my mind I was showing it to them, however my intention apparently wasn't clear. There was an awkward moment when Ana wrapped the sampler around David's neck and they both thanked me, as I realized what they thought. This was followed by an even more awkward moment as they realized that I hadn't been giving it to him for a scarf. Yikes! :(

In any event, after many apologies all around, I promised to make him a scarf. He rides a small, red motorscooter, so I decided to make him a red and black checked scarf out of the same wool I used for my sampler. It's not particularly soft, but hopefully it will be warm.

It's going quite quickly and I should be able to finish early this week. Then, when my "real" yarn arrives in the mail, I'll get back to the book and the exercises! Honest! ;)

One Sampler and Many Samples!

On Sunday, I took my first sampler off the loom. I simply made overhand knots - while it was still on the loom under tension - to tie it off:

I washed it in cold water with shampoo to finish it. It probably doesn't look like much to anyone but me, but I'm happy with all I learned on this project. :)

Okay, not to mention relieved that it didn't all collapse into a huge tangled knot the minute it left the loom! ;)

I still need to scrutinize it carefully and make note of things like the amount of (weft) draw-in, etc. I did estimate almost one yard of loom waste in the warp! Yikes! :(

As for the "many samples" - I took Susan's advice and ordered a bunch of yarn samples. More specifically, I ordered Halycon's Yarn Store in a Box ($40 + shipping).

Here is the complete set of cards that came in my box:

Here is a close-up view to give you a better sense of the variety of yarns that the cards cover:

Each card gives a lot of useful information, such as how to care for the yarn and the tabby and twill setts.

This is absolutely perfect for me, as I know nothing about yarns. :)

Part of me wants to jump in and start on a "real" project. However, Chapter 6 of the Chandler book has 5 weaving homework assignments at the end, focusing on practicing plain-weave variations.

One of the nice things (for me) about getting older is gaining some patience as well. So, I'm going to work on her exercises. (Well, some of them, anyways - I might not be THAT patient!) I know that I'll learn important things and gain practice that will contribute to the quality of my first "real" project. :)