Monday, March 2, 2009

In like a lion - Rawr! [MFM]

Seashell in natural

Hullllllllooooo me hearties! I am mostly back from my much needed horrid-break. I hope you all had as nice a weekend as I did. :) I say "mostly" because I'm going to take a quasi-break for the rest of the week: I'll be posting about Various Things but not weaving scarfas this week. There will be a scarfa for you on Friday, but it won't be mine! (dum dum dum dum duuuuuuuuum!)

I've got a lot to cover today: my month one review, my revised ground rules for Scarfaday, and last but definitely not least, my first free give away! I'm afraid this is going to be one giant post (dare I say, "of leonine proportions"??), so follow those links to the bits that interest you and skip the stuff that doesn't!

Riverstones: mauve fonce, vieux or, denim, rouille, sapin, borgogne

First up: my Month One (February '09) wrap up.

I'll start by reviewing the materials used in each warp since a lot of people asked me about that. You can refer to the individual scarves for the weft materials but I didn't always mention the warp in each post, so here they are:

  • Warp one [scarves 1, 2, 3, 4]: 8/8 cotton set at 10 EPI
  • Warp two [scarves 5, 6, 7]: A mixture of 2/8 cotton, 2/8 acrylic, 4/8 cotton, and cotton boucle in a weight similar to 4/8 set at 20 EPI
  • Warp three [scarf 8]: bulky weight super wash wool set at 6 EPI with extra spaces left in the reed between every four threads
  • Warp four [scarves 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]: 4/8 cotton set at 12 EPI
  • Warp five [scarves 14, 15, 16, 17]: 8/8 cotton set at 10 EPI
  • Warp six [scarves 18, 19, 20]: 8/8 cotton set at 10 EPI

Riverstones: (top to bottom) plum, chamois, bleu, orange pale, seaton, framboise

And now for a review of how the month went for me:

The month started out GRATE. The first week was really busy with posting and pictures and first warps and just general excitement about the project (and not a little trepidation!) but I enjoyed every single bit of it. You know how new things are sooooo exciting? Scarfaday was new! Scarfaday was exciting! Week two felt less busy 'cause it was taking less time to do each scarf, take the pics, etc. but it was still just as fun, even with the sad trombone shawl. It was still new and exciting and at the end of week two I was imagining doing Scarfaday for the rest of forever. :)

By the middle of week three, though, I was starting to realize that I had a lot less time for fun and creative exploration away from the loom. I wasn't sewing anything, I wasn't doing my artist dates, and I wasn't getting stuff woven on the other loom. I was also starting to have doubts about how interesting the whole project really was to other people. I worried that the scarves were all so similar that people would lose interest, that I wasn't doing complicated enough multi-shaft fancy structures, that the threads I was using were too thick... Apparently I decided long ago that Real Weavers(tm) use fine threads and fancy multi-shaft weaves and, since I usually do plain weave in thick threads, I am somehow lacking.
Talk about unhelpful rules! Week three was also knit-a-thon prep week which made it even more stressy.

On the other hand, two really cool things things happened in week three: I started thinking about what changes I'd need to make to Scarfaday to keep it up past the end of February and hit upon the idea of weekly guest scarves, and I started putting some thought and effort into the vague plan that I've had to sell pre-wound scarf warps. I posted to the Weaving List about the guest scarves and actually got a few responses right away, which was totally exciting. I even have a couple already lined up for you guys and I can't wait to see what they look like! I've gotten sneak peaks at the pictures for one of the projects and am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the other guest blog post in my email. I'm reeeeeaally looking forward to the guest scarfas! I also mentioned the pre-wound warps to someone who sent me email asking about some of the scarves on the blog and lo! she wrote right back and said she wanted one, so now that's going to become a reality, too, and I'm really excited about that as well.

Week four was like week three, only more so: by this point the weaving was the easiest part of the whole deal but everything else about Scarfaday was stressing me out more. It didn't take much effort to weave a scarf and take some pics each day but I found it harder and harder to know what to say about them. I felt like I'd run out of words (hard to believe, I know!) and wasn't sure what would be interesting to read about – should I talk about the other stuff I did during the day or just stick to the scarf at hand, should I be my usual rambly self or try to be concise... I also spent a lot of time thinking about the revised rules of engagement for future months and how to reorganize so that I still get all the benefits of Scarfaday but the downsides are minimized so that I can keep it up as long as possible.

Beach: seaton, honey, bleu, melon

Here are a few things I learned during month one:
  1. Scarfaday is a great motivator! My biggest issue with weaving is that it's usually a one-player game. I would much rather be hanging with friends than sitting alone in my basement. Scarfaday turns weaving into a group activity and that's a Good Thing. I really, really appreciate all the comments that people leave and email that people send that lets me know there's someone out there who's playing along with me. Please keep them coming!
  2. Scarfaday is great for production! I'll have a lot more scarves ready when the shop opens than I did last year. Also, it felt really good to have a game plan for building up stock and then to stick to the plan - something I tend to have trouble with. I always say I'm going to weave a ton in February and March to get ready for the shop opening in May, and this year I'm actually doing it. That being said...
  3. Scarfaday is not great for production in some ways: I found that I stopped after weaving a single scarf when otherwise I might have woven two or three in a day. Also, I didn't touch the other loom during the whole month. Gah!
  4. There are only so many ways to take a picture of a scarf on a loom.
  5. A little goes a long way. Talk less, weave more. (Yeah, yeah, I know. I'll start heeding my own advice after this post. Possibly.)
  6. If you start blogging with a particular format (e.g. with timestamps on activities) you might get stuck doing that even after you're tired of it. Ho hum.
  7. Leaving rayon in the dryer too long makes it fuzz up and pill. Foo.
  8. 8/8 is too heavy to weave on a 4/8 warp set at 12 EPI.
  9. Variety is the spice of life. Changing colours, changing structure, changing blog content is a good thing!
  10. White balance, white balance, white balance! Also: tripod, tripod, tripod; macro, macro, macro; and 2-sec delay, 2-sec delay, 2-sec delay!
  11. Sometimes, you just need a horrid-break. So take one.
As yet unnamed baby blanket palette: (clockwise from top left) seaton, lime, bleu, chamois

You'll see some of these lessons applied in my...

New Rules of Engagement for March and Beyond:
  1. I will still post every weekday. As always, family trumps scarves so if something big happens (or I really need a horrid-break) I may skip days.
  2. I will continue to post new scarves on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
  3. I will post guest scarfas on Fridays. I am very excited about this! Please see the guest scarfa sidebar if you're interested in being a guest scarfer.
  4. Mondays will be Mixed Fibres Days. What's a Mixed Fibre Day, you ask? Well, I'm quite happy to report that ... I don't really know. Every one will be different, and might be a warp review, or pics of what I wove over the weekend, or an extra guest somethingerother, or links to nifty weaving related stuff I've seen online... This week it's my month one wrap up, my new rules of engagement, and my first free give away. I'm hoping that the free give aways will be a regular Mixed Fibre occurrence. :) If you have any suggestions for MFDs, please send them along!

The format for future scarfa posts will be briefer than they have been: a few pics, a note on materials, a couple of comments about the weaving, etc. I suppose if people tell me that they miss the rambly “and then I went and had tea and played Sudoku and then I read a book and then I petted the cat and talked on the phone and oh yeah eventually I wove a scarf ” kind of thing I'll reconsider but for the moment I'm thinking I'll keep Tuesday-Thursday short and sweet and save my rambling for HFD and Mixed Fibre Mondays.

Seaside in vieux bleu

And now for the bit of this monster post I'm really excited about: my first give away! Huzzah!

I love blogs that have contests to win stuff (like right now on U-handblog, for instance) so I'm going to have one myself. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and all that. Not only are contests fun and excitin', I'm hoping this and future contests will help me gather some valuable intel that I can use when planning my scarf kits. I'm also secretly hoping that it'll draw out some of the folks that my dear ol' Mum insists are lurking in the shadows, reading the blog but not commenting. If you're out there, here's your chance to say hi and win a fabulous prize!

What is this supposedly fabulous prize, you ask? I shall tell you! It is a pre-wound warp and sufficient weft to weave two scarves in the colour palette of your choice, chosen from the ones I posted to the blog last month (here, here,
here, here, and here)1 or from the colour palettes sprinkled throughout this post. All you have to do to win this Fabulous Prize is to add a comment to this post and answer the following question:

“What's your favourite length and width to weave a scarf?”

That's finished length and width, by the way, but I'd love to hear how long and wide you usually make your scarf warps as well. If you have more than one favourite length or width, tell me that, too! I will pick a comment at random and the lucky commentator will receive in the mail a warp long enough to weave two scarves of the size she or he indicated in the palette she or he indicated - so don't forget to include which palette you'd like in your comment.

EDIT: Some of you have said that you vary the length and width of your scarves all the time, because you're weaving for different people or because you like different lengths and widths for yourself. This is perfectly valid and very good to know, so please go right ahead and let that be your answer to the question if you like. :) However, could you also indicate a range that your scarves usually fall within? A maximum and a minimum length and width, sorta thing? Something along the lines of "at least 5 inches wide but not usually more than 10, and at least 50 inches long but sometimes as much as 80" - replacing those numbers with whatever is true for you and your weaving, of course! thx :)

Official Contest Rules:

  1. The contest period is (slightly less than) one week, from now until Monday, March 9 at noon o'clock Atlantic Time (that's 8:00 a.m. Seattle time, by the way). At that time I'll choose one of the comments at random to determine the lucky winner and post the results to the blog.
  2. Only comments on THIS POST count, and only the first comment from each person will count. Feel free to comment more than once, of course, but only your first comment will be considered when figuring out the winner.
  3. The prize warp will be long enough to weave two scarves of the length you say you most love to weave... unless you are that rare person who likes to weave her scarves 20" wide and nine yards long or something. For sanity's sake, the prize warp will be a maximum of 9" wide and 6 yards long, which is more than enough to weave two scarves about 80”.
  4. Don't put your mailing address in your comment! Do be sure to include your name and email address or some other way for me to reach you in your comment so that I can contact you and sort out the details of your warp if you're the lucky winner.
NB: I may not have all the yarns required to wind your warp on hand, especially if you choose one of the palettes from this post rather than one of the February scarves, so it might take a couple of weeks before I can mail your scarf kit out.

To add a comment to this post, simply type something into the blank Post a Comment box below all the other comments. If you don't see that comment box, you are likely on the blog's main page rather than looking at just this post. If this is the case, click on the blue post title at the top and the comments should miraculously appear at the bottom, along with the comment box.

Edit: Gnaaah! It turns out that embedding the Post a Comment box on the post page below the other comments is broken somehow, and causes at least some people who are posting anonymously to get "comment denied" and "request cannot be processed" errors. Here I thought I was making it easier for you guys to comment and lo! I have made it impossible instead. AHEM.

I've put the comments back the way they were, so now to post a comment you need to click on the Post a Comment link below the other comments, which will take you to a separate page. Enter your comment into the box on the right side of the page, enter the squiggled up word into the word verification, and then click the Publish Comment button below that. This should work, at least... I'm still getting reports of error messages but the comments seem to be posting anyway.

Remember to indicate your favourite length and width and preferred palette!

Avonlea in mauve fonce

Phew! I warned you it was a long one! The next three will be shorter, I promise. :) See you tomorrow with a review of warp... what are we up to now? Five, I think.

Edit: If you want to comment on this post but don't want to win a scarf kit (if, for instance, you are my sweetie pie or one of my other non-weaving friends), just put "no prize please!" at the end of your comment. :)

1. Except for the sad trombone shawl, I'm afraid. That's a stash warp, and I can't get any more of that yarn. Also, it is too wide for the contest rules.


Anonymous said...

OK, you succeed in getting me out of the shadow. I have been following your blog and I am amazed at how fast you can weave. I have been weaving for two years but never did a scarf. Generally I like them long and large. As to my favorite palette, Seashell looks very nice from here. Keep going! Jacqueline

Anonymous said...

Hi Janet,
Because people come in all different sizes, I weave scarves in all different sizes. Some folks like narrow scarves (7 - 8"), some like winder (9 - 10"), other like really wide long ones to wear almost like a shawl. The length sizes I make different, because a really short person, does not usually like a really long scarf. So, the best bet is just do a variety of widths, lengths and you should find someone that will love your scarves. Right now I am up to my eye-balls in tea towels. I am enjoying reading your posts. Send my regards to your Mom. Cheers .... Barbara (Prince Edward Island)

Beth said...

Hi Janet,
Congratulations on your scarfaday project! As I commented before, I love, love, love the colors you've chosen. I usually weave my scarves 8-10" wide and about 74" long - aiming for 7.5-9" wide by 72" long after washing. The seaton is a great color palette. Oh, and I'm working on putting together some pictures and comments on the 2 scarves I just took of the loom. Busy getting ready for a show but will share very soon. Happy weaving, Beth(USA)

Life Looms Large said...

Awesome post! So much info!! I really liked the way you talked about how Scarf A Day was for you to put together....I find it interesting how my blogging affects me too! (And I'm with you on the likes to chat with friends bit!)

It's so nice of you to do a giveaway. Somewhere there's some very lucky weaver!!

Scarf dimensions I like: My favorite scarves are pretty long - about 6 feet - but maybe 7 inches across. (That's finished dimensions). My favorite color palette in this post is Seaside in Vieux Bleu.

You did a fabulous job with this month!! I've felt inspired by your productivity, and I have to remind myself that my pace is my pace....while yours is yours! Your scarves are beautiful!

I'll definitely be staying tuned to see where you take things in the future!!



Anonymous said...

I do not like wide scarves. I want warmth but too much bulk is choking. I like about 6 inches by 5 feet.
vrselleck AT gmail DOT com

branch manager said...

Congratulations on completion of scarfaday for February!!! You've got to post of pic of all the pretty scarves hanging together!

Pat in Blacksburg VA said...

Your project has inspired me to keep weaving during a slow period in my (supposedly) income-producing 'real' work, but I certainly can't match your production. I like your different palettes (my personal choice would be the bourgogne). I do a lot of scarves for myself, for gifts, and to sell at a craft fair. Different sizes: 7-8" for soft-handed wool, 6-7" for wool and chenille wefts on tencel warps that have a firmer result so won't scrunch up around a neck, 6" for tencel and silk huck lace patterns (my favorites to make and wear, but don't sell as well because more expensive). All about 72" long + fringe except the occasional one in "masculine" colors for men's "dressy" scarves (then 50-60"). And short ones if I run out of warp or weft!

Holly said...

I'm glad to find someone else hooked on scarves. I try to do at least one a week. Generally I have no idea who they will be for -- until someone says "I really loved that scarf" then I know it's for them. I have four looms and right now two of them have scarves on them. Since I don't know where the scarf is going to land I stick to about 66 inches long on the loom and 6 1/2 - 7 inches wide. After washing, the end up about 6 inches wide by about 60-62 inches long. Right now I'm doing a series that I call odd balls -- because the weft (and sometimes the warp) are odd balls of knitting yarn left over from other projects or balls of yarn that have been hanging out in the stash for many years. I have to make room in the stash, so I can buy more yarn and help the economy!

elliedav1 said...

Designing and weaving a scarf is like playing with paint except you get to wear it around your neck, which makes everyone smile when they see its beauty and feel its softness. Each of your scarves has its own special personality; all are beautifully woven and colors chosen with an eye for harmony. It has been a joy to watch "Scarfa" as each scarf emerges from the loom. Your creative energy and vision are inspiring. My favorite is #4. My width of choice is 6" wide and 52" long plus fringe. Great job with an ambitious undertaking! Ellie

Cecily said...

What a great project, and the results are lovely!
I like the Riverstones, mauve fonce palette.
I like to weave all sizes, but for quick, satisfaction-guaranteed projects, I like the dimensions 7-8 x 50-55 inches. I've been thinking about warping a random color warp but my left brain has gained a lot of clout over my fancy right brain, so logical pattern wins over random with me.

Have fun with your project!

Margaret309 said...

I too, am amazed at your production. You have inspired me to begin again (volunteering has gotten in the way, but I won't quit that). My favorite is the seaside color as I live on the Gulf.

For others, I make the length and width what they want, but for me I usually go with 30" x 75" so I can snuggle it around me or on top as I am lying down. Of course then add fringe.

Anonymous said...

Janet, I love your blog and photos of your work; I'd like to live in your yarn storage room! I like to weave scarves that are about 5-7 inches wide, about 50-60 inches long, depending on whether the scarfee (the one receiving the scarf) wants to do creative, loopy things with it.

Mary Mauz said...

I'm at the bottom looking up at your weavings. "Someday" I'll get there but must get warped and start weaving more often as I forget so much in between. Of the two scarves I've done, they were limited by the amount of warp and weft I had spun or had bought. One was 8" x 45" and the other 10"x 75" (more like a stole). Personally, I like the green colorways. Thanks for inspiration and motivation

Janet said...

Thank you, thank you, everyone who put in their two cents re: scarf dimensions! I'm going to tally the results and post them in one convenient place.

If you're just wandering by this post for the first time, I hope you'll still comment and let us know your fave scarf sizes even though the contest's already over. :)

Peg in South Carolina said...

I loved this post. But, I am so glad that you have continued to jaabber on in the later posts instead of making them short and sweet.

Janet said...

Heh. To be perfectly honest, I'm trying to be succinct - I'm just not very good at it. ;) I'm a jabberer at heart.

Digital marketing said...

Hi, I am Tania one of your website customer. I just wanted to thank you for all your post and special today's post on your website. Moreover, I want to say that you

are doing the best job. I wish you good luck for your future posts.
digital marketing services in india