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!
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
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.
Here are a few things I learned during month one:
- 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!
- 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...
- 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!
- There are only so many ways to take a picture of a scarf on a loom.
- 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.)
- 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.
- Leaving rayon in the dryer too long makes it fuzz up and pill. Foo.
- 8/8 is too heavy to weave on a 4/8 warp set at 12 EPI.
- Variety is the spice of life. Changing colours, changing structure, changing blog content is a good thing!
- White balance, white balance, white balance! Also: tripod, tripod, tripod; macro, macro, macro; and 2-sec delay, 2-sec delay, 2-sec delay!
- Sometimes, you just need a horrid-break. So take one.
You'll see some of these lessons applied in my...
New Rules of Engagement for March and Beyond:
- 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.
- I will continue to post new scarves on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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”.
- 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.
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!
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.