Saturday, October 10, 2009

Back on Track [Scarf, 36, maybe?]

Oh, so many things to tell you! Not least of which is that, after seemingly MILES[1] of placemats, I am finally weaving scarves again! See?

That right there is Mr. Scarfy Pants, the first proper Scarf A Day scarf in simply months. By "proper" I mean one who had his picture taken on the loom and is getting blogged about on the day of his birth - I've actually woven a couple others but I either didn't snap any pics while they were on the loom or haven't blogged 'em yet. I'm sooo out of practice!

More about MSP in a minute, but first I want to say a huge THANK YOU to you guys who have stuck with me through my long dry spell. I also want to give a hearty welcome to anyone who's found the blog via my article in the latest issue of Handwoven Magazine. These two things are related!

That they're related will come as no surprise to anyone who's read both my last post and my article, as the first inspired the latter. You'll recall that I mentioned the article way back when, when it was supposed to be about Scarfaday and stash scarves and weaving on the cheap and joint projects with Mom and, oh yes, the kitchen sink as well... The scarves were originally supposed to be a project article for the Sept/Oct issue of the mag but for Various Reasons it was delayed until the Nov/Dec, which was just as well 'cause I had no clue how to work all that stuff in, really I didn't. In fact, I was still struggling with the subject matter when I wrote that last post - I was just seeing the light at the end of my funky tunnel, but article angst was holding me back. Finally I wrote to Madelyn and said, "Look, I'm really sorry, but unless you want an article on what to do when your attention span is shorter than your warp, I'm afraid I'm not your girl for this issue." "Really?" she asked. "Were you serious about that?" And the rest, as they say, is history. They also say you should write what you know and you know what? It works!

At first I felt mighty sheepish about writing an article for lazy weavers but then I had an epiphany of sorts: I realized that being a hare (at least one who eventually gets off her duff and back onto the track) isn't a Bad Thing, it's just... a Thing. If you know in advance that it's Your Thing, you can plan accordingly and there won't be any need for embarrassment or guilt or funks or angst when you inevitably decide to cool your heels for a while. I also realized as I talked with other people about the article that I'm not the only hare out there. I can't tell you what a relief that is!

And so, article angst, hare self-acceptance and miles of placemats behind me, I am not just ready but anxious, eager and excited to WEAVE SOME FLIPPIN' SCARVES. Which is a bloody good thing, since I inadvertently signed myself up for a craft market next month and then forgot all about it, so now I have less than five weeks(!!!) to weave a booth full of stuff, and by stuff I mean scarves.

Which brings me back to Mr. Scarfy Pants:

You might recognize the warp colour combo. It's Warp #1 again, and it's back on the loom[2] 'cause a customer ordered a scarf just like Scarf #3 except that he didn't want fringe. It was for a friend of his whose chemo treatments were making her skin super sensitive and he feared the fringe would irritate her. Personally, I think the firm edge of a hem would be more irritating than the super soft cotton fringe, but he wanted a hem so a hem he got. I split the 4/8 into plies and used one ply of 2/16 for the hem bits so that when folded up on themselves they wouldn't be tooooo bulky. Worked far better than I expected, I have to say.

I put on enough warp for four scarves, of course. The first was his and done just like the others on Warp #1, i.e. with regular stripes in the same colour order and at 10 EPI. Just to change things up a bit (yay for hares!) I resleyed before the next scarf and wove it at 8 EPI like my wide scarves 'cause I want to see what the 8/8 warp will do at that set. I've done two scarves like that now and am trying to decide whether to do the last one that way as well or cut these two off and wash 'em first. The fact that I think I've woven #2 and #3 longer than I planned for is a mitigating factor - don't want #4 to wind up stubby!

For the weft of the second scarf I used the same blue that I'd used in Scarf #4.5 'cause I loved it so much and really wanted a full length scarf in that colour. No pics of that one on the loom, but here's 4.5 as a reminder of the lovely colour (this one's at 10 EPI, tho' but):

I think a chocolatey brown would be lovely with this warp palette but I quite liked how the blue of a more similar value wove up, so I decided to use a grey with brown undertones for Mr. Scarfy Pants. I like it but it hasn't sent me into paroxysms of delight. Perhaps it will once it's washed. :) I hope so - I do so enjoy a nice paroxysm. What a funny word. Paroxysm.

Hmm... I like it even better in this pic than I do on the loom. That is Promising!

So! That's all the time I have right now, but here are a few other things I want to be sure to share in the near future:
  • Mom's super keen stash warp project and the lovely scarves they've produced
  • Plans for two week-long workshops that Mom and I are offering in January on Vashon in WA - excitin'!
  • Pics of more of those wide, loosely woven scarves like the ones from Warp #9 and the ones in the Handwoven article, which are doing really well in the shop
  • Pics of my stole, which I never did post. Gah!
  • The rehabilitation of Scarf #34

[1] I'm sure 30 yards = miles in some space time continuum.

[2] In fact, it's on both looms which is Very Odd, let me tell you. Like I'm seeing double when I go downstairs, 'cause the same colours in the same stripe pattern are in two places. First time that's ever happened, and it's because two people ordered the same colours, one for scarves and the other for baby blankets - who am I to argue with paying customers?


barbara said...

Good to see you "back on Track .... Maybe". We will take the articles as they come - no pressure. Good luck letting ready for a "market" in a few weeks. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Ron.
Weaverly yours .... Barbara

Holly said...

I'm definitely a weaving "hare"! Thanks for the article, I feel so much better! Glad you are back.

Janet said...

We weaving hares must stick together! Maybe we need a support group... or a warp swap? Hares who get totally sick of whatever's on their looms but don't want to waste it could carefully cut it off and send it to some other hare for whom it'll be a whole new, and therefore exciting, project. I've got two warps saved for the day I can stand to put them back on the loom - a day which will never, ever, EVER come.

Life Looms Large said...

Good to see you back!!

When Handwoven arrived at my house yesterday, I flipped through it to find your article. Great job!!! Some very good points in there!!

You're definitely not the only hare. I have several weaving friends in real life who are also hares and almost dislike the actual weaving. (I couldn't decide if I'm a tortoise or a hare...maybe some weird mixture!)

One good thing about being a hare is that you really listen to and are guided by your passion for's good that you listen when your enthusiasm runs dry.

You've got some exciting stuff coming up! Looking forward to it!


Janet said...

I wouldn't say I dislike the actual weaving (at least, not most of the time), but I definitely like the planning and prep stages best. I'm one of those rare breed of weavers who likes dressing the loom every bit as much (or even more?) than weaving on it.

Guess those skills aptitude tests they give you in high school are well designed - the one I took determined that I should consider a career as a mechanic. ;) Some days I think I have...

barbara said...

Not sure if I am a "hare, dog, cat" or just what. I don't mind dressing the loom, and I love weaving off the warp. Scarves I usually put on 3 - 4 per warp. Shawls 2 - 3. Tea towels 24 towels .... I keep changing the colors in the weft, as my tea towels warps are often white. I wish, or I wish I had more of a mechanical/math mind, that would really help with dealing with loom problems; and dealing with trying to determine a draft. Hey, we work best with what we have - and there is always someone out there to help in the areas we need help.

I am afraid to say, if I took a warp off the loom, it would go immediately into the "black" waste cart and out for pickup by Mr. Garbage Man!!!

Weaverly yours ...... Barbara

P.S. As soon as the pumpkin pies are cooked, I am off to finish threading a tea towel warp - yep - 26 yards.

barbara said...

Pies got cooked, threading done! Learning a new sleying method ... you guessed it a sleying mistake. Oh well, will try again, now time to get veggies ready.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained - I think I am going to like the new sleying method. As shown on Laura Fry's blog.

Weaverly yours ..... Barbara

Beth said...

I think I'm half hare half tortoise. Hmm. Your Handwoven article received nice comments from my weaving group yesterday. :-)They all love your style of writing. Great, great, great to see you back in the swing.