Monday, February 1, 2010

Everything Old is New Again [Scarf #42]

Oh geez oh geez is it February already? Where on earth did January go? Oh well, February snuck up on me faster than I expected so I didn't get around to posting any fanfare in advance, but now it's February and that means it's time for (dum dum dum duummmmm!)

Scarfaday 2010

I'm reeeeally excited to be doing Scarfaday again this year, hopefully bigger and better than ever! I've got some new stuff planned but it worked pretty darn well last year so I've also got lots of old stuff planned. ;) For starters, the ground rules remain the same as last year, tho' I'm reverting to the v1.0 rules for February, i.e.:

  1. I'll just do the month of February and then take stock.
  2. I'll only commit to weekdays, though if I weave a scarf on the weekends I'll post pics of those, too.
  3. I'll try to put a new warp on every few days but since the warps will often be three or four scarves long it might take three or four days to weave them off.
  4. Every scarf will be unique, though it might be very similar to others on the same warp.
  5. The scarves have to be complete by the end of the day but not necessarily wet finished.
  6. Family trumps scarves! I might wind up missing a few days if something big comes up.

New for this year: I'll be weaving my scarves live on Weaving In My Jammies most of the time, though the timing will be hit or miss unless I manage to get on some kind of a schedule. I also intend to make up warps and/or kits (including weft) for most of the scarves you'll see this year, which will be for sale in my Artfire shop.1

Also, although I'm not planning on doing guest scarves per se during February, I'm really hoping that others will join in with their own version of scarf (or not!) a day (or not!) and then send me links to blog posts and/or pics online - my hope is to include a round up of links to other folks' projects at the end of every day's post. Bear in mind that your project doesn't have to be scarves - it could be belts (hi, Annie!) or tea towels (Beth? Laura?) or anything else. It doesn't even have to be woven - it could be baskets (Shari?) or boxes (Les??) or dyed fibre (Allllissssoonnnn!). And it most certainly doesn't have to be *aday, if you're more of an *aweek (Liz!) or even *amonth kinda person.

And with that rather disorganized start to what's bound to be a rather disorganized month, I give you Scarfaday 2010's first entry: Scarf #42!2

This scarf was a first in a few ways: it was the first scarf of Scarfaday 2010 (in fact, the first scarf of 2010 Full Stop), it was the first Scarfaday scarf I've done on my rigid heddle loom, AND it was the first Scarfaday scarf I've woven (at least in part) on Weaving In My Jammies - not to mention the first time I've used my spanky new webcam. Most excitin' of all for me, though: it was the first time I've ever woven with my handspun yarn!!

I really didn't know what to expect with the handspun. The sliver was space dyed by hand and I'd plied the singles from the inside & outside of the ball which created a barber pole effect. Here's what the skeins looked like:

One skein was a lot more barber poley (is that a word? is now!) than the other; it was also the longer skein so I used it as warp. The second skein had a lot more areas where both plies were the same colour. I knew the colours in the weft would obscure some of the colour in the warp but I didn't have any idea to what extent that'd happen. I suspected that the colours might wind up a bit muddy but I also knew I'd always wonder what would happen when I used my barber pole yarns for warp and weft so I figured I might as well leap in with both feet and find out right away. Plus I'd hauled all kinds of my handspun to Vashon with me and figured I'd better use at least some of it while I was there.

Which brings me to a little confession: I cheated just a bit on this scarf. I dressed the loom and started weaving it in my Dear ol' Mum's studio on Vashon during our second week of class. Here are a few pics from the fantabulous album of photos that one of our Week 2 students, Myra Willingham (no relation), took during class:

Me dressing the loom...

This was a curly hair day, I see. They happen, especially towards the end of the week. Photo by Myra Willingham.

...with the aid of my lovely assistant, Judith, who was another of our Week 2ers...

Photo by Myra Willingham.

...and then showing a few of the students just what a rigid heddle is all about:

Judith again, plus a bit of Karen G's left side. Photo by Myra Willingham.

I got the scarf about 2/3rds done before I left for home. I've been saving it since then - I figured I'd cut myself a little bit of slack and finish it up on Scarfaday No.1 rather than stressing out about winding a new warp and dressing the loom as well as restarting the blog. Good job I did, too, since between staying up late last night4, starting a new yoga class this morning (yay!), going out for lunch with Ron, going knitting at the Wentworth Perk with some of the Unspun Heroes early this evening and then hunting all over Icecrown & Storm Peaks for titanium nodes a little later on, I hardly had any time left for weaving! I'm definitely going to have to reshuffle my priorities if I'm going to pull off Scarfaday again this year. But hey, it's the time of year for doing that anyway so I welcome the challenge and the resulting productivity. :)

Anyhoo, this is where I was (a week ago and) at 4:00 pm today:

As you can see, I sat at the kitchen table to weave today, with Plum & Twitter & a lovely cuppa tea to keep me company. What you can't see is that Brownie was also sitting at the table, in that chair by the window. She's elusive and shy as ever but still determined to be near the weaving!

This close up shows off the barber poleyness (ooo, another new word!) of the yarns:

Not long after these photos I realized I should try out my new webcam so there was a bit of fiddling with that - installing the software on Plum, figuring out how to mount it on my tripod, etc. etc. - before I really got going... and then, before I knew it, I was done and it was 6:00 and high time I was at the Perk for knitting.

I was home again by 8 but then we made dinner so I didn't get to hemstitch the ends3 and unfurl the scarf until 9:00ish:

That's one of my spiffy new blunt needles wot I bought at the Weaving Works. Some of our students (Karen G, maybe?) had them in class and I thought they were Pretty Darn Neat, what with their nice size and bent point, so I hunted them down and got a couple to try. They are made by Clover.

So, about the yarn colours. Turns out that the weft obscured the warp a lot more than I expected it to, to the point that they didn't actually muddy one another up 'cause the warp was calling the shots. (ha! "shots"! That's a terrible pun but I like it so in it stays!) Also, the colour shifts in the weft turned out to be way more regular than I expected, what with the barber poleing (poling? polling? meh. poleing!) and all. In the end, although the weft is two toned almost all the time, the overall shifting colourway of the sliver played out in the scarf as well:

You can almost tell from the pic how soft and drapey it's going to be once it's wet finished. :D

A few technical details:

The sliver was 100% merino, dyed by Katherine whoselastnameIneverremember of The Fleece Artist. Not sure which colourway but I'm guessing it might be 'Hercules'. It was spun by Yrs Trly and I haven't got the faintest idea how many wraps per inch it was, or whatever the proper numbery bits are for spinning. I spun the singles, balled them up and then plied from the inside & outside of the ball.

The scarf was woven on my Ashford Knitter's Loom using the 7.5 dpi heddle that came with it. I think (but couldn't swear to it) that my guide string was 92" long. I used the direct warping method. There are 55 ends, so I guess that makes it 7.33" in the heddle. It looks like a pretty balanced weave, except for where it's not. The yarn's a bit thick and thin and my beat was, too. ;)

Ta da! Done, and only an hour late! That's practically right on time. :D

[Edit: Woo! Owing to my mad arm twisting skillz, I've got some takers already! Alison of YarnInMyPocket is launching her new blog, Yarnscape, with a dye-a-day project for the month. I'm also going to link to my friend Clayton's photos from his Project365... er, project?... which lasts ALL YEAR! Here are some links:

C'mon, everyone else. You know you want to! Bring on dem links! - JWD]

1. Will be, I said, will be! Yes, yes, it's empty right now but it won't be for long - I hope?

2. I wove a bunch more scarves toward the end of 2009 that never got blogged but it's too late to worry about them now so this one gets to be #42. Perhaps I'll revisit those other colourways during the month as some of them were Quite Nice, ifIdosaysomyself. :)

3. Er, yeah. Ends plural. Turns out I hadn't hemstitched the beginning. Didn't remember that when I ended. Oops? Oh well - was easy to do once the scarf was unfurled from the front beam!

4. I'm reading the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency novels by Alexander McCall Smith. They are so addictive! I finished up #2 and started #3 last night and couldn't turn out the light before 3:00 aye em. ZZzzZZzzzZZZzzZZZZz!


Alison said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alison said...

Ooooohhhooooooohhhh!!! What a start to the scarfas! I love the way the colours play together, without becoming muddy. Amazing!

OK, my arm is twisted enough. I am coming to play, with dye-a-day (it really needs the hyphens. It looks so odd without!). Just to confuse, I'm using this as an excuse to launch the NEW!! blog (though yarninmypocket will still, and always, stay live).

RedTwigBrownTwig said...

Oh sure, leave us hanging, then come back with a challenge! I think I'll work on a regular post called "Finished by Friday". Nice scarf as always. Welcome back.

Liz said...

all righty then.... Can I make some painted and sewn scarves to shake things up a bit????? I have some serious craft commitment issues!

Anonymous said...

O.K. Janet - I am on board as well.