Sunday, July 14, 2013


Today there is new fiber play, Bear gifted me a vintage loomette for my birthday - so I have been playing. Like any new toy there is the initial flush of interest - which in this case resulted in a mini blanket. I've also finished Bears new hat, a redux of Hope he never needs this in exactly the same yarns. Bears new job requires more site visits so a safety hat seemed called for - to go with the safety vest. Photos will be made once Bear is home wearing the hat. Till then you just have my word.
The loomette is great fun, you may have seen an article in Piecework April/May 2010 or come across the website Eloomanation, which provides more details and detailed scans of the original instructions. My loomette is in nice condition, no rust, original box but no needle or instructions. Instructions are easy to find at Eloomanation or on you tube, and 6" blunt needles at Lacis. I was up and weaving easily. Of course it was the fourth or fifth square before I remembered the warping pattern without needing to reference the instructions. It's not as simple as a set of yarns laid across each other, there are three layers of yarns In a highly specific order, if done right one ends up weaving every second weft, not every weft.
I used vintage Purls sock yarn left overs from a recent project, and was surprised to see how open the weave was, and how much it closed when the squares were wet blocked. I have grid weaving on a rigid heddle loom, and on a four shaft table loom ... And I liked it. But found that I liked to touch the yarn more than one gets to in weaving. With the mini loom and sewing the weft yarns into place the yarn is touched and felt ... Not as much fun as knitting, but something I'm keen to explore over time.
All in all I made 16 squares with a plain weave, and another two with "fancy" weaves. Then I stitched them together, not using the method in the original instruction book but using a modified mattress stitch from the Eloomanation site.
Excuse the crumpled sample, it has been spending time in the bottom of my knit basket, I love this fabric, its lite and drapes well. The weave is open -but that is why it drapes so well. The seams leave a lot to be desired, I see why many people use crotchet to join the squares, what you can't hide emphasize.
What I don't understand is why this would have been promoted as a way to make garments ... Blankets, table linen, household cloths yes ... Skirts and jackets no. I guess my modern aesthetic is different to that of the early 20th century, or perhaps promoting was one thing, adoption of the ideas that were promoted another. Just like today's weird craft advts that try to sell ugly outcomes for valid materials and methods.
And finally a photo of the finished Sanquhar mitts, there is value in dating ones work. But these were started early 2012 and finished mid 2013 ... So the date seems optimistic to say the least.
I've got a wee backlog of projects to share, some baby mittens, and the frog pond socks, rather than make this post long I might try updates more frequently.
Take care, na Stella.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

The big reveal....

Last night was swap night, and yet again there were amazing things unveiled. My swap was for Katya, some of who's work is on show here. Her sense of colour and texture are amazing, and when I read she loved jewel colours I stash dived and then ravelery dived. Katya dosnt have a big presence on ravelry, so I was a little bit on my own ... but went looking for something that was jewel like, and reflected her love of texture, beads and her amazing garden - without bring cluttered and ott. A little ott can be good, but too much is well .... too much.
I found Daizies, by Marisa Hernandez, a two tone shawl knit long and narrow. I loved the two lace patterns in this shawl, both highly structured, just as I like my decoration. My only worry was how well I could follow the instructions and if any mistakes would show.
The shaping of the shawl was new for me, with six stitches increased every right side row, three at each end. These increases make for a dramatically long and narrow shape, and the beautiful charts were all sorted ready to work with the ev increasing stitches. While the repeats were often only four or eight rows, the charts were divided up and shown for every stitch count as the shawl grew. It was amazing and simple at the same time.
I love the result that the rapid increases gave. The ends fall in a beautiful cascade, a ripple, or waterfall zig zagging back and forth - some times spiraling. And the two colours enhance the effect.
The edge finish was also new to me, but I'm a novice at lace shawls and lace shawl bind offs. It is a stretch bind off, with a yarn over and purl one, before two stitches are slipped over the third. The effect was of a mini icord, a two stitch one, and the purl bump pushed the edge to the right side. When blocked with wires woven through the edge looks like a twisted chain along the length.
The yarn is vintage Purls sock yarn, in two different colour ways both with undercurrents of purple, I don't have the details to hand but will fill in soon ....promise.
Take care and an update on what my swap partner made me in the next post
Na stella