Sunday, August 03, 2014

Finished without even an introduction ... And introducing

Yes, I'm about to show off a finished object, a pair of colour work mitts that didn't even get introduced here as a project, and new and ongoing toys - because I am able to be distracted when I let myself be. Oh the world can offer commonwealth games, our country can compete and do well, the Tour de France can spark yet another tour de fleece ... And I stand back letting others participate. But then when the time is right, when the stars align, or the space and time and interest all present at the same time -I notice something, start to think about it, maybe too much, fantasize about how much fun it could be, how satisfying to be able to do that and fall fast and deep into wanting to take part,

Here are the lastest knits, a pair of selbu inspired mitts, Wintergreen gloves by Cailyn Meyer. Knit with a strand of colour change yarn the traditional black and white patterning of selbu gloves becomes a faux-isle inspired pretty pattern. I had the left overs of a skein of Regia design line Kaffe Fassett and wanted to use them in something worthy of the colours.

Ravelry helped me find this pattern, what did I do before ravelry? The mitts are straightworward, knit on 2.25mm (pattern calls for 2mm but I wasn't in a hurry to go smaller just yet), and very pretty.

The palms are patterned in a checkerboard, and I did my best to have the two runs of colour match - my tension must be a little different as when I finished the second one there was the beginnings of the next colour just staring to appear in the last row of colour work.

For the geek-knitters here is the inside. Two things to point out, mid way up the red colour work my cream floats are a tad loose - but better that than too tight. And the charted pattern is fantastic at setting float length, I think there are only two rounds where I had to manually secure a long gloat, and on 2.25 mm needles I call a long float anything over 4 or 5 stitches. YMMV.

When I started knitting this I did as I always do, I worked the all the thumb gusset increases on the palm needle. Charts never indicate where to divide the work on two or four needles and I tend to leave the work divided on two circs as it was split when I joined and worked in the round. Mid way through the thumb gusset I became unhappy with the look of the increases at the edge of the gusset - although looking at the photo now I can't see why. Anyway at the time I theorized that the band of white being just at a gap between needles was making it hard to be consistent with my tension and the colour work - so I frogged and began again. My new and improved strategy was to divide the work onto each half of the circular (magic loop) down the center of the thumb gusset.

Workd well, the increases and colour work either side of the thumb gusset are now more simillar. Splitting the gusset did have the effect of making me think the gusset was far to small - but that was just me only seeing half the stitches at any one time. I think I may have an extra stitch between the chart and the thumb of the right hand mitt, which would explain my stitch count being out by a wee tiny stitch or two at the top, but it's always hard to read charts split over three places to show the introduced gusset stitches,

Anyway a fastest knit, three weeks with some other knitting on the side, and lovely to wear.

And the other thing, the thing I've jumped into with both feet, and hands and head and heart ... and mind, or maybe without my mind. Weaving. Last post I was weaving away on the little structo 600 table loom, well I warped it up again with stripes in mercerized cotton and played. This time I warped the heddles with a point twill weave and that gave me more opportunity to play. I went to the library and cleaned out the four shaft weaving books to guide my play.

I put on a 2.5-3m warp, which when the weaving is only 12" wide is a long warp to play with, too narrow to be a dish cloth, too thin to be one as well - it's 22/2 cotton. Anyway I've had fun - and frustration, fun with the actually being able to plan, set up and execute a woven fabric that makes use of four heedles. Frustration at the slow way that working with shafts controlled by individual levers is on a table loom, it keeps your hads busy and means that you have to constantly stop to put down the shuttle and change the shaft positions before picking up the shuttle again.

So after much debate, many questions of the weavers I know, and opinions asked and visits to weavers arranged - this came home Saturday. It's a Loman loom, made sometime in the 1970's in New Zealand, weaves 90cm wide, fits into our 'other lounge', the one named drawing room on the 1939 plan, as if a workers three bedroom brick suburban house with a 300 square foot print required a drawing room ... The room that one cub has to pass through to get to their bedroom. The room that becomes the dumping room, the room into which a loom has been dumped.

So it's a Loman, and the seller told us of how it travelled to the South Island on the roof of their car, a small car with two young children and two Samoyed dogs, overs severral days. They spoke of warps so long they made them outside, around spikes driven into the grass, of buying the loom from the Lomans direct, of weaving much and of competitions entered. The looms previous owner was Lesley - so I think my loom might be known as Lesley's loom.

It has four of these, shafts - with string heddles, all original and more in a bag. Each dyed a colour to identify which heddle it belongs on, blue, purple, green and white. Four is plenty to play with - one of the library books I have out lists over 600 patterns woven with a four shaft. I know that technology means that a new and improved version of these, texsolv is now used - and one day if these wear out I will replace the pm with texsolv rather than tie 600 new string heddles. The string or texsolv, whichever is used mean the heddles are light, and don't clatter with a harsh metal sound when lowered. In theory anyway.

There are eight of these, treddles, kind of programmable buttons, each can be set (tied up) to move a set combination of shafts - at the moment the tie up is a variation which I think is called a skeleton tie up - the four central treddles move only two shafts each, one up and one down, and the idea is to use two at once to create the weave one wants. The outermost four are also tied to provide simple variations of lift one and lower one. It's all working - and there are options to reprogram(retie) which seem to involve much fiddly and detailed floor work under the loom to get it all balanced - so current plan is to warp up and see how it works before thinking of changing anything. Besides adjustments mare meant to be made with a warp in place.

The loom comes with one of the - a swinging overhead beater. Seems these are technically better than beaters hinged at the base for a variety of reasons, including the easy repositioning of the pivot point. It just lifts and shifts to the next notch. That means the beater moves backward as the cloth is created .... This one has a 12 dent reed (12 spaces per inch), which makes weaving sets at a multiple of 12 easier, and a lovely shuttle shelf .... which will be fun to play with. Lesley included two boat shuttles, and I have one on its way from Bluster Bay. so I am looking forward to playing with those on this (the new ones are too large for my table loom). She also included old Venetian blinds as warp packing, and stick shuttles, and lots of other things like the pins tabs lock the jacks in place (those are the sorts of things that often get lost when a loom is used and moved).

All of those bits make me excited to play with this loom, which also comes with two sets of these - lamms. For this is a countermarch loom which is when set up should be effortless to treddle, the weight of the heddles and treadles should be perfectly balanced by the lamms, one set lifts some shafts when a treadle is pushed, while the other lamm lowers the remaining shafts. The theory and practice for those who have mastered this system is lovely open even taut weaving sheds, the shed being the space the shuttle moves through .... And that is where it gets slightly scary. As a newbie - I need to 'get my head' around all of those bits and how the strings connect and hand each one in balance with all the others and be able to change as needed to what do what is needed for what I want to weave.

Deep breath and baby steps - I've already put Lesley the loom together, and everything moves as it should, I've polished the wood that won't touch yarn/thread, and now need to put a warp on her, or 'dress the loom'. Just as well there is knitting and spinning to fall back on :)

Take care













pat said...

Lovely! What weight was that Regia yarn? I always admire knits like this, but when I make mitts from my stash worsted I only need about 30 stitches to go around the hand, which means such fancy patterning is out of the question.

Walden said...

Mitts look lovely as does the weaving!