Thursday, 26 February 2015

A Simple Scarf

I had a couple of 100g balls of James C Brett Marble DK in a nice, bright, red/orange/yellow/green combo colourway in my stash of yarn.  I didn't remember buying it with any purpose in mind, so as I was in the mood to use some bright yarn in the post-festivity drabness of January, I got out a crochet hook (5mm), made a chain wide enough for a scarf and off I went, backwards and forwards, making treble (US double) after treble stitches, going between the stitches, much like the Vintage Vertical Stripe blanket pattern.  At the end of each row, I did something a little bit different to the blanket pattern, which gave a bit of a wavy edge to the scarf.

It didn't take long - just under three weeks and I was getting to grips with my weaving loom as well as knitting a hat as well.  I even added a fringe to the scarf -- something I've never (surprisingly, considering I've been knitting/crocheting for over 40 years) done before.

I quite like it.  Not that I'll be wearing it as I'm going to add it to my knitting group's box of items to be donated to various organisations for those who need them.

I've been doing some more weaving and have finished some tea-towels, so once I've washed and dried them (and probably ironed them so the photos will look better --- I'm not in a habit of ironing tea-towels, I promise!) I'll show them off to you.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

First Weaving Project

Having watched lots (and lots) of videos on YouTube, borrowed a book from the library, read through various weaving group threads on Ravelry (some of the weavers there are scarily good - not just techniques, but in the way they can select colours to use as well) and read other articles and blog posts I'd found on the Internet, it was time to warp my loom for the first time.

The loom I've got has drilled holes on the back of it.  Now, when I was putting the loom together, I did use the instructions that came with it and, whilst it was very useful having life-sized pictures of the various screws, nuts and bolts that were required for the assembly (such a good idea, that - other manufacturers of self-assembly things please take note!), the actual written notes were a bit lacking in places and I think in some places were a direct translation from Polish (that's where the Kromski company is based).  I'd got the loom together, but had 'bits' left over.  There were about 15 pegs/dowels 5"-6" in length and no instructions as to what they were for.  Looking on the Internet, all became clear though - if you turn the loom over and put the pegs/dowels into the holes, the back of the loom can be used as a warping board!  So, that's what I started doing, choosing yarns from my DK acrylic stash because I didn't want to use more expensive yarns for a first project.

Oh my word - not my finest hour.  I must have wound the yarn too tightly because one of the pegs pinged out and then there was a puddle of yarn sitting there, laughing at me, which then had to be balled up.  The dog retreated to the safety of the sofa and gave me "please tell me it's not me you're cross with" looks (so a couple of treats were given, plus some ear-fondling and belly-rubs) and then I sat back, went back onto the Internet and had a re-think.  Using a warping board seemed like Quite a Lot of Work.  However, the loom also came with a warping peg, so I looked at how to warp using that and set to and it was much, much easier.  A couple of hours later, I had my loom warped.  Not quite evenly as I mis-calculated how much pink I had so had to substitute a slightly lighter shade, but it was Done!

By that time, the girls were back from school and dinner needed to be made, so no weaving was done until the next day.  Over the course of the next couple of weeks, I sat at the loom and away I went, weaving various colours backwards and forwards, adding in a new colour when the previous one ran out, so no real planning.  When I couldn't wind the warp onto the shed (the area where the weaving's done - hark at me learning weaving terminology already!), that was it.  I did a hem-stitch at each end to stop everything unravelling in, cut the fabric off the loom and then turned in a hem at each end and sewed it because I decided I didn't want a fringe.  After a quick cycle in the washing machine and a short time in the tumble dryer, there it was --- a blanket.

It's approx 65cm x 135cm, so is a good size for putting round shoulders or over legs when it's a bit chilly.

I can definitely tell which end I started with because I can see how I improved the more I wove.  There are quite a few 'floats' where the warp threads weren't aligned properly so the shuttle went over instead of under.  This is the beginning:

The floats are those nubbly bits where the 'stitch' is longer than it should be.

Here's the end of it:

Much better and more even.

The edges are a bit wonky as well, but I'm sure those will get better the more things I make.

Overall, I'm rather proud of this - it came out better than I thought it would.  Even hubby was impressed, which is saying something!

Last week I warped the loom up again with some cotton DK yarn that I'd bought and I'm now making some tea-towels (because those will be good practice for my edges).  I put enough warp on the loom to make two and I'm halfway up the second one already.

I've already warned DD1 that any friends to whom she wants to give a birthday/Christmas present will probably get a home-woven scarf!

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

A new time-eater...

Back around October, hubby and I started talking about Christmas and the talk got around to what presents to buy each other.  To be honest, there was nothing that immediately sprang to mind for me.  My yarn stash is, erm, extensive.  I have a spinning wheel.  I have enough knitting needles and crochet hooks.  There was nothing on the craft front that I really, really wanted.  We'd already said that we weren't going to go silly and buy each other extravagent presents (not least because DD1 needed a new laptop -- which ended up being a joint birthday and Christmas present from us, plus part of a present from Granny because the one that was decided would suit her best was a bit more expensive than we'd budgeted for).  In the end, I decided that I'd like a new purse (I was thinking Cath Kidston) and a new pair of Crocs.  I wear my Crocs a lot as they're very easy to slip on to pop out to the shops, nip down to the station to collect or drop off DD1 and they're very easy to clean after dog-walking in the autumn/spring seasons.  I am, however, a bit fussy about my Crocs!  I like the ones they call Crocband, which aren't quite a holey as the traditional ones.  As it turns out, I did buy a new pair of Crocs in Amazon's Black Friday sales, because they were considerably reduced, but my thinking was that two pairs are better than one pair that are very close to developing a hole in the sole.

On Christmas morning, we were up early (I'm blaming hubby for that one - I'm sure that DD2 had every intention of going back to sleep for a while after she'd gone downstairs to check Father Christmas hadn't forgotten to stop at our house during the night, but he then went into her room and talked to her, which meant she was now properly awake) and went downstairs.  By 7.30am, presents had been opened, there was a pile of gaily-wrapped paper in a heap on the carpet and I was nearly ready for a second mug of tea (I should point out here that I'd received neither new purse nor Crocs).  And then.... hubby went into the hallway and came back with two sizeable boxes, wrapped very festively and told me they were for me.  I may have mentioned before that when it comes to presents, my husband can go a bit overboard and, despite what he may have said about setting a budget and sticking to it, that rule goes out of the window if the mood takes him and he sees something he thinks I'll like.  I unwrapped the first box (I was told which one I had to open first) and.....


A Kromski Harp weaving loom - 32" wide.

To say I was taken aback was a bit of an understatement.  I looked at him with an "why did you think of getting this?" expression and he said that he'd remembered a while back (at least a year) I'd mentioned that a loom was something I'd quite like "at some point".  In the other box was a stand for the loom.

The loom was put together a few days later once life had calmed down a little bit after the busy-ness of Christmas and Boxing Days and then I started reading... and reading... and reading... and watching lots of videos.

It wasn't until a couple of weeks later, once normal service had been resumed and the girls were back at school that I actually got round to putting yarn on the loom and warping it.

This is what it looks like:

Photo from

I shall talk about my first weaving project in my next entry. 

Craftwise, I'm trying to decide what to knit next as I'm getting close to finishing my stripey scarf of many colours -- the one I started over a year ago.  I decided it was time to Get It Done!