Sunday, July 30, 2006

Alpaca Scarf II

Well, this is turning out to be some project! This scarf is sucking up so much yarn I've had to improvise to make sure it will be long enough to be a scarf. However, the improvisation has led to some interesting discoveries - like the four different patterns of black on gray shown in the photo. I started with two skeins of gray and two of blue and it didn't take long to figure out that I needed more than that to make a scarf. I had some black and purple yarn, so I started using some of those to extend the blue and gray.

This scarf has also been a real pain with broken selvages. I'm about half way through, with about 30 inches woven, and I must have had six broken selvages. With this weft-dominant fabric, I found that weaving in the ends of the new selvage thread was ugly but darning them in like you would with a wool rug works better.

This is also a very heavy scarf. I'm guessing your average fashion model would be doubled over while wearing it. We'll see ...

Friday, July 28, 2006

Alpaca Project

Well, ..., this has been interesting. My original warp at 10 ends per inch produced a weft-dominant fabric that seemed too thick for a scarf so the first eight inches turned into a sample. I resleyed at 12 epi and tried again. After washing, the original 10 epi fabric was nice and soft and seemed to have a good drape, although thick. I think it will make a good scarf. The 12 epi was too stiff. So, I'm getting a lot of practice sleying and tying on. I'm now back to 10 epi and weaving away.

maus's comment talked about alpaca snapping - boy, was she right! I got about five inches into the scarf and within a few picks both selvages broke. With the pattern I'm using it's not easy to weave in the replacement thread without having it show, but I did what I could. I'm now trying to weave closer to the reed so there isn't so much abrasion on the selvage, and I'm trying a little less tension on the warp plus trying as best I can not to pull the yarn against the sevlage. This last part is hard because the yarn is sticky and if I don't pull some the selvages get loose and loopy.

This scarf is going to use tons of yarn for the weft and I don't have enough of any one color, so I'm weaving stripes of different colors and I'm blending them between stripes by using two shuttles and alternating picks. I like the effect. Maybe I'll have a photo with tomorrow's post.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


I've been invited to give a weaving demo at my nephew's alpaca farm in October. I've never used alpaca before, so he sent me some from his animals and I just put a five-yard warp on the loom using that yarn. It is a heavy yarn - about 1200 yards per pound - and I'm sleying it at 10 ends per inch for a twill. I plan to use a three-thread herringbone pattern from Marguerite Davison's book (p. 24) and I'll make two scarves with two different treadlings and maybe two different weft yarns. I have several colors of alpaca yarn that I bought and will use for the weft in both scarves. I was surprised how easily this warp went on the loom - it was one of the easiest I've ever done - not even a hint of a tangle or snag during the entire process. Maybe I'll have to pay later ;-)

The photo today is a closeup of an advancing twill scarf that I designed and made earlier this year using rayon yarn. I entered the scarf in a show at The Mannings and it won third prize in the fashion accessory category. A photo of the whole scarf wouldn't show it off very well, so I just posted a close-up of the pattern from the middle of the scarf.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Dog Days of Summer

Andy had a play day today with his best friend Molly. Molly has a pool but no one can convince her that she is a water dog. Molly also has a new little sister, Savannah, who kept interrupting Andy's and Molly's games. Savannah, a 10-week old Brittany Spaniel is a great swimmer and we see a lot of potential there. Molly finally did go in the pool with some help from the people she owns and even seemed to enjoy it but she wouldn't admit it. Andy couldn't be talked into going in the water, not even for a strawberry - a new taste treat he discovered today. Nevertheless, it was a fun day by the pool for everybody.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Back To Weaving - Iris Towel

I thought I'd get back to weaving today. Here is one of my more recent creations - a turned summer & winter iris towel. It's from the latest edition of Handwoven magazine although I changed the colors and the yarn size. I wove it with 8/2 unmercerized cotton for the yellow warp and the weft and 5/2 perle cotton for the green warp. You can see why it's called summer and winter - one side has yellow flowers on a green background and the other side is the reverse - green flowers on a yellow background. This combination of yarn sizes makes a really nice, fairly heavy kitchen towel. I wove one for a friend of mine and since I rarely go to the trouble of warping the loom to weave one thing, I put enough warp on the loom for two towels - one for my friend and one for us. That's Andy in the upper right corner of the photo - he helped weave the towel so he wanted to be in the picture, too.

For a larger photo, click here.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Inconvenient Truth

See this movie!

Find An Inconvenient Truth in a theater near you and go see it. My new motto is: "Ignore Global Warming - Help Make Greenland Green." A front-page article in the Wall Street Journal last week talked about how some people in Greenland are happy that they are getting more agricultural land as the glaciers melt. I hope the Wall Street Journal follows up on this story because if the glaciers melt they may be looking for new offices on dry land. You can't see this film and not want to do something about the problem.

Go to the Inconvenient Truth Web Site and see what you can do.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Maybe I'm Back

Wow! It's been so long since I blogged I forgot how to log on to my blog and post a new item. I have been trying hard to make weaving and writing the two important priorities in my life but I'm not sure I'm winning that battle. I am getting a little better - at least now I am weaving and writing, just not as much as I'd like. It almost seems that I got more done when I was working 50+ hours a week than now when I'm retired.

I recently finished the novel, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. It is the best novel I've read in a long time and highly recommend it. It triggered one of the liveliest discussions my book club ever had, although not all the topics we discussed had direct relevance to the book.

For weaving, I'm working on a prototype for a wall hanging art piece that I'd like to make. For writing, I'm working on two pieces that came out of my recent trip to Austin and San Antonio - one a humorous piece about our trip and the other about a neat find for San Antonio visitors.