March 2010 Archives

The Next Project

You knew if I took that quilt top off to be quilted that I'd come back with another project, right?

I don't suppose anyone is surprised that it involves more batiks, either.

Tied, Sleyed and Pegged

Amazing how in the wrong context, weaving verbs can sound a bit... off color. 

Dobby looms, such as this AVL, are essentially primitive computers using technology not all that different from punch cards -- or even old fashioned music boxes.  Pegs are placed in the holes in the sticks.  The sticks are attached to a pair of bands in treadling order and wrapped around a drum.  As the drum advances, the sticks advance and the miniature "treadles" are pressed, resulting in the raising of the shafts represented by the pegs.  There are only two treadles, and treadling is a two step process.  Depressing the right treadle advances the drum and raises the shafts.  Depressing the left treadle releases the shafts so the cycle can start again.

As you might imagine, the geek girl in me was enjoying setting this up a great deal, even if I did develop a blister from yanking all those pegs in and out of the sticks with pliers.  The weaving process has not yet begun (and won't for two weeks since I'm out of town next Thursday), but pretty much everything is set to go now.  It's just a matter of adjusting the final tension and treadling away.

P.S.  I'm going to be in Washington, D.C. Wednesday morning through Friday afternoon.   From what I can tell, my hotel is in the area near the National Zoo.  Any suggestions for "can't miss" attractions in the area?  Or good restaurants?  Good restaurants are really a plus.  I have no idea how much free time I'll really have -- likely not very much since I'm traveling for business.  But, just in case, I want to have some ideas on deck. It's been so long since I've been in the D.C. area -- I think the last time was high school -- so I'm actually looking forward to it.  Even if the weather isn't likely to be any better there than it is here in Chicago.

Strips of Lincoln Park

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I forgot to mention that the quilt I am going to be working on next is based on a pattern called "Lincoln Park Patchwork" from designed by Collette Cogley at Quiltology.  Unfortunately, she doesn't seem to have a good picture of it, but you can see a slice of it here.  Essentially, it's alternating wide and narrow strips of stacked "coins".  Not a complicated quilt, but perfect for what I want right now: rich color to play with and no complicated sewing.

Ms. Z will be three in July and I'm anticipating that we will soon be considering a "big girl bed" for her.  She is always very curious about my craft projects and loves to grab my Serendipty quilt (my very first quilt project) and snuggle under it when she is watching movies.  I thought it might be time to make her another quilt.   I didn't see any purpose to making her another crib-sized quilt, so this one will be twin sized.  I wanted a lot of big, bright color, but I also wanted the quilt to be something that would last past her Curious George and Thomas the Tank Engine years.  I think the batiks I picked combined with the simple design will let the quilt age gracefully, and will hopefully be something that when she gets past the inevitable pink and purple princess period, will be something she still wants to have on her bed.

I got the fabric ironed and now all the strips are cut.  The real adventure of putting the colors together now awaits!

On My Way East

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It's 6:20 in the morning. I've been up since 4. I'm sitting at O'hare enjoying my decaf skim latte (not so bad for airport Sbux) and waiting for my flight to DC. Capitol City, here I come! - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Access Rd,Des Plaines,United States

In the Air Again

The small area of DC that I got to see was lovely. I can see why the people who live here like it. Hopefully, my new job will bring me back sometime so that I will have the chance to see more. One thing that has been neat is using this BlogPress app for my iPhone. Syncs up with my MT install without a problem. I give it a thumbs up for anyone looking for something similar. That said, I'm looking forward to getting home, getting off my iPhone, seeing my girl and heading to Goose Island to get a beer with my favorite guy. Business travel is always good for making me appreciate the things I get to do at home. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport Access Rd,Arlington,United States


Julie and I got together for a belated birthday celebration (we both celebrate birthdays in February) and took a trip out to the Fold.   As always, it was full of inspiration for both of us.  Everywhere you look there's something new to think about.  Unusually enough for me, however, I decided to focus on three things: socks for John, Skew socks for me and something that could become a work appropriate scarf for my new job.  And I was able to find one thing that worked well in each category.

The green Trekking is for man socks -- imagine finding dark green, durable yarn with some subtle interest.  John's grey Trekking socks have held up incredibly well, so it's nice to find some more Trekking that will fit his color range.

The little red bundle is a Crazy Zauberball -- I think I'm probably the last one to this party, but I think it will be interesting to watch the striping in the context of the Skew socks (something else I am also coming late to). The socks are cast on and I'm looking forward to to seeing how the construction works out.  So far, it's not too fiddly, and it's toe up -- both of which are primary considerations for yours truly when making socks.

That gorgeous BFL from Fiber Optic Yarns, dyed in the colorway "Black Light" is the foundation for the scarf in the third category.  I love love love deep electric blues and purples.  My goal is to spin a fine two ply that can be knit up into something simple and narrow that will work in an environment that requires more formal business attire.  I've been itching to pull out my wheel, and I'm hoping this fiber will be the inspiration that gets me back there.

Oh, yeah, and about that new job thing... I'm going to be the director of operations for a brand new health care IT-focused not-for-profit.   I look at my blog as a more or less work-free zone, but I will say that I'm excited and looking forward to a number of new challenges.  And that it's very likely that posting will be a bit more irregular as things get underway.  It's a start up organization with a mission and I expect it to keep me pretty busy!

Gift Socks

Pattern: Basic Toe Up Socks a la Me
Yarn: Trekking XXL, Colorway 110
Needles: 2.25 mm DP

A basic pair of socks.  Even though my basic sock pattern is the same every time, doesn't involve complicated construction or stitchwork, doesn't involve anything fancy at all, completing, it doesn't make the act of completing a project feel any less satisfying.  In fact, I love that I can knit my basic pattern almost on autopilot with only the occasional need to grab a tape measure. 

I am a bit of a selfish sock knitter.  Most of the socks I knit are for me.  These socks are not only not for me, they're also not for a family member.  I just got the sudden urge to knit these guys for someone I know and value who has never really had the benefit of a pair of wool socks before, let alone hand knit wool socks (never fear, she is the kind of person who values hand work).  They were mostly knit while watching John play Mass Effect or just watching TV (they got a little work in DC, too).  I didn't really have a time line for them.  I just knit on them when I felt like it.  And with all the other things I was working on, I felt like knitting something simple a lot.

On Thursday they will head off to their new home, with hopefully just enough chill left to the spring that their owner to be will get a chance to enjoy them.

The View from My Window

With new jobs, come new views.  Not a bad view to have, if you ask me.

Have I mentioned before how much I love my city?

Skew Socks Start

One Zauberball, one long circular needle and a toe up sock pattern with interesting construction (don't even ask me to knit socks from the top down... I just won't do it any more).

I'm using the Skew pattern from the most recent Knitty.  The yarn was selected because I wanted some wide swaths of color on an angle.  Now that I've gotten started, I think some of my Vesper yarn might have been an even better choice -- but since I didn't know what to expect from the fit of this pattern, I wasn't willing to invest any of my lovely Vesper in the first experiment. 

It's been a long time since I've knit socks using the Magic Loop method on one needle.  I think I might have to consider it again -- but not until I find a needle with a softer cable.  This AddiTurbo is from the "inflexible cable" era  and is making me just a little crazy.  I had forgotten how nice Magic Looping was for being able to try on a sock as you go.  Just shift those stitches onto the cable and it's much easier than on double points.

Skew Sock the First

So, the individual Skew socks are sort of funny and un-sock looking on their own.  Rather, I should say, they lack the straight on look of a standard sock.  And flipped over, the heel looks like the funny little protruberance on the back.

20100321_SkewSockWorn.jpgThey definitely need to be worn in order to be appreciated. 

P.S. While browsing about at the Loopy Ewe over the weekend I came across the right sized Hiya Hiya circular needles, as well as the Addi Turbos for lace.  One of each was ordered so that I could try magic looping with a nicer cable.    Oh, and there might have been some Wollmeise and bits and bobs from Namaste that just fell into my cart as well.  I'm looking forward to testing out a batch of trendy goodies soon...

Color Gamp Blanket

Where does my time go?  Wasn't it just Monday like yesterday?  That kind of sums up my week.  So much going on, all of it good.  Including my weaving class.

20100328_ColorGampBlanket.jpgI am finally weaving my color gamp blanket.  I also finally understand what it means to throw a shuttle!  I've got 40" of fabulous weaving width to cover with every shot. 

I love love love weaving on the dobby loom.  It makes the production crafter in me sing!  It's so easy to develop a rhythm and just go.  The use of treadles makes me incredibly happy.  The same feeling I get as when I spin, with hands and feet in motion together.  Dobby looms aren't quite the same as other looms when it comes to treadling (the treadling is more about advancing the pattern and there are only two treadles, the one that raises the harnesses and the one that advances the pattern).

The gamp itself is interesting to look at.  From this direction, it looks as if the color in the warp threads is dominant and as if the weft threads hardly even matter.

When you look at the warp from the weaving position, the weft is much more prominent.  I believe this has to do with the reflective qualities of the 3/2 cotton I'm weaving with. 

The pattern is a huck lace variation separated by plain weave.   Simple, but effective.  In fact, I like it enough that I am considering finishing up the weaving on this project and then tying on another warp in my favorite colors and making a longer blanket.  This one is baby sized, but it would be nice to have one that was a longer throw.  This project is a delight to weave, and is weaving up quickly, thus providing gratification to many of my senses at once.

And it's really making me want a big ol' floor loom. 

Y'all won't mention that to my husband, right?


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