September 2010 Archives

Beautiful, Virtuous and Boring

First, the beautiful: 4 ounces of merino bamboo silk dyed by Sweet Georgia Yarns in the colorway "Hummingbird", the entry in the August 2010 fiber club.  This is the kind of fiber with the kind of color that makes my toes itch to treadle my wheel.  Which brings me to the virtuous part:

I bought this book, the Intentional Spinner,  when Interweave was running their hurt book sale over the summer.  I love spinning, and I feel I can turn out a pretty decent yarn when I spin, but I would describe myself as a very un-intentional spinner -- I just let it move through my fingers and it becomes what feels right.  I don't plan much, other than to make the 2 or 3 ply decision.  But lately I've been thinking that I would like to take a bit more control of the process -- imagine a yarn that I want and work towards achieving it.  I haven't gotten very far into the book so far (I'm still reading through the parts about the fiber types) but the Sweet Georgia fiber and some other entries in my collection are spurring me on.  

And finally, the boring.  

  • The first sleeve on my  High Line sweater is complete and the next one is under way.  I used a kitchener cast off (also called, by some, a tubular cast off) to create a nice edge for the K1P1 knitting and I'm pretty impressed with that (though not impressed enough to bore you with a picture).  
  • John and I spent some serious effort identifying what we want to do around our house to make it a better place to live.  A big part of that involves decluttering... after working on it together and breaking it down into manageable chunks, I'm pretty psyched about getting started...
  • I set up an account at and am thinking deep thoughts about how I spend my money.  It helps you integrate all your accounts (banking, loans, retirement, credit cards, etc.) into one place so that you can get a better picture of your finances, net worth, how you're spending your money, and so forth.  It was very easy to get connected and set up.  Best of all, it's free.  
  • I am 99% of the way to being paperless where my bills are concerned.  I should have wrapped this up aeons ago, and now the weight of a forest of trees feels lifted off my shoulders as I contemplate all the paper I won't be throwing away/recycling.
  • I cleaned out my pantry.   Nothing could be more boring, but, looking at the results makes me happier than I would have thought.  Hopefully Fall 2010 will be the time of the Great Clutter Diaspora...
  • I played a bunch of video games with my budding gamer girl... it's awful fun to be rooted on by an enthusiastic little girl!
I hope you all had lovely Labor Day weekends.  The weather in Chicago is now suggesting that Fall is most definitely on the way.  I think we're all looking forward to the change of the seasons!

Big Purple Warp

My big purple warp is finally becoming a big purple blanket.  

Wait a minute, you say.  What big purple warp?

Well, after finishing up my color gamp blanket, I thought, Wouldn't it be nice if I could make another blanket of adult size using the same things I already had set up?    And after that, I thought, If I am going to go to all the trouble to re-warp that big ol' loom, why not actually set it up to make two blankets?  After all, once the AVL is warped, the weaving goes fast fast fast.

For these blankets, I wanted a single color warp and single color weft to make the set up and weaving as fast as possible.  I spent a lot of time looking at my color gamp blanket to determine if there was a color combination that I liked together.  Sadly, perhaps to some, my favorite squares were actually the solid color ones.  But I hated the idea of just doing a completely solid color set of blankets -- I wanted the depth and visual interest that comes from having at least subtle differences in the warp and weft.

Then I started discussing the project with my weaving teacher, Nathalie Boyett*,  and she suggested that I consider a variegated yarn and pointed me to Dragon Tale Yarns at Earth Guild.  I chose the 4/2 cotton in "Purple Haze" because a) I liked the color and b) the variegations involved mostly hue changes in the same color tone range instead of hue changes.  The color gamp was 3/2 cotton, so I had to adjust my original project to work with a finer yarn, so the project went from 12 epi to 14 epi -- which I also hoped would make the lace repeat a bit tighter and more interesting.

I planned for two blankets, each 40" wide and about 72" long, which I thought would be sufficient for two adult-sized afghans.  This project has the "honor" of being the first project that I planned out using solely my iPad.  Currently, the plan is to gift them to people who have provided of their time in an uncompensated manner to make sure that my daughter has been well cared for while I've been at work.  

It took an almost interminable time for me to get the loom warped.  Most of this had to do with the fact that my work schedule changed.  When I took my new job, I also gave up my 4 day work week and the Thursday I had off with Ms. Z -- I also scheduled my weaving class on that evening.  With so much going on at work, I just found it hard to get over to the studio on Thursday nights.  But with our vacation coming and incredible guilt on my part for tying up a loom I wasn't using regularly, I have girded my resolve and got to class on both Thursday evening and Saturday morning this week.  The result was getting the warp completely tied on as well as some actual weaving.  In the picture above, I've probably got almost a yard of weaving completed -- after about 5 hours of weaving.  Now that I have a rhythm down, I'm optimistic that with 2 to 4 more sessions I'll be well on my way to having this project completed.  

It probably won't surprise anyone, but these two projects have really convinced me that if I ever invest in a floor loom, it will probably be a dobby loom.  The geek girl in me loves the "computational" feel of pegging up the pattern and the "product" driven fiber artist in me loves the speed with which projects come together once the warp is in place.  The loom I'm working on is somewhat cantankerous (mostly because it is an older loom) , but I'm even enjoying the problem solving that comes with working out the mechanical bugs.  Fiber girl and geek girl are equally engaged in this one.

And if my husband reads this... no, I'm not really thinking about buying a floor loom.

No, really I'm not.

I'm totally not googling for used AVL looms in Chicago.


Well, at least not until we win the lottery. 

* I feel I need to give Natalie and her Chicago Weaving School a big shout out.  She's been more than patient with me on this project, and has tirelessly worked to make sure the AVL loom behaves itself for me.  She's also boundlessly enthusiastic and encouraging. If you're in Chicago and want to weave, no matter what your level, especially if you're not ready to take the plunge and buy your own loom (or don't have space for a floor loom) she's worth talking too.

Random Thursday

Blink and a week goes by... a few random bits.  Some fibery.  Some not.

  • I have finished knitting all the pieces of my High Line sweater.  Now I just need some quiet time to get it seamed up.  There is still a very good chance that this sweater could head to Molokai when we go on vacation in a few weeks.
  • Speaking of Molokai... when we land on the island, it will be our 5th trip to Hawaii and the 4th Hawaiian island that we have visited.  We'll be staying on the south east side of the island, across from Maui.  To say that I can't wait to get back to the South Pacific is an understatement.  I don't think I could ever have enough Hawaii in my life.
  • Ms. Z started pre-school this week.  We were very lucky and got her into the pre-school in Streeterville that is affiliated with Northwestern and literally a block from where I work.  She's been so excited about going to school.  And I've been completely nervous about it.  Worried that she wouldn't like it or that she wouldn't get along with the teachers or or or -- Mama brain can come up with so many "or"s to be concerned about.  We made it an adventure.  Got out the special new back pack.  Took the bus downtown to school. And when  I dropped her off on Tuesday morning, and told her I was going to work.  "Ok, Mama.  Goodbye"  and then she was off.  Apparently I have a fine, independent little girl.  And, according to her teachers, she had a fine first day.  Today is going to be her first full day.  Here's hoping day 2 is as good as day 1!
  • I am midway through my second cold of the fall season... sheesh.  My immune system must be getting lazy.
  • Some spinning has been done... one bobbin of chocolately coffee singles.  One more to go.
  • And, best of all, I fit back into the jeans that I could wear before I got pregnant with Ms. Z.   Feel like getting a brand new wardrobe!  And since the Gap's Long and Lean jeans just aren't what they were three years ago, it's made me doubly happy to be able to slip into my old ones again.

There Should Be Pictures....

Given that I have:

  • Woven off my big purple warp
  • Finished all the pieces of my High Line sweater
  • Started spinning some beautiful Fiber Optic roving
  • Finished a pair of socks for Ms. Z
  • Received some nifty new fiber from my Sweet Georgia fiber club
you would think that I would have some pictures to show for it.

Soon.  Soon.  

After I get unpacked from our weekend in Ann Arbor and the sun comes back out for pictures.


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