Back to inkle weaving

I’d tried and failed to learn how to do the pick up method to make some more interesting inkle bands, despite downloading various tutorials. So I pre-ordered The Weaver’s Inkle Pattern Directory from Amazon, which a number of people on Ravelry were eagerly waiting for.

It’s written by Anne Dixon who is the author of the very popular Handweaver’s Pattern Book: An Illustrated Reference to Over 600 Fabric Weaves

It was finally released and delivered a few weeks ago and this week I opened it up and sat back in front on my inkle loom.

I still had some Rico Essentials Cotton yarn from my previous band, so to get back into the grove I thought I would try a simple pattern from the book and it looked terrible. I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong, but it was looking like a normal balanced weave that I might do on my rigid heddle loom, not a warped faced weave. I did my first band fine, so don’t know why I was struggling with this one. I did wonder if it was partly down to using a DK yarn which is quite thick. I posted a question on Ravelry about it and was told that I probably wasn’t pulling it in tight enough.

So last night I had another go and the poster was right. I pulled it all much tighter and it started looking much more like it should.

20120829-142052.jpg

I’m still not completely happy with the thick yarn, so I’ve ordered some finer yarn from The Handweavers Studio in brown, red and white, to try some other designs.

I was telling my boyfriend about it and he wants me to take the loom over to his house this weekend. He fancies trying to make a loom and if successful, it could be a product for me to sell in my shop.

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Christmas Presents

I hope that you had a good Christmas. ¬†We did ūüėÄ ¬†It’s been a very relaxing week where I’ve just done some knitting, playing on the Wii and eating lots of good food.

Did you get any knitting related gifts?  I got a couple of books:

Entrelac

Handweaver’s Pattern Book: An Illustrated Reference to Over 600 Fabric Weaves

plus…

An inkel loom!

The loom is from Lakeside Crafts, a husband and wife team who make some beautiful knitting/weaving/crochet tools and equipment.  My inkle loom is just as good as an Ashford one.  We saw them at a craft show in Exeter and I did ponder at the time, about getting an inkle loom from them. Mum kept their card and arranged it for my Christmas present.

The band I’ve started is being woven with some Rico Essentials Cotton DK yarn, a mercerised cotton and I’m really pleased with how it is turning out for a first attempt. ¬†My edges are getting neater as I am progressing with it. ¬†I’ve yet to try a pick up technique to get some sort of pattern in the band. ¬†I’ll do that with the next one!

FO: Blue and White Pinwheel Scarf

This is the scarf I wove for my Mum last week. ¬†Took me about a week to do it. ¬†I was quite slow at first, changing the colours and trying to get neat edges. Edges aren’t great in terms of carrying the yarn up the side, but the scarf as a whole is pretty much the same width from start to finish, so that was an achievement I think! ¬†I am quite pleased with how it turned out and Mum really likes it.

I used a ball and half of Rowan Silk Wool in blue and another ball and half in white, 66 ends and a 7.5dpi reed.

Weaving again

I’ve been knitting a lace edged dress from Debbie Bliss’ new book, Riva, using Riva yarn, however the pieces are now all languishing at the bottom of the knitting bag because it’s turned out quite big and I don’t have the heart to rip it out and do it smaller. ¬†I can’t decide whether to sew it up anyway and hope that it won’t look like a tent once I put it on, or to start again. ¬†It didn’t take that long to do the front and back (the sleeves are ok) so I could redo it I suppose. ¬†Feel a bit disheartened. I should have realised it might be too big. ¬†Debbie Bliss’ smallest size is usually still a bit big for me.

So I decided I would warp my loom and do some weaving as I haven’t done any for ages!

I’m using Rowan Silk Wool that I had in the stash and am doing a simple stripy pattern. ¬†I’ve been trying to practise carrying the yarn up the side as I change colours. ¬†My edges are quite neat in places, but then occasionally go a bit messy. ¬†But I just have to practise I guess!

Mum and I went to the Hobbycraft show at Westpoint today and I was looking an inkle loom on the Lakeside Crafts stand. ¬†I was actually looking at them online last night, so it was good timing. I think I might ask for one for Christmas from Mum and Dad. I’ve read that you can weave inkle loom type bands on a rigid heddle loom but have yet to find out exactly how that works!

Something else that I haven’t fully understood is the way cotton yarns are classified. I must research yarn counts and try and understand what it’s all about.

FO: Purple Plaid Scarf

Having bought a stand for my loom (and a second heddle kit for when I’m more advanced!) and a book called The Weaver’s Idea Book: Creative Cloth on a Rigid Heddle Loom, I was keen to get weaving again. ¬†We were away last weekend at a wedding in Norfolk so didn’t find any time until Friday night to start weaving again.

This is my second woven project Рa plaid scarf.  There were 86 ends warped as follows: 8 purple, 4 mauve, 4 green, 4 mauve , finishing with 8 purple.  The yarn I used for both warp and weft is some Rowan Wool Cotton that was in the stash.  I used a 10dpi reed.

purple plaid scarf

On the whole I’m pleased. ¬†It’s really soft and I’d weave with that yarn again. ¬†Certainly the weaving itself looks more even (not sure if that’s me getting better or just the yarn I used) and the edges, although not perfect are better than on my first scarf. ¬†The disappointing thing is the ends that are poking out where I’ve changed colour. ¬†I need to sort out what it best to do when it comes to all the little ends. ¬†It’s not a balanced weave either, i.e. the number of rows per inch aren’t the same as the number of ends (warps) per inch. ¬†I tried beating really hard and the yarn didn’t want to go any tighter. ¬†But the effect is still nice. ¬†I probably should have used a 7.5dpi reed to get the balanced weave.

It only took me two evenings to make too.  I do like the speed of weaving.

I’ve ordered some Noro Kureyon to try weaving some fabric which I could turn into a bag. ¬†I saw a project on Ravelry where someone has done that, and the bag is brilliant! ¬†Can’t wait to do some more weaving, but I really need to get back to the knitting too. ¬†I have far too many things on the go that I ought to finish.

I have a loooooooom!

It was my birthday last week and my parents had a moment of inspiration and generously bought me an Ashford 24″ Rigid Heddle Loom, with three different size reeds. ¬†Mum and I had been to Spin a Yarn the week before and see some lovely woven shawls that a member of staff had made and was selling in the shop. ¬†We were both admiring them and it piqued my interest again in weaving.

It took about half an hour to build the loom and I dug out some DK wool that was in our stash. ¬†I started to follow the instructions to warp it but ended up going a bit wrong, partly because it was quite late, I’d been drinking champagne and was interrupted with phone calls and visitors who came over for birthday cake!

So I put the loom away until I had more time to dedicate to it. ¬†The second attempt at warping, a couple of days later, was much better and it didn’t take too long once I got the hang of it.

loom warped up
After warping the loom and ready to go!

The instruction booklet that came with the loom suggested putting a strip of paper up against the knots on the front beam and then start weaving… so I did! ¬†I did about 10cm of weaving and it was ok but it wasn’t great. ¬†I went to bed, taking my other book “Hands on weaving with Rigid Heddle Looms” as a bit of bedtime reading. ¬†One of the things that it suggested was to weave a few rows with some scrap yarn instead of putting a piece of paper at the front. ¬†So the following evening I un-wove what I’d done and started again doing just this.

I have to say that I was much happier with this. ¬†The first few rows were pretty uneven but this is what the scrap yarn is for. ¬†Once I started to use the real yarn, it had sorted itself out and was much more even. ¬†So this is what I’ll do in the future.

The finished scarf

I’m very chuffed at how my first scarf turned out. The stripes are completely random. ¬†The edges could be better, but they could have been a lot worse I think and it’s reasonably balanced.¬†I even used a pick-up stick (piece of balsa wood that was lying around in the loft) to create a different sort of pattern every once in a while. ¬†I think that perhaps I should have used a different size reed. ¬†This was a 7.5dpi reed and a 10dpi might have been better for the yarn I was using.

I’ve been spending ages looking at all the weaving projects on Ravelry to get some ideas for what to do next. ¬†There is some amazing stuff. ¬†I turned out our stash this afternoon and dug out some Rowan Wool Cotton which I might use to create a plaid pattern. I think I need to get a loom stand before I start the next project though. ¬†Working with the loom on the dining table made my back ache after a while. I’ve also ordered another weaving book from Amazon which should give me some more ideas.

Sunshine and crafting – a perfect weekend!

We’re have a spell of beautiful weather here at the moment. ¬†Glorious blue skies and warm sunshine. ¬†Don’t know how long it will last though. ¬†I’m going to a wedding on Friday so I hope that it lasts all week.

But I’ve not been spending my time sunbathing.. oh no.. I’ve been doing lots of crafting, particularly this weekend.

On Saturday I went to the Duchy Arts Centre in Princetown on Dartmoor (near the famous prison!) where I took a weaving course with textile artist Jillian Morris.  She produces some lovely woven art work and accessories and I had a very nice day indeed.  The workshop was to weave a bag.   Jill had already set up the loom before I got there to save time, so all I had to do was pick the yarn I wanted to use and I could begin.

I picked some pretty recycled sari yarn and contrasting wool to use as the bias edging and began. ¬†I decided to keep things simple as I’d not done any weaving before and chose to do some plain weaving and make a straight piece which I could fold and sew up to make the bag. ¬†I could have done a technique whereby you weave the back and front of the bag at the same time, but that would have require more concentration and I thought I’d better master the basics first.

weaving
Starting to weave

The piece grew very quick and I got into a good rhythm. ¬†I managed to keep the edges pretty straight which I was pleased with. ¬†We made a twisted chord for the handle, but the sewing in of the warp ends took me ages and I didn’t have time to finish the bag completely. ¬†That will be on my list of jobs to do this week if I get time.

weaving
The piece is growing

As soon as I got home, I started googling looms.  I think this could become a new hobby.  It takes time to prepare the loom and then to finish off, but the actual weaving is pretty quick.

On Sunday I wasn’t in the mood for sewing up the bag, but I was in the mood for sewing. ¬†So in between pottering in the garden in the sunshine, I started another Melly and Me toy – Clucky. ¬†I had some fat quarters in my stash in pretty yellows and blues – real sunshine colours – and thought she’d look quite pretty in these. ¬†I managed to get most of her done before I had to go to church in the evening. ¬†I just have to sew her up at the bottom, add her beak and eyes, and then make some chicks. ¬† She was a bit fiddly to do in places, such as the tail and comb, but otherwise I managed to do everything without asking Mum for any help! ¬†I think I’m slowly getting more confident at sewing.

On the knitting front, the cardigan I’m doing has come to a temporary stop whilst I find some buttons that match. ¬†Don’t want to finish the band without making sure the button holes are the right size for the buttons. ¬†So I’ve picked up the Shimmer shrug that I started just before Christmas and have been doing a bit more on that to finish it off. ¬†I might get it finished at Knit and Natter this week.