Saturday, January 23, 2016

Miniature Gingham

I absolutely love things that are in miniature, and am a big collector of the historical American Girl dolls (and have been since they first came out!) So, when I got asked by a fellow doll-collecting Instagrammer if I had interest in combining my love for weaving and dolls and weave a modified reproduction of Kirsten’s long-retired St. Lucia tray cloth, I said yes!

Because I had only just dipped my toe into the world of using double heddles, I decided that I would first weave a sample. This would give me a good idea of exactly the size heddle, yarn, etc. that I wanted to use, and I figured it would not be a waste because I could make a little pair of placemats for my own Kirsten.

The warp for this project was, of course, very small! My Mom had a little wooden dish rack she’d brought by for repurposing into something else, but when I saw it, I thought, mini warping board!

Using a dish rack as a miniature warping board

I used some Valley Yarns 8/2 Unmercerized Cotton that I’d bought them a few months earlier during one of our Brimfield antiquing adventures, in which I dragged everyone to Webs (and have no regrets because Webs is yarn heaven, people! Also, the staff are amazing, knowledgeable, and super helpful!) These colors are “Natural” and “Sagebrush.”

Green and cream rigid heddle woven doll placemats in Valley Yarns 8/2 Cotton

This was my first adventure in making something where I wanted a fringe on all four sides. The logical thing to do seemed to be to just leave extra yarn loops on each side, and then I figured I’d hem stitch all four sides. (I really am obsessed with this hem stitching thing! It’s just so tidy and perfect, and I love it!) The resulting placemats are super cute!

Green and cream rigid heddle woven doll placemats in Valley Yarns 8/2 Cotton

Green and cream rigid heddle woven doll placemats in Valley Yarns 8/2 Cotton

I was really happy with them, but thought I could do a little bit more tweaking to the sett, and since I was waiting for back-ordered yarn anyhow, I decided to have another go. I used a slightly different sett this time, and the same yarn, but swapped out the green for the “Peaches ‘n Cream” color.

Peach and cream rigid heddle woven doll placemats in Valley Yarns 8/2 Cotton

With the green pair, controlling those weft-wise loops was a bit of a fiasco, so this time, I decided to try adding a few ends in waste yarn at approximately where I wanted the loops to end. This worked brilliantly! It really made the weaving fly by. In no time at all, I had another pair of placemats!

Peach and cream rigid heddle woven doll placemats in Valley Yarns 8/2 Cotton

Peach and cream rigid heddle woven doll placemats in Valley Yarns 8/2 Cotton

By then, I was ready to begin the actual red and white cloths. However, Webs was out of the right color of red that I needed, so I had to go hunting. I decided to try Halcyon Yarn's Homestead 8/2 cotton. I found it to be very comparable to the Valley Yarns cotton I'd been using, though perhaps a hair finer. The colors I used were Light Red 29, and Bleached White.

I ended up making three tray cloths for the lady who inspired this adventure, and her two daughters. They are quite a bit larger than Kirsten’s original tray cloth, per her request, since her tray was also larger than the original. When I finished the three cloths for her, I still had quite a bit of warp left, so I went ahead and made myself a tray cloth as well, but with dimensions closer to the original. Now I just need to come up with some sort of tray to put it on!

St. Lucia tray cloth woven on rigid heddle loom

St. Lucia tray cloth woven on rigid heddle loom

Friday, January 22, 2016

Three Woven Scarves

While I was weaving the tartan on the floor loom every Monday night in class, I wasn’t exactly sitting idly at home the rest of the week! In fact, I wove quite a few things on my beloved rigid heddle loom, including three scarves. . .

The first one came about because I was ready for something beyond plain weave, and went looking for something interesting using pick-up stick techniques. Webs' "Charlemont" (draft #55, available for free on their web site, here) fit the bill!

Valley Yarns Charlemont draft 55 woven lace scarf using pick up stick technique on rigid heddle loom

I used Valley Yarns Charlemont in the Light Grey and Teal Blue colorways, and I think this scarf only ended up using about half of each skein. This yarn is just so silky and soft that it’s a pleasure to even hold in your hands. I found that it held up to the weaving quite well, and I would weave with it again, although I suspect it might also be a real treat to knit with!

Close up of the pattern of the Webs Charlemont draft 55 woven lace scarf

I think it’s fun the way it looks completely different from the reverse than from the front. I almost think this would have been cool to stitch the ends together and make an infinity scarf out of it, so that when looped around the neck the second time, it could land with the reverse showing, but I guess I could always wrap the scarf that way!

Front and reverse side of the Charlemont 55 lace scarf

The pattern/draft itself is pretty good, but I ended up with more plain weave ends on one selvedge area than the other. It doesn't feel like enough of a variation to have been intentional, which leads me to believe there is either an error in the pattern, or I did something wrong. I really was quite careful about triple checking everything and know that my number of ends is perfect, and I am wondering if the culprit may have been inserting the pick-up stick. The pattern doesn't tell you in which direction you should insert it, so I had to guess, and perhaps if I'd gone the other way, it would have magically worked out. It really is too bad because that tiny detail has resulted in the scarf feeling uneven, and I likely won't often wear it because it drives me insane to look at the unevenness of it! Also important to note is that the resulting scarf is ridiculously prone to snagging. But all of that aside, I really do love the pattern/texture of it, and it was fun to weave something more challenging for a change!

After the slow-going Charlemont, I was ready for something simple, quick, and satisfying. I decided to make up a plain weave scarf in a variegated purple for my Aunt.

Plain weave rigid heddle woven scarf in Knit Picks Stroll Tonal

This is Knit Picks’ Stroll Tonal in the Blue Violet Color. I planned my own draft, such that I would use up the entire ball of yarn and not have leftovers. I absolutely love the way this one turned out!

Plain weave rigid heddle woven scarf in Knit Picks Stroll Tonal

The subtle variegation gives the scarf interest, and I don’t think it needs anything more than plain weave to stand out! I gave the ends delicate hem stitching, and elected not to twist or braid the ends. I think this will be fine because this merino blend has enough nylon in it that it didn’t seem to felt much at all in the washing/blocking, which means those ends shouldn’t get too ratty.

Plain weave rigid heddle woven scarf in Knit Picks Stroll Tonal

I loved the Stroll yarn so much, that I decided to use it again! This time, I used the “hand-painted” variation, in the color “Koi Pond.” I think that’s the perfect color name, because that’s exactly what this makes me think of!

Plain weave rigid heddle woven scarf in Knit Picks Stroll Hand-Painted

I used almost the same draft as I did for the purple tonal scarf, but made it a hair wider and shortened the ends so that I would have more yarn for using weft-wise, which therefore allowed me to make it a wee bit longer than the purple one. I absolutely love the way this one has a plaid-like feel, but that also, sometimes the teal would land always on the right while the orange was always on the left, and then shift so gradually as I wove that it almost gave a gentle rippling effect, which is entirely suitable for a pond-themed project! ;)

Plain weave rigid heddle woven scarf in Knit Picks Stroll Hand Painted

I also love the way even the hemstitching is variegated. . .

Variegated hem stitching on the plain weave rigid heddle woven scarf

Orange is not my favorite color, and originally I was planning to give this scarf away, but once it was complete, I found I absolutely loved it and think it might be staying with me. . . Although goodness knows how I’ll ever be able to wear as many scarves as I’ve been making lately!