Weaving Lessons

Lesson #1:

O weavers, heed my tale of woe and beware of false shortcuts!

I’m new to weaving. My first weaving project was mostly completed under the guidance of my lovely friend who actually knows what she’s doing (she also works at the yarn store, the lucky duck!). So when I started my second project I tried to remember all the very wise things she told me. I also wanted my second project to be a plaid, and I didn’t want to cut and tie my yarn every time I switched colours. I planned a 1″x1″ plaid, and when I warped my loom I didn’t cut my yarn every time I changed colours. I thought I would save myself a little time and a few knots, so I just crossed the yarns over each other like you would do with knitting. BIG MISTAKE!

warped rigid heddle loom

The beginning of the project was easy to weave. But by the time I got to the last few inches of warp my sheds were barely opening and it was hard to pass my shuttle through the opening.

It turns out the yarns were twisting around each other and pulling their neighbors up or down, resulting in a very narrow shed and some skipped threads.

woven plaid with skipped threads

I had to weave with some care to keep the pattern going (plain weave), but eventually I finished it and cut my weaving off the loom Yay!

woven green and blue plaid

Lesson #2:

Thou shalt stabilize all thine edges before cutting anything!

After I cut the weaving off the loom I tied both ends of the warp in overhand knots. I had woven three separate sections on the same warp, leaving a little space between each section for finishing. Alas, I did not leave myself much space and I cut some pieces apart before the edges were stabilized.

Oh the drama! The Agony! As soon as I realized the error of my ways I put the pieces down and walked away from my project. I needed time to formulate a plan of action before all of my beautiful weaving came undone. I looked up how to hemstitch the edges (this tutorial is great), gingerly picked up a piece, and hemstitched as well as I could by holding each short piece of yarn against my leg to keep it from slipping.

Unbelievably, my plan worked! After a few sessions of intense sewing, both of the prematurely severed pieces were stabilized. I had two more pieces to cut apart, but I was wiser this time and hemstitched before I cut.

hemstitching woven plaid cloth

See: I can learn from my mistakes!

What beginner mistakes have you made (in any yarn-related craft)?

The 4th Try Is the Charm

It is 7:30 on Saturday night: I am dreaming of knitting and starting a new project (For some reason none of the 5 million projects I have going is just right to work on right now. I’m studiously ignoring the fact that I have 5 million projects). I’m browsing Ravelry looking for something in brioche and I come across this cowl that I’ve had queued for months. Perfection. I buy the pattern.

8:30 PM on Saturday: I’ve rummaged through my stash and found the perfect yarn – Hedgehog Fibers Sock in Nutmeg (that I bought on my honeymoon) and KnitPicks Stroll in Midnight Heather. Yummy! I cast on, figure out how to do brioche again, and work a few rows. Exhausted, I go to bed.

yarn

12:30 PM on Sunday: *I pick up my knitting, work a few rows, and make a mistake I can’t fix. I rip it all out and start again. Repeat from * once more. Walk away frustrated. Clean house instead.

6 PM on Sunday: I notice my yarn is starting to show signs of wear. I stop to think before casting on for the 4th time. I decide to use a larger needle to cast on so the top will be nice and stretchy. I ask my husband to kiss my yarn for good luck before I start – he complies with no further questions, bless him. Using a US 6 circular needle I cast on the required number of stitches. I join to work in the round. I switch a smaller needle and work the foundation rounds. I join my second colour and start brioche-ing away. A few rows later I make a mistake, but it’s only a small mistake and easily fixable. I’m sailing away to Brioche land.

brioche!

Introverts of the World Unite!

I am an introvert. I like listening to the quiet around me and being alone or with just a few friends. I have a fear that I will totally mess up interpersonal moments – especially with strangers – so I rehearse imagined conversations a lot.

***

Yesterday I was at the bookstore. I had ordered a London Fog and browsed through the stacks. I had quite a lovely time. I made my selections and walked up to the cash register for *cue scary music* HUMAN INTERACTION!!!

The cashier looked like a nice person. “Hey, what’s up?” She asked.

Genius that I am, I replied, ” Good thanks.”

A moment of awkward silence followed. I decided to acknowledge the elephant in the room: “That’s completely not what you asked.”

At this point the cashier started to laugh. So I added, “Introverts of the world unite!”

She giggled harder and then added, ” From the safety of our own homes.”

We both chuckled as she rang up my book, and as I left she wished me a happy time “safe at home.”

***

I used to be good at talking to people. Or at least I didn’t make a fool of myself. Next time I’m making my husband check out for me.

The Dark Side has Yarn

My friends, brace yourselves. I have been dabbling with the dark art…of CROCHET! I don’t know what came over me. I was at the store to buy a respectable knitting needle. I had wandered over to the book section to see if there was anything about spinning, when this MONSTER leaped out at me and threatened to kill me if I didn’t take it home.

book

I like living, so I agreed. Once home I figured the book was at least worth looking at. This was a mistake. I was sucked into the vortex, and before I knew what I was doing I was winding yarn.

I have been saving this gorgeous Araucania Nuble yarn for a shawl, so I retained my senses just enough to start one. It will be a basic half granny shawl. I hope.

start

Is there a way out of the vortex? Maybe I should follow the yarn…

 

What Sock?

A few weeks ago Ann and Kay over at Mason-Dixon Knitting started a one-sock knit-along. I had a sock that I was working on, so I was more than happy to join in. I knit dutifully on my Juniper sock (note the singular use of ‘sock’) for days and days. Until one day something inside me snapped. I didn’t want to knit this sock anymore. Who cares that I had finally memorized the stitch pattern. It wasn’t fun to knit. If I had been smart I would have remembered that I didn’t particularly enjoy the hat my sock pattern is based on. Now don’t take me wrong: the designer did a great job with that pattern. I have nothing against them. I just don’t particularly enjoy mock cables.

Still, I could get over this if I was sure the finished object would be perfect. But here’s the rub: I don’t think the socks will fit after washing. It seems my best course of action may be to frog the sock (frogging is so named because you rip-it, rip-it). I may also take a page from one of my favourite knitters ever, Stephanie Pearl-McFee (what a lovely coincidence that we share the same name) and deny any and all knowledge of this project.

What sock? I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Broken

I was sitting on my bed knitting (Bed is by far the best place to knit. Especially since I have a total of 1 chair in my apartment, and that chair is uncushioned). Life was lovely. I was watching Harry Potter with a knitter friend and drinking tea. But then the tea ran out. I needed more! So up I got in search of tea.

**Warning: Those with weak stomachs may want to skip the next part**

When I sat down again I knelt along the length of my needle. I heard a pop (The pop was not from my leg). I had broken my knitting needle. I sat there in shock for a few minutes numbly muttering, “I broke my needle. I broke my needle.” It was all very sad.

A broken needle means no more knitting. I had been working on my Farrah sweater. Of course, I had the option to start something else, but Farrah is what I wanted to work on. I was about to be inconsolable when my friend made a suggestion: “Can you superglue it?”

Oh ya. Superglue. We do live in the 21st century. Superglue to the rescue! My needle is now back in working order, but I have ordered a replacement just in case.

Needle: Knit Picks Options Interchangeable Rainbow Wood Circular Knitting Needle (say that five times fast!) Size US 8/ 5.0 mm