Doubleweave or double trouble?

This term’s weaving project is Doubleweave.  So, having been temporarily diverted by weaving Christmas decorations, I’ve finally got going with my sample.

How is it going?   Mmmm…

Having dabbled with doubleweave in the past, I haven’t been particularly inspired by my current sample.  I’ve worked through weaving separate layers – top layer pale blue – bottom layer plum  I’ve reversed the layers – and seen how I could insert wadding before each reverse – useful if I wanted to make heat resistant table mats.

But, I definitely haven’t been convinced by colour-and-weave stripes in doubleweave.

So by last week’s class I was becoming a bit dispirited until I decided to ‘play’ with a bit of leno to remind myself how much I enjoy manipulating threads:

Leno and Doubleweave

Experimenting with leno and doubleweave

Then I decided it was time to move on to colour blocks using pickup sticks. I’m thankful we worked through the technique r-e-a-l-l-y  s-l-o-w-l-y  !

Doubleweave blocks

Doubleweave blocks using pickup sticks

Here’s what it looks like on the reverse side.

Doubleweave revers

Doubleweave block reverse side

One thing I realised very early on was you can’t lose concentration for a moment otherwise threads of the wrong colour start appearing in all the wrong places… and no-one wants to do the amount of unpicking I’ve had to do!!

doubleweave blocks

I really like this effect and can see the potential.  I’m using my trusty 4-shaft table loom and am looking forward to next week’s class to see what else I can do with this technique on 4-shafts.

 

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Homework

No weaving class this week – it’s ‘half-term’ already.  However, we’ve been given some homework!

My weaving class takes place in a Church Hall and a week or so ago we received an invitation (sent out to all the groups who use the hall) to provide a decorated Christmas tree for the entrance lobby.  After a discussion, the class somewhat reluctantly agreed to participate.  With no little trepidation, we all volunteered to ‘weave’ tree decorations to showcase what our group does.

Last week, and with slightly more enthusiasm, we contributed ideas and settled on what everyone was going to attempt. The keener members of the class had brought some samples, and one lady had even persuaded her husband to construct a natural, handmade tree made of larch branches from the local forest.

Each of us is supposed to ‘weave’ two decorations – well, for ‘weave’ read ‘some interlacing of threads’.  We’ve also been asked to have a go at weaving a star for the top of the tree or to make some woven boxes or baskets to put round the base.

This all sounds fairly straightforward but I’ve never made any type of Christmas decoration.  What’s more, all the items will have to be tiny as the tree isn’t very big.  Oh help!

So I’ve been hitting the books and the Internet in search of inspiration or a YouTube video or two.

One of my books has some wonderful photographs of various God’s Eyes or Ojos de Dios – I had a go with some matchsticks!  In another book, there were instructions for weaving a moon and star using an embroidery hoop – I’ve bought a tiny hoop, ribbon, thread… but it all seems a bit of a faff.

Mercifully, I found this website tutorial – and here are the results

woven Christmas decoration

This is a more glittery and shiny version – although the little bow in the centre hasn’t worked as I don’t really do miniature!

woven Christmas decoration

woven Christmas decoration – bling version

And this is my collection including the matchstick God’s Eye.

woven Christmas decorations

I hope they’ll be small enough and light enough.  However, over the coming week I’m going to have a go at weaving something a little different.  If I succeed, I’ll be sure to post!

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What a difference a yarn makes

I’ve just finished knitting a hat for my son’s birthday.  We’d chosen the yarn together – Debbie Bliss Rialto Aran (100% merino) in dark navy – and he’d specified the type of pattern.

Patrick's Hat

Birthday Hat

What fascinated me was just how different the 2×2 rib looks when compared to the hat I recently completed using the Rowan colourspun.

hat and cowl

Hat and cowl

I’m not an experienced knitter so the wonders of stitch definition have so far escaped me but even I can appreciate the difference here!

I’ve used the same pattern for both hats but the the 6×6 rib for the ‘turned-up’ section just didn’t work with the navy merino. This meant I unpicked my first version of the hat as it was so disappointing. It also meant I missed the birthday by one day.

I am pleased with the final result – a lovely thick ‘bouncy and stretchy’ hat which I hope will withstand the rough treatment coming its way!

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The importance of knotting

The cushion fabric is off the loom and now I have to complete the project and make up the cushion.

I took the fabric to my weaving class during the week, and although it’s cotton the advice was to give it a wash to ‘soften’ the fabric.  I took this to be a diplomatic way of saying I’d beaten it too hard!  Maybe, but I was after a robust ‘upholstery’ type fabric that would withstand some wear and tear.

I was also reminded to secure the threads properly at either end.

Step 1… it’s a sunny day, so the fabric has been washed and is drying outside.

On the line

Cushion fabric drying in Autumn sunshine 

Next step… on reflection I should probably have left longer warp ends so I could knot them.  But last week, in my haste and excitement to cut the fabric off the loom, I probably made them a bit short.  I guess in my mind was the thought I’d be hemming the ends and that everything would be sewn in as I made up the cover.

However, during weaving class, we were told the cautionary tale of a weaving student in another class who had recently made the mistake of not knotting her ends. Cue shaking heads, cries of “oh no”.  I’m convinced teacher was looking pointedly in my direction!

This student had apparently used a thin yarn for the warp but a thicker one for the weft and as a result, her sewing had failed to secure the warp threads against the weft properly.  This meant that when the fabric was made up into a cushion with a cord edging, the weft had started to unravel in one corner.

Oh dear… although my warp and weft are the same yarn, I will have to pay special attention when I sew and hem to make sure all threads are caught.

Lesson learned!

 

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New season… New projects

Summer (such as it was) is definitely over although today is one of those lovely sunny, fresh Autumn days.  Amazingly, we’ve managed to harvest this little group of tomatoes, carrots and a baby beet from what has been a somewhat disappointing vegetable growing experience!

veggies

Today’s harvest

I’ve not been too idle over the summer, knitting various items including this hat and cowl from two balls of Rowan colourspun.

hat and cowl

Hat and cowl

On the loom there’s some fabric for a cushion cover which was tricky to thread – made worse by a couple of mistakes which only came to light once I’d started to weave the pattern. I got quite hot and bothered unpicking everything to correct them!

cushion fabric

Cushion fabric on the loom.

The pattern is ‘A German Bird’s Eye I’ from ‘A Handweaver’s Pattern Book’ by Marguerite Davison (page 20). I’ve used 2/6 mercerised cotton (stone grey, azalea and signal red) sett quite closely at 18 epi.

Autumn heralds the start of a new term and Weaving class started up again on Thursday. I carried on weaving the cushion fabric and discussed plans for the term’s project.  I want to focus on doubleweave and work my way through the sample in my latest book purchase Doubleweave: The Weaver’s Studio by Jennifer Moore.

I used doubleweave many years ago for a hanging inspired by a photo my brother took in Taiwan.  I manipulated the threads on the top layer and stuck to plain weave for the bottom.  I remember enjoying the challenge so I want to explore the construction a bit more as there’s so much you can do with it.

Other projects I have in mind for the coming months include an inkle lanyard braid and more knitting.

Always too much to do and never enough time.

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If it’s a cold winter… I’ll be ready

Here’s hoping for a cold(ish) winter.  Why?  So I can wear this pair of mittens I’ve just knitted using the chunky handspun marled merino I plied back in early July.

handspun mittens

Mittens knitted using handpun marled merino  – Peggy O’Grady’s ‘Arc’ pattern – see Ravelry for lots of other versions

The yarn was rather inconsistent so I’ve had to do a bit of darning here and there to close up some holes.  I also did a lot of knitting into the back of stitches to try and prevent holes appearing.

The “arc” is formed using lifted increases which was a new technique for me to master.  Thankfully, there are lots of extremely useful YouTube videos to consult.

I’ve still got 100g left so I might attempt a matching closed-tube cowl.  I’ll be very snug and warm walking the dog on a frosty day!

Bonnie

Bonnie

 

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Off the loom at last

I’ve finally finished my coverlet sample with a good portion woven with handspun merino, and it’s off the loom.  Hurrah!

coverlet sample

Handwoven coverlet sample – overshot – pattern from Handwoven Nov/Dec 2010, p.4

After 3 months, and 4 different samples, I’ve achieved a fabric which feels light but substantial. It has washed well and I’m amazed how well the handspun merino has behaved.

Handwoven coverlet sample

Handwoven coverlet sample

I don’t think I’ll ever weave the full coverlet using this exact pattern but it has definitely given me food for thought.

 

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