Weird Wool Wednesday: weavers add to life’s weirdness

I washed my handwoven and now it’s fabric. It’s been drying on the lower half of our front door:

It’s like a banner, saying: “a weaver lives here.”

Or perhaps “This here is crazy cat lady territory. Enter at own risk.”

A man walked by, just a I was checking the progress on the drying. I caught his eye and said: “Wove it myself. Spun it too!”:)

He smiled.

Then he said: “My older brother used to be a professor, at a university. Then one day he quit his job and bought himself a loom.”

He smiled again. Nodded and walked on.

I was touched. And confused. And felt some sort of recognition. Like I should understand this, as a weaver? I was amused at how the memory was prompted in him and how he had shared his story. And I was endeared by the coincidental encounter with an anonymous, civilized person. And confused. A lot of confused.

Also, our sweet pea that didn’t die this Winter is now telling everyone it’s already Summer:

It smells so sweet! Like Jasmin. Bees are flocking.
Sweety pea, we had viscous hale storms only last week. It’s not Summer yet. I’m still processing wool. Still wearing wrist cuffs and woolen hats.

The world is a confusing place this Wednesday.

Perhaps I should take up a day job as a professor, just to even things out a bit?

Or do it just to fall in step with the general, humourous weirdness that is life.

UPDATE
OMG, it was Sheldon Cooper’s little brother that walked by!?

Weaving for a little vest

Yesterday I had a wonderful visit with Dutch indy dyer Spinspul. We talked about weaving on a rigid heddle and we put a warp on my loom. It’s a two coloured warp, from two sock yarns.

Last night I made some colour swatches on it and this morning I got to see them in daylight:

(Welcome to a real life, where stuff gets piled onto tables and when you need the table piles get stacked in a corner of the room. That’s a pile of fabrics next to my rolls of pattern papers.
Wonderful tulips!)

My loom is a Glimakra Susanna, a Swedish brand. It’s a rigid heddle loom and nice and sturdy.

The colour swatches are to investigate how you can shift a colour by using a different coloured warp, or even combining two threads in the weft:

There’s a lot more fun to be found in playing with these kind of swatches. I could alternate colours in the weft or in the warp and shift the overall colour thusly. Or combine two tonal colours for one and the other. Sprinkling in some lines of bouclé. Weave stripes, weave plaids. (I’m not going to do those because stripes and plaids ask special consideration when putting them in a garment.)

Here I’m looking if the darkest yarn will play with the lightest warp:
 It does:)

Here I rapidly learn about weaving with un-equal thicknesses. The dark yarn is slightly thinner than the sock yarn that’s used for the warp. This means I could beat it closer together than I’ve done now. Now I’ve made neat “squares” from every warp and weft meeting. If I beat it stronger I’d make oblongs (more weft than warp threads per square cm) and this would emphasize the darker colour.
So much to play with in weaving!

I’m keeping in mind what I want the cloth for. It’s for a vest. Yes, “that vest”:

 pic by Marcy Tilton

Cut up each panel in more little panels. But still: won’t benefit from too drapey a fabric such as a sockyarn x a smooth lace weight.
There’s only so much reinforcing you can do by using small panels and lots of seams and topstitching (and interlining).

So I’ve chosen a handspun for the weft, not a commercial yarn:

The handspun has an interesting texture to give to the fabric. I really like it, I already see the vest in my minds eye. It’s quite a character! But not too “homespun, homemade”:

The handspun is Cormo Silk Mix.

On the mauve base:

On the speckled white base:

With cat-help:

Aiie!
This type of loom, the Glimakra Susanna, has a sharp toothed gear for a brake and it extends beyond the frame. I like to work standing at the table and the gear has made scratches into the wood:

Here’s how you are supposed to use this loom: with the front not on the table. Swedes on the net show you’re supposed to keep it in your lap.

(mr. Marvelknits had a weird gerbil cheek thing going on, as he was happily eating a slice of bread with full cream butter and strawberry jam, so I blurred him.)(Should have put googly eyes on him!)(And I got a new bike because my old one fot stolen but I need a second lock for it before I risk parking it outside, so it lives in the room for now.)

Finished!

105 cm x 60 cm. Not yet wetted so not really finished according to any weaver worth her salt. I ran out of Cormo handspun so I finished up with some of the mid-dark Blue Texelaar I spun that turned out to have so many colour variations that I lost the joy of prepping:

It’s a weird piece of cloth, with all the different colours which are siblings so will probably work together in a garment. It’s not very big. It’s going to be a bit of a puzzle making this into a vest. I’ll make a mock up first. But it will take a few weeks, there are some other projects that need to be finished first.
Amongst them is my next weaving project: a shawl in Manos Del Uruguay Silk Blend in the colour Europa/Abalone:

 pic by Manos del Uruguay

(colour doens’t show true, it’s less green and more grey purple)

This is my inspiration, a shawl woven by a fellow raveler, in exactly this same colour. I’m sorry, you can only see the project if you are on Ravelry.

I plan to put on a new warp on my loom tomorrow. But I also want to finish sewing a grey blouse. And finish drafting the pattern for my pattern drafting class. Maybe cut the fabric for its shirt? Oh, and I need to vacuum (cats are shedding!). Brush the cat (do that first, vacuum afterwards). Do some laundry. Find the pattern for my bottom up cuffs because I finished two other wrist parts of cuffs and they need their tops started.

Tomorrow better have lots of hours, I have plans!

Fabrics to show off my handknits

So what’s with me knitting all the cuffs? Why do I want them to be greys and purples? And why did I spend time to make a whole colourcollage of them??

Well…. I’m planning a new wardrobe.

Now that I’m living more in the city again and feel more active I want to dress up. Show off the quality yarns I’m using. With quality clothing.

This is my inspiration board:
Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 21.03.59
Clean lines, no ruffles. Functional garments. Natural fibres.
Nice details and well executed sewing.

Light coloured blouses and light coloured trousers/skirt (but not too light because I’m not planning on living a spotless life any time soon).
Wear a darker dress over it, a dress with pockets. A pinafore.
With a light shawl or collar on top, framing my face.

And!

I’m going to make all these nice clothes myself.
Boom. Yes.
Because that’s what knitting told me.
Knitting knocked on my door and said: “A good fit at the shoulders is everything. Mass produced clothes don’t fit anyone, you included. Better make things yourself. Using quality materials. You’ll love it.”

So, I’m studying sewing. Not planned in any reasonable way. I just stumbled upon a few things that interest me and now that they seem to fit so nicely together I can present it to you as if it were a well thought out plan.

It’s a two pronged approach. One prong is the fitting part: bodyshape, wearing ease, drafting patterns, altering patterns, draping fabrics, swiveling darts. The colour analysis helped in this. The knitting experiences help tremendously! I’ve been sewing some dresses the past few years and learned a lot from that.

The second prong is a subject I stumbled upon only recently: precision sewing. With that I mean tailoring techniques, haute couture techniques, pressing, hand stitching.
At this moment I’m buried into bespoke dress shirt making. This is the book I’m reading right now: Shirtmaking: Developing Skills For Fine Sewing by David Page Coffin:
51wyjnjldbl-_sx401_bo1204203200_

Besides all this self studying I’ve also been taking a pattern drafting course since September. It’s a great source of frustration, being out in the real world trying to make thoughts work. You know me: brilliant in theory but not quite as adept in conjuring reality…
As you can imagine, the course has been a good mix of thrilling theory and bonking into the reality of measurements, teaching traditions and spending time with people who need more time than me to grasp concepts and hold onto them. I, on the other hand, slow everyone down with stupid ignorant questions about sewing basics. I feel quite the clutz.

This month we finally got to draft our body block into a pattern for a shirt, a pattern with wearing ease and all that. I’m still putting it onto paper (how wide should the cuff be? What kind of collar? How to close a shirt when you don’t have button hole help on your sewing machine??)
Once I have my shirt pattern finished I can turn any fabric into a shirt that fits me nicely!
I plan to crank out one shirt after the other this Summer, all based on the same pattern with just design changes in the details.

Last Friday I was pro-active and bought a whole lot of fabrics for my new wardrobe:
buit van Stoffenspektakel. vooral linnens

These will become shirts:
buit van Stoffenspektakel. vooral linnens

On top is a grey lilac cotton that will become my first real shirt, the one I’ll be showing in the next drafting class, on May 23rd.
The light grey and the soft lilac at the bottom are linens.
The white one is silk. The silk is for the end of Summer, when I’ve got this shirt thing down and might feel like venturing into shaping and draping a garment.

Here’s four meters of mid weight linen:
buit van Stoffenspektakel. vooral linnens

It was supposed to be the colour Mauseschwanzen from my cuffs but it’s a warmer tone than that, as shown in the top picture where the cuff is resting on it.
Not sure what to do with it now. Will think about it a bit. I bought it with the plan to make a shirt and a skirt or trousers. That’s why it already has a zipper. A zipper that’s too long for trousers with a zipper at the front, which was what I was planning… Clutz alert in aisle 2 of the haberdashery!

Either way this linnen will be flowing around my legs in some form or other this Summer. Trousers with a side zipper (or at the back) or a long skirt (with a side zipper, or at the back). And its colour will go well with the socks I’ll have made from all the sock yarn that magically appeared at my doorstep this week:

DROPS yarn is having a sale!

These are some darker and stiffer fabrics:
buit van Stoffenspektakel. vooral linnens

All intended for things to wear over a shirt and a skirt.
On the bottom is a denim and it’s for a pinafore dress, with pockets, which will be useful on a daily basis.
The dark grey linen in the middle will also become such a functional garment. It’s quite heavy! I think I bought curtain fabric… in fact I’m sure I did. Not a clutz move though, curtains are excellent for skirts. They wear well. I also like to use upholstery fabric for skirts. So sturdy! Yet with fun woven in designs.
(as a side note, I just read on the web that quality bedding sheets are excellent for dress shirts. High count Egyptian cotton? Why not. Just because it’s labeled “bed linen” doesn’t mean it isn’t a piece of quality fabric.)

Sourcing fabric with the qualities the garment needs to have.
Wearing garments that are functional to your life, not just decorative.
Patterns that flatter the body shape and provide ease of movement.
Thinking about colours and contrasts that suit my own complexion.
Not paying much attention to the current fashion craze.
Paying much attention to skilled professionals who know how to create with their hands.

It’s been done for ages.

Designer and bespoke tailor Ivey Abitz looks at historic dress and translates them into her collections of wearable, functional fashion.
She designed one of my main inspiration pictures:


pic by Ivey Abitz

Isn’t it great?! You can imagine this wears like a dream, not restricting you at all. With natural white long sleeves under it… yes please!

Although I don’t want my skirts to be so frilly, I’m not into the layer upon layer look. But I love the light-darker-light sequence of the design! That is exactly what I’m doing for me too. I bloggeded about the contrast my face has and how clothing/shawls help to flatter it. I mangled some pictures halfway this post to try and show you what I mean.

The smaller piece of olive green grey linen is intended to become an exact copy of this vest:
a design by Marcy Tilton, to show off her quality fabrics.

So many precision sewing details! How the back seam is bound with stripey band. How the inner collar differs in colour. Its shape! The round bib-shaped stitching. How the stitching in the side seam matches the bib-stitching. The button holes. How the vertical seams for shaping in the lower part are hardly noticable.

This is a garment very suiting for my body type.
If the “bib” shape is made stiff with underlining and topstitching it won’t present the breasts so readily to any pedestrian. Instead it will guide away the eye from them, upwards.
Below the bib there’s lots of inconspicuous shaping happening, right at the underbust, where I need it, without the pedestrian noticing.

The bib covers the bust and sets the stage for the neckline which in turn makes a perfect frame for whatever I’ve got going on there: a blouse with an interesting collar detail; a sparkling necklace orrrrr….a handknitted shawl!

There we are.
All this sewing plans with a particular goal of show off flattering (and functional!) handknits that I’ll wear around my neck and my wrists. In quality yarns. In the right colours.
Because I love it.

Not knitting cuffs this weekend?

I’m knitting the partner cuffs but I’m now learning about miniskeins: they differ.

The second cuff has specks of caramel and none of the blue tones that the first one has. The one that I love particularly. I have no use for caramel unless covered in salt and chocolate.

The second green cuff has way more brown and muddy colours in it. It’s not as crisp and Spring like as the first one, which I adore:

These would not look pretty when worn together.

I’m going to have to knit new partner cuffs, top down, with the remainders of the first mini skeins. That way they will look the same when I wear them, peeping from under my sleeve cuffs.

When I run out of yarn I can use the mini skeins I’m knitting with in the pictures to finish the bottom parts of the wrist part.

The thing is: the remainder skeins of the first cuffs are in the city. As you can see from the table cloth I’m at the cabin for the weekend…
What will I dooooo this weekend??

Guess I’ll have to look and see if I’ve got some fingering weight here for another set of cuffs…

I still need steele-ish blue ones. And some wool white ones. And a set in gleaming silk would be lovely! Could also do with lavender ones for sure.

I made a colour board of all the cuff colours I’m thinking about:

Shortly I’ll be gearing up to go hunting in the stash room for one of these colours. Because I need to knit cuffs this weekend!

Or I could knit my sock.
I brought it with me of course. Would be great if I finish that today and its partner too because tomorrow a new KAL starts that I want to participate in.

My spinning wheel is also here with the project on it that I enjoyed so much last weekend. It will be raining this weekend but it will be lovely sitting in front of the glass doors, with the green outside just there, and spinning. I could not knit cuffs but spin instead.

By the way, we’re only talking yarn needs for today anyway because tomorrow I’m spending the day getting reacquainted with my weaving loom. No time to knit cuffs.

No, I’m taking no chances, I’m heading off into the stash room to look for cuff yarn. Have a great Saturday!

Binary cuff knitting…

Untitled

one.
one.
one.
one.

1111

My in-house nerd says I’ve now knitted 15 cuffs…

They are all Narcissus cuffs.
The two one the right are knit from miniskeins dyed by Wol met Verve that I bought at the fair in Tilburg. They are 100% merino and tightly plied, like sock yarn. They are beautiful and soft against my wrists but they won’t pill as fast as the light grey will and the Wollmeise I’m wearing at the moment does.

They knit up so differently from how they look in the skein! The top one I had seen in an example, otherwise I’d never guessed.

The bottom one is a pure surprise! It knits up so friendly and Springlike while the skein has screeching fluor neon in it (which I only truly discovered once we left the fair and saw it in daylight).

These speckled dyed ones I knitted with the wrist portion in stockinette stitch. They don’t need the vertical interest and I get slowed down by twisted stitches and purl stitches.

They are also knitted bottom up. I don’t know why…. I had to rewrite the lace pattern for that, changing all YO into k2togs.
I don’t know why I did that! It was extra work and now I really have to pay attention to the fanning lace part.
It also doesn’t fan out as nicely as the top down versions do, the two grey ones. Perhaps blocking will fix it.

Either way I still have to knit all their partners in the same way.
That’s another 15 cuffs.
For my 3 arms.
11
(reads like eleven arms to me. I’m funny too you know)

UPDATE
OMG I just showed this post to the nerd!

He says I’m not a binary knitter.

I’m a UNARY knitter

because I only knitted the one cuff over and over.


Get off my lawn!

Weird Wool Wednesday 2: Orange Kings’ Day

Today it’s the birthday of the King of the Netherlands. His familyname is “From Orange”.
Orange is a small principality in the south of France and the first Dutch Prince of Orange started procedures to free our country from foreign rule which is why we see him as the Father of the Fatherland. (He led a complicated political life and school children all over the country still struggle to make sense of it. Adults don’t understand it either but they’ve stopped trying.)

“From Orange” makes for easy fandom. The whole country is orange today. People, banners, clothes, pastry.

kings day

Our royals are the same royals used to name Orange County, NY, USA. In 1683 the province of New York was divided into 12 counties which were named after British royalty. The third Prince William of Orange was one of them.

I presume orange trees grew easily in the principality in France?

The weird thing is: an orange is called a “sinaasappel” in Dutch which translates as “China’s apple”. It’s pronounced the same way too. Lot’s of countries call it that. Or “Appelsin” which is “Apple de China”

Was this reference to China an early marketing ploy, to suggest oranges are wild and exotic? Or did they indeed come from the far East??
I’m too lazy to do more internetlearning on this, my day off. You do it. And can I then borrow your notes on the political value of William I of Orange please?

The current king is also named William: Willem-Alexander. He’s no longer Prince of Orange though, now that’s he’s king.
He married a smart girl from Argentinia and they have three daughters: Amalia, Alexia and Ariane. Amalia is now the Princess of Orange.

 pic by Remko de Waal

On King’s Day tradition is that they, as a family, visit a city or two in the country and observe folk games and songs and the local children doing crafts.

It’s a holiday. The whole country is going nuts with festivities everywhere. Lots of music. Everything and everyone’s orange.

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 12.56.34

Even for us, home staying people, orange creeps in:
Untitled

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 13.49.48

Weird Wool Wednesday: Atchoo! Atchiee! Cuffcuff!

Atchoo!

Atchee-hee-hee!

Cuffcuff!

I seem to be sneezing out cuffs.

(The dark grey one was a mistake. I wanted to knit it out of the light grey luxury yarn from the bottom picture. The whole cuff I was thinking that this yarn isn’t as luxureous as I remembered.

Then I bound off.

Then I found the light grey yarn.

I had knitted the dark grey cuff out of regular sock yarn!

So I have one dark grey cuff that probably won’t get a partner and I cast on with the light grey yarn yesterday afternoon and it’s already nearly finished! Luxury yarn knits so fast and pleasant.

(I’ve given up on stranded cuffs for the moment. I’m knitting what wants to get knit.)

Weekend at the cabin

I left all the thinking and all the projects in the city and came to the cabin for a leisurely weekend without a plan.

It’s going well. I’m “leisuring” through the day pleasantly.

When the sun is out I settle in a low chair in the grass and knit on a sock I started:

With cream puffed whatyamacallits, my purple iPadcase and a lovely Spring WIPbag. And tea. And LOUD birds all around me. Spring is here!!

The yarn is a beauty that I’ve admired in the skein for years. It was so beautiful in the skein that I hesitated greatly to knit with it. It would never be this beautiful again:

On the last woolfair I visited, the one in Tilburg, the indy dyer from whom I bought the skein a few years back, had a stall. Wol met Verve. Together we chose a semisolid to combine it with.

After that I dared to destroy the skein and cake it up and I started a SlipStripeSpiral sock in the car.

I don’t know what I think of it yet. The skein is gone, that’s for sure. The colours are very different in the knitting. Not as special. But it has a beauty of its own and if I just relax and let it be I’ll be able to see it.

Either way these will be socks I’ll wear often and gladly. I don’t have many socks in dark colours and quality yarn. They complement an outfit.

When the sun isn’t out I’m spinning. For the first time in months:

It’s these lovely batts with lots of silk and soft merino:

It’s the price I got from last year’s Tour de Fleece. They were handed to me at that lovely knitters’ party at the petting zoo, the same day I got the Noro from which the legwarmers are knit that I’m also wearing today.

These batts are akin to another set, with green, which I spun up and knitted into that vest that I love so much:

The purple white batts I’m spinning into a fairly thin single which I will then ply with a solid white (solid silk perhaps) to knit (or weave!) a lovely drapey garment with. Either a vest or a shawl:

There are plans forming in my head for a new direction of my wardrobe and a rich silky purplish whitish fabric is just the ticket…

Cats are happy to be here too:

 

Hope you have a fine weekend too. With lots of wool and lots of comfort.

Speaking of comfort: I bought a second pair of the best house “slofs” ever to keep at the cabin:

They are Haflinger Torben Slippers.

I have a green pair that I use all the time.
Felt top. Rubbery sole.

I particular chose brown coloured soles instead of the black ones because reviews say the black ones can leave markings on your floor.

I also chose one size up from my foot size so I can wear handknit socks in them, my Hiking Socks which are two strands of fingering yarn held together. Thusly sportsweight or 6-ply.

This pair will stay here and the pair I already have, the green ones, stay in the city. No more dragging them with me to and from the cabin. But I’ll probably continue walking out of the front door on them only realizing a few paces away that I’m not wearing proper shoes and should go back and change. That’s how comfortable they are.

Have a good weekend!

Not finished with Temptress Shawl yet…

I’ve bound her off. Lots and lots of picots.

Haven’t blocked yet. Because…. I’m thinking that the edge might be too frilly.

I have been wearing it around the house today though:)

For this shawl pattern, Temptress by Boo Knits, this picture has always been my inspiration picture:

It’s Booknits’ own shawl, “thuggisly” blocked, as she likes to put it.

Looking at the edge I now realize that that blocking evens out the picots.

And somehow I also always thought there were beads worked into the bind off too. One in every “icicle” (I’d love that), but there aren’t.

In the pattern Booknits gives some pointers to how she binds off: co 2 stitches not too loose. Bind them off a little tight too. The third bind off  is loose.

I think I cast on and bound off too loose. I’ve got frills. And they will stay, if my first Temptress is anything to go by.

My first Temptress in blue was blocked when finished a few years ago and has been worn and thrown about since then. The frilly picots are still there.

So I’m wearing my unblocked Temptress and looking at it from time to time trying to make up my mind. Block it and live with the frills? Or undo the bindoff and redo it?

In the mean time I’m basking in the beauty of it. It’s so soft and gleamy and I LOVE the colour and the beads!

.

.

.

.

.

I don’t want the frills.

.

.

.

.

I’m going to redo the bind off.

But not right away. I want to wear this colour for a bit, think of nightly coloured Aquilegias and Spring: