I wove a (tiny) thing!

My loom arrived yesterday and was assembled last night with brute force and a hammer. Other tools too, I didn’t just hit everything till it gave in. Since today was my day off, I had a bit of a practice go. Most of this time was spent admiring the warp threads which were rainbow coloured and pretty. See?

Rainbow coloured warp threads on a loom

It’s a rigid heddle loom, which means the warp threads are passed through a bunch of slots in a heddle and it’s super easy to move them up and down to pass the shuttle through. All my prior weaving as been on frame looms with needles, or a super crappy little loom I got at Spotlight which was so annoying I gave up after 10 minutes. The loom is 60cm wide, which felt more like a solid shawl or wrap size than the 40cm option. The 80cm was tempting, but there’s also the issue of having somewhere to work that would fit the loom. The 60cm is perfect for the end of my cutting table.  I completely planned that and didn’t say to myself today “Wow, that was lucky”. As you can see the thing I did today was not the full width, since it was just a practice run I thought I’d try for a scarf width instead of wrap. The key words here are “try for” because what I hadn’t considered was the warp yarn being so… rubbish.

Rainbow coloured yarn fraying

I’ve a lot of this rainbow yarn on account of I went into a complete frenzy and bought about 10 balls at one point for no firm reason. That’s how you make me spend money – make things nice colours. I’m easy. I’ve had some minor issues with it just pulling apart, but I’d forgotten those obviously. The motion of the heddle passing over the yarn eventually caused it to start to fall to bits. I had one warp thread break and kept going because eh, practice run. However when two on one side just snapped I decided to end the piece rather than end up with two sad little warp threads. Therefore I have a little block of fabric which is too small to do much with, but is lovely to look at.

Rainbow toned woven patch of fabric

There’s a few skipped warps in there, but I don’t caaaaaaaaaaaare. I learned a few things even on this little bit, such as leaving longer tails for tying off, and how to maintain tension. It was a lovely afternoon I spent faffing about with the loom and of course I have about 8 million ideas running around in my head about yarn combinations and patterns and… oh. OH it’s exciting. I see dye baths in my future too…

See You Round Like A Rainbow

Rainbows are definitely becoming a theme for me this year. A couple of months ago the Spotlight store (craft supplies and whatnots, for those who aren’t Australian) posted a photo on their instagram of rainbow yarn.

“Aww, that’s a shame” I thought, “I’m on a no yarn buy at the moment until I’ve cleared down the stash a bit”. I said this as I grabbed my handbag and flung myself out the door to the nearest Spotlight. Look, I tried to resist. I tried.

View of the back of the rainbow slouch hat

It took a fair bit of pattern hunting to find one I both liked and could do. I’m no great crocheter so I like a basic pattern. This one is the Autumn Slouch Hat by Swellamy on Etsy. This was a really good buy, the pattern is written beautifully and it’s a nice straight-forward project. I mostly worked it as stated, but I did add a couple more increase rounds because I have a big head. Also I tend to work a very tight stitch, which is a habit I can’t seem to break. I think it comes from starting to learn to crochet with Amigurumi, those little crochet toys. They need to be worked very tightly so they can be stuffed properly.

Front view of the hat

I actually finished this thing a week ago, I’ve been waiting until I’d dyed my hair to post it. You’re welcome. You may have spotted that while the yarn is gorgeous and bright and many coloured, it’s not actually a proper spectrum. It’s very heavy on the green, not so much on the red.  It’s not hugely apparent in this hat, but it’s showing in the scarf I’m making. However, that’s going to be an infinity scarf, so it doesn’t matter. Apart from the fact there’s not enough red, that always matters.

Two half hats, to compare

On the right in the above picture is the first hat I tried. It was okay, but the pattern was worked in joined rounds. This meant the join was super obvious because of the colour changes. You can also see where it’s gone a bit hexagonal, which seems to happen with joined rounds. The sizing was weird too. I even worked to gauge on that (sorta) and it just didn’t work. I’m much happier with the spiral. The colour changes are smooth and lovely like a marble bench made of crochet.

The yarn I used was Moda Vera Fayette in Frenzy. It’s quite nice to work with, but varies in thickness a little bit. There’s a bit on the scarf that’s like laceweight. I suppose you could cut around those bits if they bothered you.

I am done with stripping.

Never again will someone have to pay me $20 to put my clothes back on! Wait, different stripping. All my squares are now tidy tidy in long strips and ready for the next step.

Rolled up strips of patchworked fabric.

Is stripping the word for that? It feels right, so we’ll go with it. The last of the purple went together last night, and now all I have to do is gather the strips and sew them all together and then I’ll have a skirt. How hard could it be? Okay I might have a skirt for Christmas as gathering that purple alone is going to be a big task. I’m going to hem the purple first because I am terrible at hems. I figure if I hem it before it’s all skirt shaped I might have better odds of getting it reasonably correct.

Little bit in love with how lovely the edges are in these rolls. If I had time, and fabric, and nothing else to do for a year I’d make some stools or something. Since I’m not going to, feel free to use that idea for your very own, you’re welcome.

I’m kind of frustrated with the lack of variety in my purple fabrics – there’s a lot of repetition in it. On the other hand, it’ll be gathered quite a lot so it might not be so noticeable. Except that I just pointed it out. Damn you, honesty. Damn you to hell. 

A secondary problem has arisen, apart from my lack of leet skillz. The sewing machine is chugging again, and I suspect the problem is the same one that sent it off to the service place last time. Feels the same. I’m giving it a rest today, not just because I’m working most of today and also it’s stupidly hot, so we’ll see if it’s perked up any tomorrow. If it hasn’t, more servicing ahoy!

Six Five Two

This morning, before I slipped out to “Art” class (the quotes there only apply to my personal effort in the class, everyone else knows what they’re doing which is a bit showoffy if you ask me), I cut the final 30 squares of purple and can now announce to a breathless public – all the squares are cut for this Rainbow Skirt.
Patchwork squares piled in a tower in colour order

To be honest, I probably could have finished earlier. My motivation for doing so was removed when the solid, hardworking Elna machine (circa 1968) decided everything was just too much and started making some interesting noises. It’s home again now, and feeling a bit like when you get your brakes done on your car. You’re so used to them being a bit soft you keep accidentally slamming them on. I ran up a quick bag to check it out and make sure it was all working, but I suspect I’ll pack the bags away for a while to focus on this skirt.

Hand drawn skirt pattern with a lovely coffee stain

For those wanting the full picture, here’s the “pattern”. Some things of note, apart from the coffee stain and various other stains I can’t determine the origin of,  Originally I was going to smooth the blend between green and blue with a nice aqua, but then I decided “fuck that” and crossed it out, firmly. The 8 at the bottom there is the number of tiers, incase I suddenly lost the ability to count things. I think the 103 is the length, but who knows? The 11cm is the size of the squares in the finished skirt, but the 13 cm refers to the whole lot with the seam allowance, which is wrong. With seam allowance, the squares are 14cm and I don’t know why I thought 13 was not only correct, but correct enough to circle.

The numbers after the colour names refer to the number of squares, but you probably figured that out yourself. Anyway, as you can see, each tier is 1.5 times as long as the one above, with some fudging to avoid half squares. The final tier is a straight up double of the one above.

In other news, the colour I had the most trouble getting hold of was orange. This morning while looking for something else I found a bundle of orange, so that was irritating. Only ended up with one slice to the fingers, though I suppose there’s still time to sew through them, cut them while trimming seams or slam them in a door.

Squares for Days

A weekly update? Has the world gone completely mad? YES. I’m back, a mere week later, to update on the Rainbow skirt progress. Squares for days is the thing. I’m almost done with the cutting part. I say “almost done” I mean “Blue and purple to finish but those are the big numbers and I may fall down insensible before I get to the last 50 squares”.
patches

I probably could have taken the “20” tags off for the photo, if we’re being honest. I was bundling them up into 10s, but then I remembered I can also count by 2s because I am pretty amazing, mathematically. As of right this very minute, I have 35 more blue to cut, and 250 purple. I’ve already cut 20 purple, but I didn’t put that bundle in the picture because it would have messed up the aesthetic. I take these things super seriously, as you know.

This last paragraph was going to be something along the lines of “I cut all those squares and didn’t slice my finger open!”. However, I was preparing a strip of blue to cut up and it’s entirely possible I sliced my finger open. Brilliantly, I wasn’t even cutting fabric at the time. I’m not sure how it happened, possibly I was waving the rotary cutter about with reckless abandon. Sounds like something I’d do.

Rainbow Unicorn

A while ago I was whining on Plurk about how I didn’t know what to make. My friend Evie was all “Pfft, make a unicorn for me!” so I did.
UnicornI really should set up a proper place to take photos that isn’t just the kitchen table with the newspapers cleared off the end. I also, in the future, should wait for all spiders to vacate the area (you can see him on the left). I am nothing if not professional with this blog. Wait, no, I meant nothing like professional. I get those mixed up.

Anyway. Unicorn! He came out pretty well, even if I do say so myself. The pattern is the horse pattern from Woolhalla. I chose it over other possible horse patterns because it has an actual horse shape to the legs, hooves and back – I grew up around horses so I appreciate the little details such as the form of the back legs. It did have it’s fiddly moments – popping the diamonds in at the front and back was a bit of a fiddle and I didn’t do the head straight. I think it’s okay though, he just looks a bit like he’s seen something interesting to the side. Unicorn Head

I pondered for a considerable amount of time about how to add the horn. I made several out of felt in various methods but nothing really worked. Then I remembered I have bags of roving for felting, so I did that. The horn is wet felted which was quick and easy. Then I sewed it in place. The eyes, as you can see, are beads because my embroidery skills are not so hot and I wanted him to look somewhat even. It also took me a while to decide which colour to do the blanket stitching in until I remembered I had a couple of skeins of rainbow thread for some long forgotten project.

The felt I used is from Winterwood Toys, an Australian store selling all sorts of dyed loveliness (and are actually quite close to me I discovered. Once I’m employed again I will certainly run at them waving my debit card). I don’t plan to make this blog a “Buy things here!” sort of thing, but the quality of their felt is excellent, the colours are glorious and the shipping is quick. So you know, buy stuff there if you’re looking for nice felt and other things to make things with. I also got some of their “sea dragon” felt, which is the most delicious shades of orange with just enough pink to not be too pink.

Mr Unicorn is currently tucked into a Postpak on his way to Evie, who hopefully will love him even though he’s slightly wonky.