Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Knitting with sea weed

I'm having fun with a recent acquisition, Fleece Artist Sea Wool, which is 30% Seacell, 70% merino, from the Mermaid's Purl in Wickford, RI.   It looks very silky.
I'm using it to make Unleaving (thanks for yet another great suggestion, Oogy!).

After just a few 16-row pattern repeats I am able to knit without consulting the chart.  I am using my working memory to keep track of where I am in the pattern, but otherwise it's rather mindless and relaxing.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Alternative Yarn Retreat

A perfect combination of factors: excellent company, pleasant weather and comfortable surroundings, very poor/non-existant cell phone service, tasty food prepared by someone else, multiple knitting projects including new Webs acquisitions, and sanctioned time away from reality.  What would make this better?  Learning to weave!
Behold the Ashford Rigid Heddle Loom with 10 dent-per-inch reed!  Once again, Oogy has exposed me to yet another fiber-dependent activity.  I had not considered learning to weave before, although I have often admired the work of others.  The Yarn Harlot's scarf from this May was beautiful, and Nova has brought some of her exquisite work to our knitting group.  There's something very appealing about the flat nature of the fabric, the way it drapes, that is not easy to achieve with knitting.  Plus, weaving is faster and uses less yarn. 

Now that I have some experience I can recognize other features of weaving that make it increasingly appealing.  I have learned that lace- or fingering-weight hand-spun yarn lends itself beautifully to weaving, revealing color and textural features that can be hidden in a knitted fabric.  Weaving shares with knitting a soothing, repetitive action that quickly becomes habitual.  It also shares with knitting the opportunity to watch a project develop as each row is completed, though this happens more quickly with the simple weaving we accomplished this past weekend.  

It was not too difficult for us to learn.  The YouTube video provided by Ashford was invaluable.  From it we learned how to warp:
This is best done with 2 people, even if neither one really knows what's happening.  Once the loom is warped, the weaving can begin:
Our trial run, done with beige and off-white worsted weight wool, yielded a scarf that we determined to be gift-worthy.  I would not say this about my first knitted project!

This scarf is the second project, made with Oogy-spun hand-dyed Romney wool:
It's really very beautiful, the way the colors come through.
You can view the third project on Oogy's blog!  We did encounter some difficulty with the warping process for this project, but it was remedied quickly and you can see that the weaving is in full swing.  Thanks to Mr. Oogy, who it turns out grew up with a master weaver and was able to offer some assistance when we encountered this, and other, minor snags. 

I'm still mulling all of the implications of learning to weave.  I would not give up knitting, but what is the harm of adding another fun yarn-related activity to the repertoire?  A long time ago I said I would never be interested in spinning, but that turned out to be very wrong.  In fact, weaving and spinning complement each other beautifully.  Even if I decide to forego weaving, it was awesome to learn the craft with Oogy, who is a constant source of inspiration to me.  Oogy, I often wish we lived closer together, but imagine all the trouble we'd be in!