This year I had promised myself I would blog once a week with a mix of projects and interesting knitting related articles. Here it is fall and I haven’t been able to do that. I’m starting think getting it together isn’t possible. I have so much going on that I can’t seem to stay focused or set goals. You would think by the time you were middle aged you’d have it figured out, but nope, not me. It’s a weird time for me. I feel like I’m transitioning. I just not sure what I’m transitioning into. Thank goodness I have my fibre arts to keep me sane.
I’ve been weaving but I’ll save stuff about that for my next post. Today I wanted to share a photo of my final Kitchen Mat. I was so happy to finish it just a few days before Thanksgiving (Canadian). Originally I was worried about it sliding but it’s so heavy it stays in place pretty well. Of course my dog, Patches thinks it great to smush up or to lay on.
Even though I love this mat I’m not sure I’d make it again. It uses a ton of cotton yard because it’s three strands held together. And it was hard to knit up the last (white) section because it it weighs 3.5 lbs. On the upside I have some left over yarn to make matching dishcloths.
The busiest time of year has come for me. The fall is the best season because, it’s cooler, has the two best holidays (Thanksgiving and Halloween), is filled with beautiful fall colours and marks the end of humidity. However it is also jammed packed with birthdays, holidays and social events. I am booked solid until mid-November. Yet despite being so busy I manage to still find time to knit and weave.
I’m discovering a lot about inkle weaving, like the importance of beating down the weft and keeping the edges straight. As you can see in photo if you don’t beat down the weft tight enough the result is very different. Also not keeping the edges consistent causes the band to get wider and wider. It’s been a quite a struggle to keep my weaving consistent. I hope with enough practice I can do better.
This is how the final bookmarks turned out. I love the look of the picked up threads to create a pattern. There are several ways to create patterns in inkle weaving. I’ve only taught myself three ways and can’t wait to try out the others.
I took this photo to show the difference between the two bookmarks I’ve made. The thinner one I made uses single strands of 2/8 cotton yarn while the diamond patterned one uses 2 strands of 2/8 cotton.
This last bookmark I did a different pattern simply because I wanted to see how it would look. I will definitely be making a series of these ones.
I finally purchased more yarn in a variety of colours. I have a great resource for weaving parts and yarns thanks to Camilla Valley Farms.
The past week I started weaving bookmarks I hope to sell at craft shows and on my Etsy store.
My kitchen mat has been put on the back burner because of all the weaving I have been doing. I’ve worked on it a bit in the evenings but it’s hot and so heavy I usually put it down after a few rows. It’s not the ideal project for the summer. Fortunately I only have around 65 rows to go.
All that’s left is the white section
This is basically where the mat is going to go when it’s done
Since my graphic design business is lagging I’ve decided to build stock of handmade products to sell this fall – just in time for Christmas. I’ll share what I’m doing next week. The items are woven. The feedback about them from friends and family has been encouraging which makes me feel good about making more.
I’m also looking for some seasonal work to fill in the gaps. It’s so difficult to find graphic design work or business out there, it’s disappointing. There has been no lack of effort to find work or new clients on my part. Sigh.
The upside is with my extra time I’ve been focusing more on making things. And maybe that’s what I’m meant to do. Make beautiful and useful things.
Two years ago I asked for an inkle loom for Christmas and I only recently learn to use it. The first thing I noticed is that there are very few resources online for inkle weaving. I’ve been spoiled by the vast sea of resources out there for knitters. I expected to find everything I needed in a neat and tidy place online. The reality is I had to piece things together through bad 1990’s websites and poorly focused videos.
This is my third attempt to weave something and my first successful project. The previous two attempts end up with really wonky bands. It took some time to figure out how to keep my edges even and to keep the tension right.
I decided to draft my own design. I did this more to see if I understood how the wrap facing thing works. Weaving is like knitting in that it helps a lot if you know how to ‘read’ you work.
Setting up the warp takes patience and attention to detail but once that’s done the weaving part goes quickly. I love seeing the pattern build.
I feel a new addiction coming on. There are some many cool things I can make using these bands and there are several techniques including tablet weaving (I have the cards I just don’t know where to start). I forgot to take photos but after I did this traditional two-row type weaving I tried out some pick up weaving which has you pick up warp threads below and dropping corresponding top warp threads to created a different kind of pattern.
I plan to make several belts and sell them online and craft fairs next year. I used two d-rings for two belts I made in last week, but I plan to use d-rings and metal belt tips for the belts I’m going to sell. I also discovered that pick up patterns have front and back sides and don’t work well with the d-rings. I’ll have to use different belt hardware for that style of weaving.
Here are my belts which are kind of rough but I’ve been wearing them anyway.
Traditional, two row inkle weaving
Pick up inkle weaving
While I was on vacation my internet connection was spotty so I wasn’t able to do any blogging. I did do a lot of relaxing. It was a week of board games, knitting, watching movies and vintage t.v. shows, photography and swimming. Just what the whole family needed.
So my latest project is a kitchen mat. The one I have now is hard to clean and the rubber backing is flaking off. I can’t vacuum it properly and when I throw it in the washer the rubber back comes off and sticks to everything. I decided if I knit one out of cotton I can wash it easily. The cotton is very heavy and my hope is I won’t need any anti-slip backing. If I do, I think I have some options that would work well like non-slip backing from the fabric store that doesn’t have to be stuck on the mat or waterproof bathroom caulking (hopefully it could stand being washed). I’m not going to worry about it too much for now.
There is no pattern for this Kitchen Mat – it’s seed stitched using three strands of worsted weight cotton. I’ll be sure to post the pattern when I’m done. By the way this thing weights a ton already and it’s only half done.
So you know that saying “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch?”, well I should learn to listen to that concept. Twice now in the last month I got excited thinking I either had a great new job or a blossoming business contract only to have both fall through. It makes it difficult to feel confident or inspired about anything when nothing seems to work out. Well at least I have my knitting, right?
I finished my Bertram tank and wore it to a friend’s BBQ on Saturday. It was a pretty hot day at around 26℃ (78.8℉) feeling a hotter with the humidity and I was worried that the top would be too warm since it’s made from wool. I was pleasantly surprised to find it cool and comfortable. I think the garter stitch is open enough and the wool is a light enough weight that it doesn’t trap body heat keeping it cool. Here’s a rare photo of me in a final project (thanks to my daughter for taking the picture).
Next week I’ll let you know what new thing I’m working on!
I had hoped to post on a regular basis, but sometimes things get so busy that weeks go by and I suddenly realize I haven’t written a blog post. Like last month, my dad had hip replacement surgery and there were complications. So I ended up spending the week with my parents in another city. Then I went back and forth about a job that I really wanted and ended up not getting. This month my graphic design business has started to pick up and the girls are home for summer vacation – which is great, but also takes time away from blogging and knitting.
I pulled out my loom and tried out my second inkle band. The beginning of the band is way too loose but as I went on it got better. I hope to figure out how to weave inkle bands so I can make guitar straps, belts, wallets and whatever else I can think of. I found the weaving to be relaxing and seemed to go so fast compared to knitting. The set up takes time but then it’s just weave, weave, weave.
I finally purchased some blocking mats and t-pins which made blocking my Bertram tank top so easy. Today I plan to sew the seams and do the crocheted edging around the armholes and neckline. It’ll be ready to wear at a BBQ I’m going to on Saturday!
A few weeks have gone by and I haven’t posted anything! The beautiful weather is finally here and my garden, although full of weeds, is producing lovely blooms. My favourite are these maroon clematis I received for Mother’s day last year.
The previous owner planted all of the other flowers in the garden. She must of have loved purple because they are all purple flowers.
My Bertram Tank is coming along and I hope to finish it up next week.
Last weekend was the first Canadian long weekend of the spring/summer season. This year, as is our family tradition, we went camping. May long camping weather is always a surprise. Some years it has snowed and others it was warm enough that we went swimming in the pool. This year is was kind of in between. It rained and was pretty cold at night Friday and Saturday but Sunday and Monday it was sunny and warm. All in all a good weekend.
Today I’m exhausted and I’ve hardly done any work except cleaning up camp supplies and repacking everything (think loads of laundry and dishes). I love camping but it has a strange effect on me. I’m excited to go, planning and packing and loving so many things about my time in good ‘ol nature but often coming home is my favourite part. Maybe it makes me appreciate things I take for granted like running water, quick cooking and being able to stay clean. Of course I alway appreciate my knitting whether I’m home or camping.
Here’s the second side of my Bertram Tank top.