Category Archives: Inkle & Tablet

Festivities

Honestly, I tried to cut back on handmade gifts this year.

Of course, that turned out to be boring. So when, in mid-December, my grandmother told me that she was hosting a family gift exchange…

Handwoven Baltic-style inkle keychainsI made these. Hooray! It’s not Christmas without a last-minute project.


Last year, I… well, I started a small fire that happened to melt my mother’s old advent wreath. So I took some wool scraps from the Dorr Mill store and appliquéd her a new one:

Hopefully, this wreath is less flammable.


We also had a solstice party. I made a Yule log.

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The log appeared to be in an advanced state of decay, but taste tests were favorable. The meringue mushrooms received especially good reviews.


From my trusty bin of wool scraps, I whipped up some stockings for us and the pigs and tacked them to the wall:

1-IMG_7106It was a pretty sloppy effort, but the rodents in question were very excited to find parsley in their socks.


And last but not least, look what my significant other surprised me with: an antique reel!

1-IMG_7122From what we can tell, it probably dates to the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century, and was probably made in Quebec. Any opinions on the subject would be appreciated. Aside from two nails in what is an obvious repair job), the joinery is entirely wood pegs and mortise-and-tenon joints. The wood looks like pine.

Whatever its provenance, it’s in beautiful shape and makes a tidy skein. The reel now lives in our living room where I can admire it from my knitting chair.


I hope you all had a pleasant holiday, if you celebrate any, and that you have a happy 2015!

 

A Tablet Weaving Hammock

Some weave structures and yarns are difficult to manage on a fixed-tension tablet or inkle loom. The tablets like to sneak out of position while you’re weaving, and if you prefer to take the tension off the loom between weaving sessions (as I do), the weight of the cards can damage the threads.

To keep everything orderly, many tablet weavers clamp their weaving to a board (for example, the one pictured here). This isn’t a particularly comfortable way for me to work. Luckily, I had an epiphany:

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This is my prototype weaving sling/hammock/thing. The dowels hold the fabric to its full width, and the elastic tying the dowels to the loom keeps the fabric at just the right tension to hold the cards steady when not in use.

So far, I’m very pleased with the results, but there are sure to be refinements in the future!

Tasty Things

(I’ve been sitting on this post for ages, trying to take new photos with better lighting. Since it’s February, I’ve given up.)

My friends and I talk about yarn the same way normal people talk about food.

“I broke my diet again, but the MadTosh was too delicious to resist.”

“Eh, it’s little bland, but the texture is unbelievable!”

Perhaps not coincidentally, one of my more frequently used comparisons of weaving and knitting is as follows:

Knitting is like cooking. You’re always moving around, keeping track of five things at once, and it makes me immensely frustrated. (Note that this aspect of knitting is less true the more I practice. I’m getting better at the juggling act.)

Weaving, on the other hand, is like baking. All the hard work is at the beginning, and once everything is set up and running smoothly, it’s only a matter of time before you have a delicious finished good.

I suppose spinning is equivalent to making tea, all soothing and repetitive. And bobbin lace… is confectionery?

Sorry. I’ll quit torturing the metaphor. Here’s a guinea pig.

Northerly

One of the things about writing professionally is that you tend to run out of words by the end of the day. Even a blog write-up is a baffling prospect.

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Fortunately, I’m not weaving for a living!

For my birthday this year, I got a beautiful cherry inkle loom  from SpriggsCreations. It has all of the features I was looking for in a floor inkle loom: easily adjustable tension, sturdy pegs, and that horizontal bar that lets you sit closer to the loom than three-pronged looms like the Cendrel.

To go with the loom, I received a just-as-beautiful Sami shuttle from Ampstrike, which I have long wished for. It’s even better than I thought! Using the shuttle with a rigid heddle designed for supplementary-warp bands, picking out  patterns is almost as fast as treadling a floor loom.

Much more to come on this subject. I’ll be teaching a Baltic band weaving workshop at my guild in January. In the meantime, know that many band warps have been wound and woven: mostly wound, since I’m having so much fun trying out new things!

 

Speaking of new things, I’ve joined the SCA, resulting in a few reenactment goods mysteriously appearing around the house. I wove a silk cap and a wool shawl, and made a leather needle case and sheath as well as a few other goodies suitable for a Shetlandic Norse persona. The only thing I’m not making by hand is the jewelry, because… well, it’s another hobby, and I’m not allowed to start any more hobbies. (Leatherworking doesn’t count, because that’s basically sewing. Right?)

I’ve gotten friendly with several members of my local SCA group, and joined them for a fun workshop in silk painting. I’ve also been practicing the Bayeux embroidery stitch. The resulting projects are less historically accurate, but nonetheless entertaining:

In keeping with the Scandinavian angle that my crafting has taken of late, I dug out an embroidery kit that my mom found at a thrift shop for the grand sum of twenty-five cents. Isn’t it cute?

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It might even be done in time for Christmas.

Well, maybe.

Cowling at the Moon

I’m still down with the knitting bug. (This bout is lasting a while.) I made myself a cowl this week out of the yarn rescued from that ill-fated blue mitten:

I really like this pattern.

I grew up calling these “neckwarmers” and thinking of them as fairly hideous cold-weather necessities, but now I can see why they’re so popular in the knitting community. It took just a few days of here-and-there knitting time, and it’s a cozy, useful item. Meanwhile, the knit-along shawl is still knitting along.

This was supposed to be done by the end of September, but I’m, uh, reevaluating my goals.

Otherwise, small-loom weaving has been the norm around here lately. I need to squirrel away my yarn for the winter! Here’s the naturally dyed color gamp that I mentioned planning in my last post, woven on the resurrected table loom:

 

There’s enough warp left to weave a couple more of these.

I also set up the inkle loom for some tablet weaving. This was the first kind of weaving I learned, so it brings back fond memories, and the potential weave structures boggle my mind all the more now. I’m using a threaded-in draft from the Candace Crockett book that leaves some of the holes empty, producing interesting results. Photos to come!

Not much of note in the dyeing and spinning departments, though I picked up some indigo powder at Vermont Sheep & Wool, and I’ll be experimenting with that as soon as I get my hands on some washing soda. I’ve also been fiddling with some of my dyed wool on the spindle. But there’s another new project I’m excited about: learning to make hairpin lace! I got a secondhand Jenkins lace loom and am trying to get my hands used to a crochet hook.

I haven’t done much crochet of any kind before, but there are also a few non-lace patterns I’ve got my eye on. One is for a crocheted guinea pig, because of my new furry friends:

Meet the noble and dignified guinea piglets Archimedes and Sir Gawain!

It would be tough to  spin their fur, but otherwise, these little guys make the perfect pets: they sit tamely on your lap and make endearing noises while you knit. What could be better on a chilly autumn evening?