Wednesday, November 23, 2016

WIPs and problems and a Happy Thanksgiving to all!

I was tired of all the WIPs hanging around and cluttering up my workspace. I find that if I have too many WIPs, I feel stressed and distracted moving between them. So I made a concerted attempt to finish as many of them as I can. Spindle WIPs don't bother me. They go on for years and I work on them when spindling is the right thing to do. But wheel WIPs, knitting WIPs and weaving WIPs bother me.

Finishing up the Gotland fleece was one of the items on the list. Another was a weaving WIP that has been hanging out for a year with no progress. I started it 2 years ago and wove 3 towels. I had warped for 3 because I miscalculated and thought I had enough yarn for 6. But no, I didn't. I only had enough for 4. So I warped the loom for 1 more and started weaving. That is when things went south.

The yarn I was using was Elann Callista. It had tiny knots in it. Knots that didn't show up when I warped the loom. They went through the heddle in one direction without any problems. On the first three towels I ran into a couple of them. They wouldn't go back through the heddle in the other direction as I advanced the warp. But I managed to somehow squeeze them through and finished weaving. They didn't come apart in the tension put on the warp and you can't see them in the finished towel.

However, on the 4th towel I ran into one that just wouldn't fit back through the heddle. So I had to research what to do with a broken warp thread because I had to cut the thread to get rid of the knot and advance the warp past that point. I guess it was a good learning experience but I was so frustrated that I put the whole thing aside and it has been sitting for a year. I picked it up on Monday and finished weaving it yesterday. Exactly! a few hours worth of work and it has been sitting there for a year!

Here is the finished set of 4 towels
The bottom most one is the one I just finished. The other 3 were done a year ago. I used some leftover Reynolds yarn for the embellishments. They are called Danish medallions (scroll down to see the Danish medallion instructions) and I did a different variation on each towel. The two ends of each towel are the same.

I also broke through a problem area in the silk shawl. I had worked the pattern up to where the sts are set aside for the sleeves. But I had different st counts on either side of the center! After much counting, I discovered that I had 3 extra sts on one side and 3 missing sts on the other. Somewhere I must have shifted the center section by 3 sts. I decided to just decrease 3 evenly spaced on one side and add 3 evenly spaced on the other. I did this and re-counted - getting the correct number on each side. Then I used the EZ thumb trick to set aside the sleeve sts. The pattern has one put sts on scrap yarn and provisionally CO for the sleeve opening. EZ's trick is much simpler.

After the sleeves are set aside, there are 6 more repeats to do before the lace edging. I have completed one of the 5 and will work on the others over the weekend.
The white lines are where I've set aside the sleeve sts. As a reminder, the pattern is Shleeves and the yarn is silk that I bought in India from SilkIndian.

After all that - getting 2 WIPs completed, the combs put away, the yarns used in the towels put away, the place cleaned up - I felt it was time to both inaugurate my new Hansen Pro minispinner and start a new project.

I got a small sample of Abstract Fibers 40% merino/40% superwash merino/20% silk fiber in the Laurelhurst colorway with the minispinner. I have the section near the blue. I divided into 2 and spun both up yesterday. It drafted like a dream. I love this fiber.
I plied them today.

Isn't that lovely? It is a nice fingering weight yarn - my favorite kind.

I am now going to start spinning the Maine Top Mill white fiber. I decided to spin them separately and then I can use them as I wish. There might even be enough to make a sweater and if so, having the colors spun separately will give me the flexibility of deciding where each color goes later. I will do a chain-plied 3 ply as that will give me a better yarn for a sweater or a textured shawl.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! Enjoy the holiday!

No comments: