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Hands-free for once, and three confusing tales

Boucle warp

Well not really, because my hands are on my phone. But yes. I don’t have my loom with me while waiting at a class. So I thought I’d blog instead.

What, another stall setup? You’ll ask. Not exactly. It was an audition for an upcoming event. This would be the biggest bestest event ever if it happened and I’d be having about 3″ of space for my stuff. But I’m not a hundred per cent sure yet, so watch this space.

However! That yellow thing you see is my last but one scarf. Woven on my Ashford Knitters Loom, with some loopy boucle yarn.

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A customer wanted a textured stole like the one below but in a brighter colour. So I ordered this in three colours.

I had to think a little to work with the loopy yarn. Finally I had it. Having only a 7.5 dpi heddle and a 10 dpi, I used the loopy warp in every other slot of the 7.5, and the coordinating thin polyester thread alternating. When it came to threading the heddle, I used the thread in the heddle holes and the loopy yarn in the slots.

This resulted in an interesting texture, with much of the loopiness confined to the top surface and the thread on the bottom. Like so.

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To the left is one side (top as I wove) and to the other is the bottom.

As you can see, the fringe is a bit of a challenge, both because of the two different warp textures, as well as because the loopy part of the boucle is not very stably attached to the core yarn, so it unravels and becomes unloopy. I finally just knotted the strands together in groups.

I’m happy to report that a friend bought this one almost as soon as it was off the loom.

The other miraculous part of this story is that I have the exact shades of the sewing thread to match the three colours of the boucle. This also happened with the actual shawl I wove for the person I bought the boucle for originally.

In a long chain of events, she saw the substitute yarn I bought for another order and asked me to use that instead, so I went ahead and ordered it, but underestimated how much I would need. And only discovered it when I began to warp with it.

Scrambling for ideas, I ended up using my scraps of a different yarn and came up with this.

You can see where I changed yarns, from Nako Artist (the substitute) to Nako Vals (which was out of stock at the store but I had remnants from previous projects). The weft is black sewing thread.

This gave me a very rustic, thick yet loosely woven shawl and it thrills me no end that my customer (a different one!) loved it! Weaving was a challenge since the warp was a little dense and the unplied, singles nature of the Vals and the general fuzziness of the Artist (a wool blend) made making a clean shed difficult.

Sometimes serendipity is wonderful.

Coming back to the friend who I’d bought the Artist for, I discovered that Ganga Hobby India Multicolour had a shade (?) that coordinated perfectly.

So again, this worked out well. Another rustic stole with interesting texture. I followed the same basic technique with the warp, using the wool blend in the slots, since I found it tends to stick together and resist separating to make a shed, and the smooth and thinner yarn in the holes. This one ended up more grid-like, and the wool bloomed to fill in spaces.

So there you have it. If you are still reading and didn’t throw up your hands at the confusion of it all, thank you for your persistence!

And yes, I’m finishing this blog post many hours later, since I wasn’t able to get it done before the class ended.

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10 m in 30 days

…is how much I wove during my training at the Weavers’ Service Centre.

And this is how it looks.

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I haven’t decided yet what I will do with it.

My greatest learning was the tie-up and actual weaving on a floor loom. In the middle, I thought for sure I’d been cured of any desire to get a floor loom of my own. Now, however, I’m not sure. The one I want will not have a fly shuttle mechanism, but then that would be noisy, not good in a flat. Also, it is a jack loom, so fewer connections to make for tying up. Which is also good.

I am also taking away some connections for future yarn and accessory supplies. In addition, I got a warping frame made, and ordered a bobbin winder and some fly shuttles to be modified into plain end feed shuttles.

Most of which might be gobbledygook to my regular readers… But you will not need any words for the following photo.

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Hopeful

I came away to Hyderabad at the beginning of August, where I’m not online all the time, hence the long blog silence. I shall be here a few more weeks, but I thought I’d better show you some stuff I made. Although I didn’t make this one very recently, but a few months ago (finished it in April, to be precise).

I joined one of those KALs on Ravelry for a semi-circular shawl. I keep getting attracted to knit lace and mostly those patterns are for shawls. Sadly, there isn’t much call for shawls where I live, so I thought I’d try making this circular. I was also inspired by one of the other KAL-ers who was going to do the same thing. So here is my Vernal Equinox Shawl Surprise (I called it Hopeful, since I wasn’t sure I’d be able to pull it off).

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It isn’t perfect, and you can see the ladders where I switched needles from the magic loop, as well as a botched picking-up I did for a stitch I dropped. Most of my step-by-step progress is on my Rav project page, but here are the salient details.

Yarn: Common or garden acrylic sold by the hank, about two hanks. I’d called it a fingering weight.

Needles: 3mm single circular, using magic loop.

Pattern: Vernal Equinox Shawl Surprise (Rav page) by Lankakomero, available as a free Rav download.

Time & Size: It was 54″ when pinned out to block, and took me about 9 weeks to knit. Part of the time may have been because I was discouraged by the mess I was making of the picking up.

Extra: My notes on Rav give the details. In the end, converting this from semi-circle to circle wasn’t very hard. With help from the designer, I began by dropping the edge stitches from the charts. So basically you work just the central block of stitches, and remember to double the stitch count that you must have on your needle at the end of each clue. Towards the end, I was quite happy, because the pattern is such that you know where in the chart you need to begin your next clue so that the design remains centered. No breaking your head over that bit.

This would make a lovely tablecloth if worked in thread, and of course I’d be much happier without those flaws, but learning-wise, I’m content. I need to tackle one of those triangles and turn it into a square one of these days. Which I hear there’s a group for on Rav (what is there no group for on Rav??!!).

Here in Hyd I’m happy reading, eating and occasional shopping, although that hasn’t included any yarn-related purchases. Before I forget yet again, I’d like to show off some gorgeous yarn I got from Deneen ages ago in the Three Prizes giveaway. Here it is:

Amaizing yarn

Isn’t it lovely? It’s made of corn fibre and I love the colours. Sorry I haven’t blogged about it before, Deneen! I’m trying to see what sort of pattern it will suit.

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Beijing, anyone?

Does anyone have any hints/tips on yarny shopping to be done in Beijing? My father is visiting there next week and I’d like to give him some specific requests. Someone on Ravelry said China yarn is cheap(er). So what fibre would be good? I know bamboo needles and hooks sound likely, but…

LYS recommendations also welcome, please?

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La Denise…

she is found!!

She was hidden in a box being used as a TV stand, which had been properly sewn up by the MIL in a tablecloth. There were some items of yarn-thread related effort as well. This crisis has for now passed.

Thank you all for your support!

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Testing, testing, 1 2 3…

After the scintillating response (not) I had for my last couple of posts, I took a deep breath and realised (besides almost hyperventilating), what a dull blogger I’ve become. (Some people might think otherwise, but I’ve taken a voice vote here and you can’t change my mind).

My blogging has flagged partly because I’m frequenting Ravelry so much and partly because I’ve been travelling. I find it more difficult to blog outside of home, somehow.

Anyhow, I’ve got to confess to not having set foot in either Crochetville or Knittyboard in several months now. At the former I find myself recognising fewer and fewer people, and at the latter I was always too intimidated to post most of the time anyway. Ravelry and Google Reader remain my sole social entree into the yarny crafts.

In great news (I think), I met and played with a kitten on Sunday at the Hyderabad home of a cousin, with no sneezing whatsoever!!! Maybe it proves my alleged allergy to cats is much exaggerated, or something, I don’t know what. Here is pictorial evidence:

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Please note the poor thing is scared and pointy-eared, and freed itself immediately afterwards. I suppose I was overwhelming (like a binge-eater). But it did let me scratch its ears later. Just not a hold-y, cuddly type, I suppose. It is thus far nameless, but is a she, about 3 months old. More photos in the same set at Flickr. I am on my phus-phus (allergy steroid nasal spray), maybe that helped.

It is my not-so-secret ambition to adopt two kittens, one ginger striped and the other black tuxedo and name them Lola Kutty (viewers of Channel [V] will know who she is). One could be Lola and the other Kutty. Or both together could be Lola Kutty. The only thing stopping me is uncertainty of what will happen to them when I travel.

I am test knitting a pattern for Jacqui. Unwittingly I chose almost exactly the same colours of a similar fabric garment I have to knit this in. So predictable. Bought the 100% acrylic (of course, what else?) yarn in Hyderabad before returning to Vizag. Here’s the yarn: (and yes, it is every bit as scratchy as it looks)

100% acrylic Chocolate100% acrylic cafe latte

The pattern so far is nice and simple and if I were a faster knitter I’d be zooming along. I jumped on it because I was dying to do some brioche knitting and this pattern has some. It’s a long way to go before I get to it, though.

In other news, we are loading our luggage this Saturday and will be flying to Cochin on Tuesday. From what the husband tells me, the quarters are cramped, with bad roads, little running water and not enough storage space. Then he loses his temper because I ventured to say that nothing of what he’d told me so far made me look forward to moving. Apparently he’s given me too much information. Whatever.

Since I live in cyberspace so much anyway, hopefully it won’t take too long to get online again.

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Public Service Announcement

Yarn is expensive in the UK.

I had the opportunity to go into John Lewis in Sheffield on Monday, and I was glad I’d pre-decided yarn wasn’t going to be a souvenir of my England trip. The mean price of a 50gm skein seemed to be £4.00 more or less! That was more than what we’ve been spending on lunch these past few days. And you’d need at least 8-10 skeins for a decent-sized article.

John Lewis is a general department store which also has a craft section. Lots of wool and blends from Jaeger, Debbie Bliss, Rowan. All of them equally expensive. There were some bundles in clearance, but at £1.95 per skein, I’m afraid I wasn’t tempted much there either.
I’m not just multiplying by 84 and baulking. As I said, my lunch was cheaper than one skein. Maybe I’m not a die-hard yarnster? Or just a cheapskate.

The only needles on display were our very own Pony, in the same packaging as we get in India. They had large size Pony straights in plastic (the monster sizes). There were some bamboo straights of a different brand, but again, I’m only looking for circulars in small gauges and long lengths (I want to be able to do magic loop). Like in India, the gauge here seems to stop at 2 mm. I couldn’t find any smaller gauge needles. Perhaps a real yarn store would have some. The only thing I bought was a pack of split ring stitch markers and I’m resolutely refusing to multiply the price by 84. I doubt I’ll be going to a yarn store in the last days of my trip, so that perhaps will remain my only yarnly souvenir.

Is yarn expensive in the rest of Europe, too?

But I’m making lots of memories 🙂 More photos added to my Flickr account.

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One fell swoop

I got my invite for Ravelry yesterday and spent a few hours there browsing and adding some of my projects and stash. In one fell swoop, I managed to lower the tone of the place by an immense quantum 😀 Most of my yarn is acrylic, my projects are odd and my photography is terrible. Let’s hope they don’t throw me out for bringing the site into disrepute! My favourite feature is the hooks & needles database, the result of which you can see in a new page I have ———->

In other news, Cordelia tells me she has received the shipment of some afghan hooks which Michelle was giving away at Good Yarn Karma, and which I asked her to send me care of Cordelia, so she could save on postage. I love reading the posts at GYK, even if I can’t ask for swapping most of the stuff. I think it’s a wonderful idea! Thank you folks of Good Yarn Karma, and thank you Michelle! Hope you have lots of good karma.