Wednesday, November 9, 2011

1,2,3 Quick and Easy

Some day I'll buy a wool I can weave with, but they're too hard to find at garage sales so it'll have to wait until I can afford retail.  Until then I am in love with wool-ease.  In my last acquisition I purchased a skein of Thick and Quick wool-ease.  I was concerned with the bulky weight of the yarn but I'm really happy with the results.

I managed to get three projects out of the one skein so even at $5 each skein, it's actually not too pricey.  They're $9.50 on the Lion Brand website where I assume you can get all available colors.  I've seen several other sites listing them around $5 but nothing really lower than that.

The color I had is either Butterscotch or Pumpkin (sorry, don't feel like digging through labels right now).  The other wool-ease colors I had, in worsted weight were a dark forest green and a maroon.  I wanted to come up with patterns that would test how the Thick and Quick performed but I knew given it's bulk it would easily overwhelm the other yarns.  I also didn't want equal weights of red and green because that would seem too Christmassy and they weren't good shades for a Christmas pattern.

The first band I made dots, a vertical line and a horizontal line of the Thick and Quick.


For this band I went mostly green because I had 2 skeins of it.  I only ended up adding little touches of the red as the orange was already threatening to overpower the green.  As it is I feel the colors came out nicely.  (In case you're wondering if it's just you, there is a slight variation in the green.  I'm pretty sure it's intentional but it's very subtle and not what I'd call a variegation. )

Here's the pattern:

G R G G G G G G G G G O G G G O O O G G G O G G G G G G G G G R G
 G G G G O G G G G G G O G G G R  R  G G G O G G G G G G O G G G G
weft = G

G = worsted weight green
R= worsted weight red
o or O = Thick and Quick orange
Written a different way (the order of warps you would put on, up and down sheds not specified):
2G 1R 6G 1o 12G 2o 6G 1o 1R 1o 1R 1o 6G 2o 12G 1o 6G 1R 2G

This second method is how I tend to think of the patterns and typically how I plan them out.

I actually like this band enough I've decided to keep it.  It is a good length for a scarf and the wool-ease has a nice texture.  I've made other bands I like before of course.  But this one fits my personal color preferences better and I actually have a use for it.  There's a bit of purple and pink sparkly trim in my shop I'm really happy with as well but somehow I don't see using it personally.

After I was so happy with this band I decided to see what the Thick and Quick did when it was more dominant in the band.  I made the first one using the thick yarn as weft.  The second uses the worsted weight again.  For the red and orange, the red is in a pattern of one, then two, then three wefts of the same shed in a row.  The 2 warp wide dash is staggered from the 1 and 3.  For the green and orange, it's the orange that's warped in a pattern of 1, then 2, then 3.  I think both patterns set up a nice waffle/checkered pattern.  There's a comforting regularity to it but it has enough variation to be interesting.  I think both will make great belts for ren faire costumes.

Pattern for Red and Orange:
(I'm switching to E for orange because the O is too big in this font and it's throwing off the alignment)

R E R E E E R R R E E E R E R
 R E E R R E E E E R R E E R                           weft = orange



Pattern for Green and Orange:



E G E G G G E E E G G G E G E
 E G G E E G G G G E E G G E                         weft = green





Both of these bands are wonderfully plush.  The thick right next to the thin makes for a fun texture.  And all the wool-ease has a soft surface texture.  I've noticed that the yarn itself doesn't feel all that different from a medium quality acrylic but when woven somehow it seems to become softer.

I also really like how the twist in the Thick and Quick is visible in the finished product.

I noticed there wasn't a lot of difference in texture or tightness of packing when using the Thick and Quick or the worsted weight as a weft.  I'd save the thick for showing up in the pattern and use thinner yarn as the weft.  That being said, even just the little bits of thick that were in the first pattern (the scarf) were enough to make the rows fatter.  All of these bands wove fairly quickly.  I tend to pack fairly tightly but this yarn resisted staying squished.  You can see pretty clearly in all the bands that the thick yarn seems to overlap from one row to the next.  I think it gives a unique and fun look but it's defiantly something to keep in mind when designing a pattern.


Until next time, here's Tess in the ivy... again