Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cat Themed Exchange

So this isn't really weaving related, but I wanted to share my kitties new clothes.

Recently I was featured in an Etsy treasury showing off cat items:

Well, my wife has been saying for months that our boy cat, Eli, needs a little bow tie and it should have the little shirt collar too.  He's got a long neck, pointy little head and when he sits, a dumpy largish body.  This somehow equals needing a bow tie.

So I was rather excited when I saw there was a seller on Etsy making bow tie collars for cats that are just perfect!  http://www.etsy.com/shop/CedarCreekOriginals

I then saw that they charge exactly the same for their collars as I do for my cat toys.  I decided to take a chance and see if they would be up for a trade.  And she was!  So we talked a bit back and forth, exchange addresses and then items :)

Once the little monster stopped trying to eat it, he looked great.  I'm not saying the collars make cats try to eat them.  My cat just tries to eat everything new.  I don't store my yarn in containers to keep off the hair and smell.  I do it to keep it from ending up inside a cat.  He also eats socks and t-shirts.  stupid cat.

Here's a couple pictures of him.  They aren't the best but I'd worked him up a bit chasing him around with the camera.

So, if you have a cat in need of formal attire, be sure to check out Cedar Creek Originals.  The collar is very well constructed and it fit perfectly.  I think it could be used for an everyday collar but I don't trust my cat.  If he ever got it off he'd eat it.  So we're saving it for when people come over.  It's fast and easy to put on because of the velcro clasp.

Oh, and if anyone's wondering, his name is short for El-ahrairah, the trickster hero of the rabbits in Watership Down.  Just sayin' since most people seen to assume it's a religious name.  It kind of is I guess.  Just for rabbits.

I have no idea what I'm doing...

...but I'm having fun doing it :)

I've been going to monthly craft meetings at the local SCRAP store since they started having them in January.  (http://scrappdx.org/)  This last month a woman named Shelly gave a workshop on tapestry weaving.

I've poked a bit at using the tapestry loom in the past.  However my projects took a long time and I've been much more engaged with pattern creation on the inkle loom.  Well, Shelly's work has inspired me.  I've been wanting to try more organic shapes and free-form weaving.  Somehow they way she presented her ideas and how beautiful her work was just got me going.

I'll admit I took apart the weaving I started at that meeting.  I realized there were two things keeping me from being happy with it.  One, the warp was too loose.  I like a very tight warp.  No idea how this compares to other people but I would guess I'm more picky than others.  But I find it helps me work faster and more evenly.  Second, the warp I chose was too thick.  I was having trouble keeping it from showing all over the place.  This, again, nagged at my orderly perfectionist nature.

I happened to already have my loom warped up for two projects.  One of them is planned out.  The other was just because I figured why not put some more warp on (I have a very large tapestry loom)  So I set about to transfer the project I'd started at the meeting.  I got a bit sidetracked when looking for yarns and ended up with a lot of reds and browns.  I guess I'll just have to do the blue one I'd started next time.  At the rate I'm going, I should be able to finish both before the next months meeting.

Here's a picture of what I have so far:

I'm not really planning anything.  I'm just building shapes as they seem to fit.  Some patterns are forming like the orange stripes will go through the whole piece.  And I have a vague notion of where another glittery brown square will go.  Though that shape ended up a square all on it's own.  It's a fun, somewhat trance-like method of weaving.  I've found I can only do it for so many hours before I start over thinking things.  That's okay though.  It means my set up is much better than before.  I used to be limited by how long I could sit at the loom before my knees and/or back were just too sore to ignore anymore.

Here's another picture with the flash.  I can't decide which is better or worse.  I'm going to have to learn how to photograph while still on the loom one of these days:

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Faux Flecked

I was playing around with patterns that are partially symmetrical and partly not.  I made this band:
In the dark purple stripe, the first and last warps of that section are doubled.  By this I mean I used two strands of yarn in the same shed where normally there would only have been one.  It's similar to using a thicker strand of yarn, which you can see the results of in the middle section.

The double strands allowed the weft to be seen just a little.  Because they were in different sheds on this band the result was a bit of a zig-zag.  I thought this ended up pretty neat and wanted to try it some more on other projects.

On the next band I used a variegate wool that was a thinner weight yarn than the warp.  I think it was sold to be used for knitting socks.

The result was a look that to me seems similar to using yarn that has flecks of color.  But instead of all the yarn having the flecks, you can control where the color variation is and where it isn't.  It ended up a very subtle effect on this band.  Perhaps with yarns that contrast more the effect would be greater.

The middle stripes yarn is a variegated ribbon yarn.  The flecks in the black are a ladder yarn interspersed within solid black yarn.  All the little bits of color in the green are from the wool weft.  It shows up most on the edges.  If you look closely you can see that the three lines it forms elsewhere are a result of the green warps being doubled up.  It's hardest to see in the middle row because the warps there liked to stack on top of each other for some reason, rather than squishing in side by side.