Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tricky Sticky

I like to work with a lot of novelty yarns.  While they can be a great accent they can also be a great pain in the rear.  They stick to other warps or have more elastic stretch to them.  For most situations, my answer to the problem is to crank up the tension.

I recently had a weaving remind me that sometimes the answer is opposite to that.  For yarns with long hair-like strands it's better to lower the tension as much as possible.  Then the hairs slide past each other.  If the tension is too high, they want to lock together and you feel like you are ripping the yarn apart each shed change.

For stretchy or short fiber yarns, I think the increased tension helps because the sheds will snap apart rather than being given leeway to tangle with each other.

Ya, I don't know how to explain it any better.  I guess what I'm saying is if the yarn is giving you trouble, more tension isn't always the answer.  It's a matter of trial and error, but you'll get the hang of it.

Lion brand Homespun - High tension

as high as you can, and then watch when you advance the warp that the fibers are not getting bunched up behind the heddles.  This may not make sense now, but you'll get what I'm saying once you try to work with this yarn.

Boucle (pink) and JoAnn's Angel Hair (purple)

Low tension

Once I got the tension right, this wove very smoothly.  Before that, it was a bit frustrating.  I think it's the boucle that's at fault.  It seems to have a narrow window of preferred tension, but once you find it the rest of the project will fly.

Crinkle Knitting Yarn - Low Tension

I wish I knew the brand of the yellow acrylic in this band because it was awful to work with.  I have never had an acrylic stick so much.  Thankfully I don't seem to have anymore.

Lion brand Wool-Ease weaves like a dream.  For this one I used higher tension to counter the bulk induced stickiness of the Thick and Quick (orange)

Red Heart Tiki is quite stretchy.  Even under high tension, keep an eye on it.  You can miss a warp or two for several rows.  At low tension, it's just a tangled mess.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Modern and Historical

The ladder pattern is a pretty basic inkle pattern.  It is simple but sometimes that's what's wanted.  I like how this pattern turned out.  The stark black, white and red creates a very modern art look.

 H H H H H H H R R H B B H R R H H H H H H H 

H = White
B = Black
R = Red

weft = White

I think I have more trouble writing these patterns out here than I do coming up with them.  I don't know when I stopped writing stuff down in the planning stage but it's been awhile.  I used to have a little notebook where I would count out warps and write where each color would go. Now I just kinda do it.  

I'm not sure how to help others come to the same point.  I think part of what changed for me is that I see patterns on top of backgrounds rather than the whole thing as a pattern.  This design to me is a black ladder on top of a background.  I played with the background a bit by adding red lines.  

To this end, I did not put the warp on by alternating up and down sheds.  Instead I did the four border threads that way.  Then I continued with the white on the bottom shed.  As I reached the end of the bottom shed I put the four whites up and down for the other border.  Only then did I put on the rest of the top shed warps.  Then when putting the heddles on, I moved the warps so they alternated correctly.  (this depends on putting the heddles on after, rather than during, warping)

To try and be more clear, this is the order I put on the warps:

H H                                                                     H H
 H H H H H H H R R H B B H R R H H H H H H H


 B B B B B B B B B  B B B B B B B B B B

This warping style was even faster for this band

 Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y G G G Y Y Y

B = Black
Y = Yellow
weft = Yellow

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dream Catchers

The Artist's Helping Hands project this month is dream catchers.  They will be given as prizes for children competing in the Special Olympics.  For more information, check out the team forum:
There is still time to join in.  The team leader is asking for donations to be sent by September 15.

What I have discovered thus far is that I am not a basket weaver and I never will be.  On the plus side I had an excuse to cut down the crepe myrtle that I hate.  For any defenders of the plant (people around here seem to love them) note 2 things.

1 - it grows in front of the patio gate.  Not that we use the gate really but it's the principle of the matter.  There was plenty of other fence length it could have chosen.  2 - They seem to trigger my allergies the most of the plants around here. Despite traveling a lot, I've never seen them in other parts of the country.  I'm guessing they're only popular here because they're hard to kill and Texas is good at killing off most plants.

Here's what's left of the silly thing.

I managed to make about a dozen hoops/rings from this plant and from cuttings off my porch tree.  Before you go wondering that you've never heard of a porch tree, that's not a species name.  I don't know what kind of tree it is.  It grows from the crack in the cement between my porch and the neighbors.  Horrible for the patio I'm sure, but it was here when we moved in and I like the shade.

I think I learned a bit from making these.  Not anything worthy of sharing though.  Just enough to know this is not something I am likely to do often.  I think I will have to reinforce some of these with stem wire.  I'll be covering part or all of the hoop with yarn wrapping.  I'm not sure how that will work yet but I saw one tutorial where you soak the yarn in watered down white glue.  That's what I'm going to try.

Another team member, Gwen, generously agreed to trade me some beads for yarn.  She made some of the beads herself.  I'm excited to get to see them.  They should be arriving later this week.

The feathers will be what I have from when I was making cat toys.  I might use crochet thread for the webbing portion.  I hope these turn out okay.  The kids deserve to have them be nice.  I'll post again when I've got them finished.