Sunday, October 3, 2010


I think something bit me.  It looks like it might have been the weaving bug.  Last Saturday, a mere 24 hours after buying it, I warped my little table loom.  I used the instructions for direct warping that came with my rigid heddle loom, which probably wasn't quite kosher, but it worked out well enough that by the end of the weekend I had woven a couple of boring samples, and then this . . .

and this . . .

and this . . .

all courtesy of the Handweaver's Pattern Directory, which I have since purchased, along with Learning to Weave so that I can learn how to properly warp my little loom.
(I apologize for the fuzzy pictures; you'll have to trust me that the cloth looks really weave-y up close.)

The loom came with a very spiffy boat shuttle. In order to use the shuttle, I tried winding the yarn on to a little paper bobbin by hand, and immediately decided that I would have to find a better way.  Having blown a wad of cash on the loom itself, and with my trip to the money pit that is Rhinebeck a mere 12 days, 8 hours and 20 minutes away, buying a bobbin winder was out of the question. The answer? Let's hijack some unused toys from my kids. 

On my window sill you see what appears to be a wooden facsimile of a sewing machine.  But, with only minor modifications (which did not include having the dog chew on the top of the W.F.S.M.), this simple child's plaything became a bobbin winder. I admit that the handle is not exactly ergonomically correct, but this is about $95 cheaper than a commercial  bobbin winder and I'm not complaining.

In addition to some inspired toy piracy, the new loom sparked a "studio" (go ahead, laugh;  I can't take it seriously either) toss up.  I spent last week weaving in the living room with the loom perched on the coffee table.  (Are you wondering how I manage to squeeze weaving time into a week that is already pretty full of work and parenting and busting my boo-tocks to make dinner mostly on time?  My dirty little secret:  I weave while I listen to my daughter practice music.  Even better:  she plays two instruments.  Double weaving practice time!  There has never been a kid whose parent was so keen to supervise practice)  I didn't think it would be good to keep the loom in the living room permanently, plus I'm kind of uptight about wanting all of my crafting stuff around me all of the time.  So I moved my favorite table out of its hiding place in an inaccessible corner of my studio (really, it's o.k.; I'm still laughing too) and made this friendly little weaving corner:

There's room for me to sit at the loom, I can see my nice table much better, and I have my long-time pal Oren the orangutan guarding the yarn I spun during the Tour de Fleece this summer. 

The loom also makes a reasonably good display area for my current knitting project.


This is the Rhinebeck Sweater, from A Fine Fleece by Lisa Lloyd.  Coincidence that I am knitting it right now, with a mere 12 days, 7 hours and 50 minutes left before my departure for that grand experience?  I don't think so.  Any chance that I will have it done before the bus pulls out of the parking lot?  I don't think so.  But the sweater is moving right along.  I started it two weeks ago, while I was minding the fleece sale at the Finger Lakes Fiber Festival.  I am through the first 13 inches of the body and through more than a third of the upper back.  But there is still a bit left to go, and most likely I will be wearing something else for the festival.

I have also started the Oscilloscope Shawl, which for me will be more of a scarf.  I decided to try this in my Dream in Color Smooshy, which is being removed from my sock queue because I don't think that this yarn can stand up to my abuse if I turn it into a pair of socks.  The pattern is written for a worsted weight yarn, and substituting a sock yarn  will require me to knit many more repeats than the pattern actually calls for.  I hope I don't regret this. So far, it's a very enjoyable knit, or at least it would be if I were actually working on it instead of the Rhinebeck sweater.


With Rhinebeck now 13 minutes closer than it was the last time I mentioned it, I thought I should also celebrate the rapidly approaching first anniversary of my acquisition of this fabulous Socks that Rock yarn.  I got two skeins of this at Rhinebeck last year.  The first skein was a freebie I got at the end of the day from the generous people at The Fold, who were probably inexpressibly relieved that the morning throng of STR purchasers had finally gone away and been replaced by two festival weary (and cold!) women who had no clue what all the excitement was about.  The skein pictured below, which is actually mill ends and therefore only 2/3 of the price of the primo stuff, was what I purchased to thank the nice people at The Fold for the freebie.

I have been carrying it around with me since June.  It is very tightly spun and produces the most wonderfully sturdy and comfy feeling sock, but I'm finding that knitting it takes a bit more muscle than I can sustain for long period of time.  To conserve my strength, I have been knitting it in the smallest time increments possible, which often means that I don't knit it at all, but just carry it around with me in case there is absolutely nothing else I can do with my time.  To make up for my neglect, I have at least been toting this stuff around in a bag that I made from some very pretty fabric.  And, to keep the sock company, I have also been storing two pens, two pennies, a mini rubber band, a Lego wheel and axle, and a green satin American Girl doll slipper in the bag.  You never know when you might need these things and I like to be prepared.


I managed to spin another bobbin of my autumn batt. I meant to finish 8 bobbins of this stuff in July and totally failed.  At this point, though, I have only two bobbins left to spin and then I'll have a little ply-fest and then I'll have a lot of yarn. I'm hoping I'll have enough for this sweater.

(spinning wheel with bobbins of brownish stuff)

(last two bundles of brownish stuff waiting to be spun)

I did not spend the whole week on crafty stuff.  Last Saturday we took the kids to the Corning Museum of Glass.  The kids will probably remember the day for the thrill of the fire drill that caused a full evacuation of the building.  Or possibly for the hordes of tourists who trundled through the exhibits, all following informative guides who held pink umbrellas (closed, thank you) like beacons above their heads.  I hope they will also remember some of the amazing glass sculptures that we saw.  Some could not be photographed well enough to be posted, at least not with an iPhone.  But we did get a decent shot of this dress


and this totally funky pink urchin-y think suspended from the ceiling.


Matty and his new dog, Life Shadow (don't ask, we really have no explanation for the name; we're just glad that he has stopped trying to use it on the real dog) posed with some of the historical glass.


He almost looks like he was having fun in this picture, although if you ask him, he will no doubt tell you that the trip to the museum was the worst day ever, mostly because no one was willing to carry him for four whole hours.

Perhaps inspired by all the beauty at the museum, Isabel set up these home-made lava lamps:

They are for her class's trade fair this week, and they are really cool.  Oil, water, food coloring and, the surprise ingredient, Alka-Seltzer.  You know, for the bubbles (plop plop, fizz fizz?). They work pretty well, and you can add a quarter of an Alka-Seltzer any time you want to watch it go.

Rhinebeck is now a full 33 minutes closer that it was the last time that I mentioned it, so I think I'd better get some sleep.  And work on my sweater some more.  Though not necessarily in that order.

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