Wednesday, March 31, 2010

the case of the super annoying socks

On Sunday night, we were invited to the home of a new friend for snacks and intelligent conversation. It was really fun, and beyond that, mentally stimulating. The host asked me how I designed things. I found the question hard to answer. I tried, but I could tell that for a non-knitter, it was hard to grasp. I'm still thinking on that one. My process is sort of, well, varied from one design to the next.

Also, I come to ideas in different ways. This pair of socks was conceived of back in June, 2009, if not before. Note: Upon reflection, this isn't "world's longest sock project" because when I did some knitting related research at the Kentucky Museum a while back, I saw a half-finished sock in their collection that was still on the needles. I suspect it had been donated in 1939, so I've revised the name of my -now finished-socks!

What inspired these socks were two things. One was a curvy little geometric design that I found oddly seductive. I sketched it out on knitter's graph paper...what you see here is roughly sketch number 47, but who's counting? The other thing that attracted me were some interesting sock yarns. You might know this yarn under the names of Knit Picks Risata or Patons Stretch or Hot Socks Cotton Stretch. It's all very close to the same kind of yarn, a blend of cotton, wool, and a bit of nylon. I found many of the color variations oddly suited to my spring, summer and fall wardrobe, and ended up with one ball each of a lot of colors.

Then I started mixing and matching. I came up with these two colors (perfect for jeans) and dove into the knitting. I did toe up socks since I wanted to use every last bit of yarn. When I got past the heel of the first sock (which took months, for reasons listed below), I started the second sock to make sure I would have enough yarn to make a reasonable length cuff. By the time I realized I'd have more than enough yarn, I'd already cast off the cuff of sock #1 twice, and I wasn't going back another time. Now I know better for the next pair...which will definitely have much longer cuffs.

You'll note that the little graph I did there is my only guide. I know about how big my feet are, and I had a print out of a toe up pattern I'd designed previously (Ploughed Acre Socks) for Knit Green. What got in the way? Well, even simple two color patterns require some attention. If you've been reading along with me for a while, you'll know that I moved from Kentucky to Manitoba since June of 2009. I had just a few other things going on. I also had other designs on the needles. I put down these socks multiple times. I picked up the project again. Every *^$%#&&$ single time, I screwed up the pattern repeat.

If you're a knitter, and even if you aren't, you may see why I always made a mistake following the graph in one place. See that red arrow? That indicates the row that done me wrong. See, the pattern is 2 rows of 2 stitches each of Color A, 2 of Color B. Except for that one lone row...that's not like the others... Ouch. Since I am a deluded perfectionist when it comes to color patterns, and for a while I thought I might try to sell this design, I ripped it out-- every single time I made an error. When I wasn't making an error, I was in a two color knitting groove that skipped along soothingly--except for that one row, which caused me needless anxiety every time. I kept having to check the chart to make sure I wasn't doing it wrong.

Also, the stretchiness of the yarn made me think that the cuff would be ok without a special bind off. When I bound off the first sock in the traditional fashion, I just about cut off circulation to my foot when I tried that on, so I again had to go back, rip that out, and bind off in a way that offered more elasticity so that the cuff wouldn't cause any kind of inadvertent foot amputation.

So, what have I gotten out of this?
--A design I will never knit again, because my chart's lack of symmetry about threw me over the edge. Plus, without additional changes to that graph, I'd never make anyone else try it, for fear they'd come after me with a butter knife in the middle of the night, hoping to cause a slow and painful death. (This is the level of frustration it seemed to cause me, anyhow, but maybe I am a symmetry addict.)

I have maybe 6 more pairs of sock yarn matched up, waiting for me to make myself new socks with these two colors, one solid and one variegated. By the time I do that amount of knitting, all the color lines of this yarn will have changed, and that would affect my ability to sell the pattern, were I to write it up. Also, although these yarns are very nearly exact twins of each other, aside from color, they are sold by different companies. This makes it inconvenient for other knitters to conveniently match up the colors. My guess is that they are being produced by the same spinning mill but being sold by a variety of different yarn companies, or maybe just it's a common sort of sock yarn formulation.

Now that I've talked to you about these socks, I'll wear them. I'll try to block out why they were world's most annoying project, and try to enjoy them. Of course, it's back to the drawing board with that sexy little curve I graphed out. There's got to be loads of easy ways to make the chart fun to knit. I just haven't found it yet.

How often is creating a design this persnickety? More often than you'd think. I think designers try to shield knitters from this type of experience, for good reason. It'd make a lot of people give up knitting and try badminton....

but I'm bad at badminton, so I'll stick with knitting. :)

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Sunday, March 28, 2010


Introducing....(drum roll please....) the Winnipegger. Several people voted for names that had to do with my new city, Winnipeg, and I decided that they were right...the name fit. Actually, all the other names were neat too, but I eventually had to make a decision!

There is actually already a "Winnipeg Neck Scarf" design on sale at Ravelry, and it's crocheted rather than knitted, so I'll go for a slightly different name when I manage to get my pattern written up. (soon, I hope!)

I will definitely owe several free patterns to my kind readers at that point, so if you were one of those people... Romi,(Romi comes up with amazing names for her own patterns, I might add...) PghCathy, and Sherry (who doesn't even read blogs!), I will try to get those patterns to you as soon as they are ready!

For everyone else, I must say that although I have finished the slowest socks to knit--ever--, I will have to write their story on Wednesday. Things around here are busy with preparations for Passover, as well as an unexpected leaky washing machine in the basement. The excitement never ceases in terms of house stuff here, must say...and the washing machine is pretty much brand new!

OK, off to see what the professor proposes regarding the newest house related repair...

Have a meaningful and Happy Passover if you celebrate it!

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

name that muffler

My busy weekend went swimmingly! I think both things I was in charge of leading on Saturday and Sunday went well. In terms of the spinning workshop on Sunday, well, I've never had such a big class before. Ten eager new spinners left after 3 hours...and I've already heard from one of them. Thanks for all your cheering over here on the blog. (I heard all that moral support--I was nervous, new city and all that, and you helped!)

I did miss our neighborhood grandma's 90th birthday open house, but I'm hoping to drop by and visit with her on a quieter day instead.

Since the weekend, things have still been quite busy. There's been research on fireplaces, a lovely dinner out at a neighborhood bistro, and last night, we went to the movies. I also fit in an hour of skating with a friend--potentially the last of the season, as the rinks are beginning to close for the year. It's warming up--though you wouldn't know it from the snow and slippery weather this AM!

Now, I promised you knitting in my last post. World's slowest sock project will have to wait. I've finished one sock and tried to photograph it by myself. Disaster. Looks bad. So, I'll try to finish sock number 2 and do a second foot photography session. It's really no wonder the photos looked bad the first time. I think that's how every single part of these socks have worked. It is possible I have reknit those things in their entirety two or three times. (As a comparison, last night at the movies, I knit roughly 4-5" inches of a sock cuff on size #2 (2.75mm) dpns. So, it's just these particular slow poke socks that are losers, not all socks that I knit...)

This morning, the professor took me outside to enjoy a bit of the snowflakes and to photograph my new scarf project. The light snowfall made everything look white and sparkly. (even my hair)

This scarf was a riff on the Gator Gaiter
pattern in Knit Green. I've been wearing the white cashmere version of this scarf off and on during the winter. My friends in town here love to say "Hey, isn't that the one that is in your book?!" Why yes, it is. However, it wasn't very thick or warm enough for colder weather, so I wondered how I could make an improvement. I had some Zitron Loft in my stash and two balls later, I had a scarf.

It started out sort of like the Gator Gaiter, but well, I couldn't help it, I changed it. It's different enough so I am thinking perhaps of putting it together as a pattern for sale on my website and Ravelry Store.

It was very fast to knit, and once I got into the 2 row pattern repeat, it zoomed along. It's pretty adjustable in terms of yarn weight and length, too. It's also well designed for a prairie breeze, because it has a hole in one end of the scarf so you can tuck the other end right through.

So, what do you think? Worth spending the time to write up the pattern? What, pray tell, should I call it? I've thought of things like "the deluxe gator" and "the doublewide" and the professor just snorted. If he doesn't think those are appealing names, well, then, I doubt knitters will either. I'm fresh out of clever names.

Please give me your brilliant thoughts and name ideas in the comments. If I pick your fabulous idea for a name--and maybe, if you seem enthusiastic, I manage to write up the pattern sometime soon--you'll get a copy of the pattern for free. I look forward to hearing your suggestions!

(Now I just have to find time to clean for Passover, which is coming soon)

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spinning my wheels

I've been really busy this week getting ready for this weekend. This is the direct opposite of most people's schedules--who wouldn't want to rest over the weekend? Apparently, not me-- so here goes:

Yesterday, I got to lead a family service at synagogue. This is only an hour long, but when working with people ages 3-adult, you've got to have a lot up your sleeves. It went very well, but by the time I came home, walked the dogs, and did things like eat leftovers for dinner, I was exhausted. I did try to have a conversation with a friend on the phone yesterday and I'm afraid I sounded entirely incoherent. (Meanwhile, the professor helped out at the service with the kids 10 and under in the AM and then rushed off to help someone move his belongings to his new house. Luckily, he got there after all the hard work was done!)

Oh--I also supervised the making of not one but two apple chocolate chip cakes, as the professor undertook dessert making for today's festivities.

Today I'm off to teach a spinning workshop at the Manitoba Craft Museum. I'm pretty excited. I've assembled these kits for each spinner. Here's what they look like:

In 14 reusable grocery bags:
One handmade low cost spindle (made by the professor and me)
4 oz of Romney white wool
4 oz of Romney cross brown wool
1 oz of a cherry blossom pink wool/alpaca/mohair blend
Information on skirting a fleece, washing a fleece, basic spinning info and a postcard each on Knit Green and Fiber Gathering and a free knitting pattern...

I'm bringing along some other kinds of both raw and washed wool, processed and unprocessed for them to check out and they will be able to "shop" for other things to spin from that.

For those who misunderstood the depth of my wool stash? I didn't buy any wool for teaching this class. Instead, I was able to empty two packing boxes. If I actually get 14 students, that would be just under 8 lbs of wool that I'm divesting myself of, and that's just in the bags! I'm probably bringing 2 lbs more for the "shopping" part of the class! Last I heard, I had 11 signed up, and apparently people do appear at the last minute. I'm perhaps overprepared...but who knows?

When I get done teaching, I may be able to scoot over to visit our neighbor. She's a Polish grandma who invited us to call her "Grandma" in Polish when we met her. She's turning 90 this weekend so there's an open house to celebrate. We'll bring one of the cakes.

Then, we get to go to a Spring Equinox potluck dinner at the professor's department head's house. (A department head is equivalent to his boss) We'll bring the second cake.

We've had to skip a couple of other things that were also scheduled for this weekend...including a philosophy discussion group that we both thought sounded fascinating. There's only so much you can manage in one weekend! Winnipeg is a pretty social (and intellectual) place!

The professor's car is currently being repaired so it will be up to Canadian inspection standards. (That's called being safety-ed here. Maybe it's spelled safetied?) So, right now we're a one car family, which has required more preplanning and money and time budgeting than we'd expected. The professor even figured out how to take the bus to work. It's busy around here.

I'll end with another special treat left in our house. When you move into an old house, sometimes things get left behind. We'd found a pair of knitting needles in a closet, but better yet is this picture, done by an artist called "Dougherty." This picture was hanging in the landing on the way to the basement. It's not a particularly scenic staircase, and we mostly do laundry and visit the freezer in the basement. I love this little chance to admire art on the way downstairs. Click on the image here, and look at the front porch. Perfect for a spinner, don't you think?

PS: I hope to get back to talking about knitting soon. I'm currently working on world's slowest sock project, and I've finished that scarf a mentioned a while back. Neither is photographed or ready yet for the big time!

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Let there be (more) light

Our living room is new and improved! I promised pictures, and here they come.

You may remember what the dining room looks like in our house. It has a nice chandelier which is somewhat new but has an Arts & Crafts style, so it matches our house. Better yet, when it's on, you can see your food while you're eating. (This is key, I'm really into function, if you hadn't noticed.)

From the doorway, you can see the front hall. In this photo, Sally t. Dog is demonstrating the beauty of the hallway for you. Again, it has an entirely functional and -bonus- aesthetically pleasing fixture.

Now, the living room had a different arrangement. First, it featured these neo-Colonial sconces, which were probably installed in the 1940's or 1950's, if not before. (Back when it was cool to re-invent the Colonial style, I'd guess, but I'm not up to date on my interior decorating history) The sconces all had to be turned on at the fixture, and they were placed relatively high up on the walls, so I could only reach 2 of the 4. (The professor, at 6 foot 3", could turn them all on, of course.) On a dark winter afternoon, when all 4 of these things were turned on, you could maybe see your hand in front of your face. Knitting dark colors was totally out of the question, and reading anything with fine print was difficult.

We stationed two stick lamps in the room, and that's what gave most of the light for knitting and reading this winter. It was ok, except one of the stick lamps was $8 when we got it at a big box store, and, well, they lacked class. I felt like these crummy lamps screamed "dorm room!"

(Note, all the photos of the sconces shot here were done in the daylight, when the big windows allow you to see them clearly. The sconces themselves are not turned on!)
About two weeks ago, I saw some advertisements in the paper of fixtures on sale. I saw ones that sort of looked like they would match the dining room and hallway fixtures. Next thing I knew, the professor had purchased 4 and found someone to help with the that I could theoretically flick one switch and the lights would come on. All last weekend, they were hard at work. In the end?

Only 2 out of the 4 fixtures are on the same switch...but hey,that's 2 lights that I flick with one switch and bingo! They're on. The other two are still turned on with little switches at the fixture. This is because (surprise!) the joists on this side of the house appear to be reinforced with concrete. It is hard to rewire that kind of thing, (a concrete thing) and no one wanted to explore why that concrete was there, so we stuck with the old system.

If one focuses solely on aesthetics, I think these are an improvement. They also offer a bit more light. Sadly, we still are messing with stick lamps as well, but maybe that's because I insist in knitting occasionally with dark colors in the winter time. Maybe the solution is just to go with all white yarns, all the time?

Nah. I'd just spill on it...let's be practical.
For now, though, I am trying to admire what we've got (living room lights) and appreciate all the hard work that went into this switch!

Note: For those in the Winnipeg area, I'm teaching an Introduction to Spinning Class at the Manitoba Craft Museum and Library on Sunday from 12-3pm. If you're interested, give the Museum a call by end of the day on Wednesday! I hear the class is almost full...and I'm looking forward to meeting a lot of brand new spinners! If you sign up, you'll also come home with a spindle and lots of practice wool's part of the class fees.
To everyone else? Let's hear it for the light!

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

festival, anyone?

Despite my very best efforts, I haven't managed to get the Amazon website for Fiber Gathering to update for the 2010 festivals listed in the book yet...I think there is a delay on posting new material there. Since festival season (and spring!) will be coming soon, I wanted at to post these here. If you don't see one of the festivals listed in the book here on the 2010 list, it's because either that festival no longer is being put on--sad, but true--or the dates are still unclear. If I hear more, I will promise to pass it along to you.

Remember, these are only a very few of the marvelous festivals out there! Make sure to check your area first, as festivals are wonderful, no matter what size. If you're wondering why this post is somewhat brief, scroll down...

Here's the list:

2010 Fiber Festivals mentioned in Fiber Gathering
Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival
May 1st & 2nd, 2010
Howard County Fairgrounds
2210 Fairground Road
West Friendship, MD 21794

New York Sheep and Wool Festival
October 16th & 17th, 2010
Dutchess County Fairgrounds
6550 Spring Brook Avenue
Rhinebeck, NY 12572

New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival
May 8th & 9th, 2010
Hopkinton State Fairgrounds
392 Kearsarge Avenue
Contoocook, NH 03229

Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair
October 22nd, 23rd, & 24th, 2010
WNC Ag Center
1301 Fanning Bridge Road
Fletcher, NC 28732

Michigan Fiber Festival
August 21st & 22nd, 2010
Allegan County Fairgrounds
150 Allegan County Fair Drive
Allegan, MI 49010

Black Sheep Gathering
June 18th, 19th, & 20th, 2010
Lane County Fairgrounds
796 W. 13th Avenue
Eugene OR 97402

Estes Park Wool Market
June 12th & 13th, 2010
500 Big Thompson Avenue
Estes Park, CO 80517

The Wool Festival at Taos
October 2nd & 3rd, 2010
Kit Carson Park
Paseo del Pueblo Norte
Taos, NM 87571

PS: Thanks so much for all your empathy and kind moral support last week! I've been reassured by several local friends (who fondled the rugs) that there is indeed a market here for my fiber art. I will need to go to the more artsy festivals, fairs and shops. In the meanwhile, they told me to keep weaving, build up my stock, and not to worry about it too much! The market, they say, might just come to me.

PPS: This weekend the professor is rewiring part of the living fixtures with a colleague of his. I've been told the electricity will be shut off at some point, so I've posted in a rush. I will post "before" and "after" lighting photos later. The goal here is to make the living room brighter at night, so that knitting and reading, for instance, can happen without squinting in the dim corners of the room! His colleague is a cheery, capable person who has already rewired the fixtures in his new house, as his family didn't like the ones there originally. Apparently, this isn't exclusively an "older house" problem. In the meanwhile, I'm off to spin, weave or knit--all things I can do without electricity. :)

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Humility is my friend...

I'm not even sure I want to relive this enough to blog about it, but I suppose it happens to everybody sometime, so you'll likely understand. I sent my friend this email yesterday, so I'm just revising it slightly so you'll get the drift.
(To illustrate the post, another photo of the rugs I've woven so far. This one is naturally white and brown Romney and hand-dyed Cotswold. I dyed the Cotswold and used some of this in Fiber Gathering for the Sit Upon pattern. There were leftovers...ideal for rugmaking!)

Yesterday I went over to a boutique that is literally a block away from the house to show the owner my rugs. I'd been told by someone I met at the weaving guild (and that I respect) that this might be a good place to go. I was so embarrassed by the experience. Awful.

The first hint should have been when the owner of the shop did not expect my visit or realize who I was after we spoke twice on the phone previous to meeting her in person--which I did at the time she suggested I come over.

I know I'm not a good retailer or a seller of my stuff, I know that. I took out the first rug, the rug I thought would be best for the shop, and of course the owner touched it right away and said "This isn't our thing. It's too yellow." (Of course, the shop is decorated in home furnishings in cream, gray, black, and white, and gosh darn it, wool is cream colored.)
"Couldn't it be more white or gray?" She asks "...could it have tufts? Couldn't it be without that binding on the edge?"

You know, the binding that keeps the ravelling warp threads secure, in place, and ready for hard wear on the floor. That binding. The one I handstitched on and that matches that rug perfectly.

Oh. My heart sinks and I want to run right out of the store. I explain that I've met these sheep, that I process it or supervise its processing from start to finish...that this is the color this sheep came in. Naturally cream colored. That each rug I make is one of kind, like the yarn I spin and the fiber art I've had in galleries.

Never mind. Maybe it was not worth the trip over there and it isn't worth recounting. I felt embarrassed by the whole experience. I did manage a polite enough exit, rugs in hand.

The good thing is that the boutique owner suggested I try the art gallery in town, and they do have fiber art in their museum shop. It might be a good idea to try that next.

Humility is good for me, I know, but being embarrassed while trying to find a place for my work is just the worst. I hate it. I also know that some part of me is my own self doubter. Instead of being an unconditional champion of what I do, that voice says, "well, you know, maybe it's not good enough and that's why she didn't want it." It's only the first shop I went to, and I need to be brave.

Later, my professor took me out to dinner, and made me feel better. I even worked on weaving part of another--equally delicious rug, this time with a weft of Border Cheviot wool--white, springy, and just a little bit smooth.

OK, I'm done telling this sad tale. I needed to tell someone who would understand this the meanwhile, the first thing the owner did was put her hands on it to feel it, and she kept touching the rugs even as she rejected their color-- so I know that roving rugs are a good idea. A luscious idea, for people who understand... and hard to capture in a photo. That's why I really think I need to find a place that maybe wants to sell these lush handmade things in person.

With a sign that says: Please Touch.

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Sunday, March 07, 2010

international women's day

One of the things I notice the most in my first year here in Canada is the way in which holidays are emphasized. For instance, I listen to the news on the radio every day, and here I listen to the CBC. This morning many of the weekend documentaries and reports were about women in honor of International Women's Day.

As a feminist in the USA, I knew about this holiday, but never knew anyone who did much about it. This year, according to their website, there are 125 events in the USA (population approximately 307 million people) and 58 events in Canada. (population something in the range of 33 million) Without boring you with the math, let's just say there seem to be many more events happening for International Women's Day in Canada than in the U.S.

Ways I'm connecting with this event? I like to celebrate the many opportunities for equality in political, environmental, social and economic expressions. On Thursday night, a new friend came by to pick up her eggs. There's a lady in the country outside of town who is raising few organic laying hens, and through a network of women's contacts, we are supporting her small micro enterprise through buying her eggs. The lady in the country sends the eggs to town to her daughter's house. My friend Christine picks up those eggs, and delivers some of them to me. That other friend comes by to pick up her eggs from my refrigerator, as she does not drive in winter. Small, personal, neighborhood exchanges, and $3.75 a dozen for some's buying locally and economically supporting women's farming on a small one to one, old fashioned scale.

Then, also on Thursday, we went out to hear some stand up comedy. In the US, I hadn't been into most of the stand up comedy; it tended to make fun of somebody or be mean or vulgar somehow. I found it often didn't make me laugh much. Canadian comedy is different--I watch it on TV, and I went to hear Punchlines for Peace. It's an Israeli-Palestinian comedy act, and it's smart, funny and has very good intentions. The premise? "If we can laugh together, we can live together." Thinking critically about international politics and being involved in the political process when possible? A great way to express women's equality. A century ago, not many women had the vote or the right to think and talk about political matters.

On Friday evening, I led a sing along here, complete with guitar and full audience participation. The event was part of Shabbat Across North America-- where congregations all over the US and Canada had Sabbath celebrations together. It was fun--and another expression of my chance to celebrate women's equality. A hundred years ago, just like in many other religions, Jewish women weren't singing and leading congregational life in any public way. Today there are women rabbis and cantors, and in many congregations, women have the chance to fully participate in an egalitarian setting. That's progress.

This morning, I read an article in the newspaper about the carpet trade in Afghanistan. Apparently this amazing traditional weaving skill is struggling, due to competition from other countries' less expensive imports. As I warp my loom again, I'm thinking of the women involved in this economic issue, as 80% of the weavers affected are women. I'm not in the market for an Afghani rug just now, but each warp string that I successfully measured out and sleyed through the heddles connects me to those women, whose skills are legendary.

The photos in this post prove that I finished measuring my warp, I've wound it (with the professor's help) onto the back beam, and I'm slowly threading those threads through the wire heddles of my loom. It's nothing compared to an Afghan rug, but for me, it shows great progress!

There's still a lot more to do, obviously, to support women's health issues, rights, and well-being in the world. I think one easy step to take for International Women's Day is to think about how we, as individuals, advocate for equality and also to celebrate our rights together.

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

very slowly warped

Well, it's March, so it's time to get a new warp on the loom. Now that I've run out of warp chains that the loom's first owner made that are appropriate, (there is one more left, but that's for another project someday) I have to learn to make my own.

When I set the warping board that came with my loom, I thanked my lucky stars to have this equipment that came with the loom. I remembered, in my long ago past, knowing how to do this. I'd carefully studied books which showed how to use it (note book right next to warping board) and indicated that one person should wind the warp in one day, working continuously, to maintain the right tension. Yeah. Hah. Right. Well, that's not happening here. I am planning to commit the afternoon to this, but the short version is that I see why people might could go out of their mind with boredom while doing this...and I'm not even doing a big warp, as far as I know. That there is not even a third of my warp. Whoa. Long haul ahead.
I am taking the advice of the nice weaving guild ladies, who suggested I do my next rugs at 4 ends per inch, and double, triple or quadruple my warp threads if necessary to get the thickness I wanted. 4 ends to the inch, and 4 strands per end, and ....that's, hands down, a lot of thread. Luckily, my stash is deep, and the cones were there already. I even overheard several of the nice weaving guild ladies suggest that they wound more than one warp at a time, and invited people over to do it with them. My basic ineptitude and the piles of mending (on left side of photo there) and the fact that I'm warping on the patio table (indoors) has kept me from inviting any audience to speak of!
I can just imagine saying hey brand new acquaintances who seem like proper ladies my mom's age... welcome to my house! Whoops! Watch out for those dog toys. Here's a pile of books to dodge. Oh, and over here, next to the patio furniture? Right, just climb up to the second story over here--that's my loom set up. Next to the bedroom, where the dogs are sleeping on the bed. Come on in. Nope, not quite yet...maybe I'll have them over for tea first. Maybe I'll even clean up first.
This handy tool here, on a patio chair, is holding up two cones of yarn and threading that yarn through these eyelets so it feeds easily as I measure the warp. Ingenious! Amazing! I have been waiting for years for something like this for managing cone yarns. I'm so lucky this came with the loom too.

If you're a knitter and your eyes are crossing with all the weaving (I felt this way about weaving myself about 4 months ago, so don't feel embarrassed...) I've just started a scarf design experiment with Zitron Loft yarn I had in my stash. It is roughly based on the Gator Gaiter in Knit Green. It's not the same gauge or yarn weight or even, maybe, exactly the same pattern, but I'll see how it comes out and get back to you. In the meanwhile I am also still working on a stranded sock pattern and a sweater pattern that I'm knitting from an actual pattern. None of this is going along with the speed of light. I seem to be in a very slow- but creative- holding pattern.
One problem with this slowness is that I am spending more time online than I really need to. I'm trying to decrease my email/internet time, as I'm not being all that productive. I am, however, reading every single comment and even responding to them sometimes. I also try to stick to posting here twice a week, too. I enjoy the blog (I hope you do too?) and want to keep it up if I can...but I need to figure out how to hold my internet usage up "to a light" and examine if it's all really worth that much time per day.

Talking about light, I have struggled with catching a photo of my new rugs that were February's project. This is my favorite one, a twill rug woven with Icelandic wool. I'm slowly sewing on the carpet binding and this one is done. I asked the professor how to catch a light colored textile properly with a photo and he said, "Use side light." I was completely mystified...was this piece of equipment someplace in our house? "What's a sidelight?" I asked.
"You know," he says, "light that comes in from the side." Oh, right. We've got more of that now that March is here. It's getting lighter every day. It is bright and shining off the melting snow...and distracting me a little from this warping thing...

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