Feeding the sampling addiction

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Weave, cut-off, finish, tinker, weave, cut-off, finish, tinker… I enjoy this so much!

huck square samples finished

My first double huck efforts in lambswool came up beautifully soft and plump, and the lace is still reasonably lacy. However, the plain weave is a bit congested so I decided to open up the sett a little more and leave an empty dent between units to emphasise the holes.

huck resleyed

On the loom it looks ridiculously open, but the wool does its thing and after the lightest of finishing it is quite transformed. Here’s a comparison between the sample I washed last night and the one on the loom today.

huck sampling compared

Of course, one idea just leads to another… and another… This is the piece I have just cut off.

huck spots and squares

I’ve no idea what shape this will adopt when it’s washed, but I am looking forward to finding out. I’m afraid you will have to wait for the denouement as I am about to put my loom in a suitcase and take it to France. I am lucky enough to have the opportunity of learning new tricks from Marian Stubenitsky (of Echo and Iris) and – in honour of Stuart’s birthday on Sunday – the trip has been augmented with a few days in Paris for us both. It’s just a shame there is no room in my bag for anything to wear, but we all know the loom comes first.

Feeding the sampling addiction” was posted by Cally on 1 May 2015 at http://callybooker.co.uk

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Knitting update

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Back in October I treated myself to a little knitting project. I had boldly decided to venture into lace knitting. Since then, I have done a lot of lace knitting. I have knitted the first half of a scarf no less than three times!

The first time through was a distinctly uncomfortable experience, and when it all went wrong I was quite glad to rip it out and start again. On the second occasion I suddenly found that I understood how the stitches related to the pattern, so I felt more comfortable but then went wildly off-piste by picking up at the wrong point of a pattern repeat and galloping on regardless. I was a bit more annoyed about the ripping out that time. On the third time through, I got much better at catching my mistakes and un-knitting them before it got out of hand, and so I was able to limp all the way to the finish. And have this to show for it:

knitted scarf

Hey, it’s only taken me six months! I am somewhat nervous about blocking it as that will doubtless reveal to me all the mistakes that are still present but as yet undiscovered. However, I still have quite a bit of yarn, so there’s another scarf on the needles already (different pattern – I couldn’t bear it a fourth time). I must have enjoyed it after all.

Knitting update” was posted by Cally on 27 April 2015 at http://callybooker.co.uk

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Heave ho

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Those of you who were readers of this blog when I first moved into Meadow Mill, might remember some discussion of the Very Large Shelf Unit in the middle of my studio. It is nearly 4 metres long, the best part of 2 metres high, 50 cm deep and made of solid – extremely solid – wood. It was built in situ and cannot be taken out of the studio as it wouldn’t get around the corners in the corridor. After the enormous efforts it took a team of four substantial volunteers to remove two half-size units, we resigned ourselves to leaving this large one sitting in the middle of the space, dividing the room into two.

But recently it has been bugging me. It is a challenging obstacle to work around, and I have never been happy with the constraint on my teaching space in particular. So we hatched a daring plan to try and move it – just the two of us (my attempt to bribe my brother with Sunday lunch failed as my mother had bribed him first) – with those wee roller things you can buy for moving wardrobes. The VLSU is the size of four wardrobes all stuck together, but we reckoned two sets of rollers ought to do it. Or, if they didn’t, that two sets of rollers was an acceptable level of fruitless expense.

Yesterday we shoved everything else to the edges of the studio (apologies for the weird phone-camera distortion)…

that unit

…and managed to insert the rollers.

those wheels

That part was easier than expected: the floor is so uneven, that getting the levers underneath was not a problem. S did the levering and lifting, I did the roller-shoving. And, much to our surprise, the VLSU began to move. The most difficult aspect of its journey across the room was that, whenever the floor dipped, one or more of the rollers would get left behind (see below) so we had to run around scooping them up, then re-levering and re-shoving.

losing wheels

Even the miracle of slightly wayward rollers was not going to make the unit bend around corners, so our aim was to get it flat up against the back wall by shifting it forwards and then pivoting around the pillar. And this we did. Yes, it actually worked.

Today, after moving everything else back out from the edges, I took one of those panorama pictures on my phone. They always make everything look absurdly spread out (as well as bendy). Well, the looms are no bendier than they were before, but the studio really does feel as spacious as that image to me.

studio panorama

There’s the VLSU on the right, warp pegs still attached. The rest is a big brightly lit space, full of looms. The warping boards have been on the back wall up to now, so they need a new home – possibly on the VLSU itself since it has two blank panels which are the backs of the storage space on the other side. That is the trade-off: the loss of one cupboard and one set of shelves. However, they were not easy spaces to use in any case so I am happy finding substitutes. And I am enjoying new perspectives across the room, like this from the SE corner to the NW.

studio from SE corner

Now I am getting on with making warps for the workshop on Saturday. I really like this primrose yellow.

yellow cotton

Heave ho” was posted by Cally on 20 April 2015 at http://callybooker.co.uk

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Where’s the weaver?

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I’m right here, honest, and weaving away, after a lovely hiatus last week with friends and fine weather. I’ve got several balls in the air at once (what’s new). There are the Sutherland colours on the Delta: I cut the first piece off to finish yesterday, as I was too impatient to wait while weaving up the rest of the warp – and there is a lot of fringe to twist, so I might as well get started. And there is my double weave huck on the Megado, which looks a bit like this…

double woven huck lace

…but not very much, as those colours are seriously off. I am not sure what happened there.

Anyway, I have cut off the first piece of this as well, since I wanted to see how the other side was going! It is currently drying flat, or nearly flat, on the top of the radiator. I love the way you can have two layers of huck lace stitched back to back and the floats mean that the stitching is completely invisible. It is not as subtle in the plain weave areas, as you can see. This is a lovely soft lambswool yarn from Todd & Duncan which I haven’t used before. I think it’s 2/13 Nm, so a little finer than Rennie’s lambswool.

And in other lace-related activities, I have been weaving up some additional samples for A Lace Quartet – a workshop I’m doing next weekend. (There are still a couple of places left if you’re interested!) It is so much fun that I have to kick myself to stop it and get on with other things.

Where’s the weaver?” was posted by Cally on 16 April 2015 at http://callybooker.co.uk

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Weaving underway

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I had the loom all ready to go on Thursday morning, but dithered tremendously before getting stuck in. I want to weave with the pinks and purples of the wild flowers we saw around Durness, but couldn’t decide how to go about it. Eventually – on Friday – I started with this

wild flower start

I think I will just keep this brightest pink for a band at either end, and use the quieter colours in the middle. Or maybe not! I put my dithering time to use by making another warp for the Megado in blue and grey lambswool.

blue-grey layers

It’s time to get on with the two layers of huck I mentioned, so this is me getting on with it.

Weaving underway” was posted by Cally on 4 April 2015 at http://callybooker.co.uk

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