Saturday, November 15, 2008

what weaving has taught me about knitting

Ok, so it's not like I don't know these things already, but today really made them very obvious:  1) weaving is WAY faster than knitting.  Maybe almost too fast.  I guess it depends on my mood.  2) not all fingering weight wool is the same.  Or rather, fingering weight wool can be as different as night and day, depending on the brand - which is probably much more dependent on the type of wool, the twist, etc.  

My mother suggested that perhaps I'd weave her a set of two placemats for her and my father.
 I'd already planned on that because it'd be super easy.  I wanted to use something washable, because duh, it's a placemat, and I wanted to make them kind of stiff-ish, but not so bulky and bumpy that you couldn't safety put a drink on it without worrying that it'd tip over.  Now here's the thing - when I justified getting this loom, I did it by saying "but I can use my stash yarn - it's not like I need a different set of materials for weaving!" but I kind of had trouble finding stash yarn for this project!  I only have a 12 dent reed, which means my warp threads pretty much have to be fingering weight.  To weave from my stash, this means wool sock yarn, or the cone of yellow/gold rayon I have.  I'd kind of like a cone of fine cotton, but I certainly don't have anything like that for knitting.  Actually, the mill ends of linen I got would probably be fine, but they're yellow, orange, and tangerine and those really aren't going to fit my mom's much more neutral color scheme.  So I decided that some superwash sock yarn would be cool, and I'd use some natural colored worsted cotton (Peaches and Cream or something like that) for the weft.  

I got kind of fancy-ish (fancy-ish for my 3rd piece anyway) and did some green Cherry Tree Hill (leftover from my Monkey socks) on the sides in about a 2" band, then I did some red Pace (leftover from my May Beret) in a similar band just inside the green bands, then I used some yellow Opal down the middle.  Wow - I see now why the Cherry Tree Hill is so lovely - it's very much stretchier than the other two, and the twist is much more defined.  Maybe it's merino?  dunno.  The Pace and Opal - while very different in price, seemed pretty similar.  Very not stretchy.  That made getting even tension kind of weird.  I don't think that was the biggest of my problems though.  I think I did something a little screwy in the warping process because I realized that I was pretty consistently skipping two threads along the bottom, so it was like a giant long float back there.  And the front looked wonky.  blast.  However, unlike knitting, my whole piece of fabric, which I calculated to be long enough for two placemats (I was just going to cut it in half and hem the edges) took all of about 2 hours to make - like start to finish, warping the loom and all!  kamazing.  And when it was finished I realized that it was a bit short for two placemats.  not that I was too upset over that - it was kind of screwed up and I don't think I'd want to give it to my mom that way.  So I folded it in half and decided that maybe it could be a bag for me. 
 Oh, here's my other worry - are these colors too rasta?  that's really not what I was going for, and I think the white weft yarn mellows it out, but wow did it look rasta when I just had the warp threads together.  So anyway, I made some fabric this afternoon!  what it will become, I have no idea.  Oh, I suppose it could be a hand towel!  oh, this will work out just fine and I'll do better  next time on the placemats, I promise.


emilynye said...

because I am a good friend, I won't use the words "I told you so" about the stash yarns. =)

I do NOT think it looks rasta. I think it looks nice. how about a pillow cover? or a table runner? give me some time and I might be able to come up with more ideas for you...

we will miss you tomorrow!!!

Dharma said...

Ditto what Miss Emily said about stash. More retro than rasta. Promise.