Archive for November, 2008

Mockingbird Scarf
November 24th, 2008 | Link

Scarf detail

I kept going long enough to make a minimum scarf length before giving up on the broken warp threads and finishing. The final scarf is about 52″ long by 6″ wide and it’s amazingly lightweight.

This morning my coworker wore a green jacket. It’s like she anticipates what I’m bring in to show off.

This scarf is called the Mockingbird Scarf because I listened to To Kill a Mockingbird in audiobook form while I made it—penance for all the teenage vampire romance listening.

Agh, Agh, Agh (or, Why I Will Never Again Use Lace Weight Wool Yarn for Warp Threads)
November 20th, 2008 | Link

I ordered this beautiful yarn from a little while ago, and somehow, over navigating around the site and ordering a few different yarns, got it into my head that I was buying double-knitting weight, when in fact I ordered lace weight. I had misgivings about using it for weaving, but I was so inspired by another Ravelry member’s project with it that I decided to go for it—even after reading, on that same project, that she’d had one warp thread after another break.

Don’t get me wrong, this is beautiful yarn and I think it would make an amazing handknit lace shawl—in fact, I’ll probably knit one, since I bought another skein in a different color. But it is not meant for warping. 10 inches into my current project I have already had three warp threads break. Every time I pull the reed down I can see it shaving little bits of wool from the thin, single-ply yarn, and every once in a while just a little too much wool is gone and the warp breaks. But oh, it’s pretty! The colors are more saturated and darker than in the photo on the web site, and even with a 12.5 dpi reed the weaving is open and airy. It might even be worth all the aggravation. Maybe.

Magnolia Wrap
November 18th, 2008 | Link

Plaid detail and tassels from one end of the Magnolia wrap

The Magnolia wrap takes its name from the album Magnolia Electric Co. by Songs: Ohia, which I listened to somewhat obsessively during the wrap’s construction. My coworker and fellow music afficionado Grant hopes that the wrap’s recipient won’t become depressed just wearing it, with that kind of legacy! But I was in love with the slide guitar and violin, the urgency of the lyrics, and the glorious fuzz of the arrangements, and the resulting album is complex enough that it requires a few listens to grasp it all. (In fact, I’m listening to it again as I write this.)

On to the wrap. I used every slot and hole in the 10 dpi reed, so I had about 120 ends (the loom is only 12″ wide). The yarn is Alice Starmore Scottish Campion, a 2-ply sport-weight Shetland yarn. My mother had purchased a bunch of it for a Fair-Isle sweater that she never got around to knitting, and gave it to me when I was home a year or so ago. There were at least 12 colors, and more than 20 skeins—I had one to four balls of each color. These are not so much my colors, although I like the heathery tones in several of them. The yarn is loosely spun and I was able to break it easily by yanking on it, so I worried that it wouldn’t be strong enough for warping, but it held up. The biggest problem I had was that this yarn is prickly: the warp threads kept sticking together, and it was hard to beat. Even after the finishing wash the fabric is still a bit itchy.

I made up the plaid pattern as I was warping the loom, starting in the middle and working toward the sides. I had more of the heathery purple and the dark teal colors than anything else, so I alternated these, the deeper colors, in the larger areas to try to anchor the pattern. There is so much going on with the multiple colors that I wanted some structure to the pattern. So I used 10 ends for each purple section and 6-8 ends for the teal, and separated them with 8 mixed ends chosen from the remaining colors. I tried to limit the amount of what I considered outlier colors, like the pale yellow, to a few highlights, and stick mostly with the mid-range. When I had finished warping, I wove in the same pattern.

Since there were a lot of color changes in this pattern, I wove in the ends in each time I started or ended a color, alternated the sides where the colors started, rather than trying to carry strands along the sides. It worked out pretty well—the extra threads are only an inch or so long—but I wish the piece were wider so there was more middle area. I also wish it were wider because after taking it off the loom and the finishing wash the wrap is only 11″ wide, so it’s really more of a scarf.

Twilight Scarf
November 17th, 2008 | Link

Handwoven scarf in Malabrigo Sock

Time for a new naming convention! I’ve decided to name my pieces after whatever I’ve been listening to while working on them. So this is the Twilight scarf, because I made it entirely while listening (I’m embarrassed to admit) to that goofy teenage vampire romance in audiobook form.

Scarf is about 5-1/2″ wide by 72″ long; 64 ends on a 10 dpi reed.The yarn is Malabrigo Sock in Stonechat. This is my first time using Malabrigo, and I see now what the fuss is all about: this yarn is soft! And smooth! There’s no friction at all on the loom. I had to be careful not to mash it down—the last yarn I used was Alice Starmore Scottish Campion and it kept sticking to itself, so I’d gotten into the habit of beating hard, and the Malabrigo doesn’t require that kind of handling.

I think I’ve finished all my Christmas presents now!

November 16th, 2008 | Link

Habitat hat in charcoal gray wool

I am just churning out projects this month! Winter came pretty much on schedule in San Francisco (it started raining just before the beginning of November, though it’s been warm again the last couple of days), and all that gray, rainy weather has me itching to knit again. My first project this winter was the Habitat hat from Brooklyn Tweed, knit from Cascade 220 wool yarn. It’s not a difficult pattern if you’ve done any sort of cable work before, though I found it was easier to read the chart after I drew a colored box around each of the cable notations so they didn’t run into each other. (I read later on Ravelry that some people had colored in the chart, which probably would have been even better.) I did screw up about 8 rows into the cabling the first time through, and had to rip it out and start over, but I was more careful the second time and had no problems. It’s been at least a decade since I did a cable knit, so I’m a bit rusty.

Handwoven Scarf #3
November 11th, 2008 | Link


This is the followup to my first scarf, from my 12″ Ashford Knitter’s Loom. Like the first scarf, I used Brown Sheep Wildfoote Luxury Sock Yarn, but this time I used the variegated color (Ragtime) for both warp and weft. I like this version much better: it’s a bit darker, and the variation in the warp threads adds vertical interest to the pattern. Plus the fringe is not so pink.

I also switched to a 10 dents per inch reed for this one, so the weave is tighter. Because the Wildfoote yarn has 25% nylon, it did not “bloom” so much in the finishing wash (wool will full a bit, filling in the spaces), so I think the denser weave is better. The scarf I made after this one was 100% merino wool, and is a bit softer.

A Stocking Explosion
November 8th, 2008 | Link

Stocking ornaments

Um… I may have gone a bit overboard on the stocking ornaments. It’s just so easy to make multiples…

The Stockings Were Hung by the Chimney with Care
November 2nd, 2008 | Link

Stocking ornaments

I had a number of small scraps of linen after sewing this tote and this skirt, so I used those and dug into some of my old stash of quilting fabrics to sew up a bunch of ornaments. I thought they turned out pretty well—kind of Zakka-esque—so I’m sharing the cuteness with a free, no-strings-attached (no pun intended) PDF of the pattern, and an accompanying photo tutorial.

The finished stockings are about 3″ wide by 3 1/2″ high. I like mine plain, but you could embellish them with embroidery or fabric paint. Make a few to hang on the tree, or make a garland; stick a card inside and use one as a gift tag, or stick one on some card stock and make a Christmas card.

Read more…



My name is Shannon Hale. This blog is on indefinite hiatus, but it contains archives of the last 10 years of posts about bookbinding, knitting, sewing. and other random things in my life.


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