Archive for May, 2009

Just one picture before I head off to bed:

Maker Faire badge and Editor's Choice ribbon

My demo went really really well!

Yesterday afternoon was setup day. I didn’t have to wrangle the giant knitting needles, but I had my own area to set up. I warped the rigid heddle loom and tried to guess at how I wanted to arrange my display. It will get re-done this morning I’m sure. Here’s a photo of the disarray, including the partly-warped loom:

Maker Faire display setup

The Maker Faire stuff is coming in and this week I got the loom we will be using. It’s an Ashford Knitters Loom, a small folding rigid heddle loom.

It took about 10 minutes to get it out of the box and put together both the loom and the stand. It’s clearly a beginner’s loom, plastic parts keep both weight and cost down. But it’s nicely finished and quite serviceable for small scarves, bags, table runners and so on. It comes with a 7.5 dent reed and you can get several others.

Included with the loom is a warping peg to measure warp by looping your yarn through the reed, around the peg and then the back beam, with both loom and peg clamped to solid objects. This is a simple variant of and old technique, using a warping drum to maintain tension while winding. After you beam the warp, you pull every other end out of the slots in the reed and put them in the holes (like threading back to front.) I haven’t tried it yet, but it seems simple enough.

My first thought was that I’d replace the plastic holding rods to the beams with cords as I wonder if the cable tie like things snapped into the beam might pop out eventually. I’ve had my warp come undone during weaving and it’s a whole lot of no fun. The other thing is how much warp can you actually get on it, and for anything more than the recommended 2 yards I think I’d prefer the old-fashioned way. Of course, I’m not new to this weaving stuff and someone who is just getting started wouldn’t even know to consider it. Which is just as well.

It is nice that it comes with clamps, as there is no way you will get a good warp on any tiny loom without something holding it down while you beam under tension. The warping instructions tell you to have a friend hold the warp while you beam, although if you look online there are directions for doing it on your own (which is most likely in my opinion.) Fortunately for short warps with typical knitting yarn, tension isn’t a huge deal.

This weekend I’ll try putting on a warp and report back on how that goes.

I spent the weekend in Ottawa and while blowing off some Saturday afternoon conference sessions I wandered into an indie craft fair: Tarts N’ Crafts. It was your basic assortment of crafters, sponsored by a womens’ art and music group. There was candy, snarky screen printed clothing, stuffed toys, recycled jewelry, handbags and so on. Only one spinner, who had some chunky handspun yarn and knit items.

It generally isn’t my sort of stuff, but I do like to see what other people are interested in. And I randomly found it walking around the city in the rain.

I got yarn recently to try out some toe up socks from Wendy’s new book. I wasn’t liking most of the colorways I found so I got plain natural Trekking Sport (which is, oddly enough, not sport weight) and some new colors of acid dyes. I mean, I can’t be seen wearing boring old commercial knitting yarn right? Anyway…

I made a really huge skein on the warping mill and painted it in sections while trying to not let the whole mess fall off the kitchen table:

partly dyed bundle of yarn

I must say it’s quite entertaining to get plastic wrap to perform on command and not stick to everything but the previously positioned section you were aiming for. But I got it all painted and wrapped in plastic and into the steamer. Out came exactly the yarn I was hoping for (much to my amazement!)

ball of yarn and swatch

The base color is blue with sections of purple and just enough red to leave a bit of bright color here and there. It took a lot of dye and much poking and prodding to get good solid colors but I’m very happy with the results. It’s a superwash wool, which I normally don’t like, but I also don’t like washing socks by hand. All reports are this yarn wears well so I may try this again.

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