Tuesday, April 05, 2005

I went to Western Mass. to pick up Doug's wheel, which he has bought from someone out there; to visit Helen; to see my friends Grace and Dahlia; to take a card-weaving course at WEBS; and to go to the Smith science fiction convention. I did most of these things. The wheel was not one of them, but Helen was fine and I am looking forward to her presence here over the NESheep&Wool Festival.

I managed to leave my twined knitting sock bag at Grace's, but here is a picture of their Easter decoration. Note receding glacier.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

It was a two-day course at the fabulous yarn-and fiber stuff store WEBS in Northampton on a deservedly obsolete form of weaving, also known as tablet weaving. You use cards (or thin pieces of wood or leather) with holes punched at each corner to sort out the threads you want to weave.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

These are nice things the teacher has made. Her selvages are even and she shows no evidence of mistakes in threading the cards.

With practice, I did get better at counting to four (sometimes higher!) and remembering if I was intending to rotate the cards away from me or toward me. An action shot would be helpful, here, but you tie the warp to yourself (belt) and an immovable thing (we used clamps on the tables) and manipulated the warps by turning the card. At the same time, you maintain your posture (so the warps stay tense) (you're already tense), and you clear the shed (the space between the warp strings you've made by moving the cards). Then you put the shuttle through and try to have neat edges and try to beat it in, evenly. It was five hours, each day. My shoulders did not quite turn into painful things made of cast-iron.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Mine do not have neat margins. Ellie stole the tidiest one to wear in her hair. I did not choose the colors. (But having the warps pre-cut, and in some examples already put on the cards, helped us learn a lot faster. Pat was a good teacher.) We made two more warps to weave at home. I will do that. Sometime soon, for sure. It is never going to be my favorite craft, but I was given good enough instruction that I will be able to use the book, if I ever find it, if I ever unpack it, if I ever varnish the new room. Which would involve going off-line, so forget that.

During the non-course hours, I hung out at the Smith science fiction convention. My family have participated in these things all of the children's lives (and before, a couple a years), which may explain why my daughter has a strange affection for con administrivia. I think she likes keeping her head while many around her are losing theirs. I went to one and a half panels, on Sunday morning, and spent most of my time at the con sitting keeping the registration desk crew company, either knitting or spinning. I can't quite explain why that was fun, but it was. I spun some alpaca roving I had bought at WEBS for its lovely colors. It has many chunks of mulch in it, and I am not terribly pleased with the fiber prep. But it IS soft.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

And this is the scarf I did not need to start, only the alpaca Brush was sooooo soft and not too expensive. It is 80% alpaca[okay, I changed this, it did use to say 20%, and yes this means it is 20% acrylic], and the flack I have been getting from both my housemate and my daughter, you would hardly believe.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Given the number of stitches I have put into it, it should be twice as long, but I have also pulled many, many of them out. It tinks and rips nicely and since this has not yet caused it to pill, I am impressed. 20% acKrylic or not.


Cassie said...

I followed along blithely, until you got to the part about getting flack. For what? Starting a scarf?

claudia said...

Why, that looks comfortingly like *my* Comet. Honestly, card weaving looks like something I wouldn't like at all. However, good for you for learning it.

Sawadu said...

I'm giving her flack (in good fun, of course) because she meant to tell everyone that her yarn is 20% ACRYLIC instead of "alpaca". The other 80% is alpaca, I believe! But still....sheesh. Acrylic.

LauraJ said...

Oh, fuss fuss fuss.

As to the spindle, it is a Comet, and how I do love that spindle. Thank you, Tracy Eichheim.