Woven “Boyfriend Sweater”

IMG_1413This was another experiment. The idea of a shrug has been perambulating about my head for a while. It seems ideal as a cover up for a person of a certain age, who needs a bit of warmth, but with vents for those occasional blasts of personal heat! The materials for this were very inexpensive, some unlabeled cotton and weird boucle yarn that seemed to go together. The fabric is a bit sleazy, and may not hold up, though as long as the cats don’t get too friendly – they like to get my attention sometimes by pick, pick picking at my arm, time for a treat – it should be OK. Sort of like a sewn together shawl rather than a boyfriend sweater really. It is just that it is kind of shapeless and comforting to put on. Just like wearing someone else’s sweater.  Thank you interwebs – any kind of old 70’s “sew your weaving” pattern you can dream up is there in living colour. Or is it the 80’s? Making garments from big squares, whatever decade that was.  (No, I did NOT put shoulder pads in this. And no, I will likely not wear this out of my house.  And like the blue vest, it has been two days and the arms haven’t fallen off yet. Phew. )

IMG_1318Still showing off from our Rockies trip. This is Eva Lake, in Mount Revelstoke National Park. Oh we had a wonderful trip!

Tapestry Respect

Joining a weaving and spinning guild has a lot of side benefits. Not only are there opportunities to meet like-minded people, and to see their impressive work at the show and tell, there are the things that happen by word of mouth. Elaine Duncan has a sterling reputation amongst weavers for the quality of her work and the quality of her workshops, so when it became possible to do sign up for one I jumped at it. I tried some rudimentary attempts at tapestry in the past because it seems a wonderful way to play with colour and design but it was a struggle to figure out how to make it work at home. My experiments were pretty frustrating, and didn’t produce anywhere near what was in my head.

Four days of heavy lifting produced this! A sampler about eight inches long with lots of mistakes but lots of lessons learned. It was tremendous fun.

IMG_1351There is a lot to tapestry.  What is very appealing is the quality that it shares with the rigid heddle loom – a delightfully accessible way to weave. Accessible due to the simplicity of the actual loom. Elaine warned us, should we choose to involve handy partners in the construction of a loom like this, to make sure they didn’t have the urge to solder and improve on the construction. It really is as simple as the fitting together of the copper pipes. After all, weaving has been done on simpler looms than this one for many centuries.

It was a congenial, easy-going class. Elaine has a relaxed teaching style but managed to pack in a lot of information, often stopping by to drop gems as she encouraged us to continue. It was a good idea to listen to what she was saying to other people, as there was often a good piece of information to be overheard.

Weaving is an unfolding world. I have much deeper respect for those who work in this medium, and want to learn a great deal more.

Now that pile of leftover balls of yarn has a future!

IMG_1328Now, if this were simplified a bit…inspiration for a tapestry perhaps? From our September trip. Trying to see the patterns.


IMG_1350A weaving and sewing milestone. Real sewists please do not look too closely. This is a wee vest for wearing under my motorcycle jacket. That ubiquitous blue yarn, woven into a honeycomb twill, according to my book. Then, using a Saori book I found in a used bookstore as instruction I took scissors in hand and cut. Zig zagged the seams, and look at that, a curved neckline. Whoo hoo. I considered overdyeing the yarn, but honestly, whatever it is covered in to make it “moth proof” will likely make it hard to overdye, short of some kind of chemical blasting and then it would likely felt.  Turquoise ? Sure, that’s it, and it must have been a colour of the year at SOME point. What I love about this is the drape, and lightness of the fabric, and it’s sturdiness. I have already worn it on the bike and it works really well to keep me warm without bulk.  So – don’t mess with a woman on a motorcycle. This will work.  (And it didn’t spontaneously fall apart when worn, always a fear in the back of my mind. I am past that with most of the handknits; when I made my first few sweaters I would wear them in the house for a while before taking them out into the wild. If the arms suddenly fell off, well that would be a problem wouldn’t it? Ah confidence.)

IMG_1336And now for a blue that IS found in nature! This jay was pretty annoyed with me I suspect, I followed him all over the place trying to get a good shot.  From our holiday in September.