Happy Hallowe’en!

Hallowe’en.  Samhain.  The midpoint between the autumn equinox and the midwinter solstice.  It’s today!

This is also the first festival celebrated by my Wheel of the Year Club!  I know that some of the packages have arrived with people already.  I’m not sure they have all arrived, though, especially in the US where some folks have been hit really, really hard by snow over the last weekend.  So!  To avoid spoilers, I’m putting the inspiration photographs and a couple of club hints behind the following cut.  Click to read on…

Continue reading “Happy Hallowe’en!”

Dropping balls

I’ve been dropping balls all over the place this last week: I owe parcels to several people, the blog is sadly neglected, and I haven’t even announced the winner of last Saturday’s giveaway yet!

I can plead nothing except my own over-optimistic scheduling tendencies, plus perhaps a little bit of seasonal fatigue: I love autumn and winter, I really do, but the slow mornings and the nights drawing in are tough on the energy levels.  Speaking of which, here’s a little something I read about this morning:

Emma at Silverpebble and Mrs ThriftyHousehold are running this series of tutorials and other great stuff to celebrate winter and all its wonders (Mrs TH is already a fan; Emma, less so).  I think I’ll be joining in, if I can.

Oh, and the winner of the club yarn?  Naomi!  Congrats, Naomi: I’ll be on to you for your address shortly.

Saturday Giveaway: Wheel of the Year club one-shot!

Entries are now closed for this week’s giveaway!  Please come back later today to find out who the lucky winner is!

OK, so this is a thing I’m going to do every time the Wheel of the Year shipments are about to go out.  It’s a way of spreading the club joy a little further; a little wider.

Signups for the Wheel of the Year club ended last Monday, and I have been busy dyeing, winding, washing and all the rest of it this week.  As it happens, I have an extra skein of lace weight yarn from the colour prototyping phase for this installment.  It’s not exactly the same as the finished versions, but recognisably similar, and it’s waiting to go home to one of you!

The prize:
A skein of lace weight yarn (weavers, you might also rather like it!) in this season’s club colour.  No photographs are going up for this one, for obvious reasons.  (Spoilers!)

How to enter:
Comment on this post by noon (UK time) on Monday.

Who can enter?
Anyone!  I don’t mind if you’re already in the club or not.  Though, if you’re in the lace club, bear in mind that this won’t be a perfect match for the skein you’ll be receiving anyway.

Finishing Friday

Done!

This great big box of batts:

Has been transformed into this:

That’s 19 skeins, varying from 36m/12g (the last, bracelet-plyed little bit) to 230m/69g (and I have no idea how I managed to fit all that on one bobbin!  I’m usually lucky to squeeze 50g on a bobbin with this yarn!).


Preparation:
Picked and drum carded
Spinning method: Mostly point-of-twist long draw
Totals before washing:
2,746m, 444g.  I’ve averaged about 3.5m/g
Started: July 3, 2011
Finished: October 21, 2011

This really has been a long project for me; I wouldn’t normally expect it to take me nearly 4 months to spin just under a pound of fibre.  So, why so slow?  Partly, I think, because I burned out a bit on this project at the prep stage.  Prep really isn’t my favourite part of the process, but after the disappointment of the mixed dye lots, I really didn’t want to prep on the fly again, and end up with another lot of disappointingly varied yarn.  I wanted consistency.

The other issue is an ergonomic one: long draw is intrinsically hard on the shoulder, and my wheel really isn’t the best configuration for me and this technique.  I’ve built strength as I’ve gone along, and I’ve also worked on improving my setup, but there is only so much that can be done.  It may be that  a new wheel is in my future…

Finally: I’m really excited about this week’s Saturday giveaway, so do come back soon to check it out!

Know what this means?

Know what this means?

Yup!  The weaving is off the loom!  And I’m very pleased with it.  This is the right side, the side we’ve all been able to see so far:

And this is the ‘wrong’ side:

The pattern is essentially the same, colours reversed.  But it also looks subtly different, because the areas that are shaded with weft floats on one side are warp floats on the other.

I’ve tied off the remaining warp into bundles on the loom, so it can’t pull back out.  If I like the way this looks after wet-finishing, I can tie new warp onto the old, and weave off some more without spending two days threading up again.

Speaking of saving time: signups for the Wheel of the Year clubs end in a week!  I can’t believe sign-up time has gone so fast.  It seems like I only announced it last week…

Saturday Giveaway: Weaving With Three Rigid Heddles

 

OK! Entries are now closed for this week! Please come back tomorrow night for the announcement of the winner.

xx

Today, I am giving away my copy of Weaving With Three Rigid Heddles.  This is a truly excellent little book, and I would recommend it very, very highly indeed to anyone who is interested in taking rigid heddle weaving beyond the boundaries of plain weave, and into the realms of twills.

The only reason I’m giving this away is because the information it contains is now lodged firmly in my head, and it would be selfish not to pass it on to another weaver.

If you’ve been reading my blogs for a while, you might remember my experiments in 2/1 twill on the rigid heddle loom.  Those experiments were inspired by this book.

More recently, I have learned how to do krokbragd on the rigid heddle loom – another 3-shaft pattern.  Once this book had taught me the basics, I was able to apply them to other structures and figure it out for myself.

And this is what this little book can do for you: it can teach you principles that you can use to understand your loom, your weaving, and how to make them do what you want.  It is not really a beginner’s book: it assumes you can use your loom for plain weave already.  Having said that, it’s not that the techniques are hugely difficult: it just doesn’t explain the very, very basics of rigid heddle weaving.  It is *not* a project book, filled with pretty pictures of colourful projects, but it is a very, very valuable resource.

Again, this draw is open to entries worldwide.  To enter, just comment on this blog post before noon (UK time) on Monday (October 10).  The winner will be selected by a random draw, and announced here on Tuesday evening.  Probably.

Club memberships now available through Etsy!

Just a quick heads-up to let you know that Wheel of the Year Club memberships are now available through Etsy as well as from my own site.

The price to you is exactly the same, so you can now select whichever purchasing portal you prefer!

The one thing I cannot do through Etsy is sell subscriptions (i.e. payment by installments).  If you want to do that.. you have to buy direct from me.


That Beach Trip

So!  What did we get up to when J’s Mum was visiting?

Well…  We spent the rest of the week enjoying the bizarrely fabulous weather, and eating and drinking way too much.  It was fantastic.  And we did go to the beach!

We made our second trip to Hunstanton in less than a month, after years of saying we should go, but never getting around to it.  The dogs adore Hunstanton; Kita in particular will run and run and run on the beach.  I don’t think she’d stop before she dropped from exhaustion.

Woody made friends with a beautiful lurcher called Henry, who was even more of a wuss than he  is!  He is normally scared of other boys, especially if they are large, or bouncy, or have a dark coat, so it was wonderful to see him be so playful.  He also got a little bit overexcited by this strange ‘sea’ thing.  Unfortunately, he didn’t quite understand that the beach can go up and down underneath all that excitingly smooth water, and scared himself silly when he ran off a shallow sand bar and found himself rapidly out of his depth!

Suffice it to say, an hour on the beach allowed us to redefine ‘dog-tired’.  Both the hounds sacked out when we got back to the car; as they dried out, little white salt-tips formed on their coats.

WIP Wednesday

Away from my blog for almost a week?!  Unbelievable.  You’d be forgiven, indeed, for thinking that I haven’t been doing much…  But you’d be wrong!

I have now completed ten repeats on my big weaving project:

(Weaving tends to look pretty same-y at this point in the game.  You can only ever see the bit that’s between the front beam and the current working edge, you see, so you’ll have to take my word for it that there’s been progress – and be satisfied with a close-up for now!

And I have 12 of these plump little puppies sitting around, waiting for wet finishing:

(That’s about 500g of yarn, 1855m in total.)  I have 6 and a bit batts left to spin, which could theoretically be done in a week – but which probably won’t be.  I’m waiting for the yarn to be all spun up before I wet finish it, so that they all get basically the same treatment.

Myrtle is coming along, too!  She now has (or is, I should say) a pair of sleeves!

I am planning to do a provisional cast-on for the body pieces, which always takes me a while (and we’ve had company, too).  In addition, I plan to add in some ribbing for waist shaping, and to move the start of the moss stitch yoke down the body a bit, so I need to figure out what’s happening where before I really get going.

Probably the real reason I have stalled on the knitting, though, is that I have been working hard on these:

I’m now up to the start of the thumb gusset on the second mitt!  That means I’ve figured out how to make it, and am now checking the pattern by working the second one.  With any luck, I’ll be able to make this available to all you crochet enthusiasts before too much longer – just in time for autumn chilliness.

If we ever get any, that is.