NaBloPoMo Day 19: sweater fronts done!

I wove with the kids at school again today. They didn't seem as fast as last week. One of the other moms and I may have come up with a way to help the warp on the Beka looms stay tighter. I think it helped the kids a bit. I have a couple of weeks off before we weave again so hopefully I'll get my act together and rewarp the looms in advance. I'd actually like to try warping my loom for Niels and seeing if he can do it. He was really interested in it.

I have had a kid-intensive week, with a field trip and Arts Focus and tomorrow I'm working in the preschool to pay someone back for covering for me so it was good to get out tonight to BobaKnit. Those BobaKnitters know how to make me laugh. Hannah especially. ❤ you, Hannah!

Both front pieces of my sweater are now done! I am ready to start the top of the back. I think I'm pretty on track to finish this thing by the end of the month! Although, that front middle piece is pretty big so maybe I shouldn't get ahead of myself. Since it's all still on one circular needle it's kind of hard to photograph, but hopefully you can get the idea from this picture.

I'm pleased with it so far. I look forward to the back being done so I can sort of try it on. Right now that's impossible unless I put parts on waste yarn or another needle and that seems like too much work.

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NaBloPoMo Day 18: still tired

Today wasn't quite as crazy as yesterday but I started to get a migraine during preschool so that knocked me down for a bit. I can head it off with ibuprofen and luckily I was able to get some. Because of that I fell asleep on the couch so I just finished warping the last loom and winding some more yarn onto shuttles and now I'm off to bed. Good night!

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NaBloPoMo Day 16: photo from yesterday, weaving

I had a post in my head for yesterday, and I even took a picture to go with it of my fake seam in progress.

The fake seam is in the middle of the underarm bind off and the seam went in smoothly but for some reason I miscalculated several times how many stitches to bind off and how they should be divided between the fronts and the back. It started because I was working on it too late at night and somehow it just escalated. Three tries later, I had the number of stitches I wanted bound off (22) and they were divided as I wanted them (10 from the back, 11 from the front and the 1 seam stitch) and I started the left front. I love the fronts of a sweater like this because it's decreasing fairly rapidly and it just goes faster and faster. I'll probably do the right front immediately because it's so fast and satisfying but also so I don't forget what I did on the left. The final advantage will be that if I do the two fronts first when I finish the back I'll be ready to attach the shoulders. I'm doing to do a three needle bind off, I think. I am a fan of the three needle bind off even for shoulder seams. I know others feel that's not strong enough.

I'm getting ahead of myself, though. Before any of this can happen I need to finish off the two woven pieces on the Beka looms and rewarp. The cricket still has a bit of warp left on it so I'm not going to rewarp it yet. We have three more weeks so after this coming Thursday I'll rewarp it with a bit of a longer warp. I'm torn about the Bekas. I'm tempted to just warp them with the same length and let each kid do a bit less so that the end result is pieces that are about the same length. We'll see, though.

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NaBloPoMo Day 14: not entertaining

Some friends of ours host a coffee social at their house most Sundays. One of the parents in the family has been away for several weeks and so the hosting duties have fallen on other families in our circle of friends and I had volunteered to have it fall on me this week. I enjoy being able to entertain but I had hesitated because I don't feel like our house can accommodate as many kids as their usually are at this event without the noise level becoming excruciating. Swine flu saved me from having to find out, or prevented me from finding out that I was wrong, depending on your point of view. Since Niels' class seems to be getting it and a couple of kids in Stefan's class have been sick with something that also sounds like it could be it I didn't want to invite a separate group of children to our house when we could be coming down with it any day now. I'm sad that I'm unable to even try having them over but I really don't want to be responsible for spreading it around.

In my attempts to keep the sickness at bay in our house I made a recipe today that came from a small pamphlet at Whole Foods. I can't find the recipe on their website, though, it's called "Better Than Chicken Soup". I find the name somewhat strange since I did use homemade chicken broth at part of the soup but I guess the other ingredients also have immune boosting powers: garlic, turmeric, shiitake mushrooms, kale (i used spinach), squash (I used pumpkin), cayenne, ginger, lemon and miso. It also called for astragalus root which I don't have on hand. I wonder what that tastes like. I made it as a side to dinner and Stefan and I were the only ones who ate it. I thought it was fairly spicy but he didn't comment about the spiciness until I did. I think it would also be delicious with cubes of tofu added to make it a more filling dinner soup.

I didn't manage to trick myself into thinking people were coming over and cleaning up thoroughly but I did get as far as decluttering the dining room side of the kitchen counter. That part of the house is a clutter magnet as most horizontal surfaces are. I need to pay more attention to it on a regular basis because it's too easy to just pile stuff there and ignore it.

No knitting in this post yet! I don't think I'm much farther in the sweater than the last picture. I went to get my flat tire repaired but rather than sit and knit while they fixed it I walked across the street to the Japanese market to buy rice. I did knit one row when I got back before the car was ready. One row! How exciting is that?

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NaBloPoMo Day 13: not getting hamthrax

I think the silly names for H1N1 are pretty entertaining: hamthrax, aporkalypse, etc. However, six of Niels' classmates and his teacher were all out today with possible swine flu so I'm not laughing anymore. I really don't want it to go through my house. It feels inevitable at this point, though. One of his classmates' mother is a pediatrician and she told me I don't have to panic but she didn't give me much hope that we'd dodge it. Boo.

Anyway, I'm not thinking about swine flu tonight, I'm just working on my sweater and watching TV on Hulu. I love Hulu.

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NaBloPoMo Day 12: woven

Today was the big day, or first textiles class of the year in a different format than usual. First of all, the kids usually weave on individual frames where the woven piece stays attached and they take it home at the end. This was the first time I had attempted to teach them loom weaving. Then I had my trials and tribulations of figuring out the Beka looms which I detailed here and then I wasn't sure the kids were going to be able to do it. I was sort of right, it was much more fiddly than the Cricket loom but the kids handled it fine and most of them didn't get very frustrated or anything. I think it helps that I was only expecting them to work on it for a few minutes so if they were having too much trouble I just sent them back to the other projects.

One thing I didn't expect was that they wove all they could on the Beka loom pretty quickly. There's a fairly large space on there that is unusable, as far as I can tell. I'm going to warp it longer for the next group. I also can't figure out how to get it to hold the warp snugly enough. You have to push the heddle up and down yourself (There's no up and down spot to rest it) and it pushes the warp threads loose every time. Maybe it's the warp but maybe it's just the way the loom works. Who knows. I think the piece on the Cricket looks better but it might be that the other is pulled out of shape right now by the loom. I need to weave a couple of waste yarn picks and then cut it off and see how it looks.

My sweater is also progressing. It's now 12 inches long and I have started the increases on the waist shaping. Four more inches to the armholes then I'll have to divide it up for the two fronts and the back. Exciting! I love watching a sweater grow.

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NaBloPoMo Day 11: warped!

I warped (and rewarped, in one case) both of the Beka looms for class today. I inherited some weaving yarns from the same friend who loaned me her warping mill (by way of another friend). I think what I used is mercerized cotton. It is thinner than the acrylic yarn I was using and stiffer so I could actually thread it through the heddle without using the dental floss threader. I didn't discover that until I was into the second loom but… live and learn! This yarn (thread?) isn't stretchy at all, though, so I'm not sure my tension is exactly even and the use of this loom seems somewhat more fiddly than my Cricket. We'll see how the kids handle it.

I have no pictures today because you've already seen the looms warped and my knitting is still a big dark blob of a sweater. Not much to see. I'm finishing the waist decreases on the next row, just to give you an idea of how far I've gotten.

So… boring, eh?

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NaBloPoMo Day 10: finishing, warping, failing

I had some success and some failure today. I finished the cap I started yesterday.

I found another hat that I made for myself last year that I never wear and I think will suit my friend's needs. At least, it will keep her head warm and it will be large enough! (She says she has a big head.)

I learned to use a warping mill.

And to thread the Beka Child's Looms that we have for school.

You may also be able to tell that I got my card reader to work again and was able to get photos off of my camera rather than just using my iPhone. The iPhone is great outside but inside it basically stinks.

I am thinking now that I should reassess my summary statement. I really only had one failure. The yarn I used to warp the loom is far too think. It gets caught on itself when I try to move the heddle up and down to, you know, actually weave. I have to say that I found measuring warp on the mill and threading the heddle one strand at a time with a dental floss threader to be surprisingly meditative. I was resisting doing it because I thought that it would be horribly tedious and much more complicated than warping my cricket loom which is done with a warping peg and the warp is measured directly onto the loom, basically. That way gets it all down to one step, more or less, but this was less stressful, perhaps because I could do the steps sitting down either in front of the mill to measure or at the table with the heddle propped between two books to thread. Having my friend Victoria's mill was key, clearly, as was her advice to use the lease sticks (the sticks you see in the above photo between where the yarn crosses itself) to maintain the cross. Excellent advice!

Tomorrow I hope to obtain thinner yarn and rewarp the loom I threaded and warp another one. I might have to give up on the idea of exclusively working with our school colors because I do have some cotton yarn that was far too thin for the Cricket loom which I think means it will be just right for the Bekas.

I have to say that I was worried that this month being our Arts Focus workshops at school was going to interfere with my daily blogging but it's actually given me more to talk about! If you don't mind reading about weaving, of course.

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