it’s that time again

Well, we see how well my posting schedule is working. I haven't posted in a week! Of course, I was sick as a dog last week adn not knitting much and then I started on a gift knitting project that I think I will be abandoning.  My "November" sweater has one sleeve and I started the second one, so there is progress being made but not much. We have Arts Focus at school this week so I had to warp the looms again.

I might venture to say that I'm getting good at it. In the last class the other mom who is sitting at the weaving table with me and I decided that something between the warp and the two pieces of wood that hold it tight might help with said tightness. We opted for paper towel since we had that on hand. It seemed to work so I used those same pieces again. Fabric might be a better permanent option but I can't decide if the fabric should be attached to the bars or if it needs just sit between like the paper is. I'm not sure I'll get a chance to find out. We have one more class after tomorrow's class and in the spring we go back to our old class format which includes a smaller individual weaving project where each child weaves on an improvised weaving frame. In the past we used plastic lids from file boxes that we could get cheaply at RAFT (Resource Area for Teachers) but we are going to try paper plate weaving this time. It looks easier to tie off and remove than the plastic lid ones, which usually stayed on the lid.

So there you have it: warping, not knitting. It's a lot like November, except it's not daily.

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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 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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